Martin Jol said after Fulham’s 1-0 win over Stoke City that we should have scored more than the single goal, and the Opta statistics back up our Manager’s claim.
Dimitar Berbatov’s thumping volley in first half injury time was just one of 20 attempts on Asmir Begovic’s goal by a man in white – that’s twice as many efforts as Stoke mustered, although Jol may have been slightly disappointed that only four of ours were on target.
Not known for playing the ball around, it doesn’t come as a great surprise that the Potters struggled in the possession stakes, with the away side only seeing 39.3 per cent of the ball to Fulham’s 60.7. We used it well, too, as 83.4 per cent of our attempted passes found their man – a figure which trumps Stoke’s pass accuracy of 67.1 per cent.
The Whites also made more than twice as many attacking passes as the Staffordshire side (252 to their 122), although the visitors did top the tackling statistics, winning the ball on 21 occasions, in comparison to Fulham’s 13.
The busiest players on the field were Brede Hangeland and Giorgos Karagounis, with the pair each involved in 83 ball events – 22 more than Ryan Shotton, who was Stoke’s most proactive individual.
Hangeland – who missed the reverse fixture at the Britannia Stadium through suspension – was a pillar of strength throughout the contest, winning a remarkable 11 aerial duels, as well as successfully contesting possession of the ball on 15 occasions. Matches against Stoke are ones where you need your dominant centre backs and the Fulham skipper certainly didn’t disappoint on Saturday.