There’s only one F in Fulham
The Fulham Fanzine
After spending over 100 million on new signings, Fulham enters November sitting bottom of the Premier League table on pace for the worst defensive showing in league history, it was time for a change before things couldn’t be turned around. The board deemed that the players weren’t the issue and decided that it was time to part ways with manager Slavisa Jokanovic who won them promotion to the Premier League only six months ago. If it wasn’t clear before that Fulham is a club with ambition, it should be now especially since they brought in Premier League winning manager Claudio Ranieri to replace Jokanovic.
The Tinkerman (a nickname that should probably be left in the past) pulled off one of the most impressive feats in world football by winning the Premier League with Leicester City. But the year after, he was let go due to lackluster results with the Foxes. Ranieri’s counter-attacking 4-4-2 took the league by storm and Fulham will hope that there is some magic left in the tank to turn things around. Between Leicester and now, Ranieri spent a spell in charge of Nantes in Ligue 1 which came to an awkward end with reports of a rift between he and the chairman.
Coming into Fulham, Ranieri seems like a good choice as he is a manager who is well liked by his players and will bring much-needed structure to a team in need of it. With Leicester, Ranieri settled on a pretty consistent formation in a 4-4-2 but with Fulham, we’ll likely see a version of the 4-4-2 of a 4-4-1-1 depending on how Ranieri feels about the personnel. I’ll be taking a look at how his appointment may impact things moving forward at Craven Cottage.
For the most part, Fulham has lined up in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation under Joanovic meaning that the players should be well prepared for the shift. The main question will be what personnel will use the international break as an opportunity to impress their new boss.
How will Fulham line up under Ranieri? Ranieri’s success at Leicester City was based on the back of a counter-attacking 4-4-2 with two defensive-minded sixes in the middle of the park. Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy may have been the finishers for the Foxes but it was Danny Drinkwater and N'Golo Kante who made the machine work. Looking at the current side, Fulham won't be able to perfectly replicate this setup because there is no proper partner for Jean Michael-Seri to make things tick.
But if Ranieri is okay with sacrificing defensive cover, Tom Cairney is capable of sitting deep as is Stefan Johansen. I'm leaving out Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa here because he hasn’t been effective while playing and I’m not sure that The attacking players pick themselves, but that’s also not the chief problem facing Fulham right now.
It’s the defense.
A defense that is giving up 2.58 goals per game, by far the worst in the Premier League. Ranieri likes his players to build out of the back and also likes his fullbacks to bomb forward which is not in Maxime le Marchlands game. This is why I’m penciling in Joe Bryan as the starter while healthy. Interchanging with Ryan Sessegnon on the left can be an electric partnership for the cottagers.
At center back, I’m putting Alfie Mawson and Tim Ream because Ranieri likes to build out of the back to advance play. In order to properly do that, his center backs need to be comfortable receiving the ball at their feet in pressure. Mawson is the best defensive center back on the roster and while he’s not the greatest with the ball at his feet, he is competent.
This is where Ream comes in. With experience at right back and as a central defensive midfielder he’s very adept with the ball at his feet and while Ream may not be the most stout defensively, there is a reason that he was player of the year each of the previous two years for Fulham. To play a possession-based game, having Ream at the back is necessary. Along the backline, Fulham doesn’t have to be good defensively to avoid relegation they only need to stop hemorrhaging goals at the back which isn’t a high bar to clear.
Now that we’ve gone through the fit for the squad, let’s take a look at who has the most to gain and lose from an FPL perspective.
Luciano Vietto: Being stuck out wide to accommodate a three-man front line hasn’t been the greatest for Vietto’s FPL value and he has still racked up four assists on the year. Under Ranieri, Vietto would be expected to play as support striker while Andre Schurrle does more of the wide work. This will hopefully lead to him finally scoring some goals on the season but will definitely lead to a bigger fantasy output especially in draft leagues. Owned in 38 percent of Fantrax leagues, Vietto is the guy with the most to gain from this move in the fantasy sports world.
Joe Bryan: The only thing that stopped him from becoming the regular left back at Fulham was a hamstring injury so this is a bit of a cop-out but looking at left-backs who have thrived under Ranieri, there’s a lot to like about Bryan. Christian Fuchs and Ben Chilwell had Ranieri spoiled for choice at the position and he’ll have the same issue here with Sessegnon and Bryan. Bryan has more to gain due to being listed as a defender, however. Earlier in the season, Bryan was on pace with Marcos Alonso in terms of key passes and he should slot right back in as an ultra-attacking left back. While he’ll still be hit when Fulham concedes, he’ll swing more than a few matchups like Patrick van Aanholt.
