Fulham rewrite record books for wrong reasons in Burnley loss
This was a Fulham defeat to bemuse even Opta’s finest minds. In 15 years of keeping records, the statistics provider could find no previous example of a team conceding two goals against opponents who had failed to manage a single shot on target.
The Premier League’s leakiest defence endured perhaps their most hapless afternoon yet of a traumatic season. Fulham scored all three goals – unfortunately, two went into their own net.
“This period is very strange,” said Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri. He was referring to the three-minute firsthalf spell in which Joe Bryan and Denis Odoi both scored own goals, although he could just as easily have been discussing the club’s entire season. A quick return to the Championship is inevitable unless Ranieri finds a way to hide his team’s self-destruct button.
The Italian coach must have found the defeat particularly galling given the quality of the goal his team opened the scoring with in the first two minutes, courtesy of a breathtaking piece of skill from Andre Schurrle.
The winger’s career has suffered a few setbacks since he crossed for Mario Gotze to score the winner for Germany against Argentina in the World Cup final five years ago, but his class is as apparent as ever.
He showed that with the way he controlled Odoi’s long pass with the outside of his right boot, let it bounce and then struck an unstoppable dipping shot in off the bar.
That was the sublime. What followed was largely ridiculous. Goodness knows what Gareth Southgate, the watching England manager, made of it. Burnley just about kept their heads when Fulham were losing theirs, and were rewarded with a third straight Premier League victory, keeping them clear of a relegation zone in which Fulham are deeply embedded.
Sean Dyche’s side were helped by the fact that Fulham defended like strangers.
Burnley equalised as Jeff Hendrick’s angled shot was diverted into his own net by Joe Bryan, who had just escaped a penalty appeal for dragging over James Tarkowski as they challenged for Dwight McNeil’s cross from the left.
If anything, Odoi’s own goal was even more comical, panicking as Hendrick tried to cut a cross back from the left and sending a perfectly angled header into the corner of his own net. A replay on the big screen was met with a gale of laughter from the home fans.
“That second goal was a strange one,” Dyche admitted. “Everyone needs the rub of luck and today we had that with the second goal. Overall I’m pleased with the win. That’s three straight wins and that’s difficult in the Premier League. Two of them have been from one goal down so that’s good for the mentality, good for the points and good for the table, of course.”
Unlucky strike: Chris Wood celebrates after Denis Odoi put the ball in his own net