Say it with me now. Fulham won a game of football! And it was against a not so bad football club in Everton.
Sure, it seemed like the visitors didn’t bring their best at all today. In particular, anything that could’ve gone wrong with Seamus Coleman’s touch did go wrong. Dominic Calvert-Lewis had two chances at goal that probably should have gone in but didn’t. Gylfi Sigurdsson did have a few key passes, but he was no where near his dominating best as he was when the two sides met at Goodison Park.
If anything, the Everton midfield was just too clogged up to generate any positive momentum. Both Calum Chambers and Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa were immense and it allowed the attacking players the necessary freedom to create as well as they did today.
To be more specific, Aleksander Mitrovic was back to being his best. The Serbian International may not have scored, but he absolutely controlled the skies and was a bully towards anyone defending him. By the end of the first half, Mitrovic had took all of his seven shots, including one that rattled off the crossbar.
But Mitro’s work rate set up everything positive for Fulham onwards. In the start of the second half, Mitro held the ball well just outside the penalty area to feed Ryan Babel clear. From there, the experienced Dutchman found a streaking Tom Cairney who took his chance hard from dead center and gave Fulham a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The captain played one of his best games this season and to see him finally score in the Premier League surely was a relief for all.
While Everton couldn’t quite muster much in response, Fulham put the kill shot 22 minutes later. Mitrovic was once again controlling things but somehow found himself playing a lovely throughball from midfield. It was as if Cairney was out there doing the same thing. Babel was once again on the receiving end and used his pace to go one-on-one with Jordan Pickford. From there, it was a simple tap in from there and it was 2-0 with Craven Cottage having no idea what to make of this anymore.
In any other game this season, Fulham would either let the foot off the gas or let doubt creep into their minds. Calvert-Lewin did have a shout for a penalty, but referee Lee Probert did not award one after it seemed like Maxime Le Marchand collided with him. On the whole, Timothy Fosu-Mensah still looked quited unsure with the ball at his feet, but he along with Le Marchand, Tim Ream and Joe Bryan very rarely put a foot wrong today. That is a complete rarity from Fulham all season!
There was some fireworks that went on the pitch after Everton and their supporters felt like Probert didn’t let a decision or ten go in their favor, especially when Mitrovic was at his most physical. In one particular instance, Andres Gomes was more than fuming when it was determined that he fouled Mitrovic in the penalty area during a set piece, but really it was a 50-50 tussle that took both players to the ground. Minutes later, Gomes decided to stamp Mitrovic in the foot but no red card was given followed by another Everton player barging through Bryan so hard that he drew blood.
Regardless, Probert lost control of the game as a result and the game went to 100 minutes of play as a result. But once that final whistle went, there was a sigh of relief that you could hear throughout all the River Thames. So it was not a win that will allow them to play another Premier League season until further notice, but it was a win to give the locals something to be happy for once. That all on its own is something to always savour.