George Rossiter reflects on a vital victory at the AMEX Stadium.
Fulham pulled off the ultimate smash and grab in Sussex with a huge win that took Joao Palhinha’s Cottage’s into sixth place in the Premier League, sitting just three points off the Champions League places. Marco Silva and his men, despite their one game at a time approach, are allowing us fans to dream of something we’d have never thought possible after promotion in May.
As you would expect, in a game where Fulham were majorly under the cosh for the majority of it, Leno had lots to do. First he denied Ferguson after a ball came loose at the edge of the Fulham box half an hour in. Just after the break came a big save from a Solly March effort, and then another from Mac Allister minutes later after a Brighton counter. Any half chance, Leno was equal to, and he thoroughly earned another clean sheet. 8/10.
Lots was made of the battle between two players hot on form in the Premier League. While Tete has been exceptional this season for Fulham, Mitoma has lit up things on the left-wing for Brighton, with 4 goals in his last 7 games. Tete coped admirably with the Japanese winger, winning the majority of 1-on-1 battles and never over-committing. 7.5/10.
I’m yet to see the numbers, but I would imagine Issa Diop is going to be right at the top of the stats lists for blocks and interceptions in the whole league over this weekend. This game, more than ever, showed Diop’s fantastic ability to read the game, and included two or three vital stoppages from Brighton efforts within our own penalty box. 8/10. – Man of the Match.
The longer the game went on, and the more Brighton dominated the play, the more Tim Ream’s class was on show. It’s the sort of game that best demonstrated Ream’s key defensive attributes this season, especially his composure. The American made a key block from a dangerous Veltman effort in the first half amongst other moments. 7.5/10.
Early on, Robinson was prone to a number of misplaced passes as he struggled to cope with the Brighton press, especially from Solly March. As the game progressed, so did the American’s performances. He got forward more, looked more fired up and rose to the occasion in a really important game. 7/10.
Alexis Mac Allister is a World Cup winner who, two months ago, was running the show in a World Cup final. At the AMEX, he was rarely involved, hugely due to the brilliance of Joao Palhinha. The yellow card he received for literally winning the ball was ridiculous, and isn’t the first time he’s unfairly been booked this season. 7/10.
Caicedo, Gross and Mac Allister is a fantastic midfield and full of players in the form of their lives. Harrison Reed didn’t look out of place at battle with them at all, not that that’s too surprising with the levels we have come to expect from the Ginger Iniesta, who was once again fastest to every single loose ball in the midfield at the AMEX. 7/10.
I think Pereira suffered from not having Mitro up front to link up with, not to mention how little Fulham saw of the ball in forward areas throughout the game. His pressing was as good as usual and complemented by the industrious De-Cordova Reid, but the Brazilian struggled to make his mark on the game in general. 6/10.
Some fans were left surprised that Wilson was the man chosen to fill the Mitro-sized hole left in the team over the likes of Manor Solomon and Carlos Vinicius. Wilson did well defensively, providing great cover for Tete, which was vital especially with the overlapping runs of Estupinan. Fulham didn’t attack much in the hour Wilson was on the pitch, so he didn’t see much of the ball in the final third. 6.5/10.
Normally the Brazilian is a standout player on any pitch he graces, but not today. Fulham’s lack of time on the ball, with just 36% possession, rubbed off on Willian who struggled to leave a mark on the game despite the win. Wilson and Decordova-Reid’s defensive work on the right also potentially showed up Willian’s slight lack of defensive cover for Robinson on the other side. 6/10.
Bobby De-Cordova Reid
Bobby had just 6 touches in the first half, none of which were in the box. In fairness, you would be harsh to claim that was the Jamaican’s fault, filling in for Mitrovic as the number 9. It mainly proved Fulham’s need for a focal point. When Bobby moved back out wide, he looked more natural and provided great support for Kenny Tete as per usual. 6.5/10.
Carlos Vinicius (62’ for Harry Wilson)
Provided a much needed focal point in attack and made use of his limited touches, providing the assist for the winning goal too. 7/10.
Manor Solomon (82’ for Andreas Pereira)
Provided pace that Fulham were lacking, which helped him latch onto Vinicius’ pass and coolly slot past Sanchez to bag the winner. The Israeli Messi now has two goals in two Premier League games and can’t be far away from a start in Silva’s side. 7.5/10.