Fulham’s performance v Manchester City was not all that different to that against Everton the previous week. We were the weaker side in the first half, we clambered back into the game, which was no mean achievement as we were 2 goals down, only for City like Everton to go into over-drive and win 4-2. There was nothing wrong about the commitment, There has never been under new coach Rene Meulensteen but we have only won once and have 13 points, a terrible goal difference and the worst defensive record in the Division. Will Fulham, the great escapologists, survive? Sadly, the man that could have told the new owner about our feats of yore – club historian Dennis Turner – was unceremoniously removed from the board on the takeover.
The chairman did broadcast a message to rally the troops from across the water but it fell embarrasingly flat. As flat as the programme and emails to fans that strive to sell Fulham packages and merchandise whilst the club sinks into the championship and the wonderful legacy of Mohammed al Fayed is squandered.
One of the intriguing developments was the absence of Berbatov. Was he actually injured? Was there a fallout? Was he rested for the cycle of vital games? My company does the windows of a Premier chairman who told me he was offered around to all clubs by his agent.
All fans have their pet dislikes and mine is Adel Taarabt but, fair play, the Moroccan worked hard, put in two fierce shots, went on telling runs and made the first goal for another player I don’t rate, Kieren Richardson. The equaliser was hilarious, with City skipper Kompany diverting the ball in a slow parabola over Joe Hart. My problem with Taarabt is that against Norwich on Boxing Day he is just as likely to contribute very little.
The next 4 games will determine our season: Norwich and Hull away, West Ham and Sunderland at home. Not only do we need to get the points, but we need our rivals in the relegation not to. We can improve our goal difference and worsen theirs. I predict we do well at Norwich. Two days later an ageing side goes to Hull where I can see us getting nothing. Having conceded 12 goals in the last 4 matches, I cannot be confident that any lead can be defended and their lies the rub.