Fulham vs. Sunderland

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by jumpkutz, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    This one is as dangerous as it gets. A club already relegated whom, dare I say it, was the last team to beat us. And after that loss, it would be seven more matches before the first appearances of Matt Targett and Alexandr Mitrovic, during which we climbed into the playoff spots. That run coincided with Sessegnon's move up the pitch from left back, although he did start a couple of those matches in the back.
    Anyway, Sunderland are a mess. But they've still got a core of veterans that have underperformed who could jump up and bite us. Although we won't have to worry about Jack Rodwell, who's MIA, John O'Shea, Paddy McNair and Lee "Yellow Card" Cattermole. I would expect to see a lot of hungry youngsters on the pitch for the Black Cats. If nothing else, they'll play with a lot of energy and abandon, without anything to lose. In this scenario, scoring first is even more important. Any confidence they would get by getting the first one make them even more unpredictable and dangerous, and increase the odds of a massive upset. However...I am confident we are mature and disciplined enough to not let any of this happen. Plus, the holdovers from that loss at the Stadium Of Light should be well motivated to reverse the outcome. Another Friday night result (which means it's on TV again!) will exert a lengthier spell of pressure on Cardiff. And we still have The Shirt, The Halftime Facebook Rant, and The Dancing Banana. Time to take care of business and hope the Bluebirds stub their toe again at Hull City. Cardiff won 1-nil in Wales back in December, if that matters. But the Tigers are on a scoring spree, with at least 4 in their last three, and a quintet in a 5-5 draw at Bristol last time out. Almost at the top of the last drop of the roller coaster. Hang on!
     
    #1
  2. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    Love the match is on a Fri, like that Sunderland was the last club to register a win against us from a not ‘taken them likely’ attitude stance. Get the 3 points in any fashion possible and heap a mountain of pressure on Cardiff. COYW!!
     
    #2
  3. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    Mar 4, 2014
    I also have to highlight the return of Bettinelli as another factor in Fulham's success. The Sunderland match has been his only league loss and it was just his second appearance after taking over for Button. Not only is Bettinelli better in goal, but I think he pairs much better with the players at the back - particularly Ream - to solidify the defense.

    While Button was in goal Fulham faced an average of 13.8 shots per match with an average of 4.1 being on target. Since Bettinelli has come in the number of shots dropped to 9.9 (a 28% decrease) and shots on target dropped to 3.2 (a 23% decrease). Despite facing fewer shots Bettinelli had almost as many saves per match (2.54 to Button's 2.75) since Bettinelli stopped 80% of the shots vs. Button's 67%. Bettinelli has played in just four more matches than Button, but Bettinelli has had 12 clean sheets to Button's 3.

    Granted, it is a lot easier to play goalkeeper when your team scores and they aren't desperately pushing forward for a goal, but those numbers are pretty clear indicators of Bettinelli's positive impact.

    Back to this week's match - Sunderland hasn't been entirely terrible in recent weeks. They embarrassed Derby 4-1 a month ago and then had draws against Leeds, Norwich, and Reading. Fulham needs to avoid a huge end of season let-down and get the full three points against a team with nothing to lose.

    Finally, I hope this is the last time I see Fulham on TV this season.
     
    #3
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
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  4. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    This seems within my limited math skills, so let's try to break it down. Cardiff beat both Hull and Reading: doesn't matter what we do, they're promoted, we go to the playoffs. Cardiff win one, lose the other one: a win and a draw (or better) by us means a tie on points, we get promoted due to superior goal difference. Cardiff draw both: we win one, lose one, we win promotion on GD. Cardiff draw one, lose one: we draw both, tied on points, again, promoted on better goal difference. Cardiff lose both: we draw one, lose one, we're promoted on goal difference. Cardiff and us BOTH lose both...I immediately call my therapist for the first available appointment.
    I probably goofed this up pretty good, but I like our chances to pip them for second...a lot.
    And you're spot on about Bettinelli MM. Button might be more talented, but Marcus has superior mental and tactical habits. The numbers don't lie.
     
    #4
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  5. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    In these more far-fetched scenarios you also have to take into account Aston Villa who are 4 points behind Cardiff and currently hold a goal differential advantage over Cardiff but not Fulham. If Fulham wins tonight then Villa is out of contention baring some ridiculous swing in goal differential and a Cardiff collapse, so I'm not even going to worry about Villa scenarios until Saturday's matches are done.
     
    #5
  6. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    Mar 4, 2014
    Same starting lineup for the fourth game in a row. In case you don't have it memorized:

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

    Subs: Button, Kalas, Christie, Norwood, de la Torre, Fonte, Kamara
     
    #6
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  7. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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  8. nevzter

    nevzter Well-Known Member

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    Mind the Banana.

    COYW!!!!!
     
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  9. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    One more. ONE MORE! FTID!!!!!
     
    #9
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  10. dtowndough

    dtowndough Active Member

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    COME ON HULL
     
    #10
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  11. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Watched the whole match and let me just say this:

    Ream did NOT foul the guy in the penalty area.
    Mitro was NOT offside on the second goal.
    AK-47 was a great substitution, but he still dithers too much in the box.
    Piazon will NEVER start for The Undead. He's got to be the most passive Brazilian ever.
    I don't think anyone in the Cottage or watching to TV thought that Cairney's shot was not going in.
    Tons of respect to Sunderland supporters -- weekday, looooooong trip, good turnout, great support.
    Concerned about injuries to Cairney and Targett.

    Oh, THA SHIRT!!!!!!!!
     
    #11
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  12. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    Gutsy, resilient performance against a desperate side playing with nothing to lose. Agree with all of Hatter's observations. In a previous life, we lose or draw this match. But this bunch IS special. They've got that mojo that some teams just seem to acquire. Piazon's equalizer was well orchestrated and well taken. But there's no denying that Mitrovic has been the X factor in this run continuing. Sunderland out hustled us for a good chunk of the game, but we kept our cool, stayed composed and FINALLY got a big play on a set piece. And guess who made it? You've got to be good to get a run like this, but luck always plays a part as well. Some of it you make, some of it just happens. Thank you Rafa Benitez and Toons for not seeing what somebody (probably Joka) saw in this guy. But there's no way even the gaffer, or anyone else, could have seen what was coming from #32. Everybody's done their part, but this guy...wow.
     
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  13. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    Mar 4, 2014
    Still waiting for Sunderland to post their official highlights. I think that their office is just taking weekends off now since nothing matters much for them these days.

    Well, I did not think that Fulham would be able to reach 88 points, the total that in almost every season would guarantee automatic promotion - but here we are with one match to go and Fulham has reached 88. Back in mid-February I said...
    Getting 11 wins and 3 draws from that point sounded impossible - there was no way we could continue a 2.5 PPM pace. I thought that by outlining what would be needed to reach automatic promotion it would be clear that it just wasn't realistic. It would require a performance that was unheard of in the 139 year history of the club. Despite my doubts, this Fulham came together like no team before, took on the very best competition in the league, and came away victorious in the vast majority of those matches. I don't know what will happen to close out the season, but the journey to get to this point has been magical.
     
    #13
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