Opta Evaluation

Tuesday 25 February 2014 10:03

A strong defensive display saw Fulham go close to earning all three points at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

In Felix Magath’s first game in charge, the Whites took a deserved first-half lead through Ashkan Dejagah.

The Baggies were much-improved after the break but couldn’t find a way through thanks to some brave defending from the Fulham backline. When the defence was breached, Albion found Maarten Stekelenburg in fine form, with the goalkeeper making several fine stops.

With the Whites heading for a vital win, the Baggies eventually made the breakthrough in the 86th minute when Matej Vydra’s shot squeezed under Stekelenburg and over the line to ensure honours finished even.

Of the two goalkeepers, Stekelenburg saw more action, making four saves to Ben Foster’s two. The Dutchman also made three punches and claimed two crosses.

Fulham were busier defensively, making 29 tackles to Albion’s 18 as well as blocking seven shots to West Brom’s none. The Whites also made 64 clearances to West Brom’s 16 and 17 interceptions to the hosts’ 14.

John Heitinga

Minutes Played90
Total Shots1
Shots Blocked4

Recent signing John Heitinga turned in a sterling defensive display. The former Everton man made two interceptions, 11 clearances and blocked four shots. At the other end, he also went close with a first-half header.

As you might expect from the side at home, attacking-wise, West Brom had 16 shots to Fulham’s seven. Of these, West Brom had five on target to Fulham’s three. The Baggies also sent in more crosses – 36 to Fulham’s 15 and made more key passes – 13 to the Whites’ seven. West Brom also enjoyed more possession – 63 per cent to Fulham’s 37 per cent.

As he has been in recent weeks, Lewis Holtby was again the Fulham man most involved in the action. The German had 73 touches of the ball, including two shots, seven crosses, four tackles and four interceptions.

Restored to the starting XI, Dejagah’s stats also read favourably. The Iran international had 55 touches, sending in four crosses and making two key passes.

West Brom midfielder Youssuf Mulumbu was their main man with 87 touches.

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