Fulham vs. Middlesbrough - 2021/22 Season Opener

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by MicahMan, Aug 5, 2021.

  1. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    Whoo hoo! Time to play some football again! Fulham starts the 2021/22 at home hosting Middlesbrough, Sunday at 8:30am EDT (I can hear you west-coasters saying "uuugh"). The match will be available on ESPN+

    Middlesbrough finished comfortably mid-table in 10th place last season, three years after their last season in the Premier League. They were 13 points out of the playoffs and 21 points above relegation. They are managed by Neil Warnock who saved them from possible relegation in 2019/20 and led them to just one loss in the first 13 matches last season. After that promising start Middlesbrough's form slid and they finished 18W 10D 18L. Fulham last faced Middlesbrough in January of 2020 in a 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.

    Fulham come into the match as an odds-on-favorite to win automatic promotion. So far Fulham has managed to retain a number of talented players despite suffering relegation. With the addition of Marco Silva as manager, the expectations are even higher for Fulham than in 2019/20. On paper, Fulham has a solid back line - this is the first time I remember feeling okay about Fulham's defensive situation before the season started. The midfield is also looking good and would look even better if Cairney and Reed can get healthy. The questions are up front - who is going to score for this team that could barely find the net last season? Will Mitrovic be able to return to his old form and get 20+ goals? Will a Sessegnon-like partnership develop with someone else on the team?

    Fulham looks to be one of the strongest teams in the Championship, but anything can happen once the season starts. I'm a bit more pessimistic than the odds-makers. Fulham traditionally gets off to a slow start, and with some "easier" teams in August I'm expecting some early disappointments. I think Fulham will be good, but not good enough for automatic promotion. I think the playoffs await Fulham for the fourth Championship season in a row. As for Sunday, I'm expecting a potential filled, but frustrating draw.
     
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  2. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    The freshly relegated PL side is almost always the summer favorite to go back up.

    I hope they're right.
     
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  3. daddude7

    daddude7 Active Member

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    I'm a little worried about the first 4-6 weeks, before the team selection stabilizes. We're stronger on paper, but here are a lot of new or renewed partnerships on the field. Who starts this weekend might also tell us something about who's expected to leave before the window closes. There is noise about Anguissa being wanted by Roma and Everton. The noise around Robinson died down a bit. We should let Le Marchand go for half a dozen footballs and a bottle of vodka.
     
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  4. FulhamTX

    FulhamTX Active Member

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    You really think we can get somebody to throw in a whole bottle of vodka?

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  5. FulhamTX

    FulhamTX Active Member

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    Fulham does tend to start slow but Silva tends to start fast, so I have no idea what will happen

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  6. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Got a last minute FOUR HOUR gig about 60 miles from home on Saturday, soooooooo, my plan to get up at 0700 Sunday to watch Fulham on ESPN+ just took a ginormous hit. Y'all carry the weight for me!

    COYW!
     
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  7. stlouisbrad

    stlouisbrad Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking forward to the match and I feel surprisingly confident about the match and the season for that matter. Add another forward and I'll be content.
     
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  8. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

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    For as long as it took to take care of the Parker situation and for as long as preseason activities have been going on, I gotta say that the season pretty much snuck up on me. I am optimistic about the season though, especially with the personnel moves (or lack of certain players moving away) thus far.

    I haven’t looked too much into the league or other teams so I don’t know what to expect from the match or the first few weeks of the season. So I’ll just be happy to watch the matches that I can.
     
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  9. FulhamTX

    FulhamTX Active Member

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    From what I've heard/read this is looking like a weaker than usual Championship

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  10. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    A very similar lineup to the last pre-season match:

    Gazzaniga
    Tete, Tosin, Ream, Robinson
    Francois, Onomah
    Wilson, Carvalho, Kebano
    Mitrovic

    Subs: Rodak, Bryan, Mawson, Seri, Cavaleiro, DeCordova-Reid, Kamara

    The back line remains unchanged. Onomah comes in for Anguissa and Wilson for Knockaert. Neither Anguissa or Knockaert even made the bench - a sign they might be headed out? As expected, no Cairney yet, but also unfortunately no Reed.

    I'm excited to see what this lineup can do. I'd love for Fulham to hit the ground running for once. Sadly I'll only catch the first 15 minutes before heading to Church to pray for a Fulham win.
     
