Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Fulham: Player ratings

by Dan on April 8, 2018

Marks out of ten for Slavisa Jokanovic’s side after the Whites earned a vital victory at Hillsborough …

Marcus Bettinelli: Almost a reprise of Bettinelli’s Tuesday night against Leeds United. The Fulham goalkeeper was largely untroubled for much of the first half, although one misplaced pass out from the back nearly placed his team in jeopardy, but was busier after the break. There wasn’t a magnificent save to be made this time, but his positioning and anticipation of through balls plus the way he scampered off his line was critical as Sheffield Wednesday sought to apply pressure towards the end of the contest. 7

Ryan Fredericks: The attacking full-back seemed a little shy of taking on his man for much of the first half, instead preferring to make supporting runs for Sheyi Ojo. It was telling that Fulham’s best moment of the first 45 minutes came when he got behind the Wednesday back line and floated over a cross for Aleksandar Mitrovic, which drew a fine save from Joe Wildsmith. Much more prominent in the Owls’ territory in the second half, but his most telling contribution came when he sprinted seventy yards to make a timely challenge in the left back area after a swift Wednesday break. 7

Matt Targett: Another mature showing from the Southampton loanee. Continually looked to bring the ball out from left back – but gave Ryan Sessegnon the licence to gallop beyond him, as he has done to such good effect since January, with a disciplined defensive performance. Made one mistake by being robbed as he tried a Cryuff turn on the halfway line, but his adventure might that Wednesday got no benefit from operating with wing-backs. 7

Denis Odoi: The Belgian utility man turned in another excellent performance at centre half to reward Slavisa Jokanovic’s faith in him. Did brilliantly in the air against the man mountain that is Atdhe Nuhiu – winning far more than his fair share of headers and working hard to nullify the Kosovar forward’s influence. Assured in possession and trusted to begin plenty of Fulham atacks from the heart of defence – Odoi’s outstanding form means that Tomas Kalas will have to wait to make a return to the first-team. 7

Tim Ream: The American centre half was in imperious form once again this afternoon. He radiated confidence from the outset and pushed the dangerous Lucas Joao largely to the periphery both by giving the Portuguese striker very little sight of goal but also by reading the game so superbly. It was that innate ability to sense danger that saw Ream throw himself into front of a goalbound shot from Adam Reach in the first half – and Ream’s display didn’t dip after the break either. 8

Kevin McDonald: The Scottish international was found regularly in advance of the play for much of the opening twenty minutes – and succeeded in unleashing a couple of rasping drives from range, only one of which ended up on target. This wasn’t exactly the way Jokanovic had planned it – and soon McDonald was back to doing what he does best, picking the pockets of opposition midfielders and breaking up play with relish. He even dropped deeper to fill in as an addtional centre back. As Fulham went searching for a breakthrough, McDonald found himself further forward again – and, such is his influence, you wonder how this team would cope without him. 7

Tom Cairney: A peerless afternoon for the Fulham captain, who was afforded plenty of time and space to dictate proceedings from the centre of the Hillsborough pitch. No Wednesday player was able to get close enough to prevent the midfielder from orchestrating Fulham attack after Fulham attack and Cairney revelled in the responsibility of giving the visitors more forward momentum than they had managed in the first period. Might have had a couple of goals himself on another day. 9

Stefan Johansen: The Norwegian got through plenty of work at the heart of the Fulham midfield and broke into some very dangerous positions, but just couldn’t find the quality in the final third to match all that endeavour. Worked exceptionally hard in the first period to prevent the home side from enjoying anything but spasmodic periods of possession and then found himself the focal point of several Fulham breaks after half time. Unlucky not to score just after the hour mark when Wildsmith got his angles right in charging off his line to block Johansen’s shot. 7

Sheyi Ojo: This was an infuriating return to the first team for the Liverpool loanee, who Jokanovic had preferred over Floyd Ayite. Initially, Ojo looked like Fulham’s best source of a goal with his pace and trickery presenting a real problem to George Boyd, but he couldn’t pick the right option in the final third. His shooting was tame and it appeared as though both his stamina and match sharpness evaporated in the second half. 6

Ryan Sessegnon: Always a real threat to any side as the advanced left winger that Jokanovic wants his team to get the ball to without delay. He skipped into threatening areas from the outset, largely unshackled by Jack Hunt, and was extremely unfortunate not to open the scoring when he headed that Mitrovic hit towards goal. Was a willing runner throughout and got his reward with twelve minutes to play when he sprinted clear of two Wednesday men before putting in the perfect cross for Mitrovic. 7

Aleksandar Mitrovic: Today was an excellent demonstration of what Mitrovic brings to any side he plays for. The opposition’s centre backs will know that they have been in a game long before the Serbian’s finished, although Fulhajm didn’t really get the ball into advanced areas often enough in the first 45 minutes. Feeding off scrapsn Mitrovic was denied by a brilliant keep of goalscoring from Wildsmith in stoppage time – and he huffed and puffed for the remainder of the afternoon, getting his goal when he swept home that delicious Sessegnon delivery with twelve minutes left. 8

Substitutes:

Floyd Ayite (on for Sheyi Ojo, 62): This was a substitution that made sense, with Ojo struggling to even beat his man with the regularity he had managed in the first half, but Ayite limped off after just ten minutes that forced him off the field in some discomfort. 6

Neeskens Kebano (on for Floyd Ayite, 72): Wasted no little time in making Jokanovic sit up and take notice of his first Fulham appearance since the end of January at Barnsley. Might have had a hat-trick had he mustered up the finishing touch, especially when he decided to try and chip Wildsmith when surely taking it around the Owls goalkeeper without have been a better option. 7

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    Thanks, Dan. Hope springs….COYW

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