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Fulham 7-0 Luton Town: Player ratings

Monday the 2nd of May was an incredibly special evening down by the Thames. Nobody could’ve dared to dream of that outcome, over 100 goals is a remarkable achievement so to obliterate that number is very impressive. A third 7-0 win is even more sublime and the most unbelievable accolade is that of Aleksander Mitrovic who couldn’t have timed his record breaking 43rd goal any better.  

Marek Rodak: It was a pretty quiet game for Marek and with Fulham having 72% of possession there was very little for him to do. However, what he did have to do was done well which was important after last weeks error between himself and Ream. 8 

Kenny Tete: Every player was flawless but for me there are four who stood out and have received 10/10’s from me. Tete was one of them. He’d been out the team for quite some time, behind Odoi and then Williams in the pecking order until a couple of weeks ago but what we saw last night was one of the best right performances of the season and arguably Tete’s best in a Fulham shirt. He was so solid at the back, nothing got past him and he was also an excellent outlet down the right whilst we attacked. His display was summed up by his goal, a fantastic left footed effort from outside the area after some lovely chest control to put us 2-0 up before the break. 10

Tosin Adarabioyo and Tim Ream: Much like Rodak, I can’t recall these two having to do much beyond the first 20 minutes or so, Fulham were dominant and our fullbacks were both excellent so very few balls found their way into Ream and Tosin. Possession and passing built from the back was superb and inevitably they were a huge part of that. 8

Antonee Robinson: The news broke in the week that he’s been playing with a bit of an injury recently and may require some surgery over summer but you’d never have known based on last night’s performance, it was good to have his marauding runs back and ability to quickly track back when needed – which wasn’t very often last night. 8

Harrison Reed: It’s sometimes hard for Reed to stand out in such dominant performances as he isn’t one to join the attack too often when playing at CDM so amongst the goals and fullback play, in a similar way to Ream and Tosin you’d be forgiven for not giving him the plaudits yesterday but he’s so key in that position, he swept up any loose balls in front of our back 4 and linked up well in all our possession play. 8

Tom Cairney: It was fitting that captain Tom Cairney was on hand to slam in our 100th goal of the season and what a goal it was as well. He slipped the ball to Wilson before latching onto the ball back to him and sending a guided rocket into the back of the net, the view from the Hammy End for this one felt very special. In addition to the goal Cairney was on top form, dictating the pace of the game and dominating the midfield. He even threw a couple of entertaining keepie uppies in there towards the end. 9

Fabio Carvalho: I sighed as I got to to Fabio  on this list. Following Tony Khan’s comments it seems as though yesterday will be his last game in a Fulham shirt at Craven Cottage which is absolutely gutting. He was phenomenal again, constantly on the lookout for forward options and spaces to progress into. The way he manages to turn in space to put us onto the attack is quite simply world class at his age. His finish wasn’t too shabby either as he picked up Wilson’s deft touch and side footed the ball past a helpless Ingram. He also supplied Decordova-Reid’s goal. 10

Harry Wilson: Three more assists brings him to a quite astonishing 19 for the campaign, a joint record in the Championship and he’ll be hoping to make it an even 20 at Bramall Lane on Saturday. It could very easily have been four today as he also slipped Mitrovic in for his blocked attempt which ultimately led to his first goal of the day. Wilson is always looking for a route to goal, either to shoot himself or provide for a team-mate and his continuous trickery, work rate and pace were outstanding all game long today. 10 

Aleksandar Mitrovic: I’m lost for words. Just when you start to wonder if the goals are drying up for him he pops up with two goals to smash the record in front of the Fulham faithful. His record equalling goal came from a touch of fortune as his blocked effort landed at his feet where he found himself one on one with Ingram. Then when it seemed impossibly late in the game he popped up with a record breaking finish in the 92nd minute to make it 7-0 in front of an electric Hammersmith End. A goal which will forever be written in history as one of the great Fulham moments. It was a delightful finish too as Wilson slipped him in on goal he calmly hit the ball low and across the goal into the bottom corner. On top of that his all round game was superb, he dropped very deep at times and linked the play up showing how much he’s improved under Silva’s coaching. 10

