It feels strange to have watched Fulham lose both matches played this season yet still feel very optimistic about this season. In both games we have played this so far I have been very impressed by aspects of Fulham’s game, particularly when you consider the sheer number of new players brought in over the summer months. I watched Crystal Palace on Monday night against Liverpool, and I have no doubt that they should be finishing in the top 10 this season, so the fact that we played so well against them, generally speaking, reassures me that we can still hurt teams this season. However, the honeymoon period is over for me. No matter how well we play, we will need to start picking up points sooner rather than later.
We should be targetting 3 points this weekend against a Burnley side who haven’t started the season well and are dealing with European commitments for the first time in decades. They were last seasons surprise packages, so they aren’t a side to be taken lightly, but in the Premier League, you have to take advantage of the opportunities you have. Taking on the Clarets at Craven Cottage just days after they were well beaten in Greece in the Europa League after playing with 10 men for the majority of the game, is one of those opportunities. Tired, jet lagged and demoralised after their poor start to the season, it’s important that we take advantage.
The Danger Zone
While I think that we are capable of taking maximum points this weekend given Burnley’s current predicament, that isn’t to say that this will be be straightforward. I’ve had a look at the statistics and noticed a few things that we will need to be aware of going into this game. The main one is that after just two games, Burnley are the second in the league for crosses into the box with 52 so far. Our defence has already conceded 5 goals, and it looks like Jokanovic doesn’t know what his best back five is quite yet. We are vulnerable here, so the mass of crosses is something that we will have to be prepared for.
The Target Zone
Where can we hurt Burnley? Last season they were so compact and teams found it very hard to break through them, but so far this season it has been different. I know we are only two games in, but they are in the bottom three for both tackles and interceptions, so Fulham’s quick passing could potentially cause them serious problems.
I’m expecting one change at least with Schurrle coming back in for Kamara, but Anguissa and Fosu-Mensah could keep their places from Saturday. I’m still happy for Fabri to stay between the sticks, but I don’t think the defence will change until Ream and Mawson are fit again.
My Starting XI- Fabri, Fosu-Mensah, Le Marchand, Chambers, Bryan, Anguissa, Cairney, Seri, Sessegnon, Mitrovic, Schurrle