Positives and negatives: Fulham 6-2 Birmingham City

Cameron Ramsey 19th January 2022

If you’re ready, Cam will guide you through another absurd Championship trouncing, savagely administered by a squad that has captured imaginations, as well as long-standing records in games gone by. What a bloody balling establishment we have here, eh?

Somebody’s got to know the odds of Fulham winning three consecutive games 6-2, right? Honestly, what the actual fuck is going on along Stevenage Road. Lee Bowyer predicted a tough evening for his boys and Marco Silva’s rampant table-toppers delivered another frenzied flogging for the rest of the division to quiver at. All of a sudden, the game’s thrown a wobbly and broken itself, and as the world watches on in utter bewilderment, the Whites are violently wedging screwdrivers into parts that aren’t supposed to be fiddled with.

It feels as though I’m running out of things to say. Every game in 2022 so far has basically been a carbon copy of the previous encounter and I can’t see us participating in a drab 0-0 draw ever again. With a five point buffer, heading into Saturday’s trip to Stoke City, Fulham are reaching a grade the Championship has never experienced before, and while we could be shot down from our cloud at any moment, we’ve got to treasure this steroid-injected purple patch because invariably, it will go down in the annals as a period where exhilarating, record-defining football belonged in the brighter side of SW6.

Positives

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Goals are guaranteed

Once Fulham freely ventured over the halfway line, a goal was almost guaranteed. The Whites barely shifted out of second gear, and they still smashed the visitors for six with merciless conviction. Take a moment, appreciate the numbers, savour Silva’s strategic sovereignty. 70 goals scored in 26 games, a positive goal difference of 47, which is higher than any other team in the Championship’s goals scored, and Tuesday night’s rampage increased our January return to 19 strikes converted in just 3 games. Our offensive form is beyond frightening now, it’s nightmarish. We have scored 27 more goals than AFC Bournemouth, that’s Aleksandar Mitrovic’s tally alone, and we aren’t even functioning at anywhere near our true potential.

Simply, we are just too fucking good for this division, and if we glimpse at league tables across Europe, Fulham are the continent’s free-scoring entertainment machine, emitting performances that eclipse even the esteemed likes of FC Bayern Munich, whilst causing severe mental trauma across the Championship. Birmingham City crossed paths with a team with a perpetual enthusiasm, an unremitting desire to monopolise, a unity and collective understanding that is absolutely unstoppable when we’re one goal to the good. One goal, that is all it takes for absolute chaos to transpire and Fulham are harbingers of pandemonium.

Antonee Robinson’s redemption

All I can do on this occasion is suck it up and apologise. For 90 minutes, a full unblemished game, Antonee Robinson was rampantly effective along the left, contributing to the Whites’ victory with a sumptuous assist and a sweetly struck sixth. It’s become easy to criticise Robinson, a routine hallmark within these articles in particular, although I can’t fault the American’s application against the Blues, because he was, in my humble opinion, the best player on the park and that is a collector’s item to protect at all costs. Redemption, served red-hot.

Stretching Fulham’s width as we countered, Jedi occupied Maxime Colin, shoving the Frenchman into a corner he couldn’t escape from, and with time and space to examine his actions thoroughly, and rather than completely bungling our momentum, he actually complimented the Whites’ fluency superbly. Charging into challenges, winning them successfully, swinging peaches onto a teenage wunderkind’s bonce for our third, Robinson didn’t put a foot out of place and when the chance to drive his left boot through the ball emerged in the third minute of added time, he crowned his outing with a vicious net buster, his second goal of the campaign. Robinson’s renowned for his insecurities in possession, and for his unflattering final product, however in an encounter that where his underlying qualities were amplified, the 24-year-old upheld a standard of prestige in his expansive efforts.

Tosin’s pingers

Smashing switches to perfection, dog fighting to deflect aerial bombardment, Tosin Adarabioyo exhibited an awareness both with and without the ball in his custody, constructing sensibly from the back with a watchful eye on his surrounding environment. The towering centre-half was a pillar of calmness, he screened across the breadth of his department to counteract Birmingham’s advancements and he carried possession forcibly, finding teammates consistently once he’d gained advantageous territory for his team to inhabit.

