Ben Jarman assesses Fulham’s late victory at home against Southampton.
Hello and welcome to the Canadian Edition™ of the Fulhamish player ratings. A 6:50am wake-up call was on the cards as a flying Fulham team took on struggling Southampton in treacherous conditions at Craven Cottage. The Whites would be looking to build on a memorable Boxing Day victory with three points at home, and through a late Joao Palhinha header they secured just that!
Fulham started the game with a brilliant tribute to World Cup winner George Cohen, and 90 minutes later secured a victory that he would have been proud of. Ultimately, it wasn’t plain sailing for the Whites. The quality of the game overall was not what you’d expect from Marco Silva’s Fulham, with Southampton pressuring high and pushing Fulham into mistakes.
Three moments of magic defined the game and special praise must be given to James Ward-Prowse’s exquisite free-kick that was, ultimately, more enjoyable than the Shreddies I was eating at the time. Here’s to the ratings then…
Honestly, how did Fulham sign Leno for £3M and some skittles? The general consensus is that fans don’t talk about goalkeepers when they’re doing a great job, and that’s what Leno is doing. His flurry of first half saves underlined how great, and dependable, he is for Fulham. Critics and cynics may say that he could have positioned his wall differently for the JWP free-kick, but no keeper was stopping that. Once again a solid showing from the German, 7/10.
Kung-Fu Kenny is a little like Leno; solid and dependable. He was exactly that today. Brilliant in one-on-one’s and spot-on with his tackling against a lively opponent in Edozie. It’s “beautiful basics” from Tete every week, and it works – tackle well, distribute confidently and those wicked crosses. Great near-post flick for the goal. 7/10
Diop has been great in recent weeks, but in the words of Tom Skinner he was “a little bit shaky” today. Southampton really put him under pressure, and the presence of Che Adams disrupted the usually reliable distribution. There was a sense of calm about Diop, but one that exuded an air of laziness. Did well in isolated situations though. 6/10
Starting to run out of superlatives for Tim. Honestly, what a 2022 from him. So brilliantly consistent on a weekly basis, today was another example. Exceptionally smooth on the ball at all times and imperious with distribution. In a game that needed calm and presence Tim provided just that. Wouldn’t look anywhere near out of place in a Guardiola team, and if he was 10 years younger would be there. 7.5/10
As usual, was a good outlet for Fulham down the left-hand side. His relationship with Willian seems to be growing closer on a weekly basis. Unfortunately was let-down by crossing in attacking areas. The battle with Kyle Walker-Peters was intriguing, and ultimately, neither speedster got the better of the other – at this time, based on form, would expect Robinson to win these battles. 6/10
In a frenetic game of quick touches, darting runs and poor decisions Palhinha stood out, once again. His quality on the ball coupled with exquisite reading of the game has Palhinha turning heads all around the Premier League. Today, he took the game by the scruff of the neck, beating out James Ward-Prowse and Elyounoussi. The game-winning goal was befitting of another great performance from the Portuguese – his determination, power and strength powering the ball past a hapless Bazunu to secure the three points. 8/10 Man of the Match
Harrison Reed has many days, but against his old club, today was not one of those. Reed had a brilliant chance to win the battle against Ward-Prowse, but was marginally outclassed by the England international. Whilst his usual industry was not lacking, the passing quality that fans are so used to was not there today. Southampton locked in on Reed and made it hard for him to assert his presence on the game. 6.5/10
An in-and-out display from Andreas, but largely dictated by the quality of the game. Once again Fulham’s pet piece specialist came up trumps with a wonderful volley from the edge of the area to break the deadlock. Andreas has been a revelation for Fulham, and if he did score more, his output would be up there with the likes of De Bruyne. Southampton’s switch to a back-three crowded the middle of the pitch, limiting space for the playmakers. 7/10
Bobby De Cordova-Reid
Coming off the back of a classy outing against Palace, BDR was lively once again. His persistence against Ainsley Maitland-Niles wasn’t rewarded with a goal, nor an assist, but credit should be given for the chances Bobby created for Andreas, Willian and Mitrovic. 6.5/10
Rapidly growing into a lynchpin for Fulham’s success – whilst he does not possess the lightning pace that he was famous for in his Chelsea days, Willian’s ability to use the ball and create chances in nearly unmatched in our ranks. Relationship with Robinson is becoming telepathic at times, which in turn frees Willian to create danger from inside positions. Two assists in two games. 7/10
A tough day at the office for Mitrovic. Nathan Jones moved to a back-three today to counter the attacking threat of the Serbian, and to an extent it worked. The battle between Mitrovic and Bella-Kotchap was hard-fought, as they clashed three times in the first half alone. Whilst the game around him was lacking in quality on the ball, Mitrovic’s link-up play was smoother than most and his strength continued to bring others into play. Unfortunately a performance capped by a woeful penalty. 6/10
Tom Cairney: In a game that needed a quality and a spark, TC bought exactly that. His link-up play with Willian excellent. 7/10
Dan James: My notes just say “meh…” and that’s it really. Poor passing. Absolutely pummelled for the penalty. 5/10
Tosin Adarabioyo: Miss you x