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Fulham 1 Newcastle 0: Quick Thoughts

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Fulham open the 2016/17 season with a win

Fulham v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Fulham win their first fixture of the year. In 2014/15, Fulham didn’t win their first game of the season until September 27th. In 2015/16, it took until August 29th. The last time Fulham won their first game of the season was 2013/14, of course we were also relegated that year, so let’s not get too excited too quick.

Positives

Michael Madl and Tomas Kalas look like a very effective center back pairing. I didn’t see too many mistakes made between them. They’re completely different than Aaron Hughes and Brede Hangeland, but they might be the most effective defenders in the middle we’ve had since then.

Both fullbacks looked good. Scott Malone was solid, and that’s all you can expect from your backup fullback. Denis Odoi was dangerous going forward, and though he had a couple of defensive lapses early (including one silly foul), he continually put on pressure going forward.

Ryan Tunnicliffe had a huge work rate in the middle of the pitch. He had some heavy touches early, which I might chalk up to nerves, but he was always running into passing lanes and causing trouble. Kevin McDonald is much bigger than I imagined. He seemed like a classic number six. Was mostly calm on the ball and made good decisions.

Tom Cairney, Sone Aluko, and Floyd Ayite have a chance to be dynamic. Aluko especially caused a lot of problem and earned what could have been called a penalty just by being a pest.

We didn’t give up a goal on a set piece, and scored one ourselves. That’s certainly a change of fortunes.

Negatives

Too often the plan seemed to be to get the ball up to Matt Smith and let him hold it. He was sandwiched between two center backs often, and most of the crosses to him were not very effective. Fulham looked dangerous on the counter, but didn’t always seem to know what to do with possession.

Fulham were lucky not to have a handball called. First on Tunnicliffe and later on Kalas. While I think both would have been harsh, I’ve seen both called many times before.

I think Slavisa may have been slightly too defensive with his subs. Fulham basically started playing a 4-6-0 when Parker and Lasse Vigen Christensen came on. Tim Ream’s substitution took off another attacking threat as well.

I’m not going to complain too much about an opening day win though. What did everyone else think?