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Fulham FC Results

Premier League - Saturday 11th August 2018, 3:00 PM
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C. Palace
Attendance: 24821
Referee: Mike Dean

Match events
McDonald (f)
Zaha (f)
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Sub Off
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Sub Off
Schlupp (tw)
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Sub Off
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van Aanholt
Match review

Match Report

Fulham (0) 0-2 (1) C. Palace

Premiership Match Day 01 1819 at Craven Cottage

Saturday 11th August 2018    KO: 15:00

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

The majority inside this arena had thrilled at the prospect of a long-awaited Premier League return, the raucous and joyful pre-match atmosphere an outpouring of four years of frustration spent on the outside looking in.

Yet, where Fulham showcased some of the qualities which had helped them thrive in the second tier, this ended something more akin to a wake-up call: an education in just how unforgiving this division can be.

Match Stats Fulham C. Palace
Goals (0) 0 2 (1)
Scorers Shlupp
Goal attempts 15 10
On target 6 9
Shooting Accuracy 40% 90%
Possession 66% 34%
Passes 670 352
Passes Success 88% 74%
Crosses 33 11
Crosses Success 24% 45%
Corners 5 5
Tackles 24 18
Tackles Success 83% 67%
Saves 7 6
Fouls 9 11
Offsides 2 3
Yellows 1 2
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
Roy Hodgson, who had taken Fulham to a Uefa Cup final, offered Slavisa Jokanovic a hug on the final whistle as the home side digested the defeat.

They could bemoan the non-award of a penalty after Mamadou Sakho went to ground on the hour mark and appeared to take André Schürrle with him.

They could curse Wayne Hennessey, often much maligned, for a flurry of smart saves.

But they would also acknowledge that Palace, weathering an early storm and then picking their opponents apart as soon as the tempo dropped, ended up comfortable. None of their own summer signings had started. Familiarity did them some good.

Fulham are not at that stage yet and their lavish transfer outlay – Shahid Khan was in the stands here to witness what his £100m had bought – will surely yield rewards.

They had six debutants in their starting lineup, and only three players who had previously played in the Premier League.

While they whipped up that feverish opening, with Jean Michaël Seri making his mark, that disruption in personnel did not seem so much of a problem.

But as soon as Palace forced their way ahead, reality started to bite.

“We showed some positive things but need to improve many things too,” said Jokanovic. “We were up against more power, more speed and more quality.”

It might have been different had Mike Dean penalised Sakho for diving in on Schürrle, but the referee’s extravagant denial rather summed up Fulham’s afternoon: dramatic but unfulfilling.

Wilfried Zaha should have doubled Palace’s lead moments later, but it mattered not.

When the outstanding Aaron Wan-Bissaka held off Aleksandar Mitrovic’s challenge 10 minutes from time to burst upfield and slip the Ivorian free, Palace had their opportunity.

Zaha took a touch to create a kinder angle as Fabri sprinted out to block, then slid his team’s second under the goalkeeper and in.

It had taken Palace until mid-October to register even a goal, let alone a point, last season, but this was a team maintaining momentum.

A fourth win in succession either side of the summer had a familiar feel, with their collective laced with pace and power, and Wan-Bissaka, an England under-20 international who successfully doused the threat posed by Ryan Sessegnon for long periods, a revelation from right-back.

Yet retaining Zaha this summer was Palace’s best business.

“Many teams have a player who is a talisman and upon whom they depend,” said Hodgson. “I wonder if Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and José Mourinho have to ask the same question about their Kanes, De Bruynes and Hazards. We are lucky to have a game-changer like they have.”

Their opening goal had been plucked from Fulham possession and pressure.

Even with six debutants in their lineup, and Mitrovic a seventh after completing a permanent move from Newcastle, the hosts had carried a threat.

The Serb would twice be denied by Hennessey. Some of Fulham’s upbeat attacking play had been excellent, particularly when Sessegnon squeezed space from Wan-Bissaka, or when Tom Cairney liberated runners beyond Patrick van Aanholt on the opposite flank.

Yet, where Championship opponents might have wilted, Palace held firm.

Sakho and James Tomkins have now played alongside each other 13 times and have yet to endure defeat.

Frustration was starting to mount when, four minutes from the break, Palace built patiently from the back and Fulham failed to sense the threat. Van Aanholt slipped a pass in to Jeffrey Schlupp who, having squeezed a yard of space from Calum Chambers with his first touch, rasped a finish from a narrow angle up and beyond Fabri at his near post.

Fulham will improve as their new recruits gel. Two of their lineup here had had a solitary training session with new team-mates.

“Look, I’m confident still,” added Jokanovic. “I trust we will play better than we played today. We’ll work hard and adapt ourselves for the games ahead.

We must be optimists and trust in ourselves.” They can learn from this.

Fulham : Fabri, Christie, Chambers, Le Marchand, Bryan (Vietto 71), Cairney, McDonald, Seri (Johansen 82), Schürrle (Kamara 61), Mitrovic, R Sessegnon

Unused substitutes: Rico, Fosu-Mensah, Kebano, Cisse

Booked: McDonald (34,f),

Crystal Palace: Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt (Souare 90), Townsend (Kouyate 88), Milivojevic, McArthur, Schlupp, Benteke (Sørloth 83), Zaha

Unused substitutes: Guaita, Ward, Kelly, Riedewald

Schlupp 41 (left footed shot from the left side of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Patrick van Aanholt.)
Zaha 79 (right footed shot from the right side of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.)

Booked: Zaha (40,f), Schlupp (74,tw)

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Attendance: 24,821

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