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Sunday Fulham Stuff - 17/09/23...

Started by WhiteJC, September 17, 2023, 08:24:17 AM

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Nice to see Alex come in' - Marco Silva backs Iwobi to become a better player at Fulham
Manager Marco Silva was delighted to hand a Fulham debut to Alex Iwobi in his side's 1-0 win over Luton Town in a Premier League match at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon and believes the midfielder will become a better player at the West London club.

The Nigeria national teamer came on for Harrison Reed two minutes after the hour mark.

The 27-year-old slotted into the right side of the midfield, joining Joao Palhinha and Andreas Pereira in Fulham's engine room.

The Cottagers got their only goal of the encounter three minutes after Iwobi came on, through the boots of Carlos Vinicius.

Iwobi had a late chance to double his side's lead and score his first goal in the 85th minute after he burst into the box but could only send his shot over the crossbar.

"Nice to see Timothy impress out of his natural position, even if he can play left or right. He can play both sides so well and he's a great addition for us, definitely," Silva told Fulham's official webpage.

"Nice to see Alex come in and get his first minutes. They are going to improve for sure, the way we play is going to make them better players for sure. We're really happy to have them."

Iwobi was not the only Nigeria international who featured for Fulham in the game as Calvin Bassey also came on as a late substitute.

Abdulkareem Abdulhamid


"Top, top professional" – Marco Silva never doubted Joao Palhinha's dedication and importance to Fulham
Marco Silva reiterated the importance of keeping Joao Palhinha at Fulham following his side's 1-0 win against Luton Town today.

The Portuguese international, who saw a transfer to Bayern Munich fall through on the final day of the summer transfer window, returned to the Fulham team after missing the 5-1 defeat to Manchester City.

He has since signed a new contract to remain at Craven Cottage until 2028 with an option of a further year, and his manager never doubted his dedication to the cause.

"[He is a] top player, top professional, top guy – since the minute he joined the club," said Silva. "I was responsible for bringing him to this football club with support from the board, I know him from a long time ago.

"He dreams of improving his career. What happened with Joao can happen with any of the 25 players in our squad, but I never had any doubt about his commitment."

The victory against struggling Luton was Fulham's first home win of the new Premier League season, leaving them on seven points after five matches.

Although it is a point fewer than they managed at the same stage of last season, the Fulham boss was convinced his side are set for another strong campaign.

Silva believed the win, coupled with the closing of the transfer window, will only see Fulham go from strength to strength in the coming weeks.

"It was crucial for us to win at home with a clean sheet," he said.

"Five games [played], and we have had a tough schedule and many [refereeing] decisions against us as well.

"With more time now [the window has shut] we are going to improve in terms of performance. I want to see better."

The departure of Aleksandar Mitrovic coupled with the speculation surrounding Palhinha dominated Fulham's preparations for a second consecutive season in the topflight.

Silva believes it is a situation they have to get used to if they are going to continue to be successful.

"The club should be ready for this type of situation," he said. "If we keep getting results then this type of summer will come often for us. We have to be ready for that and prepare well for the future."


Player ratings: Fulham 1-0 Luton Town

George Rossiter is back with the player ratings.

The Whites returned to Premier League duty with a fairly comfortable home win over Rob Edwards' Luton. Despite the narrow margin of victory, Fulham's 78% possession was a club record in the Premier League era and it always felt as though the three points would be ours. On the day the Cottage paid its respects to the recently departed Mohamed Al-Fayed, the players on the pitch and the fans in the stands did the great man proud, who knows how far off this level we would be without him.

Bernd Leno

Sometimes goalkeepers have games like this which are so hard to judge because they have nothing to do for the most part. Bar an early second half save from Amari'I Bell, which hardly strained the German, Leno had one of the quieter games a Fulham keeper could have wished for. It's only really the goalkeeper position where you can do nothing and be free of criticism, it truly is the most unique and sometimes lonely position on the pitch. 6/10.

Kenny Tete

Tete came closest of any Fulham player to opening the scoring in the first half, a glancing header from a corner drifting just over Kaminski's crossbar. Throughout the game, Tete seemed reluctant to cross the ball early, perhaps due to the absence of a certain Serbian striker, perhaps due to every one of our attacking players being surrounded by two or three Luton counterparts. Not much to do defensively, so overall a fairly solid showing, nothing special. 6.5/10.

