Posts Tagged ‘Dickson Etuhu’

Blackpool 2-2 Fulham

August 28, 2010

A crazy game that Blackpool were unlucky to draw, but a result that should please the Fulham faithful. After the highs of Wednesday night it was tough to see Fulham a goal down but pleasing to see that the resilience that was shown against Manchester United was still evident.  For me, this game really gave us some clues of how Mark Hughes wants his side to play and what we can expect to see in the future.

The game was played at a frantic pace, Blackpool pressurising Fulham all over the pitch and really playing up to the crowd, feeding off their energy. Blackpool had the majority of the ball and were passing about nicely, although not creating many clear cut chances. After having  goal correctly disallowed, Blackpool went behind. Dembele was put through on the right wing and beat his man with an excellent cross, nodded in by the mercurial Bobby Zamora.  Blackpool were not  disheartened and finished the half well, out passing Fulham, but again failing to look particularly dangerous up front.

The second half continued at the same frantic pace with Blackpool really pushing Fulham. When Zamora came off Fulham lost some of their tactical identity and it was not long before the breakthrough came.  Luke Varney caused problems up front, before getting a shot off that was smashed into the top corner by the hapless John Paintsil (who had the worst game I have seen from an RB at Fulham in a good few seasons).  With Fulham rocking, Blackpool capitalised with an excellent goal. A poor pass from John Paintsil was intercepted and Luke Varney was put through; he made no mistake with an assured finish. At this point it looked as though Blackpool would put Fulham to the sword but they sat back slightly and allowed Fulham back into the game.  It didn’t look like Fulham could create anything without Zamora but after Blackpool gave the ball away, Moussa Dembele (who was the best player on the pitch) hit a slide-rule through ball for Dickson Etuhu to latch on to. Etuhu finished with a deft chip over the keeper and looked comfortable doing so, which surprised me to say the least. Looks like we might have a player on our hands.

After that the game fizzled out as both sides settled for a draw. Fulham relieved not to have thrown away too many points but disappointed at not capitalising on their early lead, Blackpool happy for the point but disappointed not to have had all three.  Looks like we may have to wait a while for our first away win…

Alex Manninger’s “Dirty Goal”

March 12, 2010

Alex Manninger was not impressed with the Fulham goal last night:

Asked about Dickson Etuhu’s effort which took a huge deflection off Nicola Legrottaglie, Manninger toldJuventus Channel: “It was a bad situation, a dirty goal. It’s a loose ball, your opponent shoots, it hits something, a knee or an ankle, and it goes into the corner.

This is one way of describing Fulham’s goal last night, but it rather cunjours up images of fouling and unfair play. Still, it made me smile!

Fulham 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

March 7, 2010

On  the face of it a decent result, but I found it frustrating to say the least. The last thing we need is more games, but that is what we have got, and hopefully Fulham can pull something out of the bag at WHL.

The first half felt a bit too much like playing Shakthar away. We gave Tottenham too much respect, ceded possesion and after an initial bright start to the game let Tottenham take over. Now, Tottenham are a good team, but they are not as good as Shakthar going forwardand we should have pressed them harder further up the pitch, especially without Jermain Defoe offering them a pacy outlet. Defensively we were phenomenal once again, but it was worrying that at home, we were not slightly more adventurous.  Much of this was down to the absence of the heartbeat of the midfield, Danny Murphy. Greening came in and whilst he retained possession well, was too timid in pushing forward. Dickson Etuhu had a barnstorming game defensively, denying Modric the time and space he craved, which probably was the reason Modric really failed to have an influence. On the other side, Palacios was dominant, perfoming the Etuhu role better and with more attacking spirit. Zamora was excellent once again, but was too often isolated with only Gera in support.

The second half was an improvement, with Fulham and Tottenham both attacking with more vigour and the game  opening up. Gera had a good header saved by Gomes from point blank range, and a Duff shot from outside the area was turned around the post by that man Gomes again. Other than that it was a relatively quiet day for both keepers. I would question why Roy brought on Elm when Okaka was ready and waiting. The Swedish giant had little/no impact as a sub and I would have fancied Okaka to give Bassong a bit of trouble with his direct running and extra flair.

