Fulham v Wigan: Player rankings

Here’s how I scored our lads against Wigan.

Niemi – 5/10
Didn’t look as commanding as in recent games. Some of his kicks were so wide of the mark I thought he might have his boots on the wrong feet. Also angered his defenders by sticking to his line when he should have come to claim.

Omozusi – 7/10
Was having a great time until forced off injured in the second half. Growing in confidence every game. Good tackling, excellent tracking back and some surging runs. A superb prospect that can make that right back slot his own.

Hughes – 6/10
A decent game, although I’d question his suitability for the captain’s job. He just seems so silent out on the pitch – particularly after Wigan scored their goal. I would prefer him to be more in the mould of Lee Clarke or Cookie.

Bocanegra – 6/10
Back in the heart of defence following the return of Konchesky at left back and an injury to Stefanovich. Pretty solid game and has managed to iron out the annoying mistakes which have blighted some past performances.

Konchesky – 5/10
Poor today. Looked a bit rusty after not having played for a couple of weeks. His passing was off and he was getting skinned alive in the first half. However, recovered his form in the second and was starting to look back to his best.

Simon Davies – 5/10
Extremely average – which is not what you would usually say about Davies. Had a good shot and was involved with things but not the presence he has been in past games. He has the ability to win matches but this wasn’t much in evidence.

Davis – 5/10
Made some decent tackles – but also shied away from plenty more which is not what we want to see from a midfield ‘general’. He’s not a bad player by any stretch, but he’s too similar to Murphy which is why this partnership just doesn’t work.

Murphy – 4/10
It’s no secret that I struggle to see what he brings to the team and this was proved once again yesterday. To say his performance was mediocre would make it sound half decent. It wasn’t. His distribution was woeful, his tackling non-existent. Shouldn’t retain his place.

Bouazza – 4/10
Er, shall we just put it down to an off day? I like Hameur and his speed and ability to strike a ball with such venom can make him a lethal tool to have in the armoury. Today, however, he was all over the place and didn’t pose any real threat whatsoever. Very disappointing.

Dempsey – 7/10
If there is another player in this squad that gives more commitment to the cause then please tell me. Quite simply this guy is great. He’s involved with everything, knocked some great passes about and even pole-axed Michael Brown, as well as getting the all important goal…on the downside, his mis-timed jump (onto Baird’s back) ended up leading to Wigan’s goal.

Kamara – 5/10
Made a number of exciting runs across field but sadly very few forward surges. Stole in for a couple of half chances but, as usual, spent most of the match on his backside appealing for fouls that even the Fulham fans didn’t see. Frustrating to say the least.


Baird – 6/10
Sold performance although him and Dempsey jumping – and missing – the same ball led to Wigan’s goal. However, the rest of the time he played well and thankfully seems to have put his nightmare opener to the season to rest.

Healy – 6/10
Things do seem to happen when Healy is on the pitch. Came close with a turn-and-swivel shot and definitely upset the Wigan defence. I don’t like seeing him stuck out on the wing though – it’s far better to have him in the centre.

Kuqi – 4/10
Very poor today. Outjumped on almost every occasion which has been very rare. Would dearly love for him to get on the score sheet but not sure it’s going to happen. He does, however, unsettle defences and this helped in the build up to Dempsey’s equaliser.

Man of the match: Clint Dempsey. If we could bottle his passion and commitment we’d make a million. Hard as nails with the skills and goal-scoring flair to match. True class.


What does Ray Lewington really think of the squad?

I’ve just been reading Ray Lewington’s comments on the main site ahead of tomorrow’s match at the Cottage and was intrigued by what he said about the team. He described them as “an honest bunch of players”. I might be reading too much into it but that sounds like a bit of a back-handed compliment to me…Honest. Not talented, Not fiercely determined, Not top class…but Honest. I don’t get the feeling that he rates them too highly. Here’s the par:

“It’s vital the fans get behind us tomorrow and I’m sure they will because we’ve got an honest bunch of players. They will go out there and give their best and with the crowd behind them the combination of the two will get us three points.”

A brighter future?

Well, hands up who knew that was coming? I think it’s fair to say that we all presumed Sanchez would be retained until after the Christmas period so the timing seems rather strange to say the very least. Sacking a manager – without having a replacement – 24 hours before a crucial match smacks a bit of Russian Roulette to me, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a successor is named this afternoon.

I believe this is the right decision to make. Sad as it is for Lawrie – who did his best, let’s be fair – sinking to 18th in the table after four months was never going to be good enough considering the whole point of bringing in him was to bring about something akin to a revolution in fortunes for us. It was a gamble….and it failed.

So who should take over? My personal preference is for a young passionate manager on his way up who can inspire players. To be honest I only really see two people that fit the bill: Paul Ince and John Collins. My personal preference: Collins. He is passionate about the club – as he proved in a relatively recent interview about his time at the Cottage – he has been hugely successful with Hibs and he’s got a great rapport with the fans. Three very important qualities.

Interview: Wigan fans

We caught up again with George Chilvers who runs The Ultimate Wigan Athletic Website for his views on the season so far and his prediction for this weekend’s match at the Cottage. I always think the opinion of another team’s supporters normally gives a pretty fair assessment of how a side is generally perceived so I think George’s comments make particularly interesting reading. As usual, our thanks go to him for his time.

Q. When we last spoke you were quite optimistic about your start to the season. How are you feeling now?
A. Disappointed with the way things have gone. I’m still convinced we have the players with the technical ability, but somehow they’ve been performing below par. We have a long run of defeats behind us (hopefully behind us) but that has included ‘The Big Four’. This Xmas period is really important to us with games against teams we would hope to pick points up against.

Q. Are you pleased you’ve got Steve Bruce? What does he bring you?
A. Yes, very much so. He brings experience of relegation fights and I get the impression he’ll be sorting out the underperformers.

Q. How important is getting a result at Fulham to you this weekend? There’s a bit of fan unrest at the moment at Fulham and this match is being seen by many as make or break time for Lawrie Sanchez.
A. It’s very important for us and we do see this as a chance to pick up much needed away points (sorry!). We need to start picking up points now and move out of the bottom three.

Q. Where do you think you’ll end up this season?
A. A few places above the drop, say 14th – 16th.

Q. Who do you think will go down?
Derby obviously, and then any two of Sunderland, yourselves I’m afraid and Middlesbrough.

Q. Finally, what do you believe the score will be on Saturday?
A. 2-0 to us if we play like we did last week, 0-5 to you if we play like we did at Bolton.
Cheers (and I hope I’m wrong in question 5).

What’s next for Fulham

I have scrapped the poll running on potential successors after realising that not only was the line-up pretty uninspiring, but that i’d forgotten to include John Collins who is a realistic possibility for the post…therefore i have replaced it with a new version to see how long people are willing to give Sanchez to turn things around

A beaten man?

Inspired by comments from Rich at CCN about how optimistic he felt at the beginning of the season and how saddened he is now I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the body language of Lawrie Sanchez when he was first appointed…and how he is now.Is it just me or does he seem like a man defeated? See here for his first press conference back in April and here for his chat with Fulham PR Sarah Brookes last week and judge for yourselves.

Who should replace Sanchez?

With the general consensus being ‘when’, rather than ‘if’, Sanchez departs, who should we get in to replace him? I have put forward a list of potential candidates on the left hand side of the page – under the Johnny Haynes photo – so please feel free to vote.