Issa Diop

Diop often allowed Luton's forwards a little too much room on the ball when Luton found ways to counter during a game where Fulham dominated the ball. Also, his passing often looked a little off, with a number of passes being strangely overhit. One nearly resulted in an Iwobi handball that could've seen our goal chalked off, another nearly caused Leno all sort of issues. For the most part, Diop was fine, but it wasn't a reassuring performance. 6/10.

Tim Ream

Ream, on the other hand, was much more reassuring. Some claimed he was slow on the ball in the first half, but against a very defensive Luton side he had to be patient playing from the back. 138 passes completed from a possible 145, 20 going into the final third, shows just how important the American is in building from the back. Consistent, composed, that's our captain. 7/10.

Timothy Castagne

A really promising full debut for the Belgian, who showed off his well known versatility by filling in at left back for Antonee Robinson, who was out with a muscular injury. Castagne wasn't afraid to get into promising attacking positions and was constantly involved in our attacking build-up play down the left, often offering more than just the overlap Jedi seems to possess. No real faults defensively, and nice to see a player instantly adapt to a system. 8/10 – Man of the match.

Joao Palhinha

Suck it up Bayern Munich Fan Page or any other Bayern fan on social media, Palhinha is here and he's here to stay, in his Cottage. That was not the performance of a player who is going to sulk for months to force a move. His recovery challenge on the speedy Brown early on was the first big sign that, on the pitch, some things never change with Joao Palhinha. He consistently showed for the ball as Fulham dominated possession and his long diagonal passing was on point, including a beauty late on to the right hand side that nearly resulted in a Fulham goal. 8/10.

Harrison Reed

One key aspect of Reed's game since moving into one of Marco Silva's 8 positions is the spaces he gets into. I have always maintained that when playing alongside Tete and Wilson down the right, this is when Reed excels best with such traits. Everyone at the club must be delighted the 'special one Iniesta' has signed a new deal, for all the Palhinha's of this world, you need a Harrison Reed. 7/10.

Andreas Pereira

An irritatingly anonymous showing. When you've got all of the ball against a team with ten men behind the ball, you look to your creator to show for the ball and to do something with it. Pereira did neither and there were times when you wouldn't notice he was on the pitch. He presses well, he takes a mean set piece, but it's rare he takes a game by the scruff of the neck and makes it his own, something we'll need more of now our main talisman has left. 5/10.

Harry Wilson

Just a bit meh again to be honest. I don't think Wilson's started the season awfully but so much was expected with his strong ending to last season and he's yet to show that spark this season. It'll come, I'm sure of it, but he's just not been effective on the ball at all. Rarely is he playing that killer pass or cutting inside and shooting on his left foot. Again, Luton's defensive setup needs mentioning here, but it's still deflating to not see Wilson at his best. 5.5/10.


Another forward who is yet to get going this year. Maybe that should be a wider concern, who knows? Especially in the opening 45, the Brazilian was rarely taking on Luton's full backs with pace and for the first time in a Fulham shirt, potentially started to look his age. Thankfully he did pick out one quality delivery that resulted in the game's only goal. Similarly to Wilson, I'm sure the best is yet to come with Willian this year. 6/10.

Raul Jimenez

I'll probably sound like a broken record here but again it was disappointing to see a forward player struggle to make the difference in the final third when Fulham had so much of the ball. It's not particularly sustainable for a forward's best efforts each week to come in the form of a potential goal of the season attempt, but Jimenez did indeed attempt another overhead kick this weekend, the closest he got to scoring all things considered. Vinicius' goal may put Raul's place in the side under threat. 6/10.


Alex Iwobi

Subbed on after 62 minutes for Harrison Reed

His energy gave a huge boost to Fulham's attacks and he showed quick feet on a number of occasions in the final third to help Fulham create opportunities as gaps started to form in the Luton backline. Another promising full debut. 7/10.

