The train just keeps on moving along as Fulham sealed yet another victory on Saturday, making it five wins in a row and seven wins from eight games, with Lucas Piazon and Stefan Johansen grabbing the goals. Daniel Powell gives his five key points to take away from the game as our impressive run continues:
Stefan Johansen has not been my favourite player this season by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not a personal thing, but merely a case of where has the Stefan Johansen of last season gone, and what have you done with him Slavisa?
Well, finally, we saw a performance from the Norwegian that resembled that of a year ago. An impressive work rate and desire was shown for the entirety of the game, as well as a good range of successful passes; and to cap it off, a lovely goal, taken well under pressure, showing the composure we saw at Cardiff away on Boxing Day.
Whilst not entirely sure about the celebration, shushing his own fans – I definitely think he’s deserved criticism this season – but aside from that, you couldn’t really fault his performance, and for me it was 100% his best display of the year.
Aleksandar Mitrovic came on in the second half and showed all the Fulham fans what he will bring to this team. He was big, physical and strong and provided a physical presence which Rui Fonte most certainly didn’t offer.
He also had a header cleared off the line, and was a general nuisance for the Forest backline – even Forest centre half Joe Worrall – who randomly walked into the bar we were in after the game – said he was “a right old pain” as well as something else un-repeatable!
I hope to see him start games in the future, as in my view he offers way more than Rui, especially in a physical sense. From opening showings, this could turn out to be a real coup of a signing.
Forest are Decent
Despite the comfortable looking scoreline, Nottingham Forest were pretty decent in my view, and certainly gave it a good old go. A wonderful double save from Marcus Bettinelli denied them an equaliser at 1-0, after truly atrocious play from Tomas Kalas (more on that below) – and after that, they probably got the sense that it just wasn’t going to be their day.
However, with more displays like that, I can’t see the Reds finishing too badly this season – although Play-Offs should surely be a reasonable expectation for next season, especially under Aitor Karanka.
One minute Tomas Kalas looks solid, reliable and one of our better players – the next he’s almost lobbing our own goalkeeper with a backpass or running with the ball, losing it, falling over and nearly giving away another goal. He’s one of the most inconsistent defenders I’ve seen at Fulham for a while.
He’s capable of the odd excellent tackle, goalline clearance or general good positioning, but he’s also capable of being an absolute nutcase, and it’s a side of his game he needs to work on. Too many times he’s being bailed out by our goalkeeper, or Tim Ream.
That being said, other than the errors yesterday, he was defensively pretty solid, and commanding at the back. Just cut out the errors, Tomas.
Praise for Slav
I strongly believe that Slavisa Jokanovic deserved some criticism earlier in the season, but it’s important to hold a balanced viewpoint and he deserves credit for the current run we are on.
Adding that to the positive comments about Tony Khan and our successful transfer window last week, there now seems to be a positive atmosphere at the club which there wasn’t a couple of months ago.
Whether you wanted to see Jordan Graham, Rafa Soares or Yohan Mollo in the team, the reality is that Slav didn’t, and with all three of those now gone, it feels like he has a sense of control back, which is bringing us better results and better football.