Bobby Decordova-Reid: A player who grew into the game and played some excellent football as the game progressed. As did much of team, he looked a little cautious early on, going for slightly safer options but once we had a grip on the game he wasn’t afraid to take players on and look to create opportunities. Given his minutes he’s put up some impressive numbers this season with 8 goals and 7 assists and last night’s goal was one of the best, the first time control and turn to take him between the two Luton centre backs and through on goal followed by the confident and powerful finish into the left hand corner was a joy to watch. 9

Substitutes:

Jean-Michael Seri – I’m pretty sure the whole stadium (bar the Luton fans) had the exact same thought when Seri came on: “Wouldn’t it be great if he scored?” and after securing his second goal in a Fulham shirt I think we can now safely say that Seri only scores bangers.  He picked up where Reed left off, with a commanding display but the highlight was his goal, the ball fell to him around 5 yards outside the box and he brought it down and directed it perfectly into the bottom left. 9

Neeskens Kebano and Rodrigo Muniz: Token 7’s for these two, they both came on at 6-0 up so it wasn’t easy for them to come in and make their stamp on a game which was well and truly won. They both did well but with only ten minutes remaining weren’t heavily involved at any stage. 7 

Denis Odoi: No explanation needed. 10

Fulham 0-1 Nottingham Forest: Player ratings

Marek Rodak: To blame for the goal? Not entirely, in retrospect he should have either come out early or stayed on his line but he did neither and he should have been more vocal in telling Ream to clear the ball but I don’t think anyone expected Ream not to do that without being told to. Aside from that it was a reasonable performance from Rodak with some solid saves albeit ones you’d expect him to make. He did extremely well to stop it from being 2-0 in the second half when Brennan Johnson’s low cross seemed destined to be tapped in at the far post, Rodak moved across quickly and kept us in the game with a great save from close range. 5

Neco Williams: His performance tonight felt very similar to his early ones for us where he looked good going forwards but suspect defensively, he was caught out of position a number of times. The goal came down the right hand side after what looked like an initial foul on Williams who was nudged in the back, he wasn’t able to get back in time for Forest’s quick throw in which led to the goal. 5

Tosin Adarabioyo: He looked the most solid player in the backline today and was the only one able to match the height of the Forest side, even Mitrovic was struggling to win his headers. It wasn’t a man of the match performance by any means as we gave up too many good opportunities but when the rest of the defence didn’t know which way was up, Tosin managed to keep his composure. 6

Tim Ream: It was a pretty poor performance from Ream today, Forest pressed high and fast and knew exactly what they were doing. He really struggled with the high press and was forced into some wobbly moments. The goal came from his error as he attempted to shield the ball for Rodak to collect it but it wasn’t the time to take any risks, with Rodak on his goal line and with plenty of time to clear the ball, Ream should have done exactly that. He did okay to recover from that and neatly beat the pressing forwards on a number of occasions. However he also misjudged a second half through ball which very nearly led to a second Forest goal. 4

Joe Bryan: Around the 20 minute mark I turned to my friend and mentioned how well I thought Bryan had done recently after a lengthy time out of the side. I stand by those words but today it fell apart from precisely that moment. In the second half in particular he looked incredible shaky, losing out on a few occasions leading to dangerous Forest attacks, luckily two heavy crosses saved his blushes. 4

Jean-Michael Seri: Aside from a couple of misplaced passes in the first half I thought he was really good today and my man of the match, he was very neat with the ball at his feet and managed to keep hold of it despite Forests incessant pressure. Some neat swivels opened up space and quickly put us onto the front foot. He also made some brilliant tackles in the CDM role but we did look far more open without Reed playing deep. Whether that’s just due to how Forest played or not is something I’m not sure about. 7

