Fulham: The Ljungberg Show

Here are six words I never thought I would be able to bring myself to write…

Freddie Ljungberg: Man of the Match

After an insipid first half an hour in which he was hardly at the races, I was about to turn to my friend and have my usual moan when Freddie dispossed a Fulham player to cross for Deano to head in. Poetic justice. From then on he played like a man possessed, tackling as if his life depended on it and beating player after player down the right. At last we saw why Curbishley paid £3 million for him.

To be honest we just didn’t seem to play until the goal. Mullins was having a terrible game but after the goal seemed to transform himself. The same could be said for a couple of other players too.

As the second half got underway the crowd really got behind the team and seemed in little doubt that a goal would eventually come. Ashton had had two terrific efforts saved by the excellent Niemi in the latter stages of the first half. To be honest, if Niemi hadn’t been on his game it could have been a rout.

Mark Noble deserves a huge credit for the winning goal. He chased a seemingly hopeless ball to the goalline and stretched to pull it back for Anton to rifle it in. Noble was again excellent today and nearly snatched a goal for himself too. Sadly, it was blocked.

Fulham were all over the place defensively but were a match for us in midfield. But apart from the goal (and I’m still not sure what happened there) they didn’t really have a shot on goal.

Upson, Ferdinand and Etherington all put in impressive performances, but I have to say Boa Morte was incredibly disappointing when he replaced the industrious Carlton Cole with twenty minutes to go.£

A final word about Julien Faubert. after all he has been through, all I can say is how terrific it was to see him play the last five minutes. I am sure he is going to be an awesom player for us. And so to the marks…

Green 7
Upson 9
Ferdinand 8
McCartney 7
Spector 6
Mullins 6
Ljungberg 9
Noble 8
Etherington 8
Ashton 7.5
Cole 7

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21 Responses to Fulham: The Ljungberg Show

  1. Carlos Tabrez says:

    I always thought fans were too harsh on LJUNGBERG. What we must remember is that he has come from a club, ARSENAL, that plays excellent football, hes played in the champions league and is a current international. We cannot say this about any of our other players. If anything his style of play was too good for us initially, probably a level above most of our players.

    Now anyone who has ever played football with those that are not as gifted or on the same level as them will understand how frustrating this can be. This, I’m sure was the case for LJUNGBERG. As we as a club improve our quality of play then we will see FREDDIE come to the fore…there’s no doubt. As we play 4-4-2 on the ground and stop hoofing it up there from defence for our lone striker then we will see his quality. Why you could not see him being man of the match before I do not know.

    I will reserve judgement on your ratings until I’ve seen the match Iain, but I see UPSON and NOBLE get high marks again and BOA MORTE (just back from injury) gets another unfavourable review.

    …And a special mention for HAYDEN MULLINS who at the start of the season found himself out of the side. He didn’t complain or run to the media; he just got on with it. He’s fought back into the side and has become difficult to drop. His consistent performances in the middle has probably made the midfield quartet CURBISHLEYS biggest problem.

  2. DaDon says:

    I thought we were mediocre today. Fulham are awful and don’t have a Tevez to get them out of their plight, yet we strolled around most of the time. It was good enough, just, but they could have snatched a draw at the end and we blew a chance to really put some weight into our goal difference. Plusses: Freddie was our best player by far; we saw some glimpses of the old Ashton; and it was great to finally see Faubert in the C&B. Noble also had a very good game and our second goal was all down to his tenacity and perseverance.

    I don’t agree at all about Boa Morte – whilst he’s still a frustrating player, I thought his presence injected some missing momentum and his, er, wholehearted approach unbalanced their midfield. Rather him than Invisible Ethers any day.

    I also simply don’t understand how anyone can eulogise Mullins – he gives the ball away so much he should register as a charity. If there’s a right pass or a wrong pass he can play, which one will it be 9 times out of ten? How often does he get caught in possession because he dithers in the middle? How often does he underhit or delay a pass and force a teammate into a dangerous challenge? I could go on but you get my point. A bench player at best, no one can seriously believe that he should be in the team before either Parker or Noble? He’s done well enough for us under the circumstances, but for me he’s exactly the kind of player that Carlos T is saying isn’t of a sufficently high standard to play with Freddie.

    All that said though, another home win, 32 points and a good platform for a fully fit team to build on.

    Now if only we can beat Citeh and go and have some fun up in South Yorkshire…

  3. brooking is still the best says:

    Three points was a must today.

