Fulham v. Arsenal [20-21]

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by HatterDon, Aug 29, 2020.

  1. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    A little early for this, perhaps, but watching today's Community Shield match was humbling. Arteta has the Gunners ticking over nicely. Their first half performance was the best I've seen the Gunners defense play since Wenger's heyday.

    Be prepared for screams of woe when we meet them at oh-dark-hundred on Sept 12.
     
    #1
  2. daddude7

    daddude7 Member

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    Nov 13, 2013
    The first month, perhaps longer, will be tough. Prepare for a few losses before things hopefully begin to turn around. Our best chance of avoiding humiliation against Arsenal is to play the team that won us the promotion and take a pragmatic approach. The club should evolve into greater strength over the first few weeks as between four and six new players (I really hope not many more than that) are gradually phased into the rotation. We saw two years ago what a revolution could do; let's learn from that.
     
    #2
  3. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    It seems really weird to be playing again so soon, but that’s just how jacked up things are right now. I’m just hoping we don’t concede a bushel basket full of goals the first time out. Arsenal do appear to be better defensively than they were under the end of Wenger’s tenure and throughout Unai Emery’s.
    It will be tough going for a bit, no question, but we’ve been there recently and, hopefully, learned from it.
     
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  4. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Evidently both David Luiz and Socrates will miss tomorrow's match. That should weaken their central defense a bit.
     
    #4
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  5. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    Isn't it the other way around? Having Luis and Socrates off the pitch is better for their defense :D
     
    #5
  6. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    Ugh....the dang 4:30 match. Will have the coffee maker ready tonight for a groggy button push in the morning. Going to have to slog it out for 17th (or better), so any opportunity to grab a point or 3 we must capitalize. COYW!!!!!
     
    #6
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  7. stlouisbrad

    stlouisbrad Active Member

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    Met another Fulham supporter while getting donuts this morning. Its going to be a good day.
     
    #7
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  8. SullyTexan

    SullyTexan Active Member

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    Hanging in the chat room for those who are early risers
     
    #8
  9. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back to the Premier League lads.
    About what I expected. I thought we were a bit unlucky on their first goal. The ball kind of got stuck under Ream's feet and it ended up going in a bad direction from there. It was going OK until then, but it sure changed the tenor of the match. Our energy on the full court press seemed to drop a bit and they became more deliberate in the back on possession. Still, we weathered the half down only the one goal.
    The second was a killer. Hector didn't have a good day at all and probably should have been sent off. His defending on the corner was hideous. And he may have been found out a bit today. He's a finesse defender, and poke and stab tackles don't appear to be nearly as effective in the big boy league as they were in the Championship. That may be harsh after only one match, but time will tell. Denis is going to have to learn that you can't give world class players like Aubameyang enough room to fly an A380 through that close to your goal. He makes that 99 out of 100 times.
    As for us, although I realize Arsenal are a perennial power in this league, I'm not sure we've got the talent to play out from the back. We seemed to labor, especially as the game wore on, while they didn't seem too terribly troubled after the opener finding their way past our high line. Once we got out of our third, we didn't seem direct enough to trouble them too much, again, after the first goal. We were holding our own, sort of, until then. Did somewhat better in the last 10 minutes of the half. I've never been a fan of the lone striker formation, and Kamara's skill set isn't that conducive to the role. He's at his best when dribbling at a defense with pace, not holding the ball up for support to form. He's also not as adept as Mitro at getting into position for potential crosses. Still, he didn't have a bad game, but I don't think that's the best use of his talents. Scott may not have had a choice on that, though. Anybody know why Mitro started on the bench?
    Difficult to say whether or not we can stay up with this squad after only one match. I’m gonna cut ‘em some slack for these first few outings. That’s only fair. It’s also tough to determine whether or not Gooners will contend for the top 4. But they don’t need to worry about relegation. And Aubameyang is still a heckuva talent.
    On to Ipswich for the start of the league cup Wednesday night.
     
    #9
  10. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Good assessment, jk, but there are mitigating circumstances:
    Arsenal are likely title contenders
    Arsenal had TWO competitive matches since the season ended and won them both [FA Cup and Community Shield] while we were trying out players against lower league sides.

    Still, they owned us. Funny how we see things. I thought Ream was barely capable and Odoi had a good match. We only got to see one new face, so this was a title contender against Championship players without their big gun. [I'm guessing that Mitro didn't start because of UEFA Champions League and the forlorn hope that he could come on when the game was still winnable and Arsenal would be tired.

    Not many sides will stretch us at both sides of the pitch this season. Liverpool, Arsenal, Sheffield United and maybe others, and I think we'll be able to scratch out some clean sheets.

    Hatter Hoping for 17th Don out.
     
    #10
  11. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Arsenal look like a top 4 side under Arteta and they’re in form. So a comprehensive Gunner win doesn’t come as a surprise. However, Fulham didn’t give me much to feel optimistic about either. I question the tactics in this one, and if Parker is going to continue this approach against the top half of the table, I have a hard time seeing Fulham getting the points to stay up or from keeping their goal diff from going completely underwater again.

    This team doesn’t seem to have an offensive identity without Mitro and no one who can try to fill his role when he’s out. That’s not a new issue.

    Thought the back 4 were poor. Odoi and Bryan were fine getting forward but overmatched defending. Odoi was always going to have a problem with Abumeyang, so I wonder why he wasn’t given more help. Willian made Bryan and Ream look stupid, constantly pulling them out of position and when they did get it right, he’d just drop back to find space, which was in abundance since the midfield couldn’t be bothered to defend. He completed 95% of his passes, had an obscene number of touches and assisted on all 3 goals. Easy MotM. Hector looked lost. Hopefully the new fb’s bring something and they can sign a CB or two. I don’t think any of today’s back 4 are Prem quality.

