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Fulham ended a run of seven Barclays Premier League matches without a win with a resounding 3-0 victory over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. Martin Jol’s side had dropped close to the bottom three having lost six games during that period but they ended the campaign with a flourish in Wales. Swansea dominated throughout, playing some excellent football, but failed to take their chances as Alex Kacaniklic, Dimitar Berbatov and Urby Emmanuelson grabbed the goals.
Both managers made three changes to their respective teams as Michel Vorm returned in goal for Swansea, and Emmanuel Frimpong was handed just his second league start of the season for the visitors. During the opening 10 minutes both sides created chances, with Michu and Pablo Hernandez both missing good opportunities while John-Arne Riise’s low free-kick was tipped wide of the left-hand post by Vorm.
Swansea looked to be in absolute control when Hernandez hit a shot just wide from the edge of the area after a wayward pass from Philippe Senderos, but Fulham soon capitalised on their hosts’ profligacy. Ashley Williams was robbed of possession near the centre circle, allowing Bryan Ruiz to poke the ball to Eyong Enoh. The midfielder played a perfect through-ball down the centre for Kacaniklic, who struck a powerful left-footed shot into the bottom right corner.
The hosts looked dangerous going forward, but in defence they were all over the place, and Fulham cut them open again in the centre just after the half-hour, only for Kacaniklic’s flicked shot to hit a post. Swansea showcased some delightful flowing moves as the first half neared its end, but they had no luck in breaking down an impenetrable Fulham defence as the visitors took a 1-0 lead into the break.
The second half began much like the first had ended, with Swansea on top. However, their early chances fell to the wrong men as Angel Rangel had a shot tipped wide from a narrow angle, while Chico Flores mishit a volley straight at Mark Schwarzer from seven yards out. The hosts’ best chance came just before the 60th minute, as Rangel flicked Leon Britton’s pass into the areabut Pablo hit his shot straight at Schwarzer.
With 20 minutes left Jonathan de Guzman chipped a pass to the far post from deep, but Routledge could only hit the side of a post from a tight angle as luck continued to evade Michael Laudrup’s team. Despite Swansea’s pressure, Fulham doubled their lead with 12 minutes remaining when Ruiz slipped a well-timed through-ball into the right behind the hosts’ defence and Berbatov nonchalantly took it round Vorm before passing into an empty net.
Fulham then added a third in stoppage time as Emmanuelson tapped in a rebound after Kacaniklic's shot was saved by Vorm.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup: “We were okay in the first half, and had a great second half. But, as we’ve seen in other games, when you create a lot of chances but don’t take them then sooner or later you will be punished,
"But I’m not disappointed because this is not new for me. We know the areas where we have to work.
“We scored 47 goals this season, and I think we can add ten or 12 next season. A major part of the goals we have scored have gone to one person, so we need to share the responsibility of that.
“We know what we have to do. We can’t expect to find a top scorer for next to nothing – we did last year, but you can’t expect to win the lottery every year.”
Fulham manager Martin Jol: "It was exactly what we needed because in England, in the Premier League, every season is the same – the last four or five matches you can be in the top 10 then you can be 16th or 17th.”
“To go to Swansea – which is a terrific footballing team – now I realise that the difference between them and us is probably our home defeat against them because I think we were the better team - they admitted that after the game.
“Today we decided to do it a different way with a couple of buses in front of goal and we tried to hit them on the break. Normally it won’t pay off but today it paid off.
“I don’t think it will happen very often that a team comes here to Swansea and scores three goals to beat them 3-0. It was, as they say in England, very hot and cold this season. But even so, we finished with three points less than Swansea, who are fantastic, so I can live with it.”
“I’m ambitious, like Fulham is, to play in the top six, top seven, top eight,”
|09 Dec 2013||v Swansea (H)|
|15 Dec 2013||v Norwich (A)|
|22 Dec 2013||v Swansea (H)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Chelsea (A)|
|28 Dec 2013||v Aston Villa (A)|
|01 Jan 2014||v Swansea (H)|