Harrison Reed: He was playing in a more advanced position today and whilst he did quite well there I do feel he provides more from CDM as I’ve mentioned countless times. When Seri and Reed play together I struggle to see why Seri isn’t the more advanced of the two as I feel he has a bit more to offer creatively. Overall a good performance from Reed and he was very unlucky not to grab an assist after setting up Carvalho for a one on one opportunity which was placed directly at Samba in the Forest goal. 6

Fabio Carvalho:
Our best chance of the game fell to Carvalho but unfortunately he couldn’t capitalise. Just moments after Forest’s goal Fabio found himself slipped in by Reed, he had to take the shot first time but placed it directly at the keeper, from fairly close range anything either side would surely have meant an equaliser. He very nearly made up for it when his second half finessed effort from outside the area was tipped around the post by Samba. Aside from these efforts he was lively and much more effective than he was against Bournemouth. It looked like things would happen when he had the ball at his feet but sadly that never came to fruition. 6

Harry Wilson: So many nearly moments today for Wilson but it just didn’t go his way. He never gave up on trying to create opportunities for himself and his teammates. Towards the end of the game he brilliantly controlled a long ball and cut inside, it seemed destined to be the moment we’d finally score but a mix up with Mitrovic stopped that from happening. 6

Aleksandar Mitrovic: He’ll have to wait for another chance to draw level with the 42 goal record and at times today it seemed like that may have been on his mind as he tried to work the space to get shots in when better options were available. He very easily could have slipped Joe Bryan in on a very narrow overlap which would have given him the chance to go for goal at close range or cut it back but Mitrovic cut inside and saw his shot blocked as he was crowded out. Forest didn’t give him an inch today so credit to them for that. 5

Bobby Decordova-Reid: He’s put up some impressive numbers considering his playing time but he simply doesn’t provide the same energy as Kebano. Numerous times last night there were opportunities to put balls in the box or continue running at defenders but he slowed down the attack and often played the easy pass to Joe Bryan. 5

Substitutes:

Tom Cairney: We were really struggling in the middle of the park in the second half and Forest were breaking every couple of minutes until Cairney came on, he provided some calmness to get us back on the front foot. 6

Kenny Tete: I’m not sure this is a change I would have made, he was reasonably solid when called upon but we seemed to lose some attacking threat when Neco was taken off. 5

Rodrigo Muniz: It seems a long time since his double against Stoke, he hasn’t had more than 20 minutes in a game since then and more often than not he’s come on in tough situations where we’re struggling to find a goal and not playing our usual fluid football. Last night was no different and he struggled to get a hold of the ball and make an impact. It’s a difficult situation as he needs more playing time but when you play with one striker and that happens to be Mitrovic it’s hard to justify more minute for Muniz. 5

What does Fabio Carvalho’s future hold?

We thought it was all wrapped up when Fabrizio Romano confirmed Fabio’s move to Liverpool a couple of weeks ago and it may still be but there’s enough uncertainty in the air to suggest this may not be the case. We’ll have a look at the rumours circulating, Marco Silva’s words and what I think the best route for Fabio is (from an unbiased point of view of course…).

The first and perhaps most realistic situation is that Fabio has agreed a deal, signed on the dotted line and will be a Liverpool player come next season. However, Marco Silva’s presser threw up some uncertainty. When asked about Fabio’s future Silva stated “I’m speaking with the board, I haven’t heard news about it. I don’t want to talk rumours.”. It’s also worth noting that Fabrizio said it would be announced once Fulham had secured promotion but almost one week on and no news can only be good news for hopeful Fulham fans. Of course Silva may just be trying to maintain focus on winning the league and Liverpool could be respecting that too by delaying their announcement, equally I wouldn’t put it past our board to agree on a deal and not communicate that to Silva – unlikely but we’ve seen worse.

