Berba should have been sacrificed

Thursday 4th April 2013 16:29

Dimitar Berbatov: Scored against QPR but should have been withdrawn

Dimitar Berbatov: Scored against QPR but should have been withdrawn

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Fulham FanZoner Henry Walmsley believes Dimitar Berbatov should have been withdrawn against QPR but can fire the team to victory at Newcastle.

The day after the QPR match I turned 19, but after the longest 45 minutes of my life it felt like it could have been 29.

We won, though, and we are now all but safe, whereas our rivals can almost start preparing for life back in the Championship.

In the first half we were excellent; we put opposition players under huge amounts of pressure, looked more threatening going forward than I've seen us all season, and most importantly, we kept calm, gave the ball to Dimitar Berbatov, and let him do the rest.

The 3-0 scoreline didn't flatter us in the slightest and it looked like we could be heading for another 6-0.

Unfortunately, Ashkan Dejagah had to go off injured and at this point the momentum of the game changed.

We sat back, allowing them to keep the ball high up the pitch, and a sloppy pass from Giorgos Karagounis saw Adel Taarabt pull one back for the visitors with an excellent finish meaning we went into the break knowing that if they got an early goal we could be in for a very nervy second half.

That's exactly what happened. Within five minutes of the restart, QPR had missed a penalty and grabbed another goal; we were all of a sudden on the rocks.

QPR kept up the pressure for most of the second half but were unable to force another thanks to a well organised defence.

I think Martin Jol missed a trick. If I was on the touchline I would have taken Berbatov off after about 60 minutes and stuck on Hugo Rodallega.

I mentioned in my blog last week that we play fantastically if Berbatov stays up front - in the first half he did this, and we scored 3 goals, but in the second half he didn't, and we couldn't get out of our own half.

I think if we'd brought on Rodallega we would have had an out ball as he would have made more runs and tried to get in behind the clumsy Chris Samba, like he did against Newcastle back in December. Maybe then we could have nicked a fourth goal to secure the game.

The red card for Steve Sidwell in my opinion was harsh. Like Jol said after the game I can see why the referee gave it, but replays showed he went in one footed and kept both feet on the ground.

I'm very disappointed it didn't get rescinded as it was a very similar red card to Jack Rodwell's last season for Everton which did get rescinded.

After the sending off, we actually looked under far less pressure, we looked more organised, and Emmanuel Frimpong came on and did well.

The victory leaves us one point behind Swansea and five behind West Brom, with a game in hand on each. Finishing above them would be a great achievement and would really give us cause for optimism going into next season.

I'm not going to get too far ahead of myself, though, as five points behind with 8eight games to go is quite a lot. But. having looked at our remaining fixtures, I think we can pick up 10 more points which would leave us on 49, a very respectable total.

This weekend we face a struggling Newcastle side who will see the game as a must-win. Whilst I expect them to stay up fairly comfortably with the players they have, being only three points above the drop, it is home games against teams like us which they need to win.

I've watched Newcastle quite a lot this season and think the key to beating them is man-marking Yohan Cabaye and not letting him play fantastic long balls as he often does.

With Steve Sidwell suspended this could be a job for Frimpong, or the forgotten Chris Baird who has done it well in the past.

If we can do this, I think we can definitely return to London with all three points. Another 1-0 win and Berbatov goal is my prediction.

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