West Brom @ Fulham

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by HatterDon, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. CarolinaTim

    CarolinaTim New Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    The Triangle
    An idiotic, and painful for Reither, rush of blood to the head!! Also agree about Kaca..
  2. BarryWhite

    BarryWhite Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Newburgh, IN
    Disclaimer: I was going to try to put a summary up of the match but working on a car that malfunctioned on the way home from work Friday took up my Saturday and then family claimed my Sunday. Better late than never I guess so here goes.

    The weather was beautiful, Fulham was sublime and WBA was missing in action even before Peter Odemwingie's grey matter took a tea break prior to the first half whistle. I tried all weekend to grasp the adjective that best describes Fulham's 3-0 victory over the Baggies. It wasn't a thrashing. A thrashing is a more apt description to the ripping Arsenal gave to the Saints. It was certainly a dominant performance but that description is lacking something for me. In hindsight what the match reminded somewhat of is a big brother putting a little brother in his place in a "Yes I know you're good but sit down and take notes because I can still teach you a thing or two" kind of way where the little brother is still a bit in awe. I have no idea what the West Brom match tactics called for but I can't recall seeing a more passive visiting team in terms of defensive pressure. Whether WBA was in awe of the fans, Fulham's new signing Dimitar Berbatov or if the Baggie players had read press clippings of how dominating Fulham has been at the Cottage their squad lacked tenacity and offered a paucity of defensive pressure on the day.

    Fulham opened brightly enjoying a good bit of possession. In only the 2nd minute Riether showed his intent to get forward, an intent he would repeated display throughout the day, by delivering a ball on the ground toward the near post that nearly undid the Baggies. Around the 6th minute the Baggies asserted themselves for a very short time as the game picked up pace and became an open affair with both teams moving up and down the pitch freely. The Baggies managed one dangerous shot from distance with Fulham mostly running the ball into dead ends and eventually surrendering possession. Fulham managed to put a damper on the open affair by reasserting themselves after the spell and allowed the Baggies only sporadic bouts of possession thereafter.

    It was the pairing of the energetic attacking of Alex Kacaniklic and the smooth finishing of Dimitar Berbatov that eventually unlocked the West Brom defense in the 32nd minute. On what is becoming a familiar sight Kacaniklic put the oppositions right back on his heels and turned him this way and that before delivering a cross that while slightly behind Berbatov was close enough to Fulham's new danger man for him to get it out from under his feet and put it into the back of the net. Kacaniklic and Berbatov deserve full credit for the run, delivery and goal but were a WBA fan I would have been beside myself with the Baggie's defenders on the play. It is quite possible that the person shouldering the least amount of responsibility for the goal was the poor right back that Kaca was toying with as WBA's lack of defensive tenacity and awareness was on full display at this point.


    On the goal Kacaniklic made a terrific run up the left and as can be seen from in the picture above both Berbatov and Rodallega took up good positions in front of the goal. However, truth be told this ball should have never got off of Kaca's foot, Berbatov should have never had time to get a shot off and Rodallega should have been a non-factor. I don't mean to disparage the Fulham players here but I think if we're honest and the shoe was on the other foot we would not be as overwhelmed with the quality of this goal as we would be appalled by the lack of defending.

    In the top picture you can see Kaca who has just received the ball on the far left, Berbatov toward the center of the pitch and three West Brom defenders who are trailing the play but not terribly pulled out of shape. In the bottom picture you can see what should have been a three on seven situation but never developed into that because the Baggie midfielders did not either track back defensively properly or at all and their defenders, excluding the right back, just kept dropping. As I watched and re-watched the clip of this goal I could not believe just how poorly the Baggie's defended Kaca and Berbatov on this play. Their right winger began the problems when he happily trailed along behind Kaca with no real interest in trying to assist his back who was being turned inside out. If the winger makes any effort to get inside of Kaca it is unlikely this cross ever happens.

    The guilt for Berbatov being so open inside the 18 belongs primarily to the central midfield pairing. I know I enjoyed watching Kaca's run but the man with the most tantalizing view had to be the central mid pictured between Kaca and Berbatov in the bottom picture. So engaging was young Alex's run that it made the center mid completely forget Berbatov was making a casual run toward goal and that it might be a good idea to mark him. For the life of me I can't figure out how his partner in the center of the pitch got so far behind the play. I also have to question who was in charge of communicating. Whatever else was going on at this point there is no way with that many WBA players in the area that Berbatov should be allowed to stroll into the 18 unmarked. So while the back four and keeper look to have retained their shape they still get poor marks for not marshaling the midfield better. The good news in all of this for Fulham is when WBA did make a series of mistakes they were made to pay for them.

    WBA's woes continued when Peter Odemwingie decided to share his right foot with Sacha Riether. I have no idea what Odemwingie was thinking outside of a guess that he was jealous of how often Sacha was getting into the offensive end and was tired of being upstaged by a right back. From there Kacaniklic found Dimitar on a weakish header attempt and then drove at the right back earning a penalty that Berbatov coolly slotted away just before half.

    The early second half mostly featured Fulham possession with little in the way of developing a threat. WBA mounted a few challenges that Mark Schwarzer was more than up to. The late second half saw Fulham attacking with venom and Steve Sidwell picking up a goal off a Kasami attempt parried by Foster and headed off the bar by Hugo before falling to Sidwell who claimed the final tally of the match.

    Player thoughts

    Kacaniklic and Berbatov get my co-man of the match award. The tandem seem to work well together with Kaca providing the graft and Dimatar the cool, smooth finishing. Sidwell and Baird both filled in more than admirably with each having a splendid match although the pairing were never really pressured by the opposition. Duff continues his fine run of form along with Riether and Riise. The latter pairing got forward at will with Riether delivering a couple of dangerous ball along the ground but their aerial crossing was poor on the day. Schwarzer, Hangeland and Hughes all did well in helping Fulham keep possession but were never hard pressed in their defensive duties. Schwarzer did have a couple of nice stops to preserve the 2-0 lead. I am not sure I know what to make of Rodallega yet. He works hard, stretches the field and is often in good positions but never really in great positions. Still, it is way to early to judge his play other than to say on the day he was the least impressive White to take the pitch. Kasami and Smith both made an impression in their short cameo appearances.
  3. dcheather

    dcheather Administrator

    Jul 29, 2005
    That's front page material to me Barry. If you if ever want to fill-in for the Hatter on his "days off," just send me whatever you have in a PM, and I'll put it up on the site. Thanks.
  4. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Walnut, CA
    :text-+1: Still don't think it's too late to put it on the front page, especially following a 3-0 win.
  5. shinerbockguy

    shinerbockguy New Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    Good stuff, Barry.
  6. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    I agree, Ms. Heather; put that sucker on the front page!
  7. dcheather

    dcheather Administrator

    Jul 29, 2005
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