OK, Fulham comrades. Tomorrow’s match is quite a biggie. You could argue that this is the most important of the season so far. We sit five points from safety, but with an inferior goal difference to Brighton who sit one place ahead of us. We are officially into he second half of the season and with only two wins to our name so far, the pressure is well and truly on. One of those wins came against West Brom back in November but the season hasn’t picked up points-wise for either team since then really. While our defence has come on considerably since the start of the season, the Baggies have been a disaster. Sacking Bilic for Allardyce has so far not worked so here’s hoping their diabolical defending lasts for at least one more day.
West Brom remind me of us from two seasons ago. They have conceded 21 more goals (but in one game more) than us so far this year but worryingly for Fulham we have scored the same amount with just 15 goals apiece. This has been the concern for Scott Parker for some time really. Our defending isn’t the issue any more, but the insistence to rely on pace has been our downfall. I understand what we have been trying to do, but quick breaks and pace have helped us win once this season and that was that remarkable night in Leicester. It was an amazing win, but the style of play hasn’t helped us throughout the season. Cavaleiro, despite all of his industrious running, just isn’t effective in that position. We need someone who can link the play and we have that in Mitrovic. I get that for a time Mitro didn’t look fit and his confidence was low, but his impact on Wednesday night against Brighton was very positive. He set up both goals against West Brom last time we played them and I’m confident that he can help us to three points tomorrow.
One thing that Parker and the boys need to be aware of is the possible reaction to West Brom’s heavy defeat at home to Manchester City on Tuesday. Allardyce kept his side in the dressing room for over an hour after the game and there seems to have been a lively discussion about how they move forward. When teams have a moment like that it normally only results in one of two things. An immediate upturn in fortune as everyone pulls together, or else an already struggling squad falls apart even more. They have been dreadful at home this season, but will be targeting this game as their moment to kick-start their campaign properly. Fulham have to be prepared for the backlash tomorrow. We have to be super tight from the off and not give them an inch. We beat a Bilic side in November, this is an Allardyce side so will have to approach the game wary of this.
Wednesday night was very poor from a Fulham perspective. We looked nervous and didn’t really threaten until the end of the game. When we are playing the teams around us we just can’t afford to do this. Three points tomorrow is essential.