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Fulham beat Nottingham Forest ~ Prem MD 23 ~ 22/23

last updated Tuesday 14th February 2023, 4:29 PM



Match Report

Fulham (1) 2-0 (0) Nottingham Forest

Premiership Match Day 23 22/23 at Craven Cottage

Saturday 11th February 2023     KO: 15:00

Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire)



Fulham Winger Willian
Fulham Winger
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Fulham ended Nottingham Forest’s unbeaten run in 2023 with a 2-0 victory, with goals coming from Willian and Manor Solomon.

Brazilian winger Willian curled the opener past Keylor Navas and into the top corner (17), just ten minutes after Forest had to take centre-backs Willy Boly and Scott McKenna off due to a double injury blow in the same move.

Fulham would go on to hit the post three times through Willian, Bobby Decordova-Reid and Andreas Pereira, while Aleksandar Mitrovic was denied by a smart save from Navas.

At the other end, the hosts were thankful for several misses from substitute Emmanuel Dennis, while Serge Aurier saw a close-range header clawed to safety by Bernd Leno.

But the points were sealed in the final minutes of normal time as Solomon scored his first Fulham goal (88) by finishing a devastating counterattack.

Midfielder Manor Solomon
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The result moves Fulham to within four points of fifth-placed Tottenham, who were beaten 4-1 at Leicester.

Forest lined up looking to extend their unbeaten run to six games but Steve Cooper had to throw their defensive plans out of the window after just seven minutes.

Both Boly and McKenna picked up injuries in the same move, meaning Felipe and Joe Worrall came on in their place - the former making his debut for the visitors.

As Forest put their makeshift defence together, Fulham looked to take advantage with Mitrovic seeing a close-range header fly over the bar from Antonee Robinson's deep cross.

But Forest could only hold out for 10 minutes, with Andreas Pereira's free-kick causing problems in the visitors' backline - with Bobby Decordova-Reid and Willian having swipes at goal.

The ball eventually fell to the latter, who curled home past Navas for his third league goal since joining the club in the summer.

Forest responded after Fulham's opener with Gianluca Scarpa, Felipe and Chris Wood all missing half-chances - but the hosts ended the half stronger.

Match Stats Fulham Nottingham Forest
Goals (1) 2 0 (0)
Scorers Willian 17 -
Soloman 88 -
Goal attempts 16 10
On target 3 1
Shooting Accuracy 19% 10%
Possession 50% 50%
Passes Success 79% 77%
Corners 5 4
Tackles Success 50% 80%
Saves 1 1
Fouls 9 11
Offsides 1 3
Yellows 0 1
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
Marco Silva's side should have doubled their advantage when Mitrovic found space in the box but his near post effort was well-stopped by Navas.

Decordova-Reid then came within a lick of paint of finding the net himself, striking the crossbar from 25 yards after Pereira laid the ball off to him.

Pereira would go on to drag an effort wide of the far post as Forest held on for a one-goal deficit at half-time.

In the second period, Fulham came out of the blocks in the same vein as they ended the first and hit the woodwork twice in quick succession.

Willian's mazy run saw him strike the outside of Navas' far post from the edge of the box, before Pereira's free-kick rattled against the Forest keeper's crossbar.

But the introduction of Jonjo Shelvey for his Forest debut saw the visitors create a flurry of chances - which nearly led to an equaliser.

First, Brennan Johnson's volley from the edge of the box flew over, while Dennis put one of two gilt-edged chances at the far post wide when found completely unmarked.

Then came Forest's moment of the match as Aurier was found a few yards out from goal but saw his close-range header palmed away by Leno - who was mostly a spectator.

Forest would go on to regret those misses as a breakaway led by Kenny Tete saw the right-back feed Pereira, who laid the ball off for substitute Solomon to score his first Fulham goal since joining from Shakhtar Donetsk on loan.

Fulham came into this match without a goal in three Premier League games, with top scorer Mitrovic's slight drop in form seen as one of the reasons.

But with the Serbian striker picking up a slight knock in the warm-up, albeit fine to carry on for 80 minutes, it was down to wide forwards Willian and Solomon to step up to the plate and drive Fulham to victory.

