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Fulham’s top 10 victories over the traditional ‘top six’

Written by Colm O'Donnell on 4th January 2024

(Photo Credit: Jon Hall)

Following the Cottagers’ New Year’s Eve victory over Arsenal, Colm O’Donnell takes a look at the top 10 times Fulham got one over the ‘big guns’ in the Premier League.

10. Fulham 1 – 0 Liverpool – 5 May 2007

Fulham were under pressure coming into the business end of the season in 2007. Chris Coleman had been relieved of his duties and Lawrie Sanchez was caretaker manager.

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Fulham hadn’t won in 11 games and Liverpool were coming to town ahead of their appearance in the Champions League final. A big performance was needed and what a perfect time for Clint Dempsey to open his Fulham account with a strike in the 69th minute. Liverpool rested nine players in preparation for the Final but still had a strike force of Fowler and Bellamy who had chances to score. Antti Niemi stood up, however, and was more than a match for them. Although not mathematically safe, these three points were the ones that guaranteed Fulham’s safety for another year.

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9. Fulham 2 – 0 Liverpool – 22 November 2005

In the week that Fulham’s greatest son, Johnny Haynes, died, what better way to pay tribute than to claim a huge scalp by beating that year’s Champions League winners, Liverpool at Craven Cottage? Fulham hadn’t won in six games and were under pressure. Step up the magician Claus Jensen who chipped a delightful ball over the top for Collins John to finish and break the deadlock in the 30th minute. It was his third goal in three games. Fulham held on and in the 92nd minute, Luis Boa Morte pounced to finish coolly passed Reina to wrap up the three points. An injury to Mark Crossley even meant that former Liverpool stopper Tony Warner finished the game in goals.

8. Liverpool 0 – 1 Fulham – 7 March 2021

2021 was a strange year for football. Fans weren’t allowed inside stadiums for the majority of the season which gave way to some eerie television viewing with all the sounds from the stadium audible in your living room. The roar from Scott Parker when the full-time whistle went in Anfield is a memorable one. Fulham spent most of this season threatening to do something. While performances were OK, Fulham couldn’t get the wins on the board and Parkerball seemed to be restricting them.

A trip to the reigning Premier League champions seemed a tough task but a wonderful Mario Lemina strike on the stroke of halftime meant Fulham would walk away with all three points. The win put Fulham level on points with 17th-placed Brighton and hope was there that this was the start of Fulham’s climb. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and this was their last victory of the season. The win will live long in the memory though as an indication of what could have been.

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7. Fulham 2 – 1 Arsenal – 2 January 2012

With Martin Jol at the helm, the 2011/12 season proved to work out quite successfully for Fulham with them achieving a ninth-placed finish. The first half of the season wasn’t spectacular and had a bottom-half-of-the-table finish written all over it. The catalyst for the turnaround – a dramatic late victory over Arsenal on 2 January. The Gunners had only lost once in their last 12 outings and were daring to dream that this was their year.

Laurent Koscielny kept that dream alive in the 20th minute when he headed the ball home to give them the lead. Fulham were hanging on and should’ve been behind by more at halftime. They improved in the second half and Johan Djourou’s sending off in the 78th minute gave Fulham hope. The Cottagers unleashed a barrage of attacks and they finally got their reward in the 85th minute when former Arsenal man Steve Sidwell headed home to draw them level. There was another sting in the tail though, as Bobby Zamora volleyed home from close range in injury time to secure a famous win for the Whites and set them off on a run up the table.

6. Fulham 2 – 1 Arsenal – 31 December 2023

The most recent entry and the very reason we’re putting this list together. Recency bias tells me to put this at number one, but I have resisted the temptation. Fulham had been going through a bit of a rollercoaster spell, having recorded two 5-0 wins in a row followed by three losses with no goals. A big performance was needed and by God, we got one.

The returning Raul Jimenez and Willian were instrumental in the fightback after going 1-0 down. A wonderfully worked goal which Jimenez finished superbly in the first half, followed by a Bobby De Cordova-Reid winner in the second half after a bit of pinball in the Arsenal box meant the Whites were ringing in the New Year by denying their London rivals top spot. The win pushed Fulham nine points clear of the relegation zone.

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5. Fulham 1 – 0 Chelsea – 19 March 2006

In March 2006, Chelsea made the short trip to Craven Cottage as they powered their way to the Premier League title. They received more than a fright at the Cottage though as Fulham overturned them by a goal to nil thanks to a Boa Morte strike in the 17th minute. 10 minutes later Jose Mourinho responded by taking the unusual step of replacing Joe Cole and Shaun Wright Phillips after just 26 minutes.

Chelsea exploded into life in their new 4-4-2 formation but Fulham kept them out. Although Chelsea did have the ball in the net when Mark Crossley had a rush of blood to the head and Didier Drogba went around him to slide the ball into the empty net. The assistant referee, however, spotted a handball in the build-up and the goal was disallowed. William Gallas received a red card in injury time ensuring victory which all but secured the Cottagers place in the Premier League.

4. Fulham 3 – 2 Liverpool – 23 November 2002

Fulham’s first big Premier League scalp came in their temporary home of Loftus Road in the 2002/03 season – only their second-ever season in the top flight competition. Liverpool had been top of the league in the previous weeks but a Facundo Sava hat-trick (debatable) managed to bring them back to reality. It only took five minutes for Fulham to get off the mark when the Argentine pounced on a Dudek fumble to smash home. His second came as a Sean Davis strike cannoned off him into the net. Following a trademark Hamman thunderbolt into the top corner, the Man in the Mask re-established Fulham’s two-goal cushion. An Alain Goma red card and a Milan Baros strike in the 85th minute led to a few nervy moments but Fulham held on to secure a memorable victory.

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3. Fulham 3 – 0 Manchester Utd – 19 December 2009

In the season Fulham went all the way to the Europa League final, they also took a few scalps in the Premier League. Murphy capitalising on a rare Paul Scholes mistake, to place a shot into the bottom corner, Zamora powering home from close range and a wonderful volley from Damien Duff saw the Whites comfortably beat second-placed United at the Cottage. From the off, Fulham were the better team and the result never looked in doubt. And in all honesty, it should’ve been more with Zamora and Gera both having great chances saved by Tomasz Kuszczak. This was the second time in a row Fulham had beaten the Champions and they were good value for both victories.

2. Fulham 2 – 0 Manchester Utd – 21 March 2009

In 2009, the reigning European Champions came to Craven Cottage on their quest to retain the Premier League title. Having not beaten United at home in 45 years, the odds were stacked against Fulham with the Rooney, Ronaldo partnership in its pomp. 18 minutes in and when Paul Scholes stopped Bobby Zamora’s goalward-bound header with his two hands, a penalty and red card were dished out. Danny Murphy stepped up and calmly slotted home to the top corner, meaning Fulham could start to believe.

They dominated the rest of the half but squandered chances to double the lead. United came out fighting in the second half and Fulham’s nerves were jangling. Mark Schwarzer made an incredible triple save before Zoltan Gera stepped up with the most acrobatic of finishes to secure the three points. The drama didn’t end there though as Wayne Rooney received a second yellow card for throwing the ball in the direction of the referee, leaving us with the overriding memory of the boy wonder punching the corner flag while marching back down the tunnel. United would regain their composure that season and go on to win their third Premier League title in a row.

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1. Manchester Utd 1 – 3 Fulham – 25 October 2003

The only time Fulham have won at Old Trafford in the Premier League and the first time in 40 years, they managed to complete that feat in any competition. The Red Devils boasted the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, and the man known as the Portuguese Clint Dempsey, Cristiano Ronaldo. Fulham had Edwin van der Sar, Louis Saha, and Luis Boa Morte. Manchester Utd were in dominant form that season so far having not conceded a goal at Old Trafford but it only took Lee Clark three minutes.

Malbranque broke down the right in the penalty area to square a ball for Clark who made no mistake from four yards out. A dream start! Normality seemed to be restored as Forlan drew United level just before half time but Steed Malbranque had other ideas putting Fulham back in front on 66. Junichi Inamoto was sprung from the bench to compound United’s woes to make it 3-1 in the 79th minute. The victory was made all the more memorable as the Whites were kitted out in their greatest-ever jersey.

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