Tag Archives: Aluko

Quality over quantity

by danniboi-ffc

How wonderful is it to have so many options? Yet the squad is smaller than last season. Now we have more than one player for every position bar strikers which I am very confident the club will rectify before the deadline.

If I had to pick players that I’d be happy to see go before the window slams shut they would be Stearman/Ream, Tunnicliffe, Kavanagh, Grimmer and Woodrow.

I want 2 strikers in and with Smith as a third option I don’t really see a need for Woodrow. I’d loan him out with a recall option for emergencies. Same with Tunnicliffe as I believe he is the weak link squad player that is in Adeniran’s way. Just like O hara and Matilla were last year for Hyndman.

We could make 4 changes when everyone is fit and still be strong. The club may have broken even with money in and out but that doesn’t bother me. I am very impressed with this window. Compared to last season where I was very critical on deadline day and criticised this has been a breathe of fresh air. We have actually identified a system and built/signed players with the attributes and versatility to suit it. Compare the likes of Aluko and Ayite to the likes of Pringle or Odoi comfortable with both feet and both flanks in contrast to Garbutt or Jazz  who didn’t look comfortable wearing football boots let alone 2 positions.

No over the hill O’hara either, instead all our players are either in their prime or at a very good age all in the mid 20s.

We also have more strength in depth than most championship squads now bar strikers. This will surely give us an advantage as the season moves on and injuries/suspensions take their toll. We also thanks to our academy have the likes of Sess, Ade, Edun and De la torre who combined would cost others millions to have 4 players in the squad even just as back ups. Another advantage as with ffp most clubs won’t be able to both assemble a strong eleven and have a big squad. There’s always give and take with their budgets but we now have an opportunity to get in 2 top strikers and be one of the favourites. Something I never imagined saying a few months ago.

Fulham are defying maths. A 20 man squad should not be bigger than a 26 man squad of last year but it is.

Really buzzing about today, COYW!!!!!!

My view of the Cardiff game

by dannyboi-ffc

I always thought Smith was the donkey but at least even he has a purpose. We become very one dimensional with the long ball but as a sub he’s a weapon to be used in times of desperation with 10mins to go. Woodrow on the other hand with 10 minutes to go would influence absolutely nothing.

He’s slow, weak, makes dreadful runs if at all, isn’t an outlet, never scores simple goals because he’s not intelligent enough to be in the right place to score them. I used to think he was hard done by when it was always Dembele and Ross because Woodrow seems to do well when given a chance. But he’s had two starts now and I saw them both, Leyton Orient and today. He was easily the weak link and the reason we were forced to play everything in front of Cardiff as there was no penetration. No ability to hold onto the ball with his back to goal and lay it off for the midfield runners. Come to think of it there’s only one word to describe Woodrow’s performance today, non-existent (or is that two words lol)

Apologies to those who rate him and to the young man himself. Its certainly not for the want of trying but imo he shows no potential that his game can improve or change. I think physically he is what he is and its just not enough. We lost 40 goals this season and whilst I expect everyone to chip in with goals I expect my centre forward to give more of an overall contribution to our attacks.

This is just born out of pure frustration that the club have taken so long to sign a striker. I was the first to say Ross needs to go and well done to the club for receiving a good fee. If truth be told I wasn’t even that bothered about Dembele either other than the fact we allowed his situation to cost us a potential big transfer fee. But I expected a top quality striker who was more suited to Joka’s style to come in by now. Imo we have dropped 4 points in less than a week simply because our strikers aren’t good enough. You cant expect to win by one goal every week.

Woodrow isn’t the only culprit tonight, Cairney was very quiet although I can certainly forgive him of that. But this is life in the limelight TC, you are the new McCormack and he needs to learn how to cope with teams focusing on stopping him from playing. But what today proved is that when Cairney is quiet and when we get just one injury to Ayite we are literally down to the bare bones and depending on some magic from Aluko. We need more attacking options, a winger and 2 strikers.

I like Sessengon and congrats on becoming Fulham’s youngest ever goalscorer and possibly our youngest ever player at the Cottage? Only Briggs betters it but that was away to Boro. He looks very good going forward but there was a spell in the second half where I thought he looked out of his depth and lost the ball several times. But he has a bright future and belongs with the first team squad.

I can now see why Cardiff fans celebrated the Malone swap. Although definitely better than Richards and defensively pretty decent but going forward I thought he was shocking. Still think we really missed out on Husband even though he’s injured at the minute. But I think in games like Newcastle where its more about defending then he’s a good squad player. But games like today where teams know we are better than them and sit back waiting for us to break them down, he’s doesn’t add much.

It’s a shame Parker is so old as a couple of years younger and McDonald/ Parker would be the best partnership in this division. They ran the game and were both outstanding. But we need another Parker to share the burden as Tunnicliffe isn’t of the same standard and we are weaker without Parker who cant play every game.

