You can sometimes feel your life ebbing away when watching Fulham. The last thing you can say is that they broke the mould when they made Dempsey, Murphy, Duff or Davies as they all play like clones of each other. They tippy tap passes around very neatly in the middle but due to the lack of speed and directness there’s never any promise of an end product so you just watch and wait for the breakthrough which eventually comes, and when it does it’s inevitably at the other end.

Having said that, after Bale’s flicked header from Van der Vaart’s free kick put us ahead, they weren’t far short of forcing an equaliser in this one.  In general their love of putting the ball down the channels between the centre halves and full backs and chasing it was easily coped with by an in form Gallas and Dawson but in the second half firstly Duff got on to the end of a Baird long ball and hoofed it into the crowd and then Johnson ran across Gallas to force Gomes into a low save. Dawson untangled the ball from his feet in the six yard area just in time to clear the rebound before Dempsey arrived. There was pressure at the end but we looked more like extending our lead on the break than conceding.

Before the game the talk was of Beckham and shirt sales and afterwards it was of tiredness and jokes about playing better with ten men.  This was three points battled for rather than stylishly won as  very few of the players in front of the back four played with their customary reliability or panache. The attack was led by Modric and Lennon whilst Pav, Bale & Van der Vaart struggled with touch and possession. Palacios was equally guilty but as usual received more than his fair share of displeasure from the home crowd. Modric was once again a class above in midfield, belying his size with a series of confident and clever runs past and through those in the Fulham centre. In general those ahead of him failed to make good use of his efforts. Lennon as I say was the exception but he should’ve done better a couple of times and helped make our lead more comfortable.

A tough game at Goodison on Wednesday evening awaits. Hutton went off in the first half today and Gallas was struggling at the end. The rest of the players will have a few days to gird their loins and get ready for battle. Nine points from nine in the festive fixtures so far is a great return and one that experienced Spurs at Christmas watchers wouldn’t expect. By the time our next home league game comes around we may have some new faces in the line up or warming the bench. Experienced watchers of the not very publicity shy Beckham will note that that game is televised and is against Man United.


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