Well not really, though you may have been mistaken for thinking so if you'd read TFI yesterday. Fulham lost their first match in the Asia Cup 1-0 to Portsmouth. It means we'll probably play the South China select XI rather than Liverpool in our final (I guess you could call it 3/4th place playoff) match on Friday. Today's match was live on Sky and Friday's will be too, it will probably kick off at 11:00 GMT, but thanks to Virgin Media's ongoing strop with Sky I won't even get to see the goals. There's a reasonable report on the Offal but a more in depth one on ESPN soccernet.
The message boards were full of doom and gloom with Zat in particular taking a tonking. Sky also contradicted themselves after initially talking about the insignificance of friendlies they decided that having seen their beloved Pompey win they could safely claim that this was a good indication that Fulham would struggle next season. Pah! Probably won't do us any harm in the long run if everyone is underestimating us. In some ways I think a game against South China may do us more good right now than having to face Liverpool.
Friendlies are always going to be more about fitness than results, and whilst it has to be good to be winning, you can't really expect to fly half way round the world and perform to your best, no matter how much money you might be making out of doing so. The criticism of Knight is probably not completely unjustified, his concentration really needs to improve if he's going to continue playing at the highest level. However, if there's one thing I've noticed about Zat it's that he tends to improve when he plays more games in a row. I'm pretty sure Konchesky, Hughes and Baird will form the bedrock of our defence this year. Whether the last spot goes to Zat or Liam or one of our other defenders (Boca certainly has a claim to a starting position) remains to be seen.
Looking at the rest of the team it was interesting to see Dempsey get a long run out on the left wing. I reckon it will take Lee Cook a while to get up to speed for regular Premiership football and maybe Clint will be the man to fill the void. On the right hand side of midfield Simon Davies is likely to be first choice, but again it's interesting to see Liam get another run out in that position. This could be a good opportunity for Liam to get into the side assuming Baird continues at right back. Up front seems more straight forward, Kamara will start, probably alongside McBride. Healy will probably be useful as a sub, and CJ will continue as forth man unless we sell him and bring in a replacement.
In other news, the club finally confirmed that Bjorn Runstrom will be loaned to F.C. Kaiserslauten for the season. I think his contract may be up when that ends so I doubt we'll see him in a Fulham shirt again. Also the Reserves apparently played at Bromsgrove last night though I've been unable to find out the score.
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