The rumour was that Martin Jol had lost the dressing room when he was at Tottenham and I suspect this was also the case at Fulham too.
Sod’s law then, that we get to play them so early in the new manager’s reign.
Fulham certainly didn’t look like a seriously struggling side today, did they?
And just as some of us feared, Berbatov turned it on today, with some great runs and some lovely flicks.
That’s enough about them though and I’ll get back to what matters, ie the Villa.
Even though we lost (and I don’t really think it was a 2-0 losing performance), I actually thought we played ok. The central defence handled most stuff pretty well and it was a pleasure for me to actually think that we seemed to have stopped the pathetic standard of basic passing that it seems I’ve been criticising for weeks.
If I’m going to be critical though, I have to say Bacuna was our weak link today. Not because of the penalty though.
Hopefully many of you know that I’m not as one eyed as some of us when it comes to penalties and my take is that while the pen was indeed very soft, Bacuna seemed to impede the attacker.
Hence I can see why it was given.
But by the same token, I could easily accept that the attacker looked for it.
My point is that I can see why it was given.
Not that it mattered ultimately, as we were already one down with what I thought was a good goal from Sidwell. I thought the ball was well on the way out, but Sidwell persisted and caught out Guzan, who had committed himself far too early.
It was a bit of an off day for the goalie in some ways, but he also made a few very good saves, so I’m not pointing the finger at him.
Actually I’m not pointing the finger at anybody.
I think Fulham played very well and while I’ve just heard commentators saying Villa were poor, I think that’s denying Fulham the credit they deserved today.
To put it in context, they created 20 attempts.
It was pretty obvious how we’d set up in the first half, with our typical long ball out to the breaking strikers and to be honest, I’m beginning to find it tedious.
Paul Merson made me laugh at half time, when he said that he thought we’d go long in the second half.
Huh? Like we hadn’t in the first half?
Anyway, Lambert never took any notice of his comments and at least did try to play it a bit wider with Tonev coming on for Al Ahmedi and Albrighton coming on later.
It didn’t work though and as the game went on, so I thought it was more unlikely that we would score.
As for Gabby’s pen shout, no doubt about that one.
The defender didn’t touch the ball and trod on Gabby’s foot.
Clear penalty and a bad decision at the end of the day, I say.
The disappointing bit?
Delph getting suspended for the next game against Man U, with yet another poor tackle.
I like the kid, but I’ve got more chance of playing for England than he has if he keeps doing that.
That and the fact that we are so obviously lacking a quality midfield player with real guile who can unlock a defence.
Just the same as we’ve all been saying for ages.
If this isn’t addressed in the window, I’ll be asking serious questions.