Fulham’s ruthless finishing was the difference on Monday night as Martin Jol’s men left Selhurst Park with a 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace.
The hosts had 14 shots to the Whites’ nine, but their accuracy of 28.6 per cent let them down. They had, in fact, started the game very strongly and had four attempts on goal – including Adrian Mariappa’s opener – before the major talking point of the match occurred in the 19th minute.
Pajtim Kasami has won acclaim from all quarters for the quality of his finish to bring Fulham level, and it was technique like that which helped his side enjoy a 66.7 per cent shooting accuracy in the game – with Steve Sidwell demonstrating similar composure on the stroke of half-time. Dimitar Berbatov and Philippe Senderos then made Fulham’s superior corner accumulation (seven) count in the second half, with the duo each getting on the end of a Bryan Ruiz delivery to condemn Palace to a heavy defeat.
Sidwell enjoyed an excellent evening’s work alongside Scott Parker in the Fulham engine room. Not only did he grab his second goal of the season in spectacular fashion, but he also made more tackles than anyone else on the pitch and could boast immaculate pass accuracy with only three of his attempts to find a teammate going astray.
In terms of overall play, Fulham did see more of the ball and use it better – although our passing game was aided by the three-goal cushion that was enjoyed for the final 35 minutes of the match. The Whites ended the game having had 54.1 per cent possession, whilst also attempting 79 more passes than the Eagles, and seeing a finer pass accuracy (83 per cent compared to Palace’s 76). Ian Holloway’s men did attempt marginally more attacking passes, though, as they tried to play 248 balls in the final third of the pitch – three more than Fulham.
Pajtim Kasami also deserves a special mention, not just for his remarkable finish but for his contributions all over the pitch. The Switzerland international made three successful tackles and won possession of the ball six times, whilst also attempting a further two shots. The first deflected over for a corner, but the second was a beautifully executed strike with the outside of his left boot that Julian Speroni did well to tip over in the closing stages.