    Before our goal you could see in the players actions the tension of playing infront of a crowd that is so quickly ready to show their frustration. I hope now and for the rest of the season we really get behind the team and give them the support that allows them to enjoy playing at home. I also hope Curbs gets some well deserved praise on what a fantastic job he is doing.

    With some of our better players on the comeback path, the rest of the season could turn out to be very interesting. Its just a pity we have had so much bad luck so far on that front.

  4. Chris says:

    Was there any link, by chance, between Freddie’s best game by far for us (he was Man of the Match for me) and the presence of Julien Faubert on the bench?

    As Curbs said in his interview for MoTD, getting the injured players back provides even more competition for places which can only be good.

    Good to see the resilience in the team to come back and, unlike the early season home wins, it didn’t feel lucky – the luck went more Fulham’s way in that it wasn’t a bigger scoreline.

    We’ve struggled to break down teams like Fulham so far this season but today, for the first time, it felt like we had much better and more effective width on both flanks and that’s one of the things needed to do the breaking down.

    Is it me or has Deano suffered a reduction in his ability to jump for and win balls? Great on the ground today but didn’t see him win nearly as much in the air as I remember him doing before his latest injury.

    Thought we also need to do a bit more dead ball / set piece practice – we looked like we were missing Nobby on the free kicks, for example.

    But a good win, all in all.

  5. Prince H says:

    I’m happy for Ljungberg! I think he will be very important for the team from now on, specially when Parker now is out again….

  6. Steve says:

    Sorry but that is a nonsensical comment about Boa Morte. He was fully charged when he came on. Granted he lost the ball a couple of times, but apart from that his energy was terrific and he closed them down on several occasions from playing dangerous balls in.

  7. Biffo the bear says:

    Today, along with evryone else at Upton Park, including all our players, I watched in disbelief as a free-kick bounced unchallenged into our net. Some kind of spooky star-trek kind of spatial anomaly which removes a humans ability to play football swept over the ground this afternoon in waves. It was remarkable to behold, for several minutes at a time no-one seemed to be able to pass, tackle, mark, move into space, the whole works. What was even more remarkable was that there were other moments of absolute brilliance as well.

    Ljungbergs cross and Ashton’s header were just two examples. Mullins seemed to flicker between someone who’d never seen a football before to an almost perfect example of the defensive midfielder who breaks up play, intercepts passes and forges forward.

    This must be the kind of thing that drives managers crazy. You can be a great team and a really shite team. Usually we get one or the other. Today we got a bizzare mixture of both.

    I agree with the special mention for Hayden Mullins who is working his way up my ‘Hammer of the year’ list.

    Once we did start to play there was only one team in it. Thank God we got the three points!

  8. geoff says:

    I thought Anton was our best player today, Freddie was awful 1st half, often roaming into the middle, leaving Spector on his own (not a great idea). 2nd half Freddie gave his best display of the season, not too difficult, but looked as though he wanted the ball and was sheer class. Also he didn’t stray into the middle so it made it easier for our defence. Apart from the 1st 10 mins, Anton won every challenge, and saved us just before half time when Freddie carelessly passed the ball across his own penalty area only for Anton to clear for a corner. Ashton did well 1st half. Cole worked hard, but will never score the goals to take him up a level. I thought Boa Morte was excellent when he came on, he closed players down and distributed the ball well. Three points, 8 points above the scum and two more wins will see us safe. Bring on Sheffield Utd.

  9. Doc H Ball says:

    Apart from the shocking goal, I thought our defence were excellent again. A lot of the credit for that goes to the industry of Mullins in front of them, but his link up play with the attack is non existent. It seems to me that we’re doing alright but there’s still a problem bringing the forwards into play. Hurry back Bellamy and let’s hope Flaubert cuts it.

    I thought it was great to see Jimmy Bullard get that reception today. The club should compile a DVD of the generous applause given to Rio, Carlos, carrick and Bullard and send copies to those idiots in the press who are quick to slag us off as well as to Lumpard and Defoe.

    As for Freddie, just remember one thing – we’ve never signed a decent player from the Arse and don’t start to think we have.

  10. crazyhorse says:

    Ljundberg showed class today,although the game didnt start up for the hammers til later on I reckon with Ashton atlast showing how dangerous he can be in front of goal and Bellamy coming back,topped with Faubert in the squad and others on the mend things will get better.COME ON U IRONS

  11. DaDon says:

    Er sorry Doc but that’s a ridiculous statement. We signed John Hartson from the Arse. He was at the very least decent. And I’m sure I’ll think of a few more if I put my mind to it. Winterburn did well for us too. Stewart Robson before he got injured. If Freddy carries on like he played today then he’ll be a great asset.

