Date: 20th April 2009 at 4:56pm
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As this surprisingly successful season draws to a close, the Cottagers find themselves in position to finish as high as 7th or potentially tumble down the table to 11th or 12th. We`ll see how it plays out, but suffice to say it`s been a much more enjoyable experience for all concerned.

I think most of us would agree that the primary reason for the turnaround is Roy Hodgson, himself, and the players he`s brought into the team since last January. Hangeland for £2.5m and Schwarzer on a free transfer were both bargains, and their contributions to our success are virtually indisputable. Our largest expenditures were for our forward line. Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora were brought in for fees that could hardly be described as inexpensive. Johnson came over from Everton for a fee thought to be around £10m. Zamora came over in a package deal with John Pantsil for £6.3m. It`s been suggested that Pantsil`s transfer was £1.4m of the total, which would set Zamora`s cost at £4.9m. We`ll call it £5m for the sake of argument. Based on their performance, were their
transfers worth the money?

According to the Premier League website, Johnson has contributed 7 goals and 3 assists in the league this term. Zamora has weighed in with a disappointing 2 goals, but a very satisfying 6 assists. Additionally, Johnson knocked-in 3 goals and, Zamora 2 goals and 2 assists in cup competitions.

I`m a little disappointed with Johnson, especially considering how much he cost. To be fair, he had injury problems at the beginning of the season and has had some bad luck with the woodwork, but I really thought his goal tally would be higher at this point – at least double-digits in the league. That hasn`t happened and with only five matches remaining, it looks a difficult feat to reach the 10-goal plateau. Still, Johnson has given us an attacking threat that we`ve missed the past few seasons. His mere presence on the pitch and the required attention of our opponent`s defenders helps create chances for our other players. I won`t say that he was worth the money, but I`m glad we have him.

Zamora has endured endless criticism from our fans about his goal tally this season – myself included. However, the more I watch, the more I`m impressed with his work rate; in particular his ability to hold the ball, dispossess defenders and set up his teammates for scoring chances. Now, it must be said that he has squandered a number of gilt-edged chances – one or two can only be described as ‘sitters.` That fact can`t be ignored. It`s hard to say that he was worth the money, but he`s performed well enough to stay in the squad, and I certainly prefer him to Kamara or Nevland. However, I do think that we need to pick up another forward this summer.

In fairness to both players, we don`t play an unbridled, attacking style. There`s much more emphasis on possession and defense, so it`s not fair to expect the same numbers that other forwards in the league contribute. Ultimately, individual success means nothing if the team is not performing well. In this regard, it`s hard to argue against the combined £15m for the two. Both need to improve, but I wouldn’t be disappointed to see them leading the line next season.


16 Replies to “Fulham – Forward Line Worth the Money?”

  • Im slightly dissapointed by AJ though he seems on course to reach what McGod always scored in a season so he probably deserves another shot next season. Zamora…..well he does get the assists and on his day he is a threat. Agree with you on needing a new striker and i’d think he’d replace Zamora.

  • A very fair summation. I believe that Andy Johnson owes Bobby Zamora a vote of thanks because if Bobby was absent Andy would be in for far more criticism from the fans.

    Terry Hare

  • Johnson is a valueable member of the team. Tricky to deal with and he works as hard as Zamora does I feel. Also, when he does get into a one-on-one (which isn’t often) he can put it away well. Zamora has been a let down, no matter how hard he works, or how good he is at holding up the ball, we could do better!

  • to be honest i expected more goals from both of them… for aj, i think that expectation was justified… with bobby, that expectation was hopeful… i think we can do better than bobby. he might get better, but i’m starting to doubt it… with aj, it seems like this really isn’t the system for him to thrive in, but he deserves his spot on the field. I’d feel ok with them both starting next year, but there’d be a nagging thought that we could have done better than zamora.

  • it’ll be interesting to see if Roy views our attack as an area that can be improved this summer!

  • i think when you take in to account our style of play that isnt too shabby. Although for what the both of them cost i would expect them to put away a couple more goals than what they have done, we play very possessional football and push our midfield forward into the ranks hence rarely getting one on one situations. We score few goals, but concede fewer and our passing play is up there with the best of them. The system we have at the moment works, and as much as we can pick out individuals in terms of statistics, at the end of the day it is a team game and a team based effort so, as long as we get the results – which we have this season – im content.

  • For my money, it all comes down to style. Roy set up the team to avoid a relegation battle and that’s exactly what he accomplished. If you contrast us with Man City, for instance, it’s readily apparent which style works best. Man City has more talent and attacking flair that we do, yet we sit above them in the table. Simple reason – they don’t defend and we do. If we put more emphasis on attack and scored more goals, would our concentration to defend be as good? Hard to say.

  • If we kept a similar style of play, yet had 2 quality strikers, I feel we could be doing better at the moment. Although, I am incredibly content with how things are anyway!

  • You’re right, though! We’ve all seen how quickly fortunes can change from season to season. What if we’re not so lucky with injuries next season? What if Hangeland leaves and our defense sputters? We need more production up front to keep up the momentum.

  • That’s a very good way of looking at it! We need to improve in certain areas, and bring in some good cover!

  • Good point Samboney, if owing to predators around our players our defence is weakened next season and our strikers don’t step up, we’ll be in trouble again.

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