Analysis of the goals conceded against Fulham (30/01)
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A disasterous performance!
Unfortunately the clips that I’ve managed to find don’t show the full passage of play in all of it’s hideous glory. For those that didn’t see it, Dawson plays a pass to Hutton without looking, and Dempsey nips in to take advantage. Hutton manages to shepherd him wide, and it seems like the danger has been averted.
Hutton then suddenly makes a tackle with his left foot (1. he should stay on his feet, and 2. why not his right?!), totally missing the ball, and instead tripping Dempsey. It’s unfortunately a nailed-on penalty.
Murphy is an excellent penalty taker, but this isn’t his finest effort. It still nestles in the corner, though.
From bad to worse.
Dawson is in possession on the edge of the box, with Dembele (who is quite quick) pressing.
Inexplicably he tries a Cruyff turn to try to retain possession.
Dembele steals the ball, and bursts into the box.
Dawson makes a desperate grab for his shirt. Credit to Dembele – he plays on and gets a shot away. Phil Dowd however pulls play back, awards the penalty, and sends Dawson off. Some have argued that Bassong was coming round on the cover, and that a red card was harsh – I have to disagree. The fact that Dembele got a shot away unchallenged in spite of having his shirt pulled illustrates that this was a clear goal-scoring opportunity and, by the letter of the law, it was the correct decision.
Murphy passes this one into the other corner with ease.
Another poor piece of defending, this time from a set piece. Clearly shaken by the events of the previous few minutes, our defence totally loses concentration. Duff’s corner to the near post is flicked on by, of all people, Andrew Johnson, who has easily lost Assou-Ekotto.
Bassong is marking the danger man, Hangeland.
But Bassong is watching the ball, and not paying close attention to what Hangeland is doing.
This leaves a painfully simple tap-in at the back post. Shambolic!
Bassong’s day doesn’t get much better, as he picks up from where Dawson left off.
He has followed Dembele to the halfway line (after Sandro was taken off, we had no dedicated holding midfield player as such, with Modric generally the deepest).
Dembele faces Bassong up – he can clearly see a huge space in behind him, and fancies his chances.
A slight shimmy is all it takes.
He’s round Bassong, and running at Gallas, who now has to leave his man and come across.
Watching the video shows how Bassong just ambles back – he’s totally given up on retrieving the situation. Gallas comes across, but doesn’t do enough to stop him getting the shot away.
Another slight sideways movement is enough to buy Dembele the space to unleash the shot, and he plants it in the bottom corner. Is Gomes at full stretch? Hard to blame him really, it’s pretty well struck. A very poor piece of decision-making from Bassong, and then a real lack of desire to get back and make the challenge.
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He usually plays these to Ekotot who has the skill to make himself space.
Dawson does not.
Fulham pressed us high up the pitch until they were three goals up and then packed everyone behind the ball.
Game set and match to Hughes on the field, in his head, and on the chalkboards before the game.
Not the first time we've self destructed early in a game but no Bale to 'bail' us out if you will excuse the pun.