Would the 2018/19 season have gone any differently had Fulham stuck with the squad that got them promoted instead of spending lavishly? It was a question that was endlessly debated for over a year by pundits and fans alike.
Against Arsenal on the opening day yesterday, Fulham supporters got their answer: probably not. The Gunners dominated after a bright start from the home side, winning at a canter and dismantling Scott Parker’s side, which featured precisely none of their summer signings. The same team that had battled through the play-offs was no match for Arsenal’s outrageously gifted attack.
Yes, it was the first match of the season. Yes, we were missing Aleksandar Mitrovic. Yes, Arsenal look to be one of the top frontlines in the division. And yes, we played decent football in some spells.
But no matter the excuses, you can’t look past a 3-0 home defeat where Fulham only mustered two shots on target.
The individual defensive errors that plagued our last Premier League campaign came back with a vengeance. The display, although plucky, contained no cutting edge.
And it became clear that for all the cliches of togetherness and maintaining team spirit, the reality of the Premier League’s intense quality outshines all else — and the harsh truth is some Fulham players are just not up to the task.
As I’ve argued before, Fulham’s lack of central defensive options will doom us this year if left unaddressed. I was not surprised by what I saw on Saturday. Tim Ream botched a clearance and gifted Arsenal a goal. Michael Hector inexplicably granted an Arsenal player a free header from five yards at a corner. Such individual errors were the cornerstone of our last top flight campaign. And much like in 2018/19, on Saturday Fulham didn’t play terribly. But when we were under pressure, we wilted.
The club’s soft underbelly is maddening and is a surefire way to go right back down. It is more clear than ever that Fulham need to sign at least two new centre backs. We need competition and choices in the most important position.
Things will likely get better as our summer signings get acclimated and mesh into the team. But for now, it’s clear that Fulham cannot seriously expect to retain their Premier League status with a Championship-quality team.
Unless we redress or defensive frailties quickly we will be adrift of the most oher teams by the end of November. Two top class central defenders are urgently required in the next 10 days, and then another target man, Lets forget buying more midfield and wide players. We are covered here and can in my opinion get by with what we have got in these positions
Playing Arsenal was a tough ask yes we need a Centre back and striker but to panic after one result is stupid all promoted teams lost as did Spurs Southampton and West Ham are they all in trouble too?????
West Ham had the worst result us and WBA lost to sides which will be near the top. West Ham lost to team that will be a round us. Hammy end what has happen to you used to do good articles. Now it’s all the same rubbish as the others, once ok if that’s your view but you keep repeating yourself
When are we going to get some central defenders and another striker we have all known this for a year now why hasn’t it been addressed?
6 ft 4ins – at the corner never left the ground and facing the wrong direction.
And this is considered to be our better central defender.
We need at least one proven quality centre back. Hector will come good but only with someone assured alongside (Ream, I admit is more comfortable at championship level). I like the look of Tete and Zambo sitting deep, right in front of defence like Desailly did for Milan (or Kmac did for us at his peak, to bring it back to reality) could also give us a bit more steel. I’m optimistic because Parker is no fool, he knows what we are missing and he’ll already have planned how to sort it. Hopefully his connection with TK is strong enough to convince the people on the money side to deliver.
Hector never got off the ground and the header was 5 yards out – where was Rodak dominating his area? sell Le Marchand and Christie as we have cover at LB for Bryan now with Robinson and RB we have Tete and Aina, get Areloa in goal and buy 2 decent Centre Halfs, we have decent wide players and centre mid players for the season ahead and there will be worst teams to play than Arsenal.
We seemed to be concerned with this Benfica player Luis, he will not come to us no matter what we offer ,worried about the defence why are we not going for two CBs real hard guys ,forget the pretty football Players who can kick arse and put the wind up forwards also Anguissa could play CM bit like Doncurre who Everton just brought, Big goalie two big CBS, Anguissa CM ,and Mitro ,thats a strong Spine then play off that Also did Cairney play yesterday did see him
Until.we get a professional DofF who understands the game and Fulhams needs we will get nowhere! How much longer can Khan leave his son in so vital a position?
I have long predicted that TK wasn’t going to address the CB position until deadline day, because that’s his “M O”.
If the defensive play Saturday wasn’t a wake up call enough for TK to do something quickly, we are in for it.
4-7 games before a quality CB is integrated into the system, is just far too long to wait, and it may well be too late.
It can’t be another Djalo style bargain basement CB we bring in either (no offense to Djalo). It has to be a quality, PL experienced CB.
Spot on analysis.
Let’s hope the Club is listening.
Whilst not good it’s one game, I think we can assume that they are looking at various cb’s but it’s no good buying just anybody, talking of which, if any body knows another multi billionaire who actually cares for Fulham, please step forward, otherwise please desist from attacking the Khans senior or junior, as without them we would be looking at a ‘Wigan’ scenario.
I would like to see one or two CB´s with a winning mentality. We need more winning instincts inside our squad. Someone who makes demands and pushes his teammates. My personal view is that we lack this. Would like to see a points-playing midfielder / forward who help Mitro as well. I would fancy a player like Joshua King – Batshuayi (little late) kind of player that could play both on top and wide. Any suggestions?
Regarding potential CB´s maybe Pontus Jansson could be one of them? Maybe he is to slow for PL..
No Cliff ! Why should Tony Khan get away with ignorance and incompetence just because he’s the chairmans son! His ignorance wrecked our last Premier season , now he’s being allowed to do it again ! I don’t understand fans like you !