So what else could be going on? In principle a deal could be agreed but the two clubs are still hashing out whether or not Carvalho comes back on loan to Fulham. It certainly doesn’t bode well for us if on our third attempt at remaining in the Premier League we lose a stand out performer before kicking a ball. We know how desperate Silva and the club are to keep Fabio so even if it’s only going to be on loan then it’s worth putting up a fight and it would be a huge help in maintaining Premier League status beyond the 22/23 season. It could even be that now we’ve secured promotion we can release some funds to offer Fabio a better deal which he’s now mulling over – again, unlikely but not impossible.

One thing is for sure, he isn’t acting like a player who’s about to leave the club, maybe that shows his professionalism in maintaining focus on the pitch. However, his celebratory gestures towards the Fulham faithful at the Cottage on Tuesday and again at Bournemouth didn’t look like those of a player who’d agreed a deal elsewhere but maybe he’s just enjoying the celebrations and why shouldn’t he. What I do find particularly strange though is the amount of ‘air-time’ he’s been getting on Fulham’s socials of late. He was the poster-boy for the promotion of the Preston game and has been featured numerous times unrelated to the goals he’s scored recently. I can’t understand why this would be the case if the club knew he’d already committed to a future elsewhere, all of these things are giving me a glimmer of hope.

Now let’s take a look at a couple of other rumours which I’ve seen floating around without too much substance. Could Neco’s absence on Saturday and recent admission that he’ll be returning to Liverpool be to do with an angry Liverpool board because the Fabio deal has been taken from their clutches? Whilst I think Neco would be a great permanent addition to the squad, if him going back to Liverpool means we can keep Fabio then I’d take that in a flash. I personally don’t think there’s anything in these rumours but it’s fun to take a look at all possible scenarios. The final one I’ve seen is that Man City are making a late and more lucrative approach but once again there’s not much weight behind this at the moment and the outcome wouldn’t differ too much for Fulham.

I want to finish by giving my genuine view on what I think Fabio should do for his own development and it just so happens to benefit Fulham as well. I believe he should commit to a two year deal with us with a reasonable release clause, at 19 years old he’ll benefit massively from regular Premier League football. You can only imagine he would start week in week out for us if he keeps up his performances, it may take some time to adjust to the new league but his performances at the end of the 19/20 season show he has what it takes. I don’t think he’d spend as much time on the bench at Liverpool as some are suggesting but fighting for a place amongst Mane, Diaz, Jota and Salah, or whoever his replacement may be, isn’t going to lead to regular starts. This scenario would also help Fulham in the fight to stay up and would lead to a hefty financial benefit if he’s to get his big money move in the summer of 2023 which he’d surely get if he fulfils even an ounce of his potential. It also repays Fulham for the opportunities they’ve given him since picking him up aged 13 from Balham, I know there’s not much loyalty in football anymore but we can hope.

We could spend time looking at the moves other young prospects from Fulham have made but in truth I think Carvalho is a level above, with the potential exception of Elliot who we didn’t get to see a huge amount of before he left. Roberts who joined Man City back in 2015, has had 6 loan spells and now finds himself in League One with Sunderland. More recently Ryan Sessegnon joined Spurs and two years later has 28 appearances to his name and a loan spell with Hoffenheim, at 21 years of age his future could be bright still. We’re yet to see what will happen with Harvey Elliot who made the move to Liverpool via tribunal in 2019, he had a successful loan to Blackburn and has made 10 appearances across all competitions for Liverpool this year, after a lengthy injury layoff he hasn’t managed to get back into the side.

Overall I’m not convinced anything is final just yet with Fabio but I’m not confident we’ll be able to keep hold of him, I’ll be keeping everything crossed.

