Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Fulham 3 - 0 Burnley

This was one of those strange old games which didn't really feel like a competition. Burnley were adventurous and dangerous enough going forward, but their defence away from home is pitiful. Fulham scored three without it feeling like they were actually trying; the forward line was like a hot knife through butter.
Burnley's keeper Brian 'the beast' Jensen made a handful of excellent saves, but was pretty culpable for the second and third goals. And once again Fulham enjoyed a few strokes of luck with the first two goals emerging from offside positions, not that these offside positions provided much of an advantage but the letter of the law states both Elm and Zamora were beyond the last man when they set up the strikes. But the goals would have come sooner or later anyway.
It was a welcome starting 11 return for Dickson Etuhu, but everytime I noticed him in the first half it was for doing something wrong. Fortunately he was far more influential in the second half. His presence seemed to give Murphy more confidence to go forward and he was involved in Burnley's penalty area three or four times, including for the opening goal. A good sign. Jonathan Greening even got a belt of a new song about him dying for our sins. Shame he's shaved the beard off now so it doesn't really make sense.
I don't think I've mentioned Schwarzer much recently but that's only  because he has set such a high standard and is maintaining it. He's probably player of the season at the moment, edging in front of Bobby Z, Duff and Hughes.
The Burnley fans, like the Pompey fans, were noisy despite what was happening on the pitch. Well actually they only became really noisy after the third went it. A case of if we're here we may as well enjoy ourselves. They played nice football again, so it would be a shame if they don't stay ahead of some of the division's more cynical teams in the relegation battle.
Looking ahead to Shaktar tomorrow night February has so far seen Fulham yet to concede a goal and seven different players contributing to the eight goals scored this month. These are positive portents ahead of what may end up being a very tricky or a surprisingly smooth tie. It depends on how match fit Shaktar are and how much interest Roy Hodgson has in progressing.

Attendance: Just Andy with five empty seats either side

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