Sunday Update 2: Fulham 1-0 Sunderland

December 6, 2009

Another home match, another 1-0. It wasn’t only the scoreline that was oddly similar but the performance as well. Fulham started brightly, passing the ball with ease around a struggling Sunderland side who were forced to field Kieran Richardson as a makeshift left back. I had commented before the game on TIFF when I found out that Richardson was playing left back that Zamora may come wide and assert his dominance over him. This certainly happened, but Zamora also dominated the entire Sunderland back four in a majestic performance. But is was a Richardson failing that was to aid with the Fulham goal. Not pressurising Duff, meant that he could lay the ball back to Paintsil who delivered an inch perfect cross for Zamora, ghosting in between the Sunderland central pairing, to head home. A well worked pleasing goal which reminded me of the one Man City scored here last season, a Zabaleyta cross met by a Benjani header.

As the first half wore on, more chances came and went. Zamora hit the bar with a good effort and Fulop beaten,  and Nevland should have done better when the ball dropped for him the six yard box, but he hit it tamely at Fulop in the Sunderland goal. The rest of Fulham’s chances were limited to speculative long range efforts from Dempsey and Duff, both of whom could not hit the target.

At half time, one wondered how Fulham were only 1 up. As the second half got under way, Fulham reverted to Hoof ball and ceceeded the midfield to Sunderland in a fashion similar to that on wednesday night.  A poor Konchesky back pass nearly resulted in a goal for Kenywe Jones but Schwarzer stifled his toe poke. This rejuvinated Sunderland and as the pressure mounted, Fulham got off scott-free as Bent (who I think is a top player) contrived to miss two excellent chances. The second of the aforementioned chances should really have been put away as the ball dropped to his feet in the penalty area only for him to blaze over. But Fulham held firm. Sunderland bombarded the box with cross after cross for Hangeland to imperiously head clear. The second half performance was not quite as poor as on Wednesday and Fulham won, even if it was squeaky bum time as the game wore on.

The stats told an interesting tale. Fulham had 13 shots to Sunderlands 7, but only got 2 on target to Sunderland’s 4. All of the long range shots that come to nothing are reflected here. Dempsey again proving he should perhaps stick to running at defences, playing others in and finishing from inside the area. All in all, I feel that Fulam deserved the win with Bobby Zamora the standout MoM. Calls for him to be included in the England squad may be far fetched at this point in time, but if this form keeps up till the end of the season and he bags upwards of 10 goals, he should be in consideration. Especially if Heskey is not playing regularly. With the tough games coming up over Christmas, Fulham better sort out their inability to play solidly for 90 minutes, otherwise our points tally and goal difference will suffer.

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