Fulham made a winning start to 2013 following a 2-1 defeat of West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on New Year’s Day – and as our Opta statistics showed it was a deserved three points for Martin Jol’s side.
Dimitar Berbatov opened the scoring, capping a fine first-half showing that at one stage saw the Whites dominate more than 60 per cent of possession. A bright start to the second half saw West Brom take the momentum – a period that yielded one goal and a number of chances.
However, once Alexander Kačaniklić had restored our lead, the midfield began to exert its influence once more so it came as little surprise to see Fulham take 55.3 per cent of the game’s possession by the final whistle.
Interestingly, it was the Baggies that created the most scoring opportunities, though, with 18 attempts on goal – four of which were on target. At the opposite end, Fulham created 10, with three of those on target.
West Brom goalscorer, Romelu Lukaku, had the most shots at goal with six, while Berbatov registered three for the Whites.
With a high success rate of goals from set-pieces and from crosses out wide, West Brom continued that tactic on Tuesday as they put in an impressive 43 deliveries, compared to Fulham’s 12. They also won 10 corners, which was double our amount.
West Brom captain, Chris Brunt, put in a total of 13 crosses (the game’s highest), with Bryan Ruiz Fulham’s most effective out wide, with four deliveries into the home team’s box.
The Whites certainly impressed on the floor, however, and showed once more, a superior ability to pass and move. Jol’s charges recorded 503 passes, from which 419 were accurate. They also registered 196 attacking passes.
West Brom attempted 379 passes, from which 301 found their desired target. Of those 379, 163 were classed as attacking passes.
For the home side, Youssouf Mulumbu made the most attempted passes with 51, although Gareth McAuley had the highest success rate as 93 per cent of his 46 found a teammate. For Fulham, Brede Hangeland made the most passes with 62 attempts, although from those that started the game it was Giorgos Karagounis that had the highest success rate as 94 per cent of his 53 found their target.
Fulham also tackled better too, winning 25 of their attempts. The Baggies registered 17 and gave away 14 fouls – five more than us. Mulumbu won five of West Brom’s tackles, with Karagounis the game’s most effective tackler with six successes.