Fulham started the season brightly, shrugging off the losses of Dembélé and Dempsey with excellent early form. By game 11 they were in the top half with 4 wins, 4 draws and 3 losses and scoring freely with their effective attacking combination of Berbatov and Ruiz. However, following the Berbatov honeymoon period, their goals-for average dropped to a more sustainable 1 goal per game.
Defensively Fulham left room for improvement, conceding more than 2 goals in a total of 10 games despite a brief period of 6 games (24-29) where they managed to concede only 4.
Finishing the season with a 3-0 win at Swansea was just what the doctor ordered to give hope for next season after going on their worst run of form of 7 games without a win, 6 of which were losses.
The average age of Fulham’s team was the highest in the Premier League last season: the only team whose average was the ‘wrong’ side of 30. They also had one of the taller teams, and were joint second in terms of the number of players in their squad over 1.82m tall.
Jol spread the playing time fairly evenly throughout his squad, lying close-ish to the league average. The most important drop-off came for the second tier – I am not sure if it was due to injury trouble or simply not knowing his strongest 11 as to why Fulham didn’t field a greater proportion in this group.
As far as performance scores go, Fulham’s players are getting about average scores or just above in most categories. Their strength seems to lie with a decent squad depth, as the performance standard is shown to be better than average for the last 4 groups.
- Won the 4th highest proportion of aerial duels at 53.6%
- 3rd highest tackle success ratio of 78.7%
- 3rd highest number of interceptions (745)
- 2nd highest number of long balls played (2129) of which a distinctly average 56% were accurate
Diarra and Hangeland put in some decent defensive performances whilst Sidwell was an admirable all-rounder in midfield. But it is Berbatov whose stats are head and shoulders above the rest. At a reported £5m from Man Utd he is up there with the best value signings last season.