Some may argue that Cardiff City deserved to come away from Craven Cottage with all three points on Saturday after they dominated the shot count statistics, with 22 efforts on goal to Fulham’s nine. On reflection, though, the Bluebirds were largely wasteful with their attempts, and David Marshall was in fact the busier goalkeeper, forced into twice as many saves as David Stockdale.
As far as distribution goes, things were fairly even in the contest, with our visitors edging possession by 2.8 per cent, in addition to enjoying 2 per cent greater pass accuracy than the Whites. There was no great intricacy to Cardiff’s goals, though, with the first coming from a corner (though they did, in fairness, boast an impressive cross success rate of 43 per cent) and the late winner arriving via a route one move. The graphic pictured enforces the general evenness of the distribution stakes.
While Martin Jol will be disappointed to see his side concede from another set-piece, he can find solace in the fact that Fulham defended solidly on the whole; winning a greater percentage of our tackles than Cardiff, as well as blocking six of their shots, four crosses, and winning the majority of the aerial battles.
Fulham’s busiest player at the weekend was Kieran Richardson, with his involvement in 73 ball events bettered only by Cardiff’s Gary Medel. Our left-back won two tackles and five aerial duels, in addition to winning possession on seven occasions. He got forward to good effect, too, and delivered four crosses – one of which was agonisingly just out of Sascha Riether’s reach in stoppage time. That passage of play perfectly demonstrates the fine margins of Barclays Premier League football, as the Welsh side scored the winner moments later.