This is a piece based over the last two weeks looking at Spurs and Hull City at home.
What did I say a few weeks back? "It’s the hope that kills you", or something?
Well, yeah, that appears to be so because following two big wins, I got hope – and now, it’s killing me.
A 3-1 loss to Tottenham was expected, even if we did the Fulham-ish thing of falling apart in the second half, but the last thing we expected was for Sunderland to face the wrath of Manchester City and Chelsea and get four points out of it. This now means there’s only four points separating bottom from fourth bottom, which is exactly what we needed. I started last week thinking that Sunderland and Cardiff would be cut adrift and we could focus on Norwich; but now we have to have three pairs of eyes, because no one is safe now. Again, exactly what we needed.
Our biggest failing against Spurs was Hugo Rodallega being left on an island up front with no adequate support. Dejagah and Kaca played on the wings but didn’t give the correct service, and this cost us. Well, that, and the fact Christian Eriksen has a laser guided missile on his right peg. Two of the three goals no defence in the world could have stopped. Didn't help that Hugo Lloris had a worldie either. It was one of those games, really.
But onto the next few games, we need to be playing someone behind ‘The Rod’, so he isn’t left alone and we can have some decent link-up play, especially against a Hull side who haven’t been performing well in the league this year (won just five of their last 15 in 2014) so we shouldn’t be playing defensively. Utilize the abilities of a Kasami or a Holtby, pace and vision to feed through to a player who appears to thrive in a relegation dog-fight.
We need to go at them at home, try and get a comprehensive performance to stamp our authority on this battle. Because that’s what this is, a battle – every other side has a harder run-in and teams are performing, and so should we. Hull City: beatable; Stoke away: hard but beatable; a safe Crystal Palace at home: most definitely beatable.
Nine points isn’t out of the realms of possibility; but honestly, four will do. With Norwich having a hard run-in, they’ll get sucked into that bottom three. Cardiff vs Sunderland could turn into a bloodbath, and we need to pray that they cancel each other out. It is doable, but good lord, the last thing we needed was Sunderland performing a week of miracles.
Still doable? Sure. Harder than before? No question. Are we running out of time? Absolutely.
…Screw you, Darren Bent.
I am a broken Fulham Football Club supporter, absolutely broken.
Throwing away a two goal lead against a side that we easily could have beaten at home has moved us from little hope to next to no hope of Premier League survival. We starting off the game so promising, bullying them and hustling them every chance Hull City had the ball. It finally paid off in the second half when Ashkan Dejagah scored, followed by Fernando Amorebieta making it two from a corner.
Even I then said ‘now, don’t screw this up’. But shock of all shocks, we did! Jelavic nodded home and then I could see the warning signs. They had so much of the ball, they were getting opportunity after opportunity after opportunity, and then it happened. Shane Long headed in from close range and we’d done it. Snatched despair from the jaws of glory, managed to screw ourselves over once again through our own god damn arrogance (and Magath’s awful substitution policy, leaving Sidwell on when he was injured), and the most galling thing was that we all saw it come. It was just so Fulham-ish, and so typical of Fulham this season. To quote Linkin Park; ‘We tried so hard and got so far, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter’, and as the fourth went in for Sunderland against Cardiff, I could hear the faint sound of a larger woman clearing her vocal chords. Sure, logically, we could stay up, but when has logic followed Fulham?
We face Stoke away and we could do something; but it's Stoke City away. It’s MARK HUGHES’ Stoke City away. It just screams another brick wall, doesn’t it?
Stand up if you still believe? I’ll still stand but my knees are starting to buckle.
…Screw you, Darren Bent; you were useless when you came on in the Hull City game (see this time, it’s actually relevant!)