Opta Evaluation

Tuesday 8 January 2013 11:16

From a statistical viewpoint, Blackpool can perhaps consider themselves somewhat fortunate to have taken our Third Round FA Cup with Budweiser tie to a Replay.

The Tangerines clearly had a gameplan to frustrate Fulham on Saturday and it seemed to work after they earned a 1-1 draw, despite only having 37 per cent of the ball and attempting considerably less passes than the Whites.

Martin Jol’s men attempted 574 balls compared to Blackpool’s 339, with more than half of ours considered to be attacking passes. Only 119 of the visitors’ passes were offensive, which equates to 35 per cent.

The Whites also enjoyed an 88.3 per cent success rate with their passing throughout the game, while Blackpool managed 73.2 per cent.

The home side mustered 19 attempts on Matt Gilks’ goal, but we had a disappointing level of accuracy as only three of those efforts were on target. In contrast, Blackpool managed less shots (13), but were more accurate with their finishing as five found the target – with David Stockdale making a couple of notable saves in the first half from Thomas Ince.

Giorgos Karagounis enjoyed arguably his finest game in a Fulham shirt to date and the performance of the Greece captain is substantially endorsed by the Opta statistics.

He was at his industrious best, as is emphasised by his involvement in 95 ball events – a figure which was bettered only by Aaron Hughes (100), and that was 26 greater than Blackpool’s busiest player, Neal Eardley.

Karagounis was a threat defensively as well as going forward, winning possession of the ball seven times but also playing nine passes into the final third of the pitch and delivering eight crosses.

Of course, though, the pinnacle of the midfielder’s afternoon came when he crashed home a splendid volley on 80 minutes for his first Fulham goal, thus earning us a Replay at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday 15th January (8pm).