Complete Bournemouth deepen crisis at Cottage


Complete Bournemouth deepen crisis at Craven Cottage

Fulham 0 : 3 AFC Bournemouth

by Steve Clare, Craven Cottage

A series of self-inflicted wounds removed what little chance Fulham had against an excellent Bournemouth side. Timothy Fosu-Mensah gave away a needless penalty in the 13th minute which the fouled player Callum Wilson converted.

Kevin McDonald was booked twice for unnecessary fouls on Ryan Fraser and David Brooks respectively, leaving his side to play the last 16 minutes with ten men. Before that, Jean Michael Seri was easily dispossessed by Adam Smith in midfield, leaving Fraser to hare up the field, (after Dennis Odoi fell over), feeding Brooks for Bournemouth’s second.

The hosts were lucky not to be reduced to nine men after Aboubakar Kamara kicked the ball away in frustration when he was already on a yellow for an outrageous and shameful dive in the first half. He was especially fortunate as referee Andre Marriner had booked Bournemouth’s Steve Cook for a similar offence just seconds before.

Having been fragile before the second goal and McDonald’s dismissal, Fulham fell apart. Wilson made it 3-0 with Tim Ream being further off the mark than he had been for Bournemouth’s second.

The Cherries began the game in sixth with 17 points, 12 ahead of the home side in 18th. Marcus Bettinelli was the only Fulham player still at the club when the teams last met, but he was dropped overnight despite being given a new contract this week. Tom Cairney is still absent for the Cottagers after sustaining an injury in the win over Burnley.

The scoreline did not flatter the visitors. Captain Simon Francis had tested Fulham keeper Sergio Rico with a screamer early on, and the tireless running of Fraser, the classy Jefferson Lerma, Adam Smith and Brooks was a credit to Eddie Howe their coach., and the team’s ethos.

Nathan Ake was the suavest defender on the pitch and the bustling bulldog that is Fulham’s Serbian mastiff Aleksandar Mitrovic resembled more of a showdog in the chihuahua section on the day, so little impact did his physicality make.

There was not a bad player on the Cherries side but for Fulham, Maxime Le Marchand and Kamara, even without his unwise decision making, do not look good enough at this level.

The host’s best spell came just after the half hour mark and coincided with the insertion of Tom Cairney who  collected and distributed the ball with more effect and class than had hitherto been shown.

Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic is under intense fire at Craven Cottage (photo credit: Steve Clare/ Prost International).

His arrival allowed McDonald to drop back to centre half his better position, but Ream seemed uncertain of where to go when this happened. Having been instructed by McDonald, he went over to manager Slavisa Jokanovic on the touchline for affirmation.

Luckily for all, the level of expletives this must have involved remained unheard by the crowd but it suggested that the manager has really lost the layers who may be deciding things for themselves. Ream moved eventually to left back but seemed highly reluctant to do so.

Bournemouth coach Eddie Howe was delighted:

“We were good in possession. We were good on the counter attack. We limited their chances. David Brooks was excellent. But the rest of the team functioned really well.”

“Its been a great start for us. The group’s in a very good place. Confidence levels are high.”

His opposite number was less upbeat after the thrashing, observing:

“I cannot complain about how my players tried. They followed the plan. We made one mistake at the beginning of the game without need. They punished us. At the end they scored easy.”

Asked how his team fixes things, he said:

“Keep going forward, be brave, supporting each other Show some different attitudes.”

With a loss against Cardiff already suffered entering this game, this loss leaves Jokanovic’s tenure on a thread as his owner looked on. The match with Huddersfield on Bonfire Night looks make or break now, notwithstanding Manchester City before then.

Bournemouth have Norwich in the League Cup next. Their futures look as different as their presents.

Fulham: Sergio Rico; Maxime Le Marchand, Dennis Odoi, Tim Ream, Kevin McDonald (c), Jean Michaël Seri, Ryan Sessegnon, André Schürrle, Aboubakar Kamara,  Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Aleksandar Mitrovic,

Substitutes:  Marcus Bettinelli; Luciano Vietto, Alfie Mawson, Cyrus Christie, Tom Cairney, Stefan Johansen, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

Bournemouth: Asmir Begović; Steve Cook, Simon Francis (c), Nathan Ake, Adam Smith, Lewis Cook, Ryan Fraser, Jefferson Lerma, Charlie Daniels, Callum Wilson, David Brooks, 

Substitutes: Artur Boruc, Dan Gosling, Andrew Surman, Jordan Ibe, Jermain Defoe, Diego Rico, Junior Stanislas,

Referee Andre Marriner



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