The Fulham Soapbox: crushed by the Cottagers

M Salut’s prediction that Marseille, having gone top, would stay there lasted all of a few days. Interesting, but no one here really cares about that. What we do care about is what has happened to Sunderland. Pete Sixsmith puts up with a lot in the name of supporting SAFC and reporting so compellingly for Salut! Sunderland. Much more of this, though, and he may well take up matchday trainspotting …

A week on from the win over Wigan that looked as if it had given us a base to build on for the fag end of the season, we are back to where we were after Manchester City, West Brom etc.

Make no mistake (as the manager is fond of saying), this was a shocker. The second half brought to mind the likes of Breen, Lawrence and Davies as we crumbled against a neat and tidy, but hardly world beating Fulham side.

It started off well. A pint in The Kings Arms with an old college mate from Edinburgh, celebrating his 60th birthday and a sunlit Stadium of Light augured well. Team selection as expected with Sessegnon up front and Muntari restored and a Fulham side with little to play for.

The first 15 minutes was fine with some sharp passing and a real desire to get at the visitors. Cattermole was excellent, driving on from midfield and the back four looked solid. But after the initial impact had worn off, Fulham got into the game and scored with their first meaningful attack.

It was down to clever play by Zamora and some shoddy defending. Once again, we failed to get a tackle in and Turner was left exposed and facing the wrong direction. He is struggling badly and it looks like he has lost whatever confidence he had.

Cattermole should have equalised straight away but didn’t – another example of getting into a good position and then wasting it. However,the half time mood was more upbeat than down.

Then came 45 minutes of sheer purgatory that could well be a large nail in the managers coffin. From being neat and tidy we became a disorganised rabble. The two goals we conceded were eerily reminiscent of the 2005-06 season, when players were totally out of their depth. The same is happening now. Elmohamady a Premier League full back? Don’t make me laugh. A right full back playing on the left? Ridiculous.

Onuoha did well and looked the part until he was sent forward. Muntari’s body language as he was substituted indicated that he would not be at Sunderland next season and probably not at Bolton next week. Cattermole ran out of steam, Malbranque departed early and we threw on the elderly Zenden and the youthful Lynch.

Desperate stuff from a manager who is very close to losing the support of the crowd. The phone in to Radio Newcastle after the game was almost exclusively negative and nobody, Gary Bennett included, showed any confidence in Bruce’s ability to take the club forward.

Other results on Saturday were not great and we are still in danger of the drop. It is difficult to see another point being gained this season. We can’t score, can’t defend and create very little. Apart from that, we are fine. Europa League here we come …

4 thoughts on “The Fulham Soapbox: crushed by the Cottagers”

  1. Wigan were terrible. There was a period of complete disarray when we should have had a couple of more goals in that game, such was the complete lack of organisation. Unfortunately for us it was matched only with a complete lack of nous how to exploit the situation. We are a terrible side only outdone by Wigan who are even worse.

  2. The game against Fulham was one of the worst performances I can remember, simply because of the money that has been spent in the last 2 seasons and what was at stake, actual safety. This manager has spent between 55-60 million to achieve absolutely nothing; he left us with 2 fit strikers at the club from January onwards, a ‘calculated gamble’ which he wanted us to judge him on at the end of the season: judge him we shall; a team half full of loan players despite the money spent; a team that still appears to rely on Malbranque, Bardsley, Richardson (when fit) all Keane signings, and then Henderson and now Colback from the youth team signed and brought through the Keane era. Whatever Keane’s faults and there were quite a few, we still have to thank him for those players.
    Bruce’s tactics totally fail to bring out the best in Gyan, who has to chase long balls and lost causes as the ball flies through the air aimlessly; he admits we play better football when Malbranque is just behind the main striker, but he’s had him on the bench for 3 months. Does he have any idea what he’s doing?
    I can’t agree that Cattermole was excellent on Saturday, for an excellent midfield performance look at Sidwell, after 20 minutes he comitted 5 fouls on Malbranque, Henderson and Sessegnon, essentially marking himself on the game; Cattermole chased Davies like a man treading water and watched as the ball was passed round him for an hour, he is no captain.
    Sections of the crowd never wanted Bruce, feeling his record was mediocre at best, 3 seasons in a row his teams have imploded at the half-way point in the season. I’m tired of his platitudes, I’m tired of his excuses and I’m tired of his lack of tactics. He has been out-managed by Hodgson and Hughes, and was lucky to beat the worst side I have seen this season (apart from us): Wigan. So much for the easy run-in.

  3. Will someone please re-ignite the Bruce for England manager campaign?
    He’d be perfect for the job; full of bravado with positive results at the outset and a complete armory of excuses for when the campaign ends in abject failure.

  4. There was a positive for me from the game against Fulham, which was the performance of Jack Colback. Determined to keep the ball when he has it, looks to make a decent pass every time and rarely gives it away cheaply. With increasing experience he will learn that the “stars” around him are mere mortals. Hopefully he will become less deferential to them and take the game a bit more by the scruff of the neck. He did very well on Saturday and looks as if he wants to wear a red and white shirt.

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