Overall I’m disappointed to have dropped 2 points because I believed we deserved the win and were so capable of running away with it. Cardiff bar 2 wonder goals, and even then the second I question the keeper but haven’t seen a replay, Cardiff did sweet FA and showed no intention of wanting to score until they had to. And we were naive to allow them back into the game. But that disappointment is fuelled by what’s been an amazing start to the season and when the players have defied all of our expectations and raised the bar I think its harsh to be too hard on them at this stage of the season when they rescued a point. I see a massive positive contrast in our mentality. Last season that equaliser makes us crumble and go onto lose 3-1. But there was only one team in it once they were winning and that was us. It showed the kind of hunger, fight and character needed from a team that wants promotion. And I loved the fact we didn’t celebrate the goal, we picked the ball up and ran back to the kickoff as we could smell blood. Thats clearly come from the manager and I’m so optimistic with him at the helm.

I said it before a few weeks back and i’ll say it again. There’s something about Jokanovic that not even the great Hodgson or Tigana had. Something about his presence on the touchline and his attitude. That’s not to say he will achieve what they did or even close to it but if the club can sort out the transfer/ kline issues and make Joka happy, then I believe he has something about him to become our greatest ever manager. Or I should say the best in my lifetime as I’m not in a position to judge past greats before my time.

We are still joint second, goal difference means nothing at the stage and we should beat Blackburn. I know the old cliche’s of this is Fulham so you cant treat anything as guaranteed but something about this team and what could be with a few quality additions that gives me the confidence to believe we will win.

Onwards and upwards

COME ON YOU WHITES!!!!!!!!!

The View from South Texas — FFC v. Newcastle Utd

Ninety Minutes, Clean Sheet, Three Points

The headline says it all, really. Fulham opened the Championship season against the odds-on favorite to bounce right back up into the Premier League. And, although the Toon huffed and puffed, they never looked like disrupting the flow of Fulham’s new-look football.

The starting lineup included: (a) four players I’d never seen before, (b) three players I’d seen play before – but not for Fulham, and (c) four players I knew fairly well – three of whom I was thrilled to see in the starting lineup.

There’s a couple of things I noticed right away that made me smile. First of all, Fulham are playing wide – for the first time in a long time. FFC were spreading the opponent’s defense, attacking down the wings, and defending confidently along the touch lines. Second of all, this Fulham have pace – pace to burn really. How fast? When Christensen came on, he looked the slowest player in White.

As the game progressed, I saw something else – something missing at Craven Cottage for a very, very long time indeed. Everyone seemed to know his role. The defenders looked a unit when under attack. The midfield linked well with the defense and the attackers. The attackers were numerous and blended nicely with the midfield. There seems to be a PLAN at the Cottage, and I like that regardless of the result.

Like our last four or five matches against the Barcodes, this one went 1-0 to the home team. There will be moans about the refereeing. There will be poorly spelled rants on northern websites about being cheated out of three penalties. Actually, I saw one that, in the Premier League, might have drawn a spot kick, but the rest? Including ours? Naw, not so much.

The referee did make a difference in the match, but he mostly did it by NOT blowing his whistle. Players rolled around on the ground, miming “He bumped into me and look what happened.” Mr. Hooper’s mimed response, “Welcome to the Championship, pretty boy.

Fulham, captained by the brilliant Tom Cairney, completely controlled the first half – as dominating performance as you’ll see. Newcastle was credited with only one shot, a weak lob to the wall on a free kick, and none on goal. Fulham had two shots on goal, one a glorious header by Matt Smith that decided the match in the 45th minute. The Toon defense had overcoated him very well for much of the half, but he could have done two 360s before scoring so free was he when it counted.

The second half tactics were different. Joka figured, “You’re behind, you have to attack. We’ll defend, but watch your ass.” I didn’t care for it much, but I did like it when it turned into the Denis Odoi Show. Boy, is he fun to watch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone turn away from a pass so he could pass it … off his back … to himself! He had a brilliant match at right back, despite the very early yellow card.

Who else impressed these old eyes? Aluko, Ayite, Madl, and McDonald all played very very well. Our pair of aces have goals in them to complement those bagged by Woodrow and Smith. Speaking of Smith, well, his goal was well taken, and he should be celebrating his assist right now for Aluko converting his brilliant header into our second. The thing is, though, except for those two moments he looked slow, lumbering, ineffective, and not much help to our attack. Of course, I’ve never been all that impressed with him, so there might be some South Texas bias at work.

How do I think we’ll fare over the season? Well, it’s really going to be hard to say after watching this. There were a couple of starters on there today – Malone and Button – that we might not see for a while. Having said that, though. Joka has a plan. He has players committed to that plan. His plan features pace, tenacious defense, and width. I think we’re going to be a lot more fun to watch this season.

HatterDon’s Man of the Match: Tom Cairney.