Having been there, I would say my thoughts probably match most of what has been mentioned here. In terms on the starting XI, it was what I thought might happen (the biggest shock being Bruce persuading Snoddy to play on the other side). On a side note, Axel was without doubt our MotM as Sessegnon offered nothing until he went inside. We were always going to lack more creativity and be a bit more dig deep. But other than O’Hare I’m not sure what else was possible and he was never getting thrown in that environment. I was saying to those around me exactly what Bruce said post-match in that the match would be decided by the first goal.
The first half was decent and as a game plan, absolutely fine. Fulham tend to dominate possession anyway but they created as many half chances in that 45 minutes as we did, such was the threat we looked on the counter. The fact we conceded possession didn’t really bother me, I think there’s a stat which says that in around two thirds of fixtures this year we’ve seen less of the ball. As such, Jedi being in there was fine but as soon as he 442 it was his time to be hoinked as he’s not mobile enough. I thought it was odd Grabban came on though, taking into account by that point, Hogan was just being fed long balls from Johnstone/JT/Chester and being out-jumped by Ream and Kalas every time; to me it screamed Keinan coming on to at least offer a challenge to those balls.
Onomah I keep hoping to see more of that player who dazzled on his debut at Colchester. I don’t necessarily think he’s disinterested but I think he’s lacking confidence and quite aware of the grumbles within the Villa support (which again as a side note, in the first half in particular was top notch). He also was in no way culpable for the first goal. I thought it at the time and having now seen highlights had it reaffirmed – Jedi and Thor were way off the player who played the ball in the channel, he should have had the time to turn and thread that pass inside Hutton with those two in the vicinity but not tight to him. Axel is then arguably culpable for not tracking Sessegnon, however, JT is closest to him so he’s either not fully aware or not been given a shout. It was certainly quite avoidable. The second as we know is a gimmie; poor Gollini was never given such understanding though (even the first incident at Hillsborough on the opening day!).
Three trips I’ve now made to the Cottage; all three the away day itself has been great but I’ve now witness 0-2, 1-3 and 0-2 results and pretty average performances. It really is not a happy hunting ground for us! Let’s hope we can pull something together for Tuesday; I’ve a feeling it might be similar personnel and game plan-wise; my biggest concern is the replacement on the left-wing, I really don’t know what solution I’d go with there, whereas I’d be willing to give Onomah another chance as the #10 so he’s in a more natural position.
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