Saturday, 2 October 2010
Fulham 0 - 0 Everton
Howard Webb was officiating today and he didn't have a terrible game. In fact since the match seemed to just be a contest in 'how can I convince the ref I've been fouled so we can have a dangerous set-piece' he did pretty well. Of course he still got a lot of things wrong, but when refs are asked to make so many decisions these days from cheating, sly and, well basically, modern players, they will get a number wrong. In the old days the refs only seemingly had to make on average six decisions per match, because the players were trying to play the other team rather than the officials.
At one point though the ref felt it was utterly important that Mark Hughes did not venture outside the manager's 'technical area'. I don't know why that was. The areas at Fulham are remarkably small and I get the feeling that Hughes is a pacer, so I wonder if he'll try and get them extended a bit.
Why the hell are they called technical areas anyway? It's not as if anything technical happens in them. Why not just call them the manager's area? Which bright spark earned kudos for badging them technical? Why not just call them what they really are - invisible cages.
I think there were a couple of eye-openers for Hughesie in this match. I doubt he expected to have one of his decisions quite so roundly booed as he did when he took the energetic Gera off for Eddie Johnson. But it was a strange decision, as was taking off Simon Davies a little later for Dio Kamara. Both Dempsey and Duff were having far less fruitful than the subees, although Demspey looked far more effective when he moved out to a more natural position on the wing.
The only good thing that Duff did during the game was his defensive duties and even they had been subject to an early verbal blast from Danny Murphy after an Everton attack. Personally I thought Murph had one of his poorer games, although Everton's packed midfield and Dickson Etuhu's seeming lack of a clear position did not help him at all. I've heard Everton fans complaining about Fellaini being up front this season had cost them shape, but here he was a very, very effective defensive midfielder and appeared to have more of the ball than anyone. Everton's Seamus Coleman was another impressive performer, especially in the first half.
In fact Everton's pressing game meant that a lot of time Aaron Hughes was Fulham's passing fulcrum, which limited their attacking intent. I'm not sure if I have ever seen Hughes with so much possession in a game before.
It was hard to get much of an impression from this match as to how the season is going to pan out for Fulham. Well apart from the fact that the impressive Salcido is tiny. I thought Nicky Shorey was small left back, but the Mexican put the nut into diminutive. And that Eddie Johnson is still an enigma.