Carlos Vinicius

Subbed on after 62 minutes for Raul Jimenez

Who would have known that a striker who knows the system and filled in admirably a number of times last season could have scored the winning goal? The lack of minutes Vinicius has seen thus far this year is ridiculous and a slight slap in the face for his efforts over the last 12 months, nice to see him on the scoresheet here, he was a breath of fresh air. 7/10.

Tom Cairney

Subbed on after 81 minutes for Andreas Pereira

After an international break that left Cairney with potential injury issues and £900 invoices to pay for a new windscreen, it was good to see the skipper fit and ready to play. 6/10.

Bobby De Cordova-Reid

Subbed on after 81 minutes for Harry Wilson

Created more than Wilson did in 80 minutes in the space of 10, mainly due to Luton pushing for an equaliser. A positive impact off the bench, nonetheless. 6.5/10.

Calvin Bassey, subbed on after 90+1 minutes for Willian, subbed on too late to be fairly rated.


Fulham 1-0 Luton Town: Player ratings
Bernd Leno: The German goalkeeper didn't have much to do this afternoon. He was beaten by Jacob Brown's first half header that rattled the near post and found himself in precisely the right place to catch Amari Bell's far-post finish, but both men should probably have put Luton ahead. But today did other some other indications of why Leno is such a key part of this Fulham side – he was always gesticulating and cajoling his defenders, offering himself as an option in possession and proffering advice to his team-mates. 6

Kenny Tete: Another assured performance at right back from the flying Dutchman. Luton's set-up and the fact that Fulham had to play in front of the Hatters didn't really allow Tete to overlap along the right flank as he has done so effectively under Marco Silva. The full back is a real threat at set pieces and could easily have given Fulham the lead with a near-post header from a first half corner and almost helped the home side wrap the game up with a sumptuous late pass that sent Carlos Vinicius through on goal. 7

Timothy Castagne: Castagne's continental pedigree made him perhaps the most interesting of Fulham's summer signings and this was an impressive home debut after Antonee Robinson picked up on a knock on international debut. The Belgian looks a real threat going forward, even on the left flank, with plenty of clever runs to supplement the attack but he's a genuine defender, who didn't let any Luton attacker get the better of him – even when some of the rapid visiting substitutes appeared to have a headstart. 7

Issa Diop: An assured, if unflashy display, from the French centre back, who more than matched Carlton Morris in the physicality stakes and completed more passes individually than Luton's whole side this afternoon. He won a couple of important headers as the Hatters poured forward in search of a late leveller and should be pleased with his part in Fulham's first home league clean sheet since February. 6

Tim Ream: There's been quite a clamour for Calvin Bassey to replace Ream since his arrival from Ajax, but this dominant display showed that there's plenty of life in our ageless American just yet. Fresh from captaining his country in his hometown at the start of the international break, Ream's reading of the game and distribution was perfectly suited to a fixture where Fulham would enjoy the lion's share of possession. He frequently stepped in high up the pitch to break up Luton counters and prompt home flurries, whilst keeping the back door firmly shut. 7

Joao Palhinha: The Portuguese powerhouse played as if his deadline day jaunt to Munich never happened. He snapped into tackles from the off and memorably pinched the ball from behind Marvellous Nakamba in front of the Johnny Haynes Stand to a huge ovation. On what could have been a frustrating day for Fulham, Palhinha always showed for the ball and was even able to quicken the tempo on ocassions as well as ending one dangerous Luton break with an effortless sliding tackle. 8

Harrison Reed: Reed covered plenty of ground in an industrious and energetic display at the heart of the Fulham midfield but he still lacks the ingeniuty to unlock a well-drilled defensive line when in an advanced position himself. Silva has perfected the art of having Reed pop up on the right flank, but he often is left to check inside or play a pass backwards that can relieve the pressure on the opposition. Alex Iowbi offered dynamism as soon as he replaced Reed – but the special one Iniesta's insatiable appetite for hard graft might have opened the spaces up for the substitute. 6

Harry Wilson: There could be no faulting how hard the Welsh international worked but Luton were able to nullify Wilson for long periods. The closest he came to a goal was through first-half free-kicks: the rest was meat and drink for Thomas Kaminski, whilst the other one swerved wide of the near post. The winger never stopped searching or showing for the ball, but Bobby De Cordova-Reid posed difficult problems once he had come off the bench. 6

