Jack Stroudley looks at our midfield options without the suspended Joao Palhinha.
As we head into our first game after the international break, a positive result is almost a necessity following good results for Luton and Bournemouth on Saturday but with Joao Palhinha suspended it could be a very tough task. Nevertheless, which players should Marco Silva go to in an attempt to fill a Joao-sized hole?
The Serbian feels like the most nailed-on player for me on Monday night. Since the start of the season he’s really settled and looks a very good asset to have. Someone who can sit back if needed but also progress the ball forward and create chances for more attack minded players, he has to start.
The fact we don’t start Cairney frequently shows just how strong we are midfield, our club captain is always a reliable option to have and always seems to be one step ahead of the opposition. I think he wouldn’t suit a game without a tough-tackler like Palhinha so for me, he’ll remain on the bench.
Outside of Palhinha, Harrison Reed is probably the most defensively minded midfielder we have, but his game time has been more sporadic this season. His tenacity in midfield was such a valuable asset last season and his ability to drift into wide positions was a severely underrated part of his game. I’d quite like him to start alongside Lukic in the midfield two.
I know some people will be reading this wondering where Alex Iwobi comes into this. The Nigerian has really impressed me since joining from Everton and has been one of the few players to spark some creativity in this Fulham side at the moment. Because of this, he starts in a more attacking role for me instead of Andreas Pereira whose been a bystander for large parts of the season so far.