A must read on a Monday night from Rich at Craven Cottage Newsround. His analysis has a lot going for it. He nails the fact that the manner in which our wide men drift infield – a tactical quirk that gives us a bit of an edge on the more conventional sides in the league – and that our central midfielders are expected to sit.
Whilst Rich reckons that we hardly see those two central midfielders around the penalty box, I’d argue that this season has certainly seen Murphy in the final third much more often. He wouldn’t have rattled it that goal against Basel had he been as deep as he was last term. Jonathan Greening, much criticised on the messageboards since Saturday, hasn’t quite filled the Murphy void yet but I’ve been quite impressed by the way he’s gone about his business.
Rich is right about the pace at which we move the ball around the field. Whilst we do look a little slower with the Baird-Greening axis, that’s understandable as one’s a makeshift midfielder and the other one’s a new signing. I’d suggest we don’t move the ball all that much quicker with our regular four. Etuhu was criticised for the kind of sideways passing that has so irked Greening’s detractors when he first arrived and there’s still a certain awkwardness still about him in possession.
Even when the ball gets out wide to Gera/Dempsey and Duff, sometimes the pace is slow. Frequently, the injection of pace comes from the full backs, who are charged with the overlapping duties. It seems to be part of Roy’s plan to play at a slow tempo and focus on shorter, sharper passing. As we said last season, Fulham’s sucess depends on our tactical model involving. With the signing of Duff, things have moved on.
We can only trust in Roy to take us further forward.