Opta Evaluation

Monday 2 December 2013 17:30

An inability to test the opposition goalkeeper cost Fulham dearly on Saturday, as they went down to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham United.

The Whites actually mustered a fairly respectable 10 attempts on goal but, with none of them on target, a result was never really on the cards. And with the Hammers attempting more than twice as many efforts on goal, 12 of them hitting the target, one would argue that they were fully deserving of the three points.

Indeed, the scoreline could have been worse had Maarten Stekelenburg not been in such excellent form. The pick of the Fulham goalkeeper’s saves came when he made a fine one-handed stop from Stewart Downing in the first half and when he denied Modibo Maiga with a sprawling save on the hour mark.

In total he made eight saves, in addition to claiming three crosses and making one successful punch. Frustratingly, Stekelenburg would almost certainly have saved Mohamed Diame’s 47th minute strike as it lacked any real precision or power, but the deflection off Fernando Amorebieta left him with little chance.

Positives to be taken from the match are hardly obvious, but the Whites did actually see more of the ball (51.7 per cent) and made a greater number of passes; 411, in comparison to the home side’s 365. However, despite making less passes overall, West Ham still made more attacking balls, just; 275 to Fulham’s 269.

When it came to defending, West Ham doubled the amount of tackles made by Fulham, with one ball-winning incident in particular proving crucial. It looked as though Scott Parker had recovered after initially losing possession in his own half, but Steve Sidwell was then subsequently robbed of the ball as Diame advanced before scoring the fortuitous opener.

Parker was a hero of the Upton Park faithful during his time in East London and he put in another tireless display as Fulham Captain. His involvement in 83 ball events was bettered only by fellow midfield workhorse Mark Noble, and the West Ham man excelled all over the field. He played 24 balls into the final third of the pitch, won possession of the ball 10 times, made three interceptions and two key passes to cap an impressive all round showing.

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