AFC Bournemouth 1-1 Fulham: Player ratings

Olly reflects on yesterday’s dramatic draw at Bournemouth …

Marek Rodak: Barely called upon until the 98th minute where he went the wrong way for Solanke’s penalty. There’s really nothing more to say here, goalkeepers generally don’t get called upon too much when playing Scott Parker’s teams. 5

Kenny Tete: Unsure why Neco Williams wasn’t in the line-up today but it was good to see Tete back in the team after rumours of a bust up with Silva. He did well defensively but didn’t make much of an impact going forwards. 6

Tosin Adarabioyo: Looked really solid and Bournemouth rarely looked like breaking our defence down, Tosin stood tall and remained focussed throughout, he very nearly got a goal to make it 2-0 but saw his header tumble off the bar. 7

Tim Ream: A really solid performance again from Ream, he matched Tosin’s solidity and concentration to make it hard for Bournemouth to gain an upper hand. 7

Joe Bryan: Didn’t look too bad but after committing a number of fouls and receiving a yellow card it would have been risky to leave him on for the second half hence him being replaced by Robinson at the break. It’s worth noting that in Bryan’s last six starts, we’ve only conceded twice whilst he’s been on the pitch (both away at Derby). 5

Harrison Reed: The Bournemouth game brought up a century of Fulham appearances for Harrison Reed and his performances rarely dip from the levels he has set since arriving at Craven Cottage; Mr. Consistent and once again he provided brilliant cover in front of the defence. 7

Tom Cairney: This was a game of possession with neither team doing a lot with it. Cairney helped us hold the ball from that point of view which helped nullify Bournemouth. On the other hand, he struggled to be the catalyst for anything more creative. 6

Harry Wilson: I’m not sure what it is with Wilson in the last few moments of games, he’s missed two open goals with the potential to win us games and he made a stupid challenge to give away the penalty this time. I don’t want to be too harsh given his overall form and contributions but it was a really disappointing way to end the game. Some have said it was a soft penalty but all game long Graham Scott was trigger happy with his whistle so it was no surprise to see it given as he came through the back of Smith. It was his deep cross which provided the assist for Mitrovic. 5

Fabio Carvalho: I can’t recall too many moments where he got on the ball and he certainly didn’t provide us with the sublime ball carrying ability which we’ve seen countless times this season but he helped to keep the midfield balanced in what can only be described as a game of chess. 5

Neeskens Kebano: The entire forward line struggled to create opportunities or beat their men and Kebano’s performance wasn’t any different. He was unable to get on the ball and find his form. 5

Aleksandar Mitrovic: Goalscorer once again and we have technology to thank for this one. A goal is a goal and it was over the line but without goal line technology I’d be very surprised to see that one given. Not a single player or fan really thought it had gone in which led to a very delayed but still fantastic celebration. Aside from that moment Mitrovic wasn’t provided with much service and struggled to hold the ball up as effectively as usual. 6

Substitutes:

Antonee Robinson: He looked decent when he came on at half time. We didn’t see many runs forward but at 1-0 up against a possession based team like Bournemouth this was probably a sensible approach. 6

Nathaniel Chalobah: He replaced Reed fairly late on and gave a good account of himself today, his physicality and fresh legs were a useful asset to have towards the end of the game. 6

Jean Michael Seri: A change in the last 10 minutes for Tom Cairney and he didn’t have much time to make his mark on the game. 5

Fulham 3-0 Preston North End: Player ratings

After our recent performances Fulham gave us something to be nervous about going into this game but they stepped up to a man to get the job done in great fashion, what a fantastic evening and a brilliant way to go into the Bournemouth game on Saturday. We may be Premier League now but let’s finish as champions!

Marek Rodak: A commanding performance typified by a brilliant save early in the second half. He tipped an excellent curling effort onto the crossbar to save us from any nerves in the second half. 8

Neco Williams: He seemed to have a relatively quiet game and wasn’t tested too much, equally he didn’t drive forward as much as we’ve seen in previous games. Still a solid performance and the clean sheet shows how organised the entire backline were (aside from one nervy moment in the opening minutes). 7

Joe Bryan: Best performance of the season for Bryan last night. It was so good to see him back on form, he was excellent at both ends of the pitch making some brilliant tackles including one down the left flank which allowed him to progress further before slipping Mitrovic behind for the opening goal inside 10 minutes. 8

