Fulham maintained their high scoring form with another 4 goals in a half, this time in the first 30 minutes to put the game well beyond City’s reach. We switched to a 5-3-2 formation. This does seem to conform with our strengths as our full backs are better coming forward and we can play Burn, Stearman and Ream as the central three. Kit played in such formation in the promotion side of 1998-9 scoring 12 goals as a defender. It’s surprising it was not tried before but according to Kit in his interview after the match employed to match the 5-3-2 of Bristol City.
We are only 4 points off the play-off berths but I cannot recall us ever winning at Burnley whom we play next Tuesday. I do recall driving up there in a Cup game, see us lose in the 90th minute and drive back in agony after eating a defective sausage in the Keele service station. The games come thick and fast in this divison so such gap is easily covered.
Harold Wilson famously said a week is in long time in politics. It certainly is in the life of Kit Symons. At half time last week he was looking down the barrel with Reading two goals up. One week and eight goals later his job looks secure till the end of the season. One criticism of Kit is that he has strong group of which he has yet to maximise the potential. It may be that the powers that be have confused spending with input. Hull and Derby have strong squads too, Middlesbrough are proven promotion candidates and talking to Ivan Conway he made the point that Brighton have spent less but more astutely. We seem to buy players who were chosen as best of the season by supporters of the former clubs – Stearman, O’Hara, Cairney, Pringle – which is not a bad method of selection as it would imply consistency of performance week in, week out.
Moussa Dembele scored 2 and at 19 is the target of the big boys, everyone yearns for a young striker. Kit says sensibly he is learning his trade well and rather than languish in the reserves he would do better to develop at Fulham. Hopefilly he will sign a 4 year contract. I remember another hopeful Connor Wickham who made a £13m move from Ipswich to Sunderland a few seasons ago but he did not mature into a regular premier striker. Under Martin Jol we had an ageing squad, Meulensteen was not there long enough to make a difference, the less said about Magath’s regime the better but he did give youth its chance but finally we have a squad well balanced in age and with youngsters like Dembele, Woodrow, Bettinelli, Cairney, Pringle – all under 25 – the future looks rosy. Not so long ago Southampton dropped two divisions, invested in youth producing the likes of Bale and Walcott, Shaw and Chambers, and are now an established Premier club.