    Also think Scott is going to need to rethink playing out of the back with this group.

    Lots of time left and it’ll be interesting to see how they choose to adapt, because I’m afraid they’re going to need to do a lot of it.
     
    #11
  12. daddude7

    daddude7 Member

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    Getting anything out of this game was always going to be tough. Midfield determines whether we can hang, and today midfield didn’t show up. Tom Cairney simply doesn’t work enough. We don’t get positive possession, can’t move the ball in the opposition third, and can’t get service to the forward line. All that much more time and resources for Arsenal (or any other team) to throw at us. We need to threaten teams for them to respect us, and today we were toothless. Cairney hasn’t been in form for a couple of years. It’s time to move on from him. I’d like to see what a three of Reed, Anguissa and Onomah could do in the middle next weekend. If our midfield starts clicking, they’ll make the defenders look much better.

    I thought Ream was the better of the two CBs but that was a close call and a low bar. We need reinforcements (not an original thought). Out wide in defense, especially with the recent signings, we should be okay against teams other than the top four. I thought Odoi did enough to keep his job for now as did Bryan.

    The wings and the attack worry me. Cavaleiro seems to have lost a step. Don’t know why. He’s definitely not an answer. Neither is Decordova-Reid. Knockaert? Jury’s out. This is going to be tough for Parker to sort out. Try the two AKs on the wings? I don’t know what the right solutions are. Not to mention that having just one real striker in Mitro isn’t going to work all season either. With the players we have and the system they’re in, I can’t see us scoring many goals.
     
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  13. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    old fitba adage: You can only play as good as the opponent allows you to

    if you were expecting us to contain Aubamayang and Willian yesterday, I just don't know how to respond.
     
    #13
  14. daddude7

    daddude7 Member

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    No, it would have taken a miracle to take anything out of a game against Arsenal at this point in the season, but I had hoped we would create more going forward. At times it was like watching my kid's old soccer team years ago. Cairney, Onomah, or Cavaleiro would pass the ball and then stop. Too often our players looked like fixtures in an unused foosball table. We needed people to make intelligent runs, to offer options, but that didn't happen.

    Defensively, we were always going to struggle. I'm holding out hope for Hangeland 2.0. Or three of them. There aren't even any rumors connecting us with a CB. But Khan, Jr., did well with the right backs (sure, they've yet to play, but they're of known quality), and I'll hope he learned from 2 years ago and can get us some quality in the center, too. Then we can sell Le Marchand to ... anyone; he doesn't belong on the bench in the Prem.

    If everything else fails, can Anguissa be converted to CB?
     
    #14
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  15. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    I was only able to catch the first half since we had to move our youngest into college the rest of the day. After the first half I was feeling okay about things. The first goal was unlucky for Fulham - it was a scuffed ball that came in with a lot of spin to Ream and then fell kindly for Arsenal. Otherwise, Fulham made a few opportunities and hung with them well. It seems like things really went downhill in the second half.

    The worst part of it all was seeing Leeds almost get points against Liverpool. It just seemed to highlight how unprepared Fulham is for the Premier League.

    The best way I can look at this is that it was a potentially top-6 team and Fulham was playing almost entirely a Championship level team - and not even the best squad Fulham had in the Championship with Mitrovic on the bench. Hopefully the new guys can get integrated soon and make a difference.
     
    #15
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  16. daddude7

    daddude7 Member

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    Okay, so I've cooled down. I think things are better than they initially appeared. (BTW, Leeds were lucky. They put away literally 100% of their chances. That's not sustainable.)

    I now think we're actually quite close to having a squad that will compete with anyone in the Prem, though we'd have to be realistic about the outcomes against the top 4-6. We still need that one player who can help us create more going forward, and it could be that Onomah can still be that player.

    But there is no escaping the fact that we need a large, skillful, experienced body in the middle of defense. If we sign one more player this window, I pray it's a CB of proven quality. C'mon Khan, Jr. We're one sprained ankle away from starting Le Marchand. Nobody wants that, including, I suspect, Le Marchand.
     
    #16
  17. Coach K

    Coach K Active Member

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    I think Parker needs to either, go into a more defensive shape in these games against top 6 opponents, utilizing Bryan and Christie as wing backs and playing 3 Central Defenders. Or he needs to pair Odoi with one of the other two Center Halves. Big Hec and Ream, as much as I love them, simply cant play together at that level.

    As far as Anguissa moving backwards, I think that's a terrible idea. That guy seems to be either unwilling or unable to adapt to the level of the EPL. Constantly caught in possession, constantly taking chances, I would rather have KMac or Stefan Johanson on the pitch to help provide cover.
     
    #17
  18. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

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    I only caught short bits here are there as we were participating in a community yard sale. I did watch some extended highlights though and the outcome was pretty much what I expected.

    I've felt for some time that Fulham has been missing a creative player as well as the ability to attack quickly. For all the passing that Fulham does, even against a number of Championship sides, they seem to rarely create any chances... that is until Knockaert tries to curl one in from a tight angle 25 yards away.
    I also agree that the players are too sedentary off the ball - a lot of times that the defense gets caught out or end up making a poor pass is due to the fact that none of his teammates are creating space or moving to space for them. And Odoi has always given his opponents at least 2 yards of space even as they move into the 18-yard box.

    The next two matches (Leeds, Aston Villa) are huge so hopefully lessons have been learned, new players have been integrated, and the team picks up some points.
     
    #18
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