Willian: The Brazilian veteran might have laid on the goal with a cross that proved too hot for Kaminski to handle, but Willian looks some way short of the high standards he set during his first season at Craven Cottage. He was far too easily marked during a first half where Fulham looked toothless, but did step up in a gear in the second period. Willian was unfortunate not to make it 2-0 when his shot was deflected wide of goal after a quick Fulham counter-attack. 6

Andreas Pereira: Pereira was poor for my money this afternoon. Rather than stretching the Luton defence, he retreated deeper and looked anomymous for long periods as the Hatters' 5-3-2 swallowed up the most unpredictable of Fulham's attacking talent. His influence was limited to whipping in dangerous set plays that almost delivered the opening goal and it was no surprise that Tom Cairney took his place in the final ten minutes of normal time.

Raul Jimenez: The Mexican could carry his international goal glut into the domestic arena and was starved of service for much of a first half during which Jimenez appeared horribly isolated. Perhaps that contributed to an audacious overhead kick that didn't quite match the quality of the one at Arsenal last month but still led to Fulham's clearest chance of the first half when Tete headed over from an ensuing corner. It rather sums up Jimenez's start to his Craven Cottage career that, within three minutes of replacing the former Wolves forward, Carlos Vinicius had found the net. 6


Alex Iwobi: The debutant made an almost immediate impact with a lovely bit of close control followed by a clever switch out to Willian on the right flank. The Brazilian's cross was pushed out to Vinicius by Kaminski and Fulham were in front. The Nigerian international did his bit to raise the tempo and might have scored himself had the midfielder not got underneath his shot. A very encouraging first outing for one of Silva's new singings. 7

Carlos Vinicius: Talk about making your point to the manager. Marco Silva had ignored Vinicius all season until summoning him from the bench this afternoon and the Brazilian, an able understudy to Aleksandar Mitrovic last season, buried the first chance that came his way when Kaminski spilled Willian's cross from the right. You've got to think that Carlos could get a few more opportunities after that decisive intervention. 7

Bobby Decordova-Reid: A lively cameo from the Jamaican international, who unselfishly teed up Iwobi when he might have shot himself, and did the hard yards up and down the left as Luton pressed for an equaliser late on. 7

Tom Cairney: You felt this was the sort of game where Fulham might need to call on their classy playmaker to unlock a disciplined defence, but as it was the Whites were able to deploy the captain's game management in the closing stages. 6

Calvin Bassey: The centre back was only on the field for around four minutes having been introduced in stoppage time to protect Fulham's slender advantage.


Bayern Munich ready to sign Man Utd star Erik ten Hag has been 'managing out' of club

Manchester United have an imminent decision to make over one of their current stars with German giants Bayern Munich planning on doing a deal in the upcoming January transfer window

Scott McTominay has emerged as a potential target for Bayern Munich should they fail to land Joao Palhinha in January.

Fulham midfielder Palhinha saw a dream move to the German giants collapse on deadline day and he has since penned a new deal at Craven Cottage. Bayern haven't yet written off another move for the Portuguese star when the transfer window reopens.

But they are assessing other targets and Manchester United 's McTominay features prominently on boss Thomas Tuchel 's wanted list. McTominay, who was the subject of interest from West Ham in the summer, is well down the pecking order at Old Trafford and the arrival of Sofyan Amrabat has not helped his cause.

 He was also considered by Fulham as a potential replacement for Palhinha in the summer. McTominay has made three appearances for United this season. Two of those were just brief cameos from the bench, whilst his first start of the campaign came in Saturday's 3-1 humiliation at the hands of Brighton.

Tuchel wants to offer him the chance to play at another of Europe's biggest clubs. The 26-cap Scotland star joined United's academy in 2002.

Since breaking through into the first team, he has gone on to make 212 appearances for the Old Trafford outfit and scored 19 goals. Former United star Gary Neville recently suggested that boss Erik ten Hag was attempting to nudge McTominay towards the exit door with his lack of game time.

"What's clear is that Manchester United's midfield needs bolstering," he said during commentary of the Red Devils' defeat to Tottenham. "Ten Hag wants a number six who can play alongside Casemiro and, at the moment, the club can't get players out to be able to fund that. If they look at the first two weeks, they have to fund it or there will be a big problem.