    #10
  11. FulhamTX

    FulhamTX Active Member

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    Well that was frustrating. Fulham absolutely dominate for 75 minutes and then just fell apart last 15, nearly even losing. Robinson stands out as having a particularly bad game. He had 2 passes that nearly led to goals against. One an own goal and one that led to a quick turnover.

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  12. daddude7

    daddude7 Active Member

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    Robinson had a poor game, but Mitro was the worst Fulham player on the field. He was a waste of important space in the final third. I've been watching soccer for half a century, and I don't know if I have ever seen a more immobile, slower striker than Mitro (and one who also cannot get the few attempts he gets to on frame). Jan Koller looked like Simone Biles compared to Mitro. Mitro walks around like soccer gods somehow owe him goals. He can't even be bothered to lift his leg above his waist to receive an imperfect pass five yards out. If something serious doesn't change about him, I expect he'll get benched after another game or two, especially if another striking option arrives. We can't afford to play with 10 1/2 men from the outset. That affects the full team, and we will see everyone else getting gassed like we did today if they have to cover for someone who doesn't want to work. Because of that, the late allowed goal can be linked directly to Mitro's ineffectiveness throughout. I grew seriously angry at him as the game went on. I'm done now. Rant over.
     
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  13. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    Shoot, hecky darn, fooey. And other very bad words I’m trying to avoid. I was only able to watch the first 38 or so minutes, but I was highly encouraged by what I did witness. Yeah, we got a point. We got lots of single points last season. But…I’m encouraged. Signor Silva and staff did an excellent job in a short period of time to get the squad ready. Obviously we should have gotten more than one goal. But I was encouraged. It was fun to watch our team again. We played to win, and deserved to. If we can keep up this kind of effort and execution for this season, the points will come.
     
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  14. stlouisbrad

    stlouisbrad Well-Known Member

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    Agree 100%.

    What a terribly frustrating game. Despite the terrible Mitro and Robinson playing so bad we still should have took that game.
     
    #14
  15. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    I spent over half the game thinking I was going to be wrong about that (in good way), but I should have known better!

    I totally agree with the comments from @FulhamTX and @daddude7 . Robinson had a horrible match, probably the worst I've seen from him. I was surprised that we didn't see Bryan come on for him. Mitrovic was statuesque - in a bad way. I knew when he got a yellow in the first minute that we were in for a disappointing showing from him. What does Serbia do to get production from him?

    I'll also add that I don't think Francois played well. He didn't have the spark we saw earlier and I think he got muscled off the ball twice in the lead up to Middlesbrough's goal - something that wouldn't have happened if Reed had been in as a DMF.

    On the plus side, Wilson looks like the real deal. Hopefully he can keep it up and not become a disappointment like Cavaleiro or Knockaert. Carvalho also played well and looked like he belonged as a starter. Ream played as if last season never happened and Tosin generally did well except for a few sloppy passes. Tosin also saved the point at the end with a key block and very nearly stopped the tying shot too.

    I also liked what I saw tactically. There were a number of times Fulham looked very good aggressively building up and getting crosses into the box. A more mobile striker likely would have made Fulham look even better.
     
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  16. FulhamTX

    FulhamTX Active Member

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    I agree Mitro was pretty poor today. It may have been the early yellow and he just didn't feel he could be as aggressive but man he was so so passive. That was not Mitro like. Wilson looked really good. Ream showed once again that he is class at championship level. I thought Tosin looked ok but I think in time he'll be better, his Fulham career to this point has been partnered with a far better defender than anyone currently at the club and a great keeper behind him. Wasn't really a fan of the Francois/Onomah midfield. Onomah is better suited plating where Carvalho played today but I liked what I've seen from Carvalho. I think pairing Reed with Francois is how I would like up the midfield as soon as Reed is ready to play.

    No Anguissa today means he's probably gone, right?

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  17. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    We need a "don't like" option.
     
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  18. BarryWhite

    BarryWhite Well-Known Member

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    It wasn’t the same old Fulham but they still suffered from shot creation impotency. The only good shots on goal that I recall were both from Wilson.

    Pretty much in agreement that the two poorest performers were Mitro and Robinson but when the defense did break down it was the right side.

    Problem to be solved moving forward is quality shot creation.
     
    #18
  19. daddude7

    daddude7 Active Member

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    Mitro is 26. He moves like my grandfather. After the cancer.
     
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  20. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    Short highlights if you need them. I was hoping if we had to give up the 7+ minutes of highlights from NBC in the Premier League we'd at least get GJ's commentary. No such luck.
     
    #20
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