Whenever play passed through Tosin’s supervision, the Whites attained an enterprising edge to their game plan, as he distributed convincingly and subsequently, the 24-year-old relieved avoidable pressure. A ball-playing centre-half is requisite of the modern game, we harp on tirelessly about the necessity of deploying functional defenders and Tosin is within that category indefinitely. He’s perceptive, cooperative, and as Fulham ultimately prefer to build from the back, the former Manchester City man’s a much-needed auxiliary playmaker, one that orchestrated adroitly at the base of Fulham’s spine.

Denis Odoi

The dedication and persistence within Denis Odoi is something we can all admire and envy. Fielded ahead of Kenny Tete, Odoi’s selection was wholly justified after the 33-year-old dictated manoeuvres from one byline to the other, and though many perceive his Dutch counterpart to be the favoured option, which he may very well be, our resident Mr Dependable reminded us why he’s stood the test of time in seasons gone by, under various managers with differing procedures.

From the first second onward, Denis went toe-to-toe with Jérémie Bela, constricting the tricky Angola international’s impact upon proceedings, and with Harry Wilson to combine with moving forward, the Belgian galloped into pastures without being apprehended. Enabled to roam, Odoi reinforced Fulham’s attacking phases and in the 35th minute, he supplied Neeskens Kebano with a teasing cross and the productive winger diverted, first-time, for our second. Never ceasing to defy and develop, Denis has adapted himself to Silva’s demands and is thriving, and as we’re learning even more about the versatile defender’s capabilities, Denis regularly exceeds expectation and is a remarkably resourceful paladin.

Fabio’s masterstroke

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Motspur Park’s production line is astonishing. Over the years, more recently than not, we’ve nurtured an array of talents that have since gone on to better, or indeed in some cases, ruin their fledgling careers and currently, Fabio Carvalho’s an asset we have to button down, somehow, someway, it’s imperative. Let loose behind Mitro, the 19-year-old toyed with Birmingham’s insufficiently organised defensive line, pawing and batting at the visitors as though they were petrified mice crammed underneath the freezer, and with an opulent brace to rejoice in, the highly sought-after attacker was deservedly crowned Man of the Match. Engaging movement is a tremendous attribute of Fabio’s, and if the starlet isn’t dipping and zipping into gaps and gullies behind daunted defenders, he’s threading teammates into commanding positions, bypassing obstructions elegantly with both feet, without delay

His first goal was pinpoint, a glancing header across the target that skipped off the turf and into Neil Etheridge’s bottom left corner, however his second was a masterstroke. Shifting infield from the left, Carvalho sidestepped Birmingham’s clambering defenders and on the fringe of the 18, he whirled home a right-footed pearler, out of the ‘keeper’s reach, and all in attendance were instantly wonderstruck. Jorge Mendes is allegedly assisting Carvalho’s brother (his main representative) and it is unknown if the teenager will stay or indeed depart during the January transfer window but as his ceiling is immeasurably high, we’ll relish every flick, spin and fizzer the young prodigy congers up in a division he will not grace for much longer. Whether he remains at Fulham or not, this kid is destined for the elite stage.

Negatives

Stop conceding worldies

We haven’t shipped a terrible amount of goals this season but of late, especially against Birmingham, we are allowing the opposition to twat absolute worldies and I want it to stop. Antoine Semenyo laced a ferocious brace for Bristol City and on Tuesday, on the stroke of half time, Birmingham pulled back an astonishing consolation, rifled in by Ivan Sunjic from a ridiculous angle as we all slurped a half-time pint of flat piss on an overly crowded concourse. Never mind, I suppose, but the Blues’ weren’t quite done yet.

In the 74th minute, just before Carvalho replied immediately, Gary Gardener let the ball slip across his planted foot and with the other, he hammered into the bottom right with venom from 35 yards. Marek Rodak flailed in the shockwave, and while it’s not really a complaint that even matters come the final whistle, I just want opposing efforts to sail into the Thames, like they used to do. Surely, taking nothing away from devastating the contact itself, we can do something to impede these thunderbastards from afar? Conceding two wasn’t detrimental, and if truth be told, this isn’t even a credible negative because I can’t actually think of a proper one, although I’m duty-bound to moan at least once per piece and, as it isn’t Fulham stretching the net with ballistic missiles, I’ll sob for the sake of it.