Five Thoughts: Fulham 2-2 QPR

Daniel Powell 18th March 2018
Marcus Bettinelli was probably Fulham's best player on Saturday (Photo: Rex Features)

Fulham’s draw with QPR on St. Patrick’s Day has thrown up all sorts of talking points, both negative and positive. Daniel Powell breaks it down with his five key takeaways from the 2-2 against the noisy neighbours from up the road.

Well, this is strange. I’m about to write an article that might actually feature one or two negative points. Since joining Fulhamish in January, we’ve been almost absolutely perfect, and as such, I’ve had nothing but praise for just how brilliant the team and coaching staff have been. But here goes!

Bettinelli is Underrated

Let’s start with the positives, and without Marcus Bettinelli in goal yesterday I’m quite confident we’d have lost that game. I’ve held a view for a while that he is better than David Button, and fans should get off his back. It can be no coincidence that in two seasons running, our form has drastically improved since the goalkeeper has been changed, surely?

This isn’t to slaughter Button either – he’s somebody that I feel was over-criticised and harshly treated by fans. However, you cannot doubt the impact of Marcus on the game yesterday, and I hope he keeps the No. 1 slot for a while.

Unbeaten Run is Great

Photo: Rex Features

Regardless of the poor performance vs QPR, you have to sit back and admit that 16 games unbeaten in this division is actually, absolutely excellent.

It’s been over three months since we last lost a Championship game, we’ve won 9 home games out of 10, beaten Wolves, Aston Villa, Cardiff and Derby in that time, and have played scintillating football ever since that defeat at Sunderland.

One bad performance in that time doesn’t change the fact that we’ve been almost faultless since December 16th, and I’m still backing the players and Slavisa to get us back to the Premier League.

Cairney back on scoresheet

It’s been an immensely frustrating season for Tom Cairney – but it’s great to see him back on the scoresheet. Having bagged a lovely goal against Sheffield United in early March, it was a great feeling to see his wonderful finish curl past Alex Smithies on Saturday.

Hopefully, the injury can subside for the rest of the season, as in my mind there is no better player in this division when he is fully fit and on top of his game.

Double Substitution…

Now for the negative points. It’s been 24 hours after the game as this is being written, and I’m still at an absolute loss to explain why on earth Slavisa deemed it necessary to bring on Sheyi Ojo and Rui Fonte.

Cairney wasn’t brilliant but I still would have left him on, and Ryan Sessegnon was working well down the left-hand side with Matt Targett – so I don’t really get why those two went off.

But if they were going to go off, surely you replace them with Ollie Norwood and Aboubakar Kamara? Sheyi Ojo wanders onto the pitch, walks around, doesn’t get stuck in and loses the ball constantly (why we ever agreed to a loan deal where we have to play him otherwise we get fined by Liverpool I do not know).

You’ve got to feel for Neeskens Kebano – every time the fella comes on he makes an impact, yet he’s banished from the squad for Ojo who consistently does jack all. As for Fonte, it just hasn’t worked out, has it? £9m looks like a pretty poor piece of business.

His effort and desire is unquestionable but I just cannot see anything there. Kamara was hitting form and playing well before being dropped for Mitrovic, and personally, AK gets in over Fonte every single day for me.

International Break

I think the international break (although I can’t stand it) is coming at a good time – it will give a lot of our players a two-week rest before heading into the business end of the season, and means we’ll have more time to work on the training ground and perfect things.

Bring on Norwich City at Carrow Road!

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