Jean Michael Seri: Seri has been a revelation and by far the most useful Fulham asset on the season but with consistent structure around him, things will only get better. We already know that Seri can stuff a stat sheet with one goal and two assists to go along with 1.8 tackles per game and 2.3 key passes per game. This shows that his numbers should only go up with a consistent formation around him. Seri will likely end the season around where we expected Naby Keita to be with 5-7 goals and assists which makes him usable in any format.
Aleksandar Mitrovic: Alright, a new manager comes in, great for the top option up top right? Well… not always. Mitrovic profited because he was the only option scoring for Fulham and that the entire attack funneled to him. But in a (likely) 4-4-2 he’ll have to share the wealth with Vietto up top. Mitrovic is only putting 1.2 of his 3.6 shots per game on target and both of these numbers will fall without him being the most central player. A striker needs chances to score and fewer chances is never a good thing. This isn’t to say that Mitrovic will be useless during the duration of the season but more that 10-12 goals are likely his ceiling.
Ryan Sessegnon: The English hype machine got Sessegnon picked much earlier in leagues than he should have been and now with him not being part of a front three in the move to a 4-4-2, it means that there will be less of an opportunity for goals and assists as Sessegnon looks to fill the Marc Albrighton workhorse role. While this is a vital role on the pitch, for fantasy owners, it’s not too important.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa: It was a head scratcher when he was purchased for 30 million from Marseille and nothing that Anguissa has done on the pitch has helped his case. He seems like more of a liability than anything as he has been unable to deal with the pace of the Premier League. Likely being relegated to bench duty under Ranieri, it will be a while before he ever makes an impact with Fulham. Can Ranieri save Fulham?
While it’s good that Ranieri had the international break with some of his players, it will be tough to implement his system overnight. It will take time and the beginning will likely be rough but this is a Fulham team that is too good to go down. On paper, there are at least 3-5 teams in the Premier League who are worse than the Cottagers including Crystal Palace and Southampton.
I’m anticipating that Fulham will finish 14th in the league. The players are good enough to stave off the drop, they just needed a man with a plan at the helm. In Ranieri, they got that man.
Sign up for site update alerts
If you'd like to be kept in touch via email when the site is updated, just click anywhere here.
The site is constantly updated with additions, whenever something of relevance comes along.
These can be anything, for instance to correct my flipping ghastly typing errors, when TOOFIF hears something on the grapevine or to announce TOOFIF Magazine and Book or Ashwater publishing dates.
Also when there's interesting news from FFC, announcements from the Supporters' Tust, when the Media come out with something worth mentioning (good, bad, inaccurate or amusing etc) and after TOOFIF Match Reviews are posted.
An ad from one of the site's sponsors
The Little Windsor
13 Greyhound Road Sutton Surrey SM1 4BY
Tel: 020 8643 2574
A proper local pub, in Sutton, football friendly and which shows all Fulham games as well as many of the other Premier League games, European fixtures and International matches.
It's a Fullers House but also offers guest beers, and boasts a superb wine and spirit list in addition to great cocktails.
Hot food, sandwiches and snacks are available throughout the day. Our Chefs can create an unbeatable range of affordable, superb dishes at lunch times and evenings.
The Little Windsor has three screens, showing a wide range of televised sporting events including a full itinerary of football matches. The Premier League is featured and we show all of the best games including live Saturday kick-offs, showing every Fulham game where permitted.
To see the scheduled matches for October, click this link to visit the TOOFIF Outlets Page where they are listed in the Little Windsor piece.
This side bar contains links to Individual Match Reviews, at present the upcoming match will contain a small pre-amble and will also show Fulham's history of results against that opposition.
Get your FFC Stats fix here
The Hammy End
The Fulham Independent
Friends of Fulham
Who ate all the pics
An early TOOFIF site
WELCOME to TOOFIF
The new era of Fulham under Claudio Ranieri starts on Saturday
billp TOOFIF Site updated Tuesday, 20 November 2018
These are some of the sites that TOOFIF likes
(not in order of preference!)
Your suggestions will swell the list.
Now that the dust has settled, what are Fulham's prospects?
