Muniz double helps Fulham leapfrog Bournemouth

Two goals from Brazil striker Rodrigo Muniz saw Fulham beat Bournemouth 3-1 in the battle of two midtable sides at Craven Cottage.

Fulham made a dream start when Bobby Decordova-Reid took advantage of a slip in the box from Lewis Cook to fire his side ahead after just five minutes, before Muniz got in on the action.

The forward’s first goal was an opportunistic effort, stealing in ahead of a dawdling Neto to double the hosts’ lead nine minutes before half-time.

Rodrigo Muniz of Fulham celebrates scoring his team's third goal with team-mate Tim Ream
Rodrigo Muniz of Fulham celebrates scoring his team’s third goal with team-mate Tim Ream

Despite Bournemouth defender Marcos Senesi cutting that advantage in half with a neatly taken strike five minutes into the second period, it was that man Muniz who restored the Cottagers’ two-goal cushion just minutes later as he put away Willian’s inviting cross to the far post.

Dominic Solanke had chances to bring his team back into the game, but for once the striker’s radar was off and as a result, Marco Silva’s team moved above their opponents into 12th in the Premier League standings after two recent draws, while the Cherries slip to 13th as their win-less top-flight run continues.

Player ratings

Fulham: Leno (6), Castagne (6), Diop (7), Ream (7), Robinson (8), Palhinha (7), Cairney (7), De Cordova-Reid (7), Pereira (6), Willian (8),
Muniz (9)

Subs: Reed (6), Wilson (6), Broja (6), Traore (6), Ballo-Toure (6)

Bournemouth: Neto (6), Smith (6), Zabarnyi (6), Senesi (6), Kelly (6), Cook (6), Christie (6), Tavernier (7), Scott (6), Sinisterra (7),
Solanke (6)

Subs: Kerkez, Faivre, Ouattara, Semenyo, Unal

Man of the match: Rodrigo Muniz

How Fulham leapfrogged Cherries in the top-flight standings

Fulham's Rodrigo Muniz restores their lead
Fulham’s Rodrigo Muniz celebrates after restoring Fulham’s lead against Bournemouth

With both teams looking to get back to winning ways after recent draws, it was the hosts who made the better start to proceedings in west London, striking early, albeit with a helping hand from Bournemouth.

There appeared little danger to the visitors when Muniz centered, only for Cook to stumble, although Decordova-Reid still had a lot of work to do to find the far corner of the net with an accurate low drive.

It was another defensive slip that saw the Cottagers double their lead on 36 minutes when again, there appeared little threat as Willian’s ball floated to the far post, with Reid heading the centre goalwards.

Team news

The home side made two alterations to the team that were held to a 2-2 draw at Burnley last time out, with Tom Cairney and Issa Diop starting in place of the benched Tosin Adarabioyo and Harrison Reed.

On-loan Chelsea striker Armando Broja, meanwhile, had to settle for a place on the sub’s bench.

The visitors also made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest on Sunday as both Alex Scott and Marcus Tavernier given the nod, with Justin Kluivert and Antoine Semenyo having to settle for a place on the bench.

However, forward Enes Unal, who joined the Cherries in January, was also a sub.

Neto looked the favourite to gather, only for the ever-alert Muniz to steal in to poke home his second league goal in a week as Fulham were cruising at the break.

However, Bournemouth responded at the start of the second half as Senesi showed the skills of a forward to turn and swivel in a tight space in the six-yard box after a corner to the far post was headed back his way by Solanke.

But if Cherries boss Andoni Iraola thought that was the start of the comeback, he was mistaken as the hosts hit back immediately with a neat move after the visitors lost possession to Tom Cairney.

The Fulham skipper powered forward before finding the evergreen Willian and the Brazil forward’s inviting, lofted centre was tucked away by Muniz at the far post as the home side moved above their opponents in the standings.

FPL stats: Fulham vs Bournemouth

Goals Muniz (2), De Cordova-Reid, De Cordova-Reid Senesi
Assists De Cordova-Reid, Muniz, Willian, Solanke
Bonus points Muniz (3), Senesi (2), De Cordova-Reid (1)

No place like home for the Cottagers – Opta stats

  • Fulham have won five of their last seven home Premier League games (D1 L1), while their seven league wins at Craven Cottage this season is just one fewer than they managed in the entirety of 2022-23 (8).
  • Bournemouth are winless in their last five Premier League games (D2 L3), having won six of their previous seven matches before this run (D1).
  • Fulham’s Bobby De Cordova-Reid has scored more Premier League goals against Bournemouth than he has against any other side (3). Indeed, 10 of his last 11 goals in the competition have put the Cottagers one goal in the lead, including each of his last seven.
  • Fulham’s Bobby De Cordova-Reid scored and assisted in a single Premier League game for just a second time, with the previous instance coming back in October 2018 for Cardiff vs his current club Fulham.

What’s next?

Both Fulham and Bournemouth are back in Premier League action next Saturday with both matches kicking off at 3pm.

Fulham host Aston Villa on February 17, while Bournemouth will travel to Newcastle and face former Cherries manager Eddie Howe.

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