Anguissa and Andersen superb, pressure now off Parker – talking points from Fulham win
Fulham finally got a win under their belts, beating West Brom 2-0 at Craven Cottage.
These are the main talking points of a victory that also sees them leapfrog Albion and out of the Premier League relegation places.
The magnificent seventh
The storm clouds were gathering for Scott Parker before the match.
Now, there are a lot redundant social media threads demanding his head – this welcome win buys him another month, if not two at the earliest, before the doom-mongers regather.
Slavisa Jokanovic was shown the door seven games into the 2018-19 season, and it needed a 6-0 thrashing of QPR in 2011 after a winless six games to kept Mark Hughes’ head above water.
That game nine years ago was the first time Fulham took the lead that season, and the twice they’ve done it this time has produced a result.
Another former Fulham man in charge, Chris Coleman, reckoned anyone in the Premier League was “only seven games from the sack.”
All you need is a goal
Ola Aina’s hit was net buster from the moment it left his foot for 2-0.
But the former Chelsea defender might have to depend on a few more.
Other sins will be forgiven, but bits of his first-half control, crosses, and a foul throw (seriously?) were glossed over.
In the second half, there was a moment when he put his own defence under pressure and Alphonse Areola’s hurried pass out only added to a dodgy few seconds.
Still, score like that, and it has to be a major plus.
Will Aina challenge Kenny Tete when the latter is back training? We’ll see.
Bobby Decordova-Reid or Ruben Loftus-Cheek?
In the battle of the double-barrelled names, BDR is the man firing, but his performance before and after his first-half header that put Whites ahead was steady at best.
He had squandered a half-chance that ran off his foot and into Sam Johnstone’s grateful arms before capitalising from Aleksandar Mitrovic’s deft header.
And a glorious chance to well and-truly wrap things up when Tom Cairney’s audacious chip was cleared off the line, saw BDR hammer it straight at a defender with the keeper nowhere.
As for the man he replaced, Loftus-Cheek contributed little last week in the home defeat by Palace, but he must fancy his chances if Decordova-Reid doesn’t take advantage of an important goal in an important win.
Andre-Frank Anguissa had his best game for Fulham, at his 41st attempt over three seasons.
Admittedly, he was on loan last season, but the midfielder has come back stronger, more confident, and more influential.
It was noticeable against West Brom how much higher up the pitch he was to augment a front three also playing with a full-on press.
Anguissa’s spins on the ball and changes of direction were far too good for those in fetching yellow-and-red stripes.
It was a man-of-the-match performance in anyone’s book.
Debut for Joachim Andersen
You might have expected the Dane to be as rusty as an old bike having just recovered from ankle problems.
But he quickly got into gear, and his decision-making marked him as a player for the Premier League.
Picking a pass; where to stand; giving it a lump out of defence when nothing else was on – all helped seamlessly pair Andersen with Tosin Adarabioyo in central defence.
The truth is the others won’t be as easy as West Brom. They also wear the reluctant tags of relegation candidates, but you can only beat what’s in front of you – and Andersen’s performance was as welcome as Fulham’s first three points.