Perhaps the Premier League could do us all a favour and not schedule us to play Fulham next season on Boxing Day. For the second successive year the teams played out a 0-0 draw, though at least it did feel as if this was a point gained, instead of two points dropped.
This was down to Heurelho Gomes who made some brilliant saves to keep us in the game. That this performance came at Craven Cottage, which was the scene of Gomes’ worst of many gaffes last season, must have been particularly satisfying for the Brazilian.
Possession was shared pretty evenly between the two sides, but it was Fulham that carved out the most chances. Fortunately, Gomes was equal to all that the home side could throw at him, but our lack of attacking thrust was worrying.
The big shock of the day was the sight of Defoe on the bench, as Keane was preferred alongside Crouch. It was a strange decision, as Keane and Crouch have never looked like a viable partnership this season. Once again Keane was eventually substituted, with Defoe being brought on in an effort to win the game.
The best of our chances to score came from Crouch. He was unfortunate after producing a piece of skill reminiscent of Matt Le Tissier, to see his goal disallowed after the referee had given a free kick to us for a previous foul. You could argue that Schwarzer would have made more of an effort to save it had play continued, but at the very least it would have take a very good stop from preventing Crouch’s shot from crossing the line.
That’s exactly what Schwarzer did produce late on, to prevent Crouch from long range and then followed it up with another save, as Jenas pounced on the rebound. Jenas was chosen instead of Huddlestone, but though he was tidy enough, there was nothing to suggest that he will retain his spot against West Ham.
A draw at Fulham constitutes a decent result, but with Liverpool and Manchester City both winning, it makes the West Ham game a must win game. With Defoe back in the team, I don’t see that being a problem, but one can only wonder what might have been had he started against Fulham.