Jack Stroudley looks ahead to our first match since the international break.
After the international break and a concerning deadline day, it’s great to get our minds back onto on-the-pitch matters this Saturday against newly promoted Luton Town. We’ve got a stretch of games now that Fulham fans would’ve looked at on fixture release day and seen opportunity to pick up a good bulk of points.
That starts on Saturday, where three points is vital for Fulham and anything less would most likely give fans some concerns about the remainder of the season. We’re still looking for our first win at Craven Cottage this season, so can it be on Saturday?
It would be disingenuous of me to not talk about Luton Town with the upmost respect and praise. Their rise from the National League to England’s top flight is one of football’s greatest stories, but they have found acclimatising to the Premier League difficult. Their transfer business is smart in the long-term but will certainly give Hatters fans some concerns in the short-term. With no points from the opening three games there are areas of worry in both boxes with goals leaking in frequently and a lack of fire power in the attacking third.
Rob Edwards did a remarkable job last season at making Luton resolute and tough to beat conceding just 39 goals in 46 games. The addition of Tahith Chong has been an exciting one and Elijah Adebayo will return to Craven Cottage with a point to prove after failing to make a name for himself in London.
How do we prepare?
Following the international break, this is a massive fixture, here’s how I’d line-up on Saturday.
I’d make two changes to side that lost 5-1 to Manchester City before the international break with Joao Palhinha and Willian coming in for an injured Tom Cairney as well as Bobby De Cordova-Reid.
Both Palhinha and Harrison Reed start for me with Sasa Lukic absent, it will be a great time for the fans to show their appreciation for the two midfielders who both signed contract extensions in the week. I think this Luton fixture suits Reed to a tee; Fulham will have a lot of the ball meaning that he will have the freedom to roam and add to his one goal contribution already this season.
Silva didn’t mention anything in his press conference about Willian being injured so with him returning, De Cordova-Reid will drop to the bench to provide depth in both midfield and attack allowing for the Brazilian winger to (hopefully) cause Luton problems.
Silva did also mention in his press conference that those returning from international duty will be assessed meaning the likes of Tim Ream, Raul Jimenez and Antonee Robinson could all come out of the side. That being said, I can’t see Silva making too many changes.
I think this game has come at the right time for Fulham, the need to make a statement performance has probably not been this important in a while. Luton will come to Craven Cottage and attempt to be strong defensively and look to create opportunities on the counter whenever possible. I do think that both sides will score on Saturday but Fulham’s quality across the pitch will pay dividends in the end. I’m going with a Fulham win.