A meagre second half display from Fulham saw the team make their way back from Wales to London empty-handed on Tuesday night, but it could have been a different story had they been able to take their chances.
One of the few statistics where the Whites bettered their hosts was the total shots category, with 15 to Swansea’s 14. The most clear cut of these was Brede Hangeland’s header in the first half when he nodded Kieran Richardson’s free-kick over the bar, although Ashkan Dejagah will also feel he should have done better when he could only head into the arms of Gerhard Tremmel following good wing play by Alexander Kačaniklić just after the half hour mark.
Swansea’s main threat was scorer of the first goal Jonjo Shelvey. The midfielder was keen to try his luck from distance whenever possible, with four of his five attempts arriving from outside the penalty area; one of which was a delightful curling effort that came back off the bar. The opening goal was one of those, too, as the home side were the recipients of a massive chunk of luck as his strike hit two Fulham players en route to the back of the net.
As teams often find when they face Swansea, the Welsh side dominated possession, playing plenty of short, sharp passes as they patiently probed for an opening. This is reflected in the statistics from Tuesday night’s game, with the Jacks completing 633 (420 attacking) passes to Fulham’s 386 (169). With regards to key passes, though, the numbers were very even, with the home side managing to play just a solitary pass more than the visitors.
As alluded to earlier, Fulham’s clearest opportunities arrived from the wide areas, and this fact was aided by a superior cross accuracy from René Meulensteen’s men, with 47 per cent of deliveries finding their target – in comparison to Swansea’s 24 per cent cross accuracy.
Richardson was one of the Whites’ better performers on the night as he did well to contain Pablo Hernandez – although Nathan Dyer offered a different problem when he entered the action – while also offering a threat going forward. Richardson was, in fact, Fulham’s busiest individual with 78 touches of the ball. Full-backs are often the players who see the most of the ball during a game, and it was no different on Tuesday, with Swansea right-back Angel Rangel the most productive man on the pitch with 95 touches.