Wow, what a shitcom. I'm not sure how to start an article about such a fine display of football. I guess I'll start by congratulating Steve Bennett for a great match called. How Michael Brown and Papa Bouba Diop didn't get red cards early in the second half for their disgraceful behavior is mental. Hell, Michael Brown should have gotten one for headbutting Xabi in the first, put apparently Bennett thinks nosebleeds are natural, everyday occurrences. And the goal, what a joke, Rosenior and Radzinski were both clearly offside.
Then the real comedy began as Fulham twice had run away attempts at goal and managed to fall while trying to kick the ball both times! Bad karma maybe? My favorite part was when Clint Dempsey tried to get past Hyypia and Hyypia just stone-walled him. "Welcome to the EPL, son, oh by the way, I'm on my way out." Anyhow, it's pretty sad when you have to put on a cheating display to beat a reserve squad, but then again, that's why Fulham does things like fire the only class coach in their history.
People want to know why we do better in Europe than in the Premiership, well this match was a perfect example. We play with class and our opponents do not. European refs are much stricter on unnecessary roughness than English officials, which is why I don't mind winning the Champion's League instead of the Premiership any year.
As for our performance, we didn't deserve to lose and definitely not like that. We had our chances to score but the ghosts of this season came back to haunt us once again. We could not finish. Fowler's miscues were the most notable, how he didn't finish that first goal was the first joke of the match and Bellamy, dear God, son, how do you go from Camp Nou to this? I'm gonna hate to see him go, but Bells has simply just played his way off the squad.
Our other issue of lack of communication on the offense end was also apparent in episodes during the first half, but as the game went on, we seemed to play with more flow. It doesn't help that we had such an eclectic mix of players.
Speaking of which, Insua played like an 18-year-old and his age and inexperience is the only thing keeping me from throwing him to the lions. He needs to work on his clearances and communicating with his teammates. His size, speed, and passing abilities make him a keeper, but he's got a ways to go before he's an everyday player.
Gonzo was utterly useless. I won't shed a tear when we let him go and hopefully, that'll be soon. Kewell looked decent and ready for Premiership football, if we need to get another year out of him, I think he can oblige. Pennant looked tired at times and the cheaters were constantly grabbing at his jersey and trying to bring him down. I was glad to see him taken out, but I didn't really understand why he was for El Zhar, who either crowded the pitch or was no where to be found.
Xabi and Sissoko put in decent performances, but they were also the two main victims of Brown and Diop's classless attacks. I guess they were angry that they got outplayed by Momo and Alonso, but instead of raising their game they just tried to raze their opponents.
As for the defense, Arbeloa looked lost out there at times, especially on the right. I think he feels more comfort on the left and when Finnan came in for Insua and Arbeloa was moved over, we instantly started to play better. Of course, that probably had a lot to do with Finnan actually playing right back instead of trying to be everywhere at once. Hyypia put in another man of the match performance, and he and Reina did not deserve to have that goal allowed. Paletta showed improvements as well, though I'm beginning to suspect he might not be fast enough for the Premiership.
Overall, it was our second team against an opponent who had already committed to do everything and anything to assure themselves another season of Premiership football. Congrats Fulham, you avoided the inevitable once again.