Fulham vs. Sheffield United

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by MicahMan, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    On Tuesday it is back to where it all started: Sheffield United

    On an earlier Tuesday, November 21, we hadn't won a match since September 29 - almost 2 months. In the previous 5 matches we had scored just three goals. Fulham sat anchored in 17th place, 6 points out of the playoffs and 7 points above relegation. The team couldn't seem to find the net and we all wondered who we could get in the transfer window to start producing up front. Ryan Sessegnon had played up front the prior match against Derby, but in that 1-1 draw he'd been invisible. "Sessegnon" wasn't mentioned once in the 736 words of Fulham's match summary - despite the fact that there were two Sessegnons on the roster that game.

    We'd be forgiven for not expecting much going into that match against Sheffield United. They were the #2 team - 15 places and 16 points above us. We did have some hope in that we'd beaten the #2 team once earlier in the season so a close win wasn't out of the question. Even those that were hopeful of our chances could not have imagined what would happen that evening in Sheffield.

    What happened was an offensive explosion that saw Fulham score more goals in one match than in the entire month of October. Ryan Sessegnon got a hat trick and by himself equaled the offensive output of the previous 5 matches. That spark set off a fire that has yet to burn out.

    Since then Fulham has move up 13 places on the table with 13 wins, 3 draws, 2 losses. We've gone from being 16 points behind Sheffield United to 7 points in front. A 23 - TWENTY THREE - point swing in the span of 18 matches. I can't think of another run quite like this one.

    Hopefully it won't all come to an end here too. Sheffield United took advantage of their postponed Saturday match to get back to full fitness. They will come to Craven Cottage fully rested while our guys are back on the pitch after two days of rest. Even with that advantage for Sheffield, things have so dramatically changed in four months that Fulham is still expected to win. Let's hope Jokanovic and the guys deliver.

    A win for Sheffield would put them just 4 points behind us with a game in hand and tighten the playoff race. I'd rather we get a win to keep dreaming the impossible dream of a second place finish.
     
    #1
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  2. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    The Blades come calling to SW6 Tuesday night in one of those infamous short turnarounds. This one gives me pause. You might recall our five goal onslaught at Bramall Lane in November. You might also recall Sess's hat trick and Ojo's brace. You SHOULD recall that they almost caught us before the final whistle. I'm quite certain that they do. That, and a decent run of form on their part should lead to a spirited effort to reverse that result at the Cottage. Oh, and they're currently 8th, just seven points behind us in the table. They were second when we won there. They've won three of their last four league matches, losing 1-nil at Hull on 2/23. Leon Clarke scored two against us last time, and he's still around, although he left early during their win against Reading.
    Bottom line: we'll have to bring our "A" game again to get a result. Kalas apparently has a hip injury, which kept him out at Derby. We'll see if he's fit for this one. Otherwise, it's keep on keeping on.
     
    #2
  3. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    Only one change to the starting XI - Ojo comes in, since he had so much fun with Sheffield United last time.

    Bettinelli
    Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Targett
    McDonald, Cairney, Johansen
    Ojo, Mitrovic, Sessegnon

    Subs: Norman (again no Button), Christie, Norwood, Piazon, Ayite, Fonte, Kamara
     
    #3
  4. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Millwall with an away goal in the 1st minute!
     
    #4
  5. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    At halftime, all the contenders are winning -- except for Sheffield U.

    and Bristol City, sorry

    Ended that way also. I got a little excited when Barnsley pulled one back against Cardiff, but ... .
     
    #5
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  6. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    What a run the lads are on, the likes of which we might not ever see again. While we didn’t pick up points on Cardiff & Villa our dear neighbors aka the HaHas scored late to gain 2 points on Derby.
     
    #6
  7. nevzter

    nevzter Well-Known Member

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    Wow. COYW!
     
    #7
  8. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    Somebody pinch me. No, wait. DON'T you dare. Let's just enjoy it while it lasts. It's been a long time.
     
    #8
  9. dtowndough

    dtowndough Active Member

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    HD, how is that jersey smelling right about now?
     
    #9
  10. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    *sniff* *sniff* That's the smell ... *sniff* *sniff* .... of victory

    Highlights from Sheffield United's YouTube channel:


    This victory all but assures us a spot in the playoffs. Only a major collapse would keep us out at this point. Second place is still a tall order, but the team keeps winning so we can keep hoping. We've now scored more points in the second half of the season (33) than we did in all of the first half (32) and we still have 10 matches to go.

    I hope that Fulham releases goal cam footage. I'd love to see Mitrovic's second goal from that angle. I don't know how he got that shot in.
     
    #10
  11. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    Mr. Obvious here. Mitrovic has been the the final piece to the puzzle for this edition of Fulham. And the fit is almost perfect. He's been the ideal compliment to the pace offered by Sessegnon and Fredericks, and they're clicking like a fine, well oiled machine. He's got a lot of finesse skills for a big man. His feel, touch and instincts are spot on, more than enough to make up for his lack of speed and quickness, not to mention his stellar hold up play. I don't know how this is going to end, but it's just a joy to watch at the moment. Ryan didn't score, yet we won convincingly. If Cairney and StefJo start scoring, watch out. Johansen is playing better and better each match, and we know what Tom Terrific's capable of when fit. He looks fitter and fitter each time out. And I'm convinced there are goals to be had by Fredericks. Sooner or later, defenders are going to cheat trying to take away his outside runs to the endline for a cross. He's got enough speed to dribble past them as it is, and I think when the first one goes in, it's Katy bar the door. I've got to believe he's capable, but he's doing the right things for the team at this point. He's got the ability to beat defenders. I see him creating many scoring chances for himself, but he's certainly being a very effective team player by not being selfish. Maybe he needs to become a little more selfish. But the thing that's making this all possible is the massive improvement in defending. Targett has been a godsend at left back. Since his insertion into the lineup, we've played like a new version of the Thames Barrier. The bonus is that, he's linked very well with Ryan on that side. They just seemed to have hit it off tactically from the start. And Ream and Betts are playing arguably the best football of their careers.
    Enjoy folks. It's the kind of streak that hasn't happened for the good guys in a very long while. And, as an added bonus, it's easy on the eyes.
    Wow.
     
    #11
  12. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    There's a video of our first goal circulating -- 30-35 touches by all 11 players culminating in a lighting quick pass to Fred and his bullet cross to Mitrovic. It's stunning, reminding me of when SAF's ManU would toy with a bottom three side.

    I've never supported a football club that plays like this, although I have seen this kind of dominance in the recent past from the SA Spurs.
     
    #12
  13. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    I watched most of the first half replay over lunch and after the first goal I started thinking back "Did everyone touch the ball?!" I couldn't remember if McDonald did, but he certainly could have. Glad someone went back and counted. One other thing that came to mind is that we've now gone five straight league matches at home without giving up a goal.
     
    #13
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  14. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    #14
  15. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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  16. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    Oh my gosh...Mitrovic just abused the Stears on that one. Yikes. A microcosm of the difference between the Championship and the Prem?
     
    #16
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