First of all please forgive me for the appalling pun in the title but I just couldn't help myself. If someone had told me before the start of the season that after 6 games we would be 3 points behind Manchester united then I would have expected a fairly positive and trouble free set of opening results accompanied by a rather upbeat atmosphere around Craven Cottage. What in fact we now have a club in crisis where the majority are keen to see a change in management and feel that Jol has had his last chance to shape a group of players who at times barely resemble a team.
The fact that the last home win in the league was on April 1st is probably the most worrying statistic especially for a club who have primarily based their success on good form. While a home defeat to Arsenal is forgivable, a draw at home to West Brom is disappointing and a loss at home to newly promoted Cardiff is unforgivable. Everyone was expecting to kick on from last Tuesdays come back against Everton and re establish ourselves as a force at home but yet again this just didn't happen.
Admittedly in the first few games we had looked sluggish going forward but this weekend in defence we displayed an equal level of incompetence that had not been previously as evident. Hangeland had one of his worst games in a Fulham shirt and seemed a shadow of the towering giant we are used to. As club captain the Norwegian appears far less vocal on the pitch since the arrival of Parker and seems to have delegated the responsibility despite continuing to wear the armband. With Parker being subbed after only a few minutes on Saturday it may not be as much of a surprise that as a team we lacked any form of organisation or routine when defending set pieces as well as in most other areas of the pitch.
Were it not for a rare piece of genius from Bryan Ruiz just before half time I suspect that the reception that greeted the players as they left for the break would have been as inhospitable as it was at the final whistle. It must have been a rather humbling moment for Kacaniklic to be subbed before half time for "tactical reasons" but he can draw strength from the fact that it could have been any of 5\6 players that may have been hauled off for Ruiz at that stage. The Costa Rican showed signs of the form that many of us have always believed he is capable of and in his post match comments spoke about the desire to fight and play for his manager although at this stage it all seems the case of to little to late.
Many gave Jol credit for a substitution that made an instant impact although it was another of his changes that perhaps prevented us from grabbing a winner. Having replaced Darren Bent minutes before, we were presented with a chance when Richardson broke down the left and drilled a ball across the 6 yard box. There is no doubt that it was exactly the type of opportunity the England international thrives on but in contrast his strike partner Berbatov, who remained on the pitch, didn't even make it in to the six yard box to contest the ball. In fact despite being the last minute, the closest to reaching it was Sacha Reither.
It is true that the strike from Mutch is just something that you can't legislate for in football given its quality and the fact it was an unstoppable strike but what you can legislate for is the abject and limp performance that had engulfed the previous 90 minutes.
What struck me more than anything was the work rate of our visitors and their willingness to fight for every ball. The trait is exactly what we used to see week in week out at Craven Cottage but now non existent among the current crop of players. It is all very well injecting more creativity and flair in to a side but when that comes at the expense of the basics that have served us so well in maintaining our Premier League status then perhaps is time to go back to basics.
I haven't gone to much in to the Jol out argument in this blog as I have a few thoughts I would like to put in a bit more detail. What is for sure is that performances like Saturday are unacceptable and as a team we are displaying no sense of balance, stability or understanding. The atmosphere around the club, both at Craven Cottage and on social network among fans at the moment is poisonous and something has to give. Whether or not Martin will still be at the helm come next game is unlikely although I personally believe the problem doesn't end there. If Martin Jol is unable to motivate players who in many cases specifically joined to play under Martin Jol then whoever is next in charge has a major job on their hands.
I usually finish the blogs with a positive and uplifting look towards next game although forgive me for not being to optimistic at the prospect of Mr Ambition coming back to Craven Cottage with a smug look plastered across his face.