The first friendly of the season was played last night and Fulham got off to a good start with a 1-0 win. Diomansy Kamara striking the winner with a spectacular shot on 44 minutes. There's a decent match report on the offal here with a rather fancy graphic showing the team formation. It has to be good to win these games, even though they are more about fitness, a few more of these under our belt and we'll be in good shape for the challenges to come.
The starting line-up is pretty close to the team I would expect us to start the season with. Niemi in goal and a back four of Baird-Knight-Hughes-Konchesky is the defence I was expecting. There's room for more variation in midfield Brown & Davis started, but it sounds like Smertin put in a good 2nd half performance and I would be surprised if Diop isn't pushing very strongly for a staring role. Franck Q played left wing, a strong indication for me that he is on his way. I am sure Sanchez will be pulling out all the stops to get a new left winger signed before the end of this week in time for the trip to Hong Kong. Simon Davies started on the right wing, but his place must also be feeling some pressure from Clint Dempsey. Finally great to see Kamara get on the score sheet straight away, apparently he played in a free role just off Brian McBride and seem to enjoy the freedom. The 2nd half replacements up front were Collins John who had a couple of early chances and David Healy.
All this emphasises the depth of our squad now, particularly in midfield, with the only obvious hole being on the left wing. How many players we retain will be interesting. Franck Q seems very likely to leave, both Newcastle and West Ham have been reported in being interested, and rumours have been circulating that Wigan want Michael Brown. Bjorn Runstrom has also been linked with a move away which based on his complete lack of first team action is not surprising. Gabriel Zakuani, Philippe Christanval and Heidur Helguson didn't make the squad but I don't think Sanchez will let anyone go who doesn't want to leave or doesn't attract the right bid.