How good did it feel this morning waking up after our first Premier League win of the campaign? Sport is special like that. It can be a complete mood changer, both for the good and the bad. Unfortunately this season hasn’t brought us much joy so far, so boy did we need that last night! The first win of a campaign can arguably be the most important. It gets us off the mark and, in this case, takes us above the relegation zone for the first time all season. Some of the joy is back at the Cottage.
Now we can’t be getting ahead of ourselves. West Brom were the poorest side that we have played against this season. Bar a couple of opportunities that we pretty much handed them on a plate, they made nothing going forward and they didn’t really test our defence at all. Always the optimist though, I tend to say one of the reasons that they were so poor is because we didn’t let them get into their flow. Remember that this was a side that scored three goals against Chelsea earlier in the season so they do have some threat! As for Fulham though, I thought that to a man we were brilliant. While our defence wasn’t tested too much, I thought that when called into action our new centre back pairing of Tosin Adarabioyo and Joachim Andersen were solid while Aina and Robinson both had a part to play in the goals. It was Robinson’s deep cross to Mitrovic that allowed our front man to set up BDR for the opener and just minutes later it was Aina who nearly burst the net with his pile driver with his weaker foot.
There were lots of brilliant performances last night. The already mentioned Robinson had his best game in the Fulham shirt, while Mitrovic may not have found the back of the net himself, he did set up both goals. He was a handful for the Baggies defence and they just couldn’t contain him. Andersen came in for his debut and while he wasn’t hugely tested, he looked extremely calm in there. Just what we needed, but there will be bigger challenges ahead. For me though, the standout man was Tom Cairney. I don’t think I’m overexaggerating by saying that Cairney’s performance last night was the best I have seen from him in a few seasons. While he has been decent so far this campaign, last night he was like a man possessed! From the first minute every time he was on the ball he was looking forward either to pass or to drive himself. Recently we have had to watch as one of our most talented midfielder has frustrated us a bit with some unadventurous play. Playing in a deeper role hasn’t suited him and he had been caught out defensively a bit. This hasn’t necessarily been his fault as that isn’t at all his favoured position and I’m so glad that Parker has seen the light and played him in that number 10 role last night. And oh how he repaid his managers faith! He was involved in everything good last night and the Baggies had to resort to cynical fouls to stop him. His decision making was spot on and it was so refreshing to see him drive forward instead of passing backwards. When he is on form he is so hard to get the ball off. This was like watching prime Cairney from our first promotion year and if we are to stay up, we need more performances like that from him. It’s imperative that Parker keeps him in that number 10 role. He just isn’t as effective in the deeper role, but when played behind the striker in the hole he can hugely impact our results.
It looked like the shackles were off for Cairney, and therefore the whole team, last night. It was wonderful to watch us not only win, but to look so comfortable. Yes, there were a couple of mistakes that might be punished against better teams, but all in all we controlled the game from start to finish. We move onto West Ham now with confidence. Play like we did last night and we give ourselves every chance of coming away with another three points.
Great write up, Lydia. Arguably Cairney’s best ever Fulham performance – just a shame the chip didn’t go in. Brilliant to see him back at his best.
So much to agree with here. Cairney was magnificent. Some of those touches in the second half and the dribbling was mesmerising. He was very unlucky not to score himself. I’ve felt him too slow and one-footed to be successful in the Premier League before, where you just don’t get the time that he enjoys in the Championship, but this was like Cairney on fast forward. I think the tempo needs to high when we knock the ball around, defences don’t have time to read our patterns of play and adjust, and Cairney is crucial to that. I hope he can keep it going because that really was a virtuoso performance.
Cairney been not as bad as some have said in deeper role has done a job for club, and Parker has got him tackling better. But know we have the cover deeper it’s a waste to play him there. He was class last night playing were he belongs . Nice to see Mitrovic playing well all played well
Good all round performance. Let’s not forget we were playing a poor team. At last we looked if we found defend crosses. Cairney’s best game so far playing in a more forward posit6. In the first half especially our midfield looked awesome,. My only doubt is Booby D-Reed. He did score but should have had a couple more. Onwards and upwards.
That said, I think Anguissa‘s presence and current form is freeing Cairney up, as does a stronger back line. Let’s hope our skipper can keep his momentum and pull the team along and good things will happen. I would be happy with one point against West Ham, but also gladly take all three as Lydia suggests. COYW!
Lots of top performances last night. Hopefully confidence is up for Saturday. I think it is worth noting that our performance has grown as the new recruits have entered the team. Realistically only Mitro and Cairney deserve to be at this level and maybe HR. I think the nervousness of the wasted £100m last time held our recruitment back too much. We always needed to spend money as the Championship team wasn’t good enough. Once we decided we had to spend some money we seem to have brought in better than last time. We actually look like we have a chance of surviving. Time will tell but the back 4 look much better than last time we were in Prem.