Tosin Adarabioyo: At this stage in the season we all know he loves pinging the ball about from the back and he did it so well yesterday with some lovely switches and balls over the top, he was also organised and solid at the back although Preston didn’t offer much threat! 8

Tim Ream: We’re so lucky to have Ream in our squad, whilst Cairney is the club captain Ream does a lot of the talking and is clearly a role model. If you watch the EFL behind the scenes video from last night he can be heard in the background saying “it’s not over yet”, this team wants the title and fully deserve it and Tim Ream is a massive massive part of that. He was organised and commanding from the centre back position last night and if his future is away from Fulham then he’ll definitely be missed. 8

Harrison Reed: Part of the reason the defence had so little to do is down to Harrison Reed who once again was brilliant at the base of the midfield and gave Preston very little room to play. It’s no nonsense and no fuss from him and he’s giving himself a very good chance of being in our starting midfield in the Premier League. 8

Tom Cairney: We lost complete control at Derby when Cairney was taken off so it was no surprise to see him start today, since he came back from injury he’s been instrumental in controlling the tempo and keeping possession whilst choosing his moments to move the ball forwards and last night was no different. Whilst he wasn’t directly involved in any of the goals, he was key to our dominance in midfield. Once again when he came off we lacked some creativity but it was the right decision given the scoreline and a big game against Bournemouth on Saturday. 8

Harry Wilson: A lively if not emphatic display from Wilson today, he stretched the Preston defence and got himself into some great positions, he was unable to capitalise on a number of occasions but found Mitrovic when it mattered, he drove forward and slipped Mitrovic in for his second and Fulham’s third. 7

Fabio Carvalho: Let’s start with the goal, what a lovely finish as the ball popped up after Kebano’s cross was blocked, Carvalho stuck a leg out and lifted it over the keeper into the far corner. Once again he was in and around the area and getting involved in the attacking play throughout the game. He was given plenty of space to turn from deep and carry the ball into dangerous positions but he’ll be upset he didn’t score two after he put a guilt-edged chance wide following some lovely build up play. Let’s enjoy watching such a gifted youngster whilst we still can. 8

Neeskens Kebano: It felt like we had Kebano back last night. He was full of confidence, taking on players with skill and pace, he was also involved in our second goal as his cross deflected into Carvalho’s path and should definitely have had a second assist late on in the game but his pass in the area was poor and intercepted. Following his hamstring injury before the international break he had struggled to find form and he’s been a key key player for us so without that trickery and pace on the wing we’ve lacked some creativity which has been reflected in the relative shortage of goals and points up until last night. If we’re to lift the title then he’ll need to keep up his form in the final four games. 7

Aleksandar Mitrovic: It looked like the goals had started to dry up for Fulham and Mitrovic alike so it was important to start hitting the back of the net again not only to secure promotion but also to try and finish as champions and help Mitrovic break the 42 goal record. With two goals last night he’s now just three away from breaking it with four games to play. How sweet it would be if he did it at Bournemouth, unfortunately whilst Parker’s side haven’t lit the league alight with attacking football, they have been solid at the back so it would be tough to get a hat-trick down there but let’s not rule anything out! Aside from his goals, his general build up play was good and he was full of confidence with a couple of very neat flicks to put us on the front-foot. He’ll be gutted not to have scored a hat-trick last night with two very good chances early in the second half but overall it was a brilliant display. 8

Substitutes:

Jean-Michael Seri: The game was done and dusted when Seri came on but he did well to continue controlling the midfield and the tempo of the game after he was brought on in place of Cairney who does that job so well. 7

Bobby Decordova-Reid: Not a huge amount to say here, nothing wrong with the performance but he had limited opportunities to impact the game. 6

Rodrigo Muniz: I can’t recall anything particularly impressive about his performance apart from his willingness to run and close down defenders but at 20 years of age with some of his goals this season there’s definitely a player in there. The question is whether or not he’ll get many opportunities in the Prem. Regardless of that, it was great to see him so heavily involved in the celebrations with the players and the fans! 6