Fulham came out with a strong lineup, with few surprises, in their usual 4-2-3-1. Burton Albion countered with a 3-5-2. In what is becoming a very familiar site at the Cottage, Burton was willing to keep all their players back and concede the ball to Fulham. The first half numbers bore this out.
Fulham had nearly 70% of the possession, took more shots (6-4), had more corners (6-1), more key passes (4-1), and more crosses (21-8). Fulham were able to complete 93% of their passes, while the bunker and counter side could only manage 74%.
However, even with all of the possession, Fulham wasn’t able to break the Brewers down. They did create some good chances, and the Burton goalkeeper did have to make a few saves, but Fulham need to do better at breaking down a team sitting back like this, as they will probably see it a lot this year.
Fulham didn’t come out as well in the second half letting Burton have a little bit more of the ball. Whether this was by design, or because Burton figured something out, they were able to convert this possession into a goal.
If you thought they were defensive in the first half, they became even more so after the goal. Burton players began time wasting before the clock even showed 60 minutes played. Slavisa countered by trying to go a little more direct by bringing on Matt Smith.
There was much more of the same after that. Burton made no effort to attack and Fulham kicked the ball around with more than 70% of the possession. Fulham did create some shots and corners, but they didn’t seem to have a lot of ideas when they were just gifted possession.
Fulham decided to get much more technical and pacey in the 75th minute when McDonald and Martin came off for Floyd Ayite and Jozabed.
All the time wasting added 6 minutes of added time, but Fulham were basically playing with 10 men after Ayite suffered a horrible challenge. Which seemed to be par for the course late in the second half.
A quick counter, a spilled ball by the keeper, and Ryan Sessegnon was able to equalize the game late.
- Fulham need to figure out what to do when a team just lets them have the ball. Having 70% possession and completing 90%+ of your passes is all well and good, but if you aren’t creating a ton of chances with that possession, what’s the point.
- Ryan Sessegnon continues to impress. This is both good and bad, but I’ll enjoy him while we have the chance.
- I know time wasting is frustrating, but don’t throw stuff on the field.
- Ayite suffered what sounded like a nasty challenge and it was a real struggle for him to finish this game. I’d be shocked if he’s available for a while.
- This ref (from the sound of things), didn’t have a good game. He seemed to give yellows at random and didn’t really punish the time wasting.
- This is where Slavisa needs to earn his money. Fulham have a problem, and he needs to figure out how to solve it. Otherwise we’re going to have a very frustrating year of trying to break down teams parking a bus.