Fulham 3-0 Sheffield United: Player ratings

by Dan on March 7, 2018

Man-to-man marking after the Whites buried Sheffield United at Craven Cottage tonight …

Marcus Bettinelli: Made a couple of crucial saves to keep another Fulham clean sheet at Craven Cottage as the Whites’ remarkable start to 2018 continues. Bettinelli somehow got a fingertip to a John Fleck daisycutter that appeared destined for the bottom corner and reacted quickly to thwart Clayton Donaldson at a corner. His distribution, with a pair of excellent throws in the second half starting dangerous breaks, and command of his penalty area seems much improved since his return to the side. 7

Ryan Fredericks: Lauded after reaching a century of Fulham appearances at Derby at the weekend and the full back showed just how devastating he can be in attack when he whipped in a devilish ball for the game’s opening goal. Seemed strangely reluctant to venture in front of Sheyi Ojo down the right in the early exchanges, but proved a real threat whenever he ran at the Blades back line. Chris Wilder’s side had little answer to his raw pace and penetration. 7

Matt Targett: We’ve come to expect outstanding displays from the Southampton loanee and Targett didn’t disappoint tonight. He was full of running from the first whistle and gradually pushed the Blades wing-backs deeper and deeper after Sheffield United’s enterprising start. Dealt well with a more physical task than he has had in recent weeks and still surged forward as Jokanovic wants his full backs to do. 7

Denis Odoi: Stepped in again for the injured Tomas Kalas and continued where he had left off at Pride Park on Saturday. Another composed display at the heart of the Fulham back four, where he seemed blessed with plenty of time both in his decision making and possession of the ball. One driving run from the back at the start of the second half might have culminated in a goal had it not been cynically ended by Jack O’Connell. Slavisa Jokanovic will now have a real conundrum over whether to pick him ahead of Kalas should the Czech centre back be fit for the trip to Preston this weekend. 7

Tim Ream: The American was commanding once again, as he has been for much of this season. Both he and Odoi were kept busy by the intelligent runs of Billy Sharp and Clayton Donaldson but it was largely down to Ream’s organisation and reading of the game that the home side appeared so comfortable. His determination to win every individual battle shone through when he shrugged John Fleck aside to seize possession midway through his own half and it was fitting that his intervention began the move for Tom Cairney’s lovely strike. 8

Kevin McDonald: Another accomplished and unfussy display at the heart of the Fulham midfield against his old club. Broke up play with real relish in front of the back four and was a vocal organiser of the side. Covered plenty of ground and his precise passing often goes unnoticed given the how quality of technicians Jokanovic employs in the engine room. Looks an even bigger steal from Wolves with every week that passes. 8

Stefan Johansen: The Norwegian still hassled and harried the opposition from the off, even though he is walking a suspension tight rope – one booking away from a ban at the business end of the season. He had an excellent game in the final third as well, injecting energy and penetration into Fulham’s attacks that can sometimes seem a little preocuppied with sideways passing. Produced a beautiful ball for Mitrovic’s second and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself. 8

Tom Cairney: The skipper seems to be back to his supreme best as the orchestrator of Fulham’s flowing football. Dictated the pace of play from a deeper position with consummate ease all evening and shrugged off Sheffield United’s robust challenges just as he did at Derby a few days ago. Became more prominent in the second period as the home side stroked the ball around imperiously and fully deserved his first goal in five months to crown another excellent evening. 9

Sheyi Ojo: Made his first start since January and immediately frightened the Blades with his pace, as he had done at Bramall Lane in November – where his Fulham career really kicked off. Looked lively down the right and had the beating of his man every time, although shot wildly on a couple of occasions from outside the box. Taken off just before the hour mark, but you sense the Liverpool loanee could be a crucial part of Jokanovic’s plans in the final months of the season. 6

Ryan Sessegnon: One of the teenager’s quieter outings, but still had a real impact on proceedings. Might have helped Mitrovic complete a first half hat-trick with an outrageous burst of speed down the left in stoppage time and had a hand in Cairney’s goal when he made up for an overhit pass to Johansen by threading the ball between Blades defenders to find Lucas Piazon. Sheffield United doubled up on him throughout, but he still found time and space with his intelligent movement. 7

Aleksandr Mitrovic: The Serbian’s sensational start to life at Craven Cottage continues. He’s made a tangible difference up front – and conclusively won a physical battle with the former Fulham defender Richard Stearman, whose early elbow only served to spur on the on-loan Newcastle striker. Showed great desire to turn home Fredericks’ cross for the first before that unbelievable finish put the game beyond the Blades. Will feel he should have had a hat-trick, but that match sharpness seems to be returning. 9

Substitutes:

Lucas Piazon (on for Sheyi Ojo, 59): Immediately involved in Fulham’s third after replacing Ojo and kept his composure to play in the unattended Cairney outside him when others might have taken on a shot themselves. Ventured inside to pose a different problem for the Blades defence than Ojo did – and linked the play well to sustain a number of promising Fulham breaks. 7

Ollie Norwood (on for Stefan Johansen, 65): Kept it nice and simple in midfield after replacing the Norwegian. Misplaced a few passes as he got into his stride – and once alarmingly overplayed it when Fulham were defending a corner, but the Northern Irish international remains a fine understudy at this level. 6

Rui Fonte (on for Aleksandr Mitrovic, 85): The briefest of outings for the Portuguese forward, who could do with a bit of sharpness having been usurped in the pecking order by Aboubakar Kamara since Christmas. Looked desperate to impress and chased down every lost cause, holding the ball up and distributing it well. Also produced a lovely bit of skill to evade Stearman’s attentions on the edge of the box. 6

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