After all, our mates in the media have been up to their Mystic Meg antics since our early start to our season took off so badly
Date: Monday, Tuesday, 20 November 2018
The Whites v The Saints
The next Premier League is the home game against Southampton, scheduled to take place on Sunday November 24 2018. kick off 15:00, at the moment, prepare for a last minute switch to an irrelevant and inconvenient evening sometime the following month!
The preliminary pre-match entry is live on the Match Report page anda biased TOOFIF Match review will follow on the Match Review Section on the relevant page.
This game will also be shown live on the TV at the Little Windsor, handy if anyone has to work on Saturday morning!
All FFC games, Home and Away are televised live, when possible, at the Little Windsor, Sutton.
The latest TOOFIF Magazine
is still on sale
Available since the opening game of our Premier League return, TOOFIF is available from all of the usual outlets.
David Lloyd will be selling the magazine opposite the Hammersmith End turnstiles on home match days as usual and the team of TOOFAgents will be positioned at various locations outside Craven Cottage along Stevenage Road.
The usual sales outlets will also have the magazine on sale and if you don't already have one, there is a subscription service accessible on the Subscriptions Page.
There is a dedicated page on this site, just as there was on the old one, listing the various places that sell TOOFIF irrespective of match days.
Don't forget to order soon as the orders are continuing to pile in
The brand new TOOFIF book is now on general sale
Foreword by Ray Lewington
360 pages of TOOFIF Extravaganza!
The book is now available to all. It's all-new, not reprints from old Mags but obviously contains
retrospectives from the past. In other words, proper TOOFIF!
David Lloyd, the TOOFIF editor has tracked the whole 30-year rollercoaster journey of the Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of Fulham Football Club since the devasting deterioration of the 1980s, the gradual resurgence, decline and the wonderful last two seasons.
This fan’s-eye view covers the most dramatic 30 years in Fulham FC’s history, during which London’s oldest professional football club plumbed the depths before embarking on a remarkable renaissance.
| UK Delivery £33.95 | Europe £41.95 | Rest of the World £47.95
A history lesson for Claudio?
Last week, I speculated whether Claudio Ranieri has looked into Fulham's history and particularly the past results against teams that are currently in the Premier League. I'd advised him to look at our Match Reviews page and check the previous results panel outlining every game in our history of playing each team.
I will admit though, that in the aftermath of the fantastic TOOFIF Book Launch evening, all parties in the know convinced me that Claudio is indeed fully up to date with all things Fulham.
It is acknowledged that he 'gets Fulham', he has a complete knowledge of the entire squad and backroom staff, even to the extent of profiles and stats of players (groan, not those blessed stats again!) and is conversant with the history of the club and Craven Cottage. In short, this came across in his talks with the club and together and added to his experience, achievements, personality and ability was a stand-out feature which obviously ticked all the boxes for the club.
I'm sad that Slav has departed but I firmly believe that move on we must and Claudio is the ideal person to lead us onwards and upwards.
What a superb way to launch the eagerly anticipated TOOFIF book covering 30 years of angst, misery, joy, celebration, commiseration, more misery, a little hope, dashed hopes, tragedy, even more angst then rays of sunshine, celebration, joy, revival, promotion, success, consolidation, angst, relegation, disappointment, enlightenment, hope, more joy, more celebration, exhilaration and so on!
Held in what used to be the Putney Rowing Club's Boathouse under the famous Duke's Head Public House overlooking Old Father Thames on the Lower Richmond Road, this was a superb reminder of what it is to be a follower of the oldest football club in London.
Old faces, legends from the playing and management side of yesterday, Fulham Fans from the Media and the rest of us with no claim to anything other than an affliction to the Black and White aspect of SW6 football.
No name dropping but Alan Smith, Simon Morgan, Les Strong from playing and management connections with the Whites were there to support David Lloyd and celebrate his remarkable achievements, not merely for bringing this marvellous publication to the Fulham supporting public but for 30 years of giving us the longest running and most respected fanzine. in British football.
Dave Kidd, Dean Jones, the Fulhamish guys were amongst others there from the media and although a Non-Executive Director of FFC, David Daly came as a fan. football.
The Fulham Supporters' Trust ran the event, including Chairman Tom Greatrex who opened proceedings with an entertaining Q&A with David Lloyd, which frankly could have carried on until the early hours were it not for the other talks that were to follow.
