Fulham – West Ham: Hard-luck Fulham didn’t win again but also didn’t lose again, picking up its eighth draw in 11 matches in a rain-soaked split with West Ham United at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
West Ham finished with 10 men when Tomas Soucek’s apparently accidental elbow to the head of Aleksandar Mitrovic was deemed a sending-off after a long pitchside monitor review of the incident by referee Mike Dean.
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Fulham hasn’t won since Nov. 30 — a run of 12 matches — but has only lost thrice in its last 11. Goals have been too scarce and that has Scott Parker’s men eight points back of 17th-place Burnley.
David Moyes’ Irons won’t be happy with the point but will concede that they were lucky to get one on wet day in West London. West Ham is 5-1-1 since the calendar turned to 2021 and sits fifth with 39 points.
Three things we learned from Fulham – West Ham
1. Everything but goals and that could doom Cottagers: Fulham plays solid at the back and has a serviceable midfield that can be exceptional when Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa is firing (and playing, as Scott Parker did not start the Cameroon international). The Cottagers are also well-drilled regarding their match plans.
But Fulham simply has not delivered enough goals and it’s difficult to watch performances like this — superior to a team well above it on the table — while also remembering safety is so far away. If bottom five sides Fulham, West Brom, Newcastle, Burnley, and Sheffield United played a round-robin tournament, you’d expect the Cottagers to be near the top. Instead they are nine points back of safety despite drawing Spurs, Liverpool, and West Ham plus beating Leicester City.
2. Irons get a point from a dud performance: The Irons were solid enough at the back, too, but their front four of Said Benrahma, Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen, and Michail Antonio had trouble getting going in West London. Antonio worked hard and Benrahma was the brightest of the quartet but it never looked like much was coming for the Irons in the rain-soaked venue.
3. Fulham’s left side would feast with a finisher: American left back Antonee Robinson and English left wing Ademola Lookman were flying up the pitch and providing fine service. There’s another world where Aleksandar Mitrovic is among the Premier League leaders in goals and Fulham is comfortably midtable.
Man of the Match: Ademola Lookman
The Fulham winger could’ve easily had a goal and a couple of assists, with three key passes and five shot attempts. For West Ham, Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek were pretty darn good in the center of the park.
Fulham – West Ham recap
Aaron Cresswell had a promising free kick come to nothing and then Fulham’s Ademola Lookman had a good chance blocked by West Ham, the game promising plenty early.
Lookman then drove the left side and whipped in a cross that turned off Angelo Ogbonna to force Lukasz Fabianski into a tricky save.
Cresswell then sent another cross into the mix but the Irons couldn’t work it on frame.
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Declan Rice tried a clever low drive toward the near post in the 21st, but Fulham keeper Alphonse Areola was wise to it.
Lookman drove a 35th-minute low shot wide of the near post after an incisive feed, and he was nearly the assist man early in the second with a slipped-in pass to Ruben Loftus-Cheek that the Chelsea loanee was unable to chip inside the near post.
Ivan Cavaliero and Loftus-Cheek both missed late chances during the downpour.