For me, the reason Fulham struggled to get men forward was as much about Greening’s lack of through balls and forward passes as Gareth Bale. Redknapp removed any defensive responsibilities by putting Bale in midfield and this seemed to make him an increasingly dangerous prospect. I like Chris Baird, but time and time again Duff had to really help him out with Bale meaning that one of our most forward minded and creative players was stuck in defensive mode. I believe that a fit John Paintsil would have shackled Bale much like he has both Christiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba over the last few seasons. Special mention should go to both Bassong and Dawson, both of whom were in fantastic form, leading me to question why Dawson is not ahead of Matthew Upson for England. Dawson is the captain of spurs and has held the fort admirably whilst both Woodgate and King have been injured, he is simply a different player this season.

So 0-0 a frustrating result for Fulham, Spurs must now be comfortable favourites to go through. But hey, this is the FA Cup and this team is managed by Roy Hodgson. If we can get a result in Basel and Donetsk, why not across London? A trip to Wembley and a game against struggling Portsmouth awaits the victor.

The Misunderstanding of Jonathan Greening

December 9, 2009

Taking a moment to sidestep the Zamora debate, lets look at Jonathan Greening. Well not just him, but Fulham’s signings under Hodgson.

It is a Football fans duty to be impulsive, this is what creates atmosphere at grounds, makes people lose it when their team scores and makes football (and sport in general) so goddam interesting. However, acting on impulse is not something that should be done when it comes to transfers. In the words of Lloyd Grossman, ‘Lets look at the evidence’:

Jonathan Greening— He has come in for some stick lately from the Fulham faithful. For me this is a case of misunderstanding. I don’t think many Fulham fans would claim to have extensively followed the career of Greening. As Rich has shown over at CCN his role in the team passing wise,  is not that of  a Danny Murphy player, but like his role at West Brom, a recycler of the ball. However when he was pursued and then purchased by Roy, many (myself included) thought he was to be a cover for DM. He is cover, but not like for like cover. Despite Fulham having an excellent run of form with him in the team he is being dismissed as a waste of money. For me this is impulsive. He is settling into a team in the place of the captain- of course he is not going to have the same impact. What he has done is be solid and passed well (ie. not giving away the ball). The other reason he is misunderstood is because of the formation that Fulham play. Whilst watching the Sunderland game at the weekend the commentator kept banging on about how Duff and Dempsey cutting inside was confusing the Sunderland defence. This got me thinking. I think that at the moment, with Fulham’s major creator and influential captain out of the picture Roy is playing a fluid 4-4-2 formation that almost ends up 4-2-2-2. Duff and Dempsey are taking the creative strain both out wide and in the middle, changing Greening’s role and almost forcing him to sit deeper. This coupled with Roy’s instructions to maintain shape in the middle and not go running off like a Jimmy Bullard limits what Greening can do. Impulsively, on first glance, he looks sluggish and nervous. I believe he is fulfilling his role almost to perfection. He could add a few more forward passes down the middle into his repertoire but he is doing fine.

Dickson Etuhu— Again, many Fulham fans impulsively labelled him ‘rubbish’ early doors.  Rumours of his nickname at Sunderland ‘Two touch Etuhu’ spread and he came in for a lot of criticism. But after a bedding in period and some of Roy’s tried and trusted training, he became first choice to partner Murphy. His goal at Man City appeared to win over the rest of his critics and now people miss his presence in the midfield.

Chris Baird–Possibly the best example of impulsive criticism. When he arrived he had just been voted player of the year at Southampton. Within a few weeks he was being derided as Fulham’s worst ever signing. Impulsively we took one look at him, playing at right back, and thought we understood what he was all about. When Roy did not ship him out with the other dead wood, we should have cottoned on. Fast forward to this year and he has become central to recent success. His performances in the Europa league alongside Smalling have been excellent. His deputising in the centre of midfield crucial. Yes he cannot play right back, but a little more digging shows that he is a good utility player who is a perfect fit for Fulham; he will sit on the bench and not complain, but has the confidence to come in and stake a claim for a permanent place in the team.

Bobby Zamora— I didn’t want to mention him but oh well. Similar pattern to above, but he is still divisive. Impulsively we saw a striker who could not finish the most simple of chances. But with time we came to recognise his overall contribution to the team, why Roy stuck with him and his consistently high work rate. Personally, I love the guy. I have even started to warm to his mistakes and inability to be a consistent finisher. If his form keeps up I will happily jump on the ‘Bobby for England’ bandwagon.

Basically all I have said is that Football fans are by their nature impulsive and therefore are too quick to judge something that is a bit more nuanced than first believed. I have been liable to be impulsive as the next fan, especially in the case of Baird, but I am trying to take a more holistic and relaxed approach to my support of Fulham. As the transfer window pulls into view we should bear this impulsiveness in mind as new signings come and bed in to Fulham FC, especially if they are slow starters.