Monday, 21 December 2009

Fulham 3 - 0 Manchester United

Ish has excelled himself in my absence and written his first match report:

The reigning champions and current challengers for the title came down to London for what many thought would be a foregone conclusion of 3 points to add to their xmas stockings and push for the title. This mentality was further backed up by the team that Ferguson had chosen for the match. For what was really an important game for Utd, was certainly not reflected in the team that Sir Alex had picked. A chance to go top, and score psychological points over Chelsea and the chasing pack was not reflected in the managers approach to the game.  On a day of sub zero temperatures, Manchester Utd froze like a deer in the headlights. Many look at the injury ravaged defense line on Manchester Utd's current problems, certainly Fletcher's unseen pass to Scholes certainly the cause of the first goal, but what was apparent (on Saturday anyway) was the lack of fight in the United team. A team and squad with many titles under their belt certainly didn't react the way you would expect, upping the tempo, more direct routes to goal, more aggressive approach were certainly missing from after the first goal. Indeed, many of their shots were from outside the box, a sure sign of a lack of imagination on Saturday.
After an expected hairdryer session from Ferguson you would think it would have been Utd that would have drawn level with minutes of the restart, but instead it was calm assured fulham that went 2 nil up instead. Let's not forget Fulham's approach.  Many times Fulham start slowly in matches in days gone by, but on Saturday they came out running. Many times, when the big clubs have come down to Craven Cottage in the past, Fulham have been intimidated by the aura of the big clubs, especially when they go a goal behind. Hodgson has instilled a more fluid approach to their game which has brought on more self confidence within the squad, which not only look attractive to the eye (even though it still needs to be more direct, effective and carried out in the right part of the pitch), but more importantly keeps the ball away from the opposing team for longer eradicating the old issues of giving the ball away too easily. With the likes of Murphy, Duff and an in-form Zamora, there is quality in Fulham now that not only bring other players into the game much better, but can also pose the threat of scoring goals from nothing. 
Even though everyone will say Fulham were brilliant because of the scoreline, they have played better, and will get better throughout the season. On Saturday that did what they had to. Man Utd came down to Craven cottage with no ambition and drive, and given they lost to Fulham at Craven Cottage last season, it was inexcusable. If they take that approach against non big 4 teams, they will hand the title over to Chelsea (or even Arsenal now). Titles are not based on good defence only, it's based on beating the so called easy teams consistently as well. Despite all this, Man Utd supporters were singing their hearts out at the end. Undying faith in a team that that didn't reward them for their long journeys down south on one of the coldest days in the year. Let's hope they will be rewarded at the end of the season.

Chants of the match:
Man Utd: "Feed the scousers, let them know its chirstmas time!"
 Fulham: Afrter the third goals went in - "You're going to be sacked in the morning, you;re going to be sacked in the moooorrrnning!" - to Sir Alex - very funny.

A view from the other side from another United fan with a Fulham season ticket  has been provided by Nikki:
The ball was never on the pitch, it was always in the air, which is not good for Owen at all, especially against Brede. Pantsill played a stormer - got every ball. All in all everything went right for Fulham they were all well up for it and worked well as a unit. (unlike United who looked like headless chickens most of the game.)
The only players for United that wanted it was Rooney (when doesn't he?) and Anderson. Berbs made a difference when he came on and if he had started it could have been different he was the only one who created anything. Didn't get a corner until nearly the 90th minute! Grrrr. Valencia is no where near good enough. I felt for the back 4 as it wasnt their fault. You can't expect midfielders to play in defence like that.
Fulham-wise I think it was one of the best games I have seen as they played well the whole 90 rather than just the second half like normal.

1 comment:

Beccy said...

wow Ish - didn't realise you had such a command of the mother tongue...

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