  12. ironsmith says:

    Fulham for me were the poorest side to visit us this season and apart from antons’ cock up did not trouble us and we deserved the 3 points. However, I am becoming increasingly concerned about our central midfield quality in the absence of scott parker and etherington can cause us more problems than the opposition sometimes. On two occasions in the second half he cut in well from the left in to a good scoring position but could not shoot as he has no right foot- this is just not good enough!I agree fully about freddie today- just fantastic! the cross and goal by ashton was almost ‘hurstlike’ and took me back to the sixties and those of my generation would have experienced the same feeling. The right side of midfield is looking so strong now with faubert almost there and nobby and freddie as cover the left is very weak in comparison. Deano looked really good in the first half to remind us all what a class act he is and it is onwards and upwards!Well done lads!

  13. west ham johnny says:

    i’m a big enough person to admit that i’ve been giving ljugnburg some stick so far this season but its games like he had today that we all wanna see and i’m glad he proved me wrong today.
    not a bad result today with the team we had out ,and i’m wondering how julian farburt feels after the great reception he recieved cos i thought it was great so he must be loving it.

  14. freddiegirl says:

    I’m very happy for Freddie that he is settling in well with you Hammers. I am a Gooner and Freddie was always my favorite. I loved him for the fact that he never gave up and played every match like it was Cup final. He will do the same for you if he can just stay uninjured. Just be prepared that every season he does get laid low by those pesky migraines….;);) Best of luck this season to you Hammers.

  15. Darren says:

    With you on Ljunberg, until the mid-point of the first half he was as bad as he has been for us – but an assist from thin air (and the presence of Faubert) seemed to lift him and his work-rate and touch went up a gear. You’re mile off on Boa Morte, though. Love Cole for his efforts tough I do, I’d play Boa up with Ashton on Wednesday, no doubt. He’s quick, clever, an intelligent player and a bit nasty. I thought he gave Fulham a different kind of problem altogether – and Cole and Ashton togther is too easy to defend. Fair play to Deano, too, he was a yard quicker after his goal today and could have had a hat trick. But Fulham are one poor side.

  16. headmaster1 says:

    No rating for Cole then Iain?? Oversight I assume……….

  17. nayni says:

    Just looking forward for your next post in which you will write the same “six words ” again 😉

  18. Biffo the bear says:

    Heard the beginnings of a song for Julien Faubert on Saturday…
    (to the tune of Rupert the Bear)

    “Jooolien, Julien Faubert….nobody knows his naaaaame”
    quality, I thought. also heard the re-working of joey cole’s song for Carlton.

    we need more songs and players names seem to be the best ones to work with. Anyone got any suggestions?
    could be a new topic Iain?

  19. Wooty says:

    Went to the game yesterday, i thought we played well, carlton looked a little bit off the mark, same goes for mullins and spector, deano looks to have finally shed the extra weight he’d been carrying for a while and it showed with his movement, good to see faubert and bowyer back, cant wait for a midfield of dyer, faubert, matty and noble mmmmmmmm……..

  20. HammerRon says:

    Freddie had a great game against Fulham, just hope he can play like that every week!!

    C`mon you IROOOONS

  21. DevoDevo says:

    Some good points made above.

    I think, given the number of injuries we have had, we are in a great position to push on for a European place with players returning.

    Again, Curbishley doesn’t seem to be getting any credit for his decisions, but Deano looked much sharper than in recent weeks and this has to be due to Curbishley resting him.

    Freddie has his best game but I didn’t think he was outstanding and Spector at right back looked a better propostion to me than neill at the moment. Neill is gettung skinned for pace this year and regularly loses possession in the opposition half, leaving us open at the back. We really do need a better RB.

    I’m also licking my lips at a potential midfield of Faubert, Parker, Noble and Dyer (if they are ever fit together). With Solano, Bowyer, Freddie Mullins, Matty and BM to come in we are more than catered for in the middle of the park.

    Finally, a word for Anton. At fault for their goal, he turned in an excellent performance afterwards. Winning everything in the air, making blocks – particularly the one when Freddie tried to give Fulham an equaliser – and bringing the ball out from defence. His goal was the icing on the cake (he also had one cleared off the line) and as i have said before, if he can get his head right and concentrate on his football, he can be a very good player.

    Roll on Citeh.

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