Fulham are five games into the season, and I wanted to comment on what I have noticed so far from the Cottagers. The one word that keeps popping up in my mind regarding Fulham is "encouraged". In five games so far Fulham have 7 points and have yet to lose. They also have drawn on the road three times. I really don't have much to complain about as a fan. The beginning of the season has been a nice surprise.
After Roy Hodgson's departure I was really concerned that everything that was established the last couple of seasons could start turning in the wrong direction. I really believed the new manager would be a huge factor in which direction Fulham were to go.
I was not sure what to expect from Mark Hughes in the beginning. I was hopeful that he would be the right man to push Fulham forward. His track record at Blackburn made me feel he could be the right fit for Fulham. It is early in his era, but so far I am excited by the play of Fulham under Hughes.
Road games the last couple of season have been an issue for Fulham. Under Roy Hodgson, Fulham it seemed to play for the draw on the road. They were disciplined and did not make many mistakes. This style led to some draws. However, it did not lead to many victories.
Under Hughes in three road games this season, I have noticed a Fulham club that is attacking on the road. At times the Cottagers are really passing beautifully, and getting the ball up to the strikers. This play has not led to a victory yet. However, I believe it is a matter of time before Fulham start winning on the road. It is pretty obvious to me that this season's Fulham club is going for the win, and not trying to just get a draw. There is risk in this style on the road, but the reward could be some significant victories away from Craven Cottage.
It has been a pleasure to watch these games on the road for Fulham this season. I am not discouraged by the draws so far for the Cottagers. I am very encouraged that in future road games Fulham fans will start to see three points coming on the road instead of just one.
The Mark Hughes era has also brought in some new players that could play vital roles this season. I have mentioned several times about the play of Moussa Dembele. It is too bad that Bobby Zamora got hurt, because when he does come back, I really think when Zamora is joined with Dembele, Fulham will have a real force up front.
Now, I was not thrilled to see Paul Konchesky go to Liverpool. I really thought he was a solid left back. However, I am really encouraged by what I saw yesterday from Carlos Salcido. It is only one game but he showed some serious quality as a defender, and as an offensive threat. A two way left back could be very valuable for Fulham this season. I am looking forward to seeing more of Carlos Salcido.
I had one big question going into the season for Fulham. Could Mark Hughes move Fulham forward? The early returns are favorable, and leave me "encouraged" for the rest of this season.