Three things we learned: Fulham - Wolves
The point that Fulham would have picked up in a 0-0 draw with Wolves at Craven Cottage on Friday now seems a surefire sign that Scott Parker’s relegation-threatened side is in deep, deep trouble after game no. 32 of the 38-game Premier League season.
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Again 0-0 would have been subpar for Fulham, but something to hang their hat on at least. 92 and a half minutes into proceedings, they looked like getting their point, until Adama Traore thrashed a breakaway chance into the back of the net with 30 seconds of stoppage time remaining.
In the end, the defeat to Wolves leaves Fulham three points back of 17th-place Newcastle United, having now played two more games than the Magpies. The Cottagers are officially into miracle territory now.
3 things we learned: Fulham - Wolves
1. Fulham fight fading away: It’s not that Fulham don’t have the will or desire to battle their way to Premier League safety, but the same can not be said for the requisite attacking talent to reach safety. Scott Parker learned and grew by leaps and bounds during his first season in the PL, but he simply didn’t have the stars ready to make a difference in the crucial moments. Friday was another agonizingly solid display by a good footballing side simply lacking top-end talent.
2. Robinson stands out for Fulham: USMNT left back Antonee Robinson was at the center of Fulham’s two best scoring chances all game, and that’s a hugely welcome sight for USMNT fans given the relative scarcity of options at the position. Robinson’s service from out wide was on point all game, and he nearly scored a goal himself late in the game. Wolves rarely ventured forward and tested the left side of Fulham’s defense, until Traore got into open space in the dying seconds.
3. VAR steals the spotlight (again): When the offside rule was legislated into the game, this is surely not what the brilliant minds of their time had in mind. Where is the advantage gained, and how does it affect the outcome of this play in any way?
Fulham had a pair of scoring chances — the two best of the game to that point — just after the half-hour mark. Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed the first just wide of the post after Robinson delivered a fantastic cross to the back post, and Aleksandar Mitrovic waywardly smashed the latter chance wide of the far post from inside 12 yards.
Willian Jose looked like he had scored his first Wolves goal with barely 60 seconds of stoppage time remaining in the first half, but VAR had other cruel ideas. Daniel Podence raced toward the end line and floated a cross back to the top of the six-yard box, where Jose was plotting his run to head home. Everything looked fine, until the video review determined Podence was offside by half the thickness of the material which makes up his left sleeve.
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The first chance of the second half came in the 68th minute, when Romain Saiss appeared to have lined up a free kick from just outside the box ever so perfectly for a smash toward the far post. Alas, the Moroccan defender got under the ball a little too much and sent it just over the crossbar.
Robinson let a low, bouncing shot fly from outside the box in the 82nd minute. For a brief moment, it looked like Rui Patricio’s vision might have been obscured and the USMNT youngster might sneak the winning goal past him, but Patricio fixed his eyes on the ball and made the save.
It was Fabio Silva who corralled possession in the middle third and quickly sprung Traore into acres of space in the 93rd minute. From there, the Spanish winger had just one thought: break the back of the net, which he almost managed to do.