Fulham’s away-day woes
Since winning promotion into the Premier League, Fulham have struggled away from home.
October 14th, 2013
From the outset, they have always looked like a side comfortable in front of their own fans but unlikely to produce their best on the road; even when they only have to travel a few miles to another part of London.
The Lilywhites have been victorious in just 35 of their 231 away games in the Premier League; compared to 108 wins in 232 home games. As such, the Craven Cottage faithful have come to know that their team’s home form is crucial to each and every season.
If Fulham get off to a poor start at home, as they have done so far with one win in four games (D1 L2), then it indicates the club could be in for a long battle at the bottom of the table.
Ability and confidence away from home isn’t something that can be turned on at the flick of a switch. Having masterminded just nine league away wins during his two-season spell so far, Martin Jol obviously isn’t the man to figure the plan to making Fulham dominate on the road.
Fulham have failed to find the net in nine of their last 16 Barclays Premier League away games; including their most recent two games.
Thankfully, next Monday’s game at least keeps Fulham in south London so they shouldn’t feel too far from their home comforts as they clash with Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football.
Most of the away fans at Selhurst Park on Monday will be hoping to see Dimitar Berbatov finally kick his season into life. The Bulgarian has been a regular selection for Martin Jol so far this season; but has failed to impose himself on games in the fashion he did last year.
He hasn’t found himself in potentially match-winning positions often enough for Fulham so far. He’s been allowed possession of the ball far enough from goal when his deft touch and supreme vision can’t be used to conjure up a goal.
Instead, Berbatov has started to look like a passenger in the Fulham side; something they can’t afford, even at this early stage and especially with Martin Jol facing a battle to keep his job.
The Dutchman has a string of creative players at his disposal in Berbatov, Ruiz and Taarabt. However, none of the trio possesses the work rate to justify their selection if they are failing to produce goals. Monday night could be an important night in the rest of Berbatov’s season; especially as a defeat will heap more pressure on Jol’s uncertain future with a new owner at the club.