Naturally, the club attempted to overshadow events with the morning announcement of the goodbyes to our beloved manager. This, quite naturally, was a hot topic and those present wasted no time in grilling our speakers. Tom Greatrex of the FST, David Lloyd, Alan Smith, Les Strong, Simon Morgan, Dave Kidd and Dean Jones gave their spin and the result was rather enlightening. It seems that the views expressed were universally held amongst speakers and attendees alike, sorrow, regret, sympathy but a gritted teeth acceptance that it was preventable but inevitable, or was I just imagining that?
As for those following chats involving other Fulham people, Alan Smith was an engaging and humorous chairman, much of what passed is probably covered by Libel Laws so hard luck, if you weren't there you can't hear it here, ring me and if you take the oath, I might just spill a few of the beans!
And then, there were loads of the rest of us, just lovers of Fulham FC.
This is not the place to go into too many details as the proper vehicle will be the next edition of the Magazine, which now all of the effort involved with getting the book finished, will follow as soon as our exhausted Editor recovers from the superhuman commitment of the past months in bringing this three hundred and sixty page masterpiece to us.
Suffice to say a good time was had by all but the main message is, buy this superb tome before the first edition runs out. Also, I’d like to add that if you are not a member of the Fulham Supporters' Trust, please consider joining now. We have not had a Supporters' Club since we returned form Loftus Road.
The FST is our focal point now and their affiliation with Supporters Direct, Football Supporters' Federation & Football Supporters Europe. The Trust’s members regular meet at Board level with Fulham Football Club to point our views across and to hear the Club’s plans relating to the Team, the players, Craven Cottage, the Training Ground, in fact as much as it is humanly possible about FFC.
This makes them our essential connection to the heartbeat of our beloved Fulham FC.
Tom Greatrex kicks off the Q & A with David Lloyd
Mr Smith's socks dominate proceedings, "they're Black and White!" he retorted
"You sure Dean?", thinks Dave Kidd
Dave Kidd, Alan Smith and Morgs attempting to not give too much away!
David Daly speaks, Les Strong listens, Alan takes the opportunity to wet his whistle while Morgs has a snooze
The following three pieces would normally appear on the What the Media says page, I shared them there as they're fairly typical!
Fulham are one of 14 Premier League clubs at risk of being hit by proposals to limit the impact of Brexit.
The Cottagers have fielded 17 players in all competitions this season who don’t meet the definition of being either a home-grown or an under-21 player. Under new proposals to limit the impact of Brexit, however, clubs could be limited to naming just 12 such players in their squads. A home-grown player is someone who, irrespective of nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to English or Welsh FA for three entire seasons before their 21st birthday or the end of the season during which they turns 21.
To classify as an under-21 player this season you have to have been born on or after January 1, 1997. Fulham are far from being the only club exposed in this way. Manchester City and Tottenham have also fielded 17 non home-grown, non under-21 players. Brighton, Chelsea and Huddersfield have fielded 16 each, while Liverpool and Watford have both fielded 15.
Just under a third of the minutes played by Fulham players this season has been by home-grown or under-21 players.
That’s the joint fourth lowest percentage of any Premier League club, behind Chelsea (16%), Manchester City (22%) and Liverpool (29%).
As things stand, a no-deal Brexit is still a possibility, with such an outcome potentially having huge implications for Premier League clubs.
Almost half (43%) of the minutes played for top flight clubs in all competitions have been by EU nationals or dual-nationals, excluding the UK and Ireland. or some clubs, however, that figure is even higher.
Some 83% of all the game time played by Chelsea players this season has been by EU nationals/dual-nationals, while for Huddersfield it’s 80%, for Wolves it’s 63% and Arsenal it’s 61%. Fulham fare much better though, with just 39% of game time going to players vulnerable to a no-deal Brexit.
The Cottagers are bottom of the Premier League following a slow start under Slavisa Jokanovic, and Ranieri is the man the Fulham board believe can steer them to safety. Fulham have been conceding goals at an alarming rate and solving their defensive issues will definitely be a priority for the former Leicester boss. Given the quality of Fulham’s squad, fans will be hopeful of improved performances under the Premier League winner.
The January transfer window is less than two months away, and Ranieri will be given his first opportunity to tailor the squad to his needs. In order to stop leaking goals, the ex-Chelsea boss should be targeting defensive reinforcements.
One man who he could lure to Craven Cottage is Manchester United veteran – Antonio Valencia. Valued at £7.2m by Transfermarkt