"What is clear is that Ten Hag doesn't want to revert back to Scott McTominay. With Fernandes on the right, the midfield looks all over the place and the front three doesn't look capable of functioning as one.

"Does he go back to McTominay? Ten Hag has made five substitutions and not used him. It's almost as if he is managing him out of the club."

 Boss Ten Hag explained on Saturday afternoon why he handed the midfielder his first start of the season against Brighton. "We will be playing slightly different," the Dutchman said. "We already trained with it before Arsenal, but Scott McTominay dropped out before that game."

McTominay still has just under two years left to run on his current contract with the Red Devils. United valued the midfielder's signature at around the £40m mark earlier this summer.


Castagne 'very pleased' with Cottage bow
Timothy Castagne was delighted with three points and a clean sheet from his first outing at Craven Cottage as a Fulham player against Luton Town yesterday.

The recent signing from Leicester City had an excellent home debut having had just four full training sessions since arriving at the end of the transfer window, slotting in seamlessly at left back in place of the injured Antonee Robinson. The Belgian international enjoyed his first game at Fulham's historic home – having previously watched from the Hammersmith End as a teenager.

Castagne told FFCTV after the final whistle:

"It was a great start. We're happy with the three points. They played almost six at the back at some points so it was difficult to create something but we scored and we keptn the clean sheet, so it was great. It is always good to start with a win and a clean sheet – so I'm very happy. It hasn't been easy with the international break but the lads have been great with me.

It was good, it was not easy because they were always trying to double [up] on Willi, but he kept going and, in the end, he got the assist – so hopefully we can do more in the next game. I was behind [him] so I left him the space so he went forward and did his own thing and Vini was there to get the rebound and score, so it was a great job from him as well. I was always on my wrong foot so it was quite difficult [playing left back] but it was quite alright, we managed to create a few things and defensively I was quite strong so I'm pretty pleased with that. We have to strive for more – it was a good first win but we want to get the next one. It will be great to get a full week of training under my belt, get the link ups and connections with team-mates and hopefully improve.


Fulham U18s cruise to victory over Chelsea
Callum Osmand set Fulham's under-18s on their way to impressive victory over Chelsea yesterday morning just hours after scoring a sensational bicycle kick as the under-21 side had put six past Brentford.

The Welshman, operating in the number ten role behind the fit-again Aaron Loupalo-Bi, took only six minutes to put Ali Melloul's side in front at Cobham with a glorious glancing header from Tom Olyott's corner. Fulham hit the front just seconds after Osmand had been denied by an excellent save from Brad de Jesus' deep cross. It was nearly two from another set play nine minutes later but Chelsea goalkeeper Luke Campbell produced a good reaction save to keep out de Jesus' powerful header.

But the visitors were in total control and doubled their lead through a lovely long-range effort from England under-19 international Chibby Nwoko. The midfielder strode onto a precise pass from Olyott and lashed into the top corner from distance to put clear water between the sides just eighteen minutes into the derby.

The Blues had offered very little going forward apart from an audacious early free-kick from Reiss Russell-Denny but Michael Denning saw a shot blocked by captain Ollie Gofford, who had a commanding game at centre half, before Russell-Denny drove over and Samuel Tabares got in the way of a drive from lively winger Ato Ampah, who also tested Alfie McNally's reflexes in a strong spell for the hosts.

But the visitors, wearing that garish pink away strip, got through to half-time with their two-goal cushion intact and threatened to extend their advantage immediately after the interval. The Olyott-Osmand axis was in operation again with the in-form Welsh teenager firing fractionally wide after connecting with another clever ball from the dangerous wide man. Sam Amissah, playing at left back, then produced an incredible intervention to block a goalbound effort from Ampah to keep Fulham's clean sheet intact.

Josh King, fresh from some outstanding outings for England's under-17s during the international break, then produced a peach of a pass to put Loupalo-Bi in the clear after bursting through the Chelsea midfield. Last season's golden boot winner made no mistake despite missing the start of this term through injury to put the SW6 derby out of the home side's reach just seven minutes into the second period.

