Fulham suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace – their third reverse at Craven Cottage that leaves them rooted to the foot of the Premier League.
They started OK, but then things went wrong. Again.
‘The difference between GCSE and A-level maths’
This was Scott Parker on Thursday describing the gulf between the Premier League and the Championship.
Tosin Adarabioyo would agree.
You can play three dozen plus games for Blackburn as the central defender did last season, but it doesn’t compare to the speed of thought needed in the top flight.
Adarabioyo was a spectator when a clever Wilfred Zaha inside pass bisected both the Fulham player and Mario Lemina for 1-0.
It’s a learning curve that needs to be absorbed as soon as possible if more of the same doesn’t get landed in Fulham’s lap.
Loftus-Cheek on the right?
Manager Parker was adamant his Chelsea loanee would play down the centre and not the flanks as he did at Stamford Bridge on occasion.
But when you need to plug a problem gap that Ivan Cavaleiro failed to fill, who else is there?
Mario Lemina has played there in the past – but Parker didn’t fancy that.
Abou Kamara is all energy, but subtlety and control are not his strengths. Staying on the pitch was beyond him as well, after getting sent off for a foul on Eberechi Eze.
So RLC it was, and did he look happy until substituted deep in the second half? Not a bit.
A mixed bag from Tom Cairney
Yes, he hit a cracker of a goal deep into added-on time to make the last minute interesting, but it papered over the cracks.
A few minutes earlier the midfielder skied a shot from a neat lay-back from Ola Aina that somewhat betrayed the rest of his match.
At the moment, a very good player can’t pick out the incisive pass or make a telling dribble past a defender on a regular basis.
One hates to say it about a talent who has been pivotal to Fulham in the recent past – but Cairney’s contribution in the last three games borders on the peripheral.
No cutting edge
The passing game is there, the movement is fine, the control and the intent are all present and correct – the incision is not.
When Palace held up just short of the Fulham penalty area, they waited for the runner; the exact millisecond before the telling pass and could have been 4-0 up before Whites netted a consolation.
Fulham seemed to run out of ideas when they get in the same position.
Ademola Lookman almost has to go it alone for them to look dangerous.
Otherwise, a flash across the box or a hopeful punt up to Aleksandar Mitrovic appears the default hope.
And hope it is rather than precision and cutting edge.
Rather than pretend there were any positives – is there anyone else wondering what the referee was told by his VAR official that led to Kamara’s red card?
In the end, maybe justice was done when the Fulham forward caught Eze on his Achilles and was dismissed after a delay.
But it was a delay in which the man in the middle spent more time watching TV than it takes to watch an ad break.
Graham Scott was initially happy to dish out a yellow card to Kamara for a clumsy challenge rather than a malicious one.
So, we have to assume the VAR official told Scott he needed to take a look.
Intent? Definitely not. Awkward? Yes.
When slowed down the tackle looked vicious – it wasn’t.
Maybe replays should be shown in actual time only.