The end of a weekend is always better off the back of a Fulham victory, isn’t it? And with the victory coming in a very competitive derby match against local rivals QPR, the taste of 3-points is even sweeter! Despite the frustration of missing another penalty, particularly against QPR (that’s four missed in three games against the same team which must be an unwanted record of some sort), we managed to find the winner through Stefan Johansen’s quality finish from the edge of the box. QPR had their chances but overall, we were the better team and probably should have won by a more comfortable margin.
We can look at the nature of the result in one of two ways; either we take the pessimistic ‘I can’t believe we nearly threw that away’ or the optimistic ‘fair play to the players for seeing through the victory with their backs to the wall’. I’m going to go for the optimistic approach and, as a friend pointed out to me after the game, the pre-Jokanovic Fulham would have most likely either drawn or lost that game. I do think that our habit of conceding late goals is a worry but I still think that the way we defended in those last minutes on Friday night shows real desire and passion from the team.
We are now 11 games into the season and at our second international break, so I thought that it was a good time to have another check on our progress in comparison to last season in terms of results against the same teams and not just at this stage last season. As we have now played two of last years relegated sides from the Premier League, I have compared results against them with the results from the corresponding promoted sides. In simpler terms, see below-
- First placed Newcastle compared with Hull who finished 18th in the PL.
- Second placed Brighton compared with Middlesbrough who finished 19th in the PL
- Play-off winners Huddersfield compared with Sunderland who finished 20th in the PL
The reason I look at the table in this way is to try and have a fair comparison of both seasons. Our start this year was extremely tough so why compare it with our easier start from last year? See the table below-
As you can see, we are actually two points better off compared to last year against the same teams. The Burton Albion defeat was very hard to take, but we have gained points on Reading, Notts Forest and QPR as well as getting a point from Middlesbrough compared to losing against Brighton last year. We still have Cairney to come back and have other injury worries but I think all in all we should be happy about how things are going so far. We now have two weeks away from club football which should give a few of our boys a rest as well as allowing some of our injured players a chance to recover and regain some fitness before our next league game against Preston at home on the 14th October. The future is bright.