Chelsea pushed for a route back into the contest. Somto Boniface guided an effort just past the far post before Frankie Runham somehow steered his finish wide of an unguarded net after rounding McNally but the Blues did deny Fulham a clean sheet in the sixth minute of stoppage when striker Shim Mhueka smashed Ampah's pass high in the top corner – giving McNally little chance.

There was no time for Chelsea to do any more to save their 100% record as Melloul's men moved to the top of the table after an outstanding away performance. The young Whites face second-placed Crystal Palace at Motspur Park on Saturday morning.

CHELSEA UNDER 18s (4-3-3): Campbell; Acheampong (Antwi 89), Boniface, Murray-Campbell, Wilson; Russell-Denny, Harrison, Golding; Ampah, Runham (Wade 90+3), Muehka. Subs (not used): Crampton, Olagunju, Washington.

GOAL: Mhueka (90+6).

FULHAM UNDER 18s (4-2-3-1): McNally; de Jesus, Amissah, Tabares, Gofford; King (Nsasi 77), Nwoko; Olyott, Gordon, Osmand (Ali Wahid 69); Loupalo-Bi. Subs (not used): Kaiser, Park, Bogle-Campbell.

BOOKED: Loupalo-Bi.

GOALS: Osmand (7), Nwoko (18), Loupalo-Bi (52).

REFEREE: Joanne Horwood.


Angry Lockyer questions the point of VAR after Luton aren't awarded a 'stonewall' spot-kick in Fulham loss
Wales international can't believe foul on Morris went unpunished

A furious Luton defender Tom Lockyer was left questioning the point of VAR after Town weren't awarded what he felt was a 'stonewall' penalty during yesterday's 1-0 defeat against Fulham.

In the closing stages of the first half, Albert Sambi Lokonga sent over a free kick that saw Carlton Morris and Harrison Reed both left on the floor at the back post, the ball bouncing harmlessly out of play.

On closer inspection, it was a clear foul from the diminutive Cottagers midfielder, who stuck out a leg to prevent Morris from reaching the set-piece, only to go unseen by on-field official Michael Salisbury.

That would have been deemed fair enough by Lockyer if his were still in the Championship, but they're not, and with all Premier League games monitored by VAR, the Wales international was left baffled as to how the incident wasn't picked up and Town given a chance from the spot.

Manager Rob Edwards also described it as a 'clear-cut' penalty, as an increasingly annoyed Lockyer said: "If I was to be honest with you I'd have a long ban from the FA, it's as simple as that.

"It's a stonewall penalty on Carlton, I have no idea what's the point of VAR if that's going to be their threshold.

"It's a rugby tackle, he's not even looking at the ball.

"Carlton's going to run on and head it, honestly, it is bewildering.

"That changes the game, so there's plenty of other decisions that didn't go our way, but I can't say too much because I don't want to get myself in trouble.

"Anyone who's not a fan of either club have a look from a non-biased point of view and tell me if that's a penalty and tell me whether VAR should get involved.

"I think last season you accept the ref's decision, they're there, they don't have the opportunity of VAR and you accept that they can make mistakes.

"But when you come to this level and VAR is supposed to be there to help the referees, you wonder what they're doing?"

It is the second time in two games that Luton have left with a sour taste in their mouths about the video officials after James Ward-Prowse's stoppage time handball in the 2-1 defeat to West Ham went unpunished as well.

Lockyer added: "Honestly I just don't get it, it's supposed to be in there to help the game and it's certainly not helping us at the minute is it, so incredibly frustrating.

"The Six Nations is tonight, loads of other decisions were very harsh, Issa (Kabore) gets a shoulder to the face and he has to stay off for 30 seconds afterwards, tell me how that's a good rule?

"But enough about that, I don't want to get myself in trouble as frustrating as it is, credit to the lads, the shift we put in was incredible.

"Honestly I think the lads deserved a lot more than we got from that game."


I completely missed the game in all forms yesterday but having watched MOD and read all of the above and I am forming the impression that Luton created more chances than us and with luck could have won the match.
Seems as if Silva has work to do to get us to score a goal or two in our next match.
Oh, I know it is obvious but we are lacking a target man.