This is the second of my bulky Christmas round ups now that the calm has settled in after the Christmas football binge.
I left Fulham struggling in the relegation zone, though perhaps performing as well as many of us expected. The standings before the Christmas chaos left Fulham three points and some significant goal difference away from safety, as shown here:
As a side note, how bad does that look for Arsenal? They’ve had a massive Christmas.
Anyhow, Fulham have essentially drawn their way through life since, oddly, given they’d had only one draw in the whole season before the Christmas period.
The opening one was a great one to grab, against Liverpool, though in truth they were really unfortunate not to win this one, with Liverpool given a very harsh penalty to equalise late on, and Fulham dominating much of the game and with a decent penalty shout themselves turned down along the way. A bit of a daylight robbery of a draw for the champions, 1-1.
Next up were Brighton, which (I say from expereince as a Villa fan last year) is the kind of game you go into looking to get something, as it could change the season (especially a win, which would have put Fulham alongside Brighton.
This was not the cagey kind of battle that Villa were involved in last year, however. In fact, it was one of the most competitive 0-0 draws I’ve seen in a long time. Nevertheless, Fulham didn’t close the gap against a Brighton side that should be doing better.
Newcastle is probably another one you’d tag as ‘winnable’ in this situation. This was a game of relatively few chances, and Newcastle had slightly the better of them, with Fulham fluking a goal from a scrambling cross headed in by a Newcastle defender, and then conceding one from a really quite silly penalty. Another point after a 1-1 draw.
Finally, Fulham lodged a fourth consecutive draw with a 0-0 stalemate against high-flying Southampton, in a game that was cagey at best, though Southampton were probably unlucky not to win. Not a classic.
And then it all finished early, thanks to a hit of covid cases in the Fulham squad and some cancellations. It’s not yet clear when Fulham will be back in action.
Given the games in hand, Fulham’s scenario is arguably a little bit better than at the start of Christmas, so not a bad one all things considered. They’re the only one of the current bottom three I give any real chance of staying up.