Cyrus Christie started his fifth-straight game for Fulham yesterday, as Scott Parker’s side beat Stoke City 1-0 in the Championship.
The game was settled after less than half-an-hour when Bobby Reid finished from close-range – his fourth goal of the season, and his third in Fulham’s last two outings.
He’s a man who’s importance to the team has become clear of late and another who fits that bracket is Christie.
The Irishman, like most of his Craven Cottage compadres had a dismal season in the Premier League. He amongst others were slated for their performances last season and going into this one under Parker, Christie was well out-of-favour.
The 27-year-old is in his third season at Fulham and is with his third club in the Championship, having played for Derby and Middlesbrough at this level previously.
But it was Dennis Odoi who had the right-back position on lock-down. He began the season as Parker’s preferred choice and after putting in some solid performances, fans were singing his praise as one of the team’s more underrated players.
A cynical straight red card against Preston though saw Odoi serve a three-match suspension and looks to have brought his stay in the starting eleven to an abrupt end, with Christie now starting the last five for Fulham – he’d only started twice in the league all season before the start of the month.
Yesterday though showed that Christie still has a place in this team. From the right-hand side he was able to provide some good service for the likes of Reid and Aleksandar Mitrovic in the penalty area, and almost had an assists when the Serb was denied at point blank range.
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Parker is a very modern manager. His style of play emphasises possession football, defending high up the pitch and getting full-backs involved in attacks – Christie fits this mould, and looks to have quickly reasserted his spot on the right of the defence.
He has a good degree of defensive ability as well, more so than Odoi. Odoi was just as good going forward for Fulham but like a lot of these modern-era full-backs, wasn’t quite as solid going backwards.
Christie is a class player at Championship level and one who could be really important for Fulham in their promotion push. Fans will love to see him thriving back in the team, and he looks to be getting back to his best for the club.