Question 1: With all these new signings, do we have any idea of the depth chart? The best 11? Who do we expect to see starting on Saturday?
This is a really tough question. Until Ryan Fredricks comes back, we may not actually know the entire depth chart. About the only thing I could guess, is those players that went extra time midweek probably aren’t going to feature much in this match. Other than that, Slavisa has so many options who really knows.
With the signing of Ragnar Sigurdsson, Fulham could start any two of Madl, Kalas, and Sigurdsson at center back. Kalas could start at right back. Denis Odoi could continue to start on the right, or slide over to his more favored position on the left. Ryan Sessegnon could see another league start at left back.
In the defensive midfield, Kevin McDonald and Scott Parker are going to be the preferred starters. Jozabed, Tunnicliffe, and LVC are options here; but after how much they played on Wednesday, I doubt we see them start.
The attacking midfield is going to have Sone Aluko and Tom Cairney. I don’t think that’s in question. Floyd Ayite has been great, but will he be fit? Perhaps you move Sessegnon to the wing? Or maybe you play new signing Kebano.
Up top is about the only position that fills itself in. Woodrow probably isn’t fit to go, so that leaves Matt Smith. I’m ok with that. It might also have us see someone like Stephen Humphrys make the bench.
Question 2: Blackburn is at the bottom of the table by both points and goal difference. Can Slavisa keep the boys from overlooking this match?
Fulham are tied for second on points and are in fifth by goal difference. Blackburn has already given up 11 goals on the year. This is the seventh game Fulham have played in the first 22 days of the season. After this fixture they have 14 days until their next match. This is always the point where I worry about players losing focus. I know my work tends to suffer when I’m a few days a way from a a vacation. With Blackburn not being a scary opponent, I could see quite a few of the players possibly looking past the game. It will be very important for Slavisa to make sure none of the players have their heads already on holiday before the match is finished.
Question 3: How long can we ride the McDonald/Parker paring?
Kevin McDonald and Scott Parker have been pretty tremendous. McDonald has played every league minute so far and Parker is about to be 36 years old. Other than striker, this is the big question area for the club. Can Tunnicliffe play both of those roles at a high enough level? Do LVC or Jozabed have enough defensive steel to sit this deep? Do you trust Dennis Adeniran to step into a league game in the midfield at his age? Or do we still need a signing here?
Predicted lineup and scoreline?
It’s tempting to throw one of the new guys onto the pitch. Or guess that Bettinelli regains his number one shirt. In my opinion though, it’s probably best to make as few changes as possible until after the break when the team has had a chance to all train together at full strength.
As for the score, I think Fulham win. Blackburn is giving up goals, and Owen Coyle is an awful manager who I don’t believe has an ability to fix the problems. I expect Fulham to score at least twice. Can they keep a clean sheet? I hope so, and am predicting a 2-0 win.