Fulham boss Marco Silva only sees Mitrovic's run of four games without a goal as a positive, providing others keep stepping up to the mark.

"It's really important. We have to share goals between our wingers. We can't have one player scoring goals," said Silva in his post-match press conference.

"If you look in the past, normally my wingers normally score goals. They have to arrive in certain areas to score goals as well.

"You have to share them: our attacking midfielders have to score them, our central defenders should score goals as well."

Silva was full of particular praise for Willian - who scored his third league goal since completing a free transfer at the start of the season.

"Top player, top class player. Great guy," said the Fulham manager of the former Chelsea and Arsenal winger.

"He is playing with a smile on his face in the training ground, enjoying every single moment.

He knows I have to demand from him. He doesn't need to prove anything to anyone. He's a top guy, a top player.

"If I had doubts, I wouldn't have signed him. Never. [Doubts] about his quality? It's impossible. He's a class, class player.

"What he's doing for us is no surprise at all. You saw it week in, week out. I'm a privileged guy because I can see it every single day."

Which teams have picked up the most points since Christmas Day?

Well, Manchester United have the most with 17, that's to be expected given their form under Erik ten Hag. Brentford are third-highest with 15 - again, no real surprise given they have been taking points off the biggest teams, including league leaders Arsenal on Saturday.

But in between United and Brentford are Fulham - who are certainly going under the radar in terms of progression under Marco Silva.

Now, after their 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday, Fulham have picked up more points than any other newly-promoted team after 23 games since Wigan in 2006.

Part of what makes the Cottagers so good is the effective spine they have in their team. In goal, Bernd Leno has the third-highest goal-prevention rate for Premier League goalkeepers this season.

Tim Ream marshals the backline, proved by the statistic he won every single duel given to him against this Forest side.

Andreas Pereira is at the heart of every attacking move and his threat from set pieces, proved by his minor role in the first goal, is a real plus point.

But while Mitrovic's goals have been crucial this season - the fact that other forwards chip in when the Serbian striker, who is now without a goal in four league games, is boosting Fulham's credentials.

Mitro is normally on fire, but when the flame is low there are other sparks to help the Cottagers.

Nottingham Forest boss Cooper admitted his side cannot use the double injury blow as an excuse - and felt his side were destined to equalise amid the flurry of second-half chances.

"We won't use it as an excuse because that wouldn't be right. But that incident, it was unfortunate. I've never seen it before. Same position, same action, same injury. I hope it never happens again.

"We won't hide behind it for the reason of not getting the result. The first half we didn't quite take the game to Fulham as we should. There was an opportunity to do that but we didn't play with enough belief. The second half we did and we were by far the best team.

"I was convinced we would equalise. But we should have done better, with the chances we had and the shooting opportunities. We should have been more ruthless and clinical with the momentum that we showed and the positions we got.

"You can see the home crowd were getting frustrated. So capture the moment and try and get an equaliser. We will only look at ourselves and what we should do better."

Fulham play high-flying Brighton next weekend on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.

Fulham: Leno, Tete (Soares 91), Robinson, Diop, Ream, Reed, Palhinha, Pereira (Lukic 91), Willian (Solomon 72), De Cordova-Reid (Wilson 85), Mitrovic (Vinícius 84)

Unused substitutes: Rodak, James, Duffy, Adarabioyo

Goals:
Willian 17 (Pereira gets up to take the free-kick and it creates havoc. Willian and Mitrovic push it on to Decordova-Reid at the back post, where he shot it blocked. Lodi clears away to Willian on the right, who cuts inside and curls past Navas into the top corner. Expert finish!)

Solomon 88 (Tete leads the charge on the Fulham counter attack, bursting past his man on the right. He squares for Pereira in the D, who feeds Solomon as the spare man on the left. Solomon takes a touch and finds the near post. FPL Assist: Pereira)

Nottingham Forest: Navas, Lodi, Aurier, Boly (Felipe 7), McKenna (Worrall 7), Gibbs-White, Johnson, Freuler, Mangala (Shelvey 56), Scarpa (Dennis 56), Wood (Ayew 63)

Unused substitutes: Williams, Surridge, Hennessey, Colback

Booked: Aurier (15,f),

Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire)

Attendance: 24,244






























Source Sam Blitz at Sky Sports
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