Blackburn 1 – 1 Fulham

Well, with Reading beating Man City today, Fulham’s dearly won point was most definitely not enough.

Roy’s going to get some grief for sticking with the 4-5-1 for so long. And Eddie Johnson showed why he infuriates so many US fans.

But… as annoying as Johnson lightweight performance was, he did create the best chance of the game when he beat his man, froze the keeper with a step over and then rifled the ball into the corner of the posts. Almost doesn’t mean anything, but an inch in and down, and thats a great goal. Furthermore, immediately after Blackburn’s goal, Johnson squared the ball into… Murphy’s? path, which led to the deflection that fell for Dempsey. It was always a tough ball for Dempsey, coming at it from the ground, but again, almost a goal.

And as much as Johnson’s penchant for going to ground was harped on by the commentators, it was a ‘foul’ on him that led to the free kick.

McBride didn’t do much when he came on, nor did Healy (although he wasn’t given much of an opportunity). And while Johnson clearly squandered the vast majority of his opportunities, they are opportunities that wouldn’t have existed with any of Fulham’s other strikers.

That’s Eddie Johnson. He had a bunch of chances, screwed up most of them, came extremely close with one and created another, and then flopped to the foul that gave us the free kick that led to the goal. Annoying, yes. Irritating, yes. Infuriating, yes. Rubbish, no.

Like most football fans, I’m against diving. But at this point in the season, my morals have gone right out the window. With a 4-5-1, your lone striker has got to earn free kicks in dangerous areas. Even if Johnson was laughed off in most of his appeals, with a different ref, who knows? We could have gotten a couple more free kicks or a penalty.

The referee (deep breath). When I saw that Mike Reilly was allowing Blackburn’s goal to stand, I thought: typical. Fulham gets screwed by another bullshit goal in the second half. But when whoever was the color commentator defended that decision, as the foul was being shown in slow motion replay, I felt that the gears of the earth were slowing, and I became afraid that as all celestial motion ground to a halt, I would be thrown into the icy blackness of space. The commentator said that Stalteri has to stand up there, blah blah blah. Pederson hooked his leg behind Stalteri’s knee and then pulled him back with his arm. Clearly. I have performed that action or had that action performed on me countless times in my life, on the playground and what not, and let me tell you Andre the Giant couldn’t have stood up to that. It’s impossible. Pederson’s leg was behind Stalteri’s knee, Stalteri couldn’t take the step back, Stalteri stumbles backwards. It’s simple leverage. ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Overall, the game was more of the same. We must remember that Fulham are a very bad team. I resent that certain supporters are starting to blame Roy Hodgson for the position we are in. When confronted with the steaming of pile of dung Roy faced upon taking this position, what could he do but start at the back and try to make Fulham hard to beat? And he’s done that. Fulham are a bad bad team, Hodgson’s first two signings, Andreason and Hangeland have walked straight into the side and proved to be massive improvements. As for Fulham’s attacking signings, there are no sure things at Fulham’s price level, and Johnson and Nevland are about par for the course. I think that Johnson will prove to be a valuable, if not enjoyable player, but harping on about how the team offer nothing going forward is to miss the big picture. This team stinks! If we attacked non stop it would be no guarantee of either goals or success, because we don’t have good enough players. Trying to stop the bleeding at the back through organization and discipline and letting the goals come organically is the best we can hope for. Maybe it will be enough, probably it won’t. But it’s the only choice we have.

That being said, I wouldn’t be a fan if I didn’t have at least one beef with management, or at least one question. Why pull Dempsey to make way for McBride? What does Murphy give the team in that situation? Genuinely curious about that choice, as it seems to be a pattern.

Also, let’s not forget to give credit where credit is due.

Addendum: I realize that what I said about formation and intent doesn’t exactly jibe with my post from yesterday on the same subject. I’ll think about it some more.

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