George Rossiter reflects on Fulham’s victory in the Last 16 of the FA Cup.
For the first time in 13 years, Fulham are into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and just one game away from a potential Wembley semi-final. Despite making 7 changes, it was a strong side put out by Marco Silva, whose team produced not one, but two sumptuous strikes. While the mood was tense at the Cottage amidst some rather outrageous ticket prices, Fulham sent the home crowd home happy and dreaming of potential FA Cup glory.
It feels extremely harsh being critical of a goalkeeper who keeps a clean sheet and makes a number of saves, especially when he finds his minutes so limited in this side. But that lack of game time did seem evident, with a number of nervy parries back into dangerous areas from Leeds efforts and an inability to come off his line and claim balls into the box. Again, credit where it’s due to Rodak for his saves that gained a clean sheet, but certainly not a perfect performance. 6.5/10.
Not the worst of full debuts for the Portuguese loanee, and it was good to see Cedric pretty much play the full 90 after a lack of minutes this season at Arsenal. The right-back was lively, willing to take the ball and overall had a good game. There were moments where his touch and final cross weren’t perfect but there were enough signs here that we’ve signed a very capable squad player. 7/10.
Filled in well for Issa Diop. While Diop is nowhere near close to being dropped, it’s hugely reassuring to know a man of Tosin’s obvious ability is in and around the squad. Took Diop’s role of being the aggressor of the defensive line, moving the ball forward and carrying possession into midfield on more than one occasion. 7/10.
It’s really impressive how a 35-year old Tim Ream is playing multiple games a week and his level simply isn’t dropping. The American continues to set the standard at the football club and that cannot be understated. Another solid performance, culminating in a number of blocks off the line late on as Leeds pressed for a way back into the game. 7.5/10.
Started the game playing higher up than in most Premier League games, constantly linking well with Solomon and offering a good overlapping option down the left-hand side. There were a few occasions where it left Jedi high up the pitch when Leeds tried to counter, but his speed often made up for it and Summerville rarely got any joy on that wing. 7/10.
A common theme at the moment is wanting to do nothing but praise Palhinha, except for his passing, which is slowly showing itself to be a slight weak point. Palhinha’s passing is not poor, it just seems to be 50-50 as to whether they come off. Anyway, who cares? The man scored an absolute screamer from 30 yards after doing what he does best and retaining possession in the middle of the pitch, what a man. 7.5/10.
A really assured full debut from the Serb. Lukic offers an extremely calm presence in the middle of the pitch, his tall frame and silky passing provides an option in Silva’s squad that is likely to compliment whichever two other midfielders are in the side on any given day. Like Cedric, he’ll be another brilliant addition to this squad. 7/10.
It feels harsh, but Pereira looked like a man who could’ve done with a rest this evening. Admittedly Cairney’s injury and Harris’s lack of experience probably would’ve made that hard to do, but the Brazilian struggled to get on the ball too often, especially in the first half. 6/10.
There is no doubting that Wilson is yet to reach his levels that he hit in the title-winning 2021/22 Championship title-winning season. However, there are signs, including in this game, that he’s nearly there. The end product hasn’t quite come, but the first touches, bursts of pace past defenders and crosses into the box all continue to improve. 6.5/10.
Watching the skill of Solomon really is a pleasure, week in, week out. Every time the Israeli winger gets the ball, he looks dangerous. Solomon constantly gets past his defender with the cutest of touches just as a challenge comes in. And it’s now 4 in 4 for Manor, with a sublime goal almost identical to that of his effort against Wolves last Friday. The boy is absolutely magic. 8/10. – Man of the match.
A hugely reassuring performance from the big Serb, who quite frankly some wouldn’t have expected to play tonight. He looked mobile and always willing, if the ball wasn’t coming to him (which it wasn’t at all first half), he was going to it. A nice assist for Solomon’s goal was the cherry on top of a really promising 70 minutes, of which Mitro was unlucky not to have a goal of his own. 7.5/10.
Carlos Vinicius (69’ for Aleksandar Mitrovic)
Came on and added a good energy to the frontline. Didn’t see much of the ball as Fulham had the game won, but there wasn’t a lack of effort or notable drop in quality to speak of. 6/10.
Bobby De-Cordova Reid (81’ for Manor Solomon), Harrison Reed (81’ for Joao Palhinha), Willian (81’ for Harry Wilson), and Kenny Tete (89’ for Cedric) came on too late to be fairly judged, especially with the lack of the ball Fulham had in the final 10 minutes as Leeds looked for a consolation.