Fulhamish Round Table: Oldham Athletic

Ben Jarman 7th January 2019

Fulham were dumped unceremoniously out of the FA Cup this weekend by League Two Oldham Athletic, whose passion, fight and desire showed something that Fulham fans believe that their team are missing this season.

Fringe players failed to impress, diabolical football once again graced the Cottage and the star striker missed a penalty he was bought on to score. The Fulhamish team give their thoughts on Oldham, Ranieri and the owners below after another flashpoint in a horrid season.

Sammy James

Yesterday’s defeat does feel like confirmation of what we already knew, we are in a lot of trouble this season. Whilst the FA Cup was clearly not a priority this season, the Oldham defeat is just another body blow of confidence to a side that has been suffering for many months.

What I found most disappointing is that several players who we have talked up on the podcast as potential options for Claudio, such as Floyd Ayite and Neeskens Kebano, did not grab the opportunity with both hands. This is an Oldham side that is 10th in League Two, and were beaten 6-0 by Carlisle just a few weeks ago. If you can’t perform against them, then there’s no chance of being able to against Premier League opposition.

I’m so down about this Fulham team right now; how has it got so ugly in the space of 6 months? Claudio has done nothing to suggest to me he can get out of this mess, and with hindsight, I’m wishing we just stuck with Slav.

This was a cheery tweet I received yesterday. Happy new year everybody!

Jack Collins

It’s not been quite the new manager bounce that we were hoping for, but with the exception of West Ham at home and (obviously) this weekend, Ranieri has done what I expected him to. Wins against Huddersfield and Southampton at the Cottage were necessary and achieved – just! Points against Wolves, Newcastle and Leicester could and perhaps should have been more, but whilst the gaffer’s style is harder to stomach to a purist than Slav’s was, he’s accumulated more points than Jokanovic in 3 fewer games. It’s a dogfight, and we need more, but if Ranieri can deliver a win against Burnley this weekend, there remains light at the end of the tunnel.

Ben Jarman

This result really does feel like a flashpoint for the season, a strong team being dumped out of the most traditional competition by a plucky and resilient lower league outfit with nothing but a wimper. Ranieri hasn’t worked the magic I had expected him to, and other than perhaps adding some organisation to Fulham, the results have hardly turned. Yes, he has gotten Fulham points from games we needed to, but gut says that Jokanovic could have achieved the same feat. And probably in a much more entertaining manner. Had Ranieri been manager for longer than two solitary months you have to question whether his position would have been under threat.

Oldham represented the harsh reality that we all knew deep down but didn’t want to admit: this is a squad thread-bare in quality, especially around the fringes. The diving smacks of desperation but slightly more alarmingly it displays a real lack of confidence in the players. The best way to remedy this? 3 points away at Turf Moor. It really is a tough ask, but we must get behind Claudio, the owners and more importantly the players.

Four Four Drew

About 70 minutes into the game, I imagined the match report: “it wasn’t pretty at times, but it was a routine third round win in the end for Fulham, who were made to work by an industrious Oldham side…”

But then it fell apart. Taking a penalty as your first act on a football pitch can’t be the easiest thing to do, and after the brouhaha surrounding Kamara’s miss last week, it was almost written that Mitro would fluff his lines. But over 90 minutes, we were pretty crap. So no complaints on the result from that point of view.

Look, let’s just keep a bit of perspective here. It’s a low point in our season – and it’s not the first we’ve had. It sure as hell won’t be the last. But let’s keep our hair on. Is it the worst defeat in our history? Come off it. Try defeats to Scunthorpe and Torquay that left us 91st in the Football League, for a start. Abusing Tony khan online and demanding players give their wages back is a tad OTT.

We need to concentrate on the league. And now we can. Win at Burnley and this will fade into the memory banks. Up the Fulham.

Farrell Monk

Almost two months have passed since Slavisa departed and I still feel the same as I did back then – we would be not be worse off with him in charge. Over the entirety Premier League season tenure, have performances been really any better? Let’s reflect. Ranieri’s started with an immediate victory, albeit a marginal one over a woeful Southampton team. The draw against Leicester at home on paper seemed like a half-decent result, but on review, Leicester were unlucky to take all three points that evening. Newcastle and Wolves came went sharing the spoils with apparent more resolute defending on show.

What stands out for me, though and I think many will miss, is the Huddersfield game. That was a poor performance, no team seem to want to win that game. Were Fulham the better side? Slightly. Now onto Oldham. Much will be made of this, I think it’s more down to some of the fringe players really vindicating Claudio & Slavisa’s decision to consistently leaving them out the team for the first half of the 2018-19 season.

On reflection, Ranieri is settling down on his best system, much like Slavisa realised in the games immediate before his departure and hopefully performances will improve steadily. I do believe that Slavisa would have got the same though out of this current crop. Fulham are unlikely to avoid relegation, although I am still hopeful and will roar them on right until the deciding moment regardless. I tell you with absolute certainty, is roaring at players, staff or certain directors with hostility is never going to work and is not the Fulham Football Club we welcome or come to support, regardless how pants Aboubakar Kamara is.

Adam Farquharson

The Oldham Match wasn’t the first time we’ve been ‘stunned’ by a lower league opposition, and is certainly won’t be the last. The timing of this is the main factor that has led to such outrage from many fans. The competitions may be entirely separate, but Claudio is judged on every match – and that was not a good performance. I think now is an important time of the year to take a step back, look at the PL table following the Burnley match and re-assess our situation then. More support, less panic, always Fulhamish.

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Ben Jarman

Fulhamish contributor on the airwaves and the web. Heads up the Stats Show. Has had work published by the Italian FA, Evening Standard and Fulham FC. Loves Spanish football.