Obstructed View – Reflections on the Fulham (H) Game

As I walked towards the ground, the A50 and M6 hadn’t managed to suck out all the spare time I’d got, so the Walton Village Chippy got a visit, and a tray of chips with steak pie atop was to remain my focus for the last 400m walk to Goodison. My focus was on my tray of nectar, only enhanced by not choosing the salt-heavy gravy that would have added some much-needed stability. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted it. A pile of dog poo. Not an unusual occurrence in L4 in my experience, but avoiding action was needed, and as I eased past the stinking mound, my unsecured pie slipped ogg my glistening chips and fell to the floor. In my house, we have a 3 second rule for any food dropped on the floor, and so…….no, relax, I didn’t.

What’s this got to do with Everton thrashing Fulham? Nothing. I was hoping that by typing it out, I’d get a flash of metaphor or analogy inspiration, but no, so I’ve just wasted 30 seconds of your reading patience.

Sig celebrates

Did we really thrash Fulham? The scoreline suggests it, but if Sessegnon, Schurle and Vietto had shown just a little more composure, perhaps things might have been different. I can’t imagine the same outcome if Vardy gets presented with the same chances next weekend. But credit Pickford for closing Sessegnon quickly, and particularly credit him for the impressive dive on a not-that-loose ball off Vietto’s boot. His smother of the ball was reminiscent, not for the first time, of that Southall save at the feet of Ian Rush when he effectively pursued him around the box, flapping at the ball on two or three occasions away from Rush, before finally claiming the ball. It’s great to celebrate a clean sheet for Pickford. In truth, I was surprised given once again how the Everton defence resembled the parting of the Red Sea at least on those three occasions. Still work to do there, that won’t immediately be solved if a Colombian Giant is finally inserted into that back 4, should that ever possibly happen……

Our first 15-20 minutes I thought were quite bright, then we lost focus, and the HT whistle saved us from possible embarrassment. A significantly different second half yielded the goals and the points, and Silva says a fair bit of straight-talking was needed over the cups of tea and the orange segments to make those both happen. DCL’s ability to get between player and ball got the penalty that Sigurdsson inexplicably missed, but credit the Icelandic midfielder for his two brilliantly taken goals that followed, with Cenk’s effort the meat in the sandwich. I thought Sigurdsson was particularly poor against Arsenal, but he stood out against Fulham, and stood up to the mark when others may have gone missing after that awful miss. I’m delighted. I know he had a habit at former Clubs at being Hot then Cold, so we need a Hot Spell now please.

And the roar that greeted Tosun’s goal suggests we anticipate a hot spell from him now please.

cenk scores fulham

The delight not just on his face, but also on the  faces of his team mates just showed what it meant to them, and obviously to him. He’s our best striker by a distance, so we need him to be firing on all cylinders.

Gueye was up there for MotM, his ball winning skills continue to amaze me, and this week he didn’t try to pass any further than about 3 yards, so that worked better too. It was a better base of midfield because of it, and also because of the tireless efforts of Davies, who I thought was solid and reliable, especially after an inexplicable pass to a ball boy early in the second half which might have seen his head go down and as the muttering from not just the Paddock and Lower Bullens, but all around the ground gave more than a hint of an underlying frustration with the lad (key word there: “lad”). But he kept going, I heard him more than before so someone may have told him we expect a more vocal skipper, but also a vocal midfield player. He may just be the player to lose out if and when Gomez makes an entrance, or indeed if Schneiderlin is preferred, but for now, he’s in the team, he’s skippering it for heaven’s sake, so he gets my full support. One can’t help but wonder what that destroyer of talent at Old Trafford would do to the kid.

We go on, a Carabao adventure midweek to get a few fringe players on the pitch for a bit, and who knows, maybe Southampton won’t fancy the trip or fielding their first XI, especially with a visit from Chelsea for them next weekend. And then Leicester next weekend, and as I said earlier, we’ll need to continue to tighten things up, but don’t expect Silva to go there looking for a draw, so same XI for me.

Final thought. If I was a Fulham fan, and the Pie Drop happened to me, I think I’d have had my metaphor right there – looked good, but slipped off the chips at the crucial moment.

Ross Crombie

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