The 20/21 Fulham season always looked likely to end in relegation. They kept fighting but the inevitable eventually caught them earlier than it should have. Performance wise, Scott Parker’s side rarely looked a team destined for the Championship, but this is a results business. And when it came to results, Fulham just didn’t get over the line enough times.
Each game, they’d be in the perfect position to strike, thanks to their modern-day approach of play, but lacked the end product and killer instinct to make it count. Come the end of the season, the only two people that came out looking better were Scott Parker and Ademola Lookman.
Parker took a Fulham side, not built for the Premier League, and had them playing some of the best football in the bottom half of the table- even securing them some famous wins along the way. So, in a way, it proves that there can be good moments in a season of dismay; a campaign of relegation.
Though, let’s not hide away from the truth here, there were still plenty of moments to forget.
Fulham Season Review
Moment to Remember
When thinking of Fulham’s moment of the season, it’s hard to look past their win at Anfield. Liverpool were on a torrid run of form at the time in the Premier League, but looked back to themselves in Europe. Many expected the Reds to finally get back on track against Parker’s side.
Instead, Fulham added to Liverpool’s Anfield woes, inflicting a 1-0 defeat courtesy of a Mario Lemina strike. In truth, it could have been more, too, with Parker’s side often cutting through a vulnerable Liverpool team with ease. And that is how they played for the majority of the season. They just did not get enough results to compliment their style.
There was a stage when it looked likely that they’d stay up and Newcastle United would, instead, face the drop. Yet, when it came to crunch time, the Cottagers lost their form completely to all but end any hopes of Premier League football.
At one point, they went on a five game unbeaten run which included a draw with Liverpool at Craven Cottage. But, how many points did they accumulate in that run? Five. Five games, five draws in five must win games. That statistic, right there, sums Fulham’s season up.
Moment to Forget
As alluded to before, it was a season that showed promise but ended with the negativity of relegation. Therefore, naturally, there were plenty of moments to forget.
The most heartbreaking moment came with four games to go against Burnley; the game that confirmed their place in the Championship; the game to put an end to their slim hopes of survival. It should have been a winnable game, but, by this point, the Fulham heads had clearly dropped. They had confined themselves to relegation and the loss just confirmed it.
The first-half goals from Ashley Westwood and Chris Wood meant that it was over relatively quickly. There was no Fulham comeback. By this point, you probably couldn’t have even convinced the Fulham players that they were capable of netting three times in one game.
In fact, the one time they did score three goals was in a 4-3 loss to Leeds United at the beginning of the season- proving just how difficult Parker’s side found it in front of goal.
Fulham Player of the Season
Finding a player of the season in a relegated side can be difficult, but not in this case. Ademola Lookman easily takes the award. He was the one bright spark in a relatively dim Fulham side. After a good season, he’ll be hoping to get an opportunity back at parent club RB Leipzig or maybe even a permanent move back to the Premier League. The 23-year-old was involved in eight goals.
Had he been around better players, Fulham could have survived. If other loanees such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek turned up, Scott Parker would still be a Premier League manager.
Fulham were not relegated due to the system they play or the manager they have. They were relegated because not enough individual stood up and made themselves counted when needed the most. It should never be an easy task to pick a player of the year, but such is the failure of the players around him, Lookman takes the award with relative ease.
Fulham will hope to bounce back at the first time of asking again next season, but it will be a hard task in the Championship, as they know all too well.
Whether Scott Parker or other players will be around to play in England’s second tier is anyone’s guess. Fulham will certainly hope that, at the very least, Parker sticks around for one more season.
Embed from Getty Images