Well, well, well. Match winner Kieran Trippier! Who’d have thunk it. Serge Aurier must be afraid that he’s never going to play an important game again, Eriksen must think his free-kick and corner duties are over, Fulham must be thinking WTF?!
The first half was all us with the three at the back, Toby, Jan and Sanchez looking confident and mostly unruffled. Fulham had a speculative poke from Cairney from range that forced Hugo into action and also worked a good one on one where Sessegnon was foiled but apart from that they struggled to maintain possession. Moura and Kane spurned a couple of chances each and Davies, Eriksen and Dele also went close.
Just before half-time Moura scored his first league goal for us with a beautiful left footed curler from the edge of the box after a weak clearance following an Eriksen run into the box.
The second half though, a different kettle of fish.
The Cottagers changed their shape and Trippier’s dominance down the right hand side was negated. Sessegnon moved over to his side and all of a sudden the boy wonder, Cairney and Seri were finding time and space. Mitrovic hit the post and then scored after Sessegnon miscued from Bryan’s (?) cross. That was on about the hour mark.
For the next five-ten minutes we struggled as Fulham threatened to be the next team to score. We’d lost the midfield and when that happens, there’s only one man to call on. Oooh Mousa Dembélé!
Sanchez was withdrawn and the sub was cheered on by both sets of fans. We switched to a 4-3-3 and normal service was resumed. Dembélé was dominant, Fulham had no answer and we were on top for the remainder of the game.
Moura battled for the ball and was fouled twenty-five to thirty yards out. Trippier’s Beckhamesque strike curled over the wall, right to left, and hit the side of the inside of the net before it hit the back. Cue much amazement and relief.
Lamela had just replaced Dier and it was his driving run a few minutes later that led to a classic Kane goal; a touch to control, a touch to put a defender off balance and then a low carefully placed shot past Fabri’s despairing left hand.
As per last week it was a largely satisfactory performance but there was room for improvement. We allowed far too many chances to be created against us whilst not being clinical enough with the ones we made. Toby’s return is welcome and will have given Poch much food for thought ahead of next week’s visit to Old Trafford. It may be telling that it was Sanchez who was sacrificed for the formation change.
Great to see Winks back, an injury free season from him would be like a…. you know the rest.
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