sports

Wasteful Fulham frustrated by Crystal Palace in shutout


Fulham missed the chance to move within a point of fellow Premier League strugglers Newcastle and Brighton after being held to a goalless draw at Crystal Palace.

There was little to choose between the teams in a first half lacking in entertainment but the visitors came to life in the second, fashioning numerous chances to leave Selhurst Park with all three points.

Josh Maja curled narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area before forcing Vicente Guaita into a one-handed save with a close-range header from Ivan Cavaleiro’s delivery.

Joachim Andersen had a header blocked and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also went close, drilling a powerful effort wide of Guaita’s left-hand post.

Palace were virtually non-existent as an attacking force, registering just three attempts and failing to test Alphonse Areola in the Fulham goal.

The draw lifts Scott Parker’s Cottagers to 23 points – three behind 17th-placed Newcastle – while the Eagles are 10 points above the relegation zone in 13th.

Joachim Andersen, Fulham, Crystal Palace
Joachim Andersen went close for Fulham on several occasions but failed to find a way past Crystal Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita

Missed opportunity for Fulham

Fulham arrived at Selhurst Park with the wind firmly in their sails, having reduced the gap on 17th-placed Newcastle from 10 points to just three going into this weekend’s round of fixtures.

The Magpies’ 1-1 draw with Wolves, coupled with Brighton’s 1-0 reverse at West Brom, opened the door for Fulham to pile even more pressure on the two teams directly above them but, not for the first time this season, they failed to make the most of several promising opportunities.

Parker’s team pressed their opponents relentlessly and enjoyed the majority of possession in the early stages, but the closest they came to a first-half opener was when Andersen headed Ademola Lookman’s free-kick over the crossbar.

The visitors mustered 14 efforts in the second half alone as they laid siege to the Palace goal, but a combination of wayward finishing, last-ditch defending and good goalkeeping from Guaita kept the Cottagers at bay.

Maja signalled Fulham’s intent after half-time with a speculative long-range effort that flew straight into Guaita’s arms, but the 22-year-old will be disappointed not to have converted one of two golden opportunities later in the half.

The Bordeaux loanee failed to hit the target after cutting on to his left foot on the edge of the area before being denied by a strong left-handed save by the Palace goalkeeper.

Andersen, Loftus-Cheek and Cavaleiro all went close for the Cottagers, but there was no way through for Parker’s side.

With games against Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City coming up, the Fulham boss may well see this as a missed opportunity in their battle to avoid the drop.

Toothless Palace lack spark

Palace were accused of committing “a robbery” against rivals Brighton last Monday, when Christian Benteke sealed a late smash-and-grab victory with only their second effort on target.

The Eagles almost enjoyed another slice of luck here when Andros Townsend’s teasing cross was flicked towards his own goal by Andersen, but Areola was alert to the danger.

That was the closest Roy Hodgson’s side went to getting on the scoresheet.

Benteke – restored to the starting line-up after scoring that late winner at Amex Stadium – cut an isolated figure in attack, despite the support of Eberechi Eze in a central role behind the Belgium striker.

Hodgson will be desperate to have Wilfried Zaha back to face former club Manchester United on Wednesday. The Ivory Coast forward has missed the past three games with a muscle injury but recently returned to first-team training.

Cottagers extend unbeaten away run – the stats

  • Crystal Palace have picked up four points from their past two Premier League games (W1 D1) despite having just six shots and facing 41.
  • Fulham are unbeaten in their past seven Premier League games on the road (W1 D6), their longest such run without defeat away from home in the competition.
  • Fulham are now winless in their past 21 London derby matches in the Premier League (D4 L17), with only Crystal Palace between 1969 and 1973 suffering a longer such winless run in top-flight history.
  • After only one of Fulham’s first 21 Premier League games under Scott Parker ended level, they have since drawn 10 of their past 15 league matches (W2 L3).
  • Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson remains unbeaten during his managerial career against Fulham (W3 D4).
  • During February, Crystal Palace managed just 33 attempts in their five matches – this is the lowest number of shots recorded by a team in a single Premier League month of at least five games since the start of the 2003-04 campaign.

‘I can’t praise the players enough’ – what they said

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson: “I’m very satisfied. Fulham are playing very well and are a good team. We knew we would be under pressure for large parts of the game.

“We are realists. I still think we can do more with the ball sometimes but that’s dependent on the opposition as well. They don’t give you a lot of time on the ball but the way we dug in is very commendable.

“I can’t praise the players enough for the work-rate. We have got a lot of players to come back into the team. These players need a rest too.”

Fulham manager Scott Parker: “There were some big chances today. In the first half we didn’t really assert ourselves and lacked a threat. We changed that at half-time.

“Positionally we changed it in attack a little bit. We cut through the lines and put people in positions in the second half. Of course we wanted three points, but we got one.

“I was very pleased defensively. We saw that last game against Brighton that Palace are always in games. We nullified that very well. The missing part was of course the goal.”

What’s next?

Crystal Palace host Manchester United on Wednesday, 3 March (20:15 GMT), before Fulham welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Craven Cottage the following evening (18:00).

Player of the match

Loftus-CheekRuben Loftus-Cheek

Crystal Palace

  1. Squad number24Player nameCahill

  2. Squad number31Player nameGuaita

  3. Squad number10Player nameTownsend

  4. Squad number2Player nameWard

  5. Squad number8Player nameKouyaté

  6. Squad number25Player nameEze

  7. Squad number44Player nameRiedewald

  8. Squad number9Player nameJ Ayew

  9. Squad number20Player nameBenteke

  10. Squad number3Player namevan Aanholt

  11. Squad number22Player nameMcCarthy

  12. Squad number4Player nameMilivojevic

Fulham

  1. Squad number15Player nameLoftus-Cheek

  2. Squad number19Player nameLookman

  3. Squad number5Player nameAndersen

  4. Squad number27Player nameMaja

  5. Squad number1Player nameAreola

  6. Squad number21Player nameReed

  7. Squad number34Player nameAina

  8. Squad number16Player nameTosin

  9. Squad number14Player nameDe Cordova-Reid

  10. Squad number2Player nameTete

  11. Squad number33Player nameRobinson

  12. Squad number29Player nameZambo Anguissa

  13. Squad number17Player nameCavaleiro

  14. Squad number9Player nameMitrovic

Line-ups

Crystal Palace

Formation 4-3-3

  • 31Guaita
  • 2Ward
  • 8Kouyaté
  • 24Cahill
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 44Riedewald
  • 4MilivojevicBooked at 55mins
  • 25EzeSubstituted forMcCarthyat 79′minutes
  • 9J Ayew
  • 20Benteke
  • 10Townsend

Substitutes

  • 1Butland
  • 6Dann
  • 14Mateta
  • 22McCarthy
  • 23Batshuayi
  • 27Mitchell
  • 34Kelly
  • 38Hannam

Fulham

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Areola
  • 2Tete
  • 5Andersen
  • 16Tosin
  • 34AinaSubstituted forRobinsonat 45′minutesBooked at 83mins
  • 21Reed
  • 29Zambo AnguissaSubstituted forMitrovicat 73′minutes
  • 14De Cordova-ReidSubstituted forCavaleiroat 66′minutes
  • 15Loftus-Cheek
  • 19Lookman
  • 27Maja

Substitutes

  • 9Mitrovic
  • 13Ream
  • 17Cavaleiro
  • 18Lemina
  • 23Bryan
  • 25Onomah
  • 30Kongolo
  • 31Fabri
  • 33Robinson

Live Text

Around the BBC - SoundsAround the BBC footer - Sounds





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more