Fulham so far this season:
Fulham have without doubt been one of the best footballing teams in the Championship so far this season but as people who follow English football and especially in the Championship will know that the best footballing sides do not always go up.
Key to Fulham’s success has been their midfield 3: Stefan Johansen, Kevin McDonald and Tom Cairney. They have been instrumental in the whites dominance of matches. The job that Kevin McDonald does winning the ball back seemingly effortlessly allows the likes of Johansen and Cairney to show off and utilise their natural attacking instincts and talents.
Fulham for the first time in a while truly excite me. They are playing flowing and attacking football which is a joy to watch. But despite the numerous chances created it very rarely is certain for Fulham as they never really finishing teams off (except Reading and Huddersfield) which leaves Fulham fans cautious such as 1-0 at Ipswich where we were all over them.
Fulham’s outings in the transfer window may have seemed strange to us fans. With owner Shahid Khan’s son’s friend in charge of transfers using the Moneyball Theory. But the players that joined in the summer have now properly gelled and we look a force to be reckoned with. Acquiring two Chelsea players on loan in Lucas Piazon and Tomas Kalas who have got stuck in and look to be enjoying themselves in a Fulham shirt has certainly been great business. Kalas when he has not been injured has been a rock in defence and our record with him playing at CB has been quite brilliant losing only twice when he has started. It would be brilliant to sign the Chelsea duo at the end of the year as both players said at the start of the season they were looking to settle rather than get shipped out on loan every year.
Kalas has been solid when fitLucas Piazon has worked his socks off
When speaking of loan players, we simply have to talk about Chris Martin. Martin’s stats may not be as glowing as those of Dembele’s or McCormack’s this time last season but he has been instrumental to the way we play. It hurts to say this but we missed him when he was refusing to play for us. I don’t think it was by accident that he made himself unavailable for the two matches against Reading and Brighton as those were our two biggest matches of the season up to that point. But hopefully with Derby signing David Nugent, Martin will wear the White and Black shirt of Fulham with pride and try and get us in amongst it. His performance against Barnsley was very impressive and we hope that this will continue.Chris Martin and Ragnar Sigurdsson
The acquisition of Stefan Johansen to some looked a poor decision as he was subbed off after just half an hour into his debut against Birmingham.But since then he has provided us with direction and energy that we simply couldn’t do without. Johansen simply doesn’t stop running and moving from Celtic to Fulham in the prime of his career shows that he believes this is a step up potentially highlighting the errors that former Fulham youngsters such as Patrick Roberts and Moussa Dembele have made playing in a league with no competition.
Floyd Ayite and Sone Aluko have also played critical roles in how we play aggressively and dynamically and they have been brilliant. If only Aluko could hit the target and find the back of the net more often he would become a hero of the Fulham Faithful. As I’ve alluded to earlier Kevin McDonald has been great protecting our back four and is one of our most consistent performers week in and week out. Scott Malone can either be really good or really bad but fortunately for us in the past weeks he has been very good and is keeping 16 year old Ryan Sessegnon out of the side.Sone Aluko and Scott Malone have proved to be good signings
However, not all the signings have been quite as good as we would like them to have been. For example, Jozabed came over from Spain after a super campaign in 2015/2016 but has never really adapted to England and he has been shipped out on loan to Celta Vigo for the remainder of the season. Many fans quite enjoyed the signing of David Button from Brentford but in truth I believe him and Marcus Bettinelli are at similar levels and I have still not quite recovered from the disaster at Aston Villa back in October. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Neeskens Kebano have also struggled to adapt to English football, it will be interesting to see if Kebano can utilise the AFCON and get in some game time.
With Fulham 6 points off play offs with a game in hand the play offs are certainly within reach. This run of games in the rest of January and February will decide our season, as far as I am concerned all these games are extremely winnable as we are only playing one team inside the top 10. Once we are inside the top 6 I believe we will stay there we just need to break into it sooner rather than later. This season has potential to be a good one as we have a strong squad who are playing brilliantly together. We may not be in the top 6 now but I would be surprised if we were not there at the end of the season. Massive game on Saturday, let’s hope “it happens again”.
Article by Ed Doughty
Awards as of 18th January 2017
Player of the Season
- Tom Cairney
- Tomas Kalas
- Stefan Johansen
Goal of the season
- Tom Cairney vs Wolves
- Tom Cairney vs Leeds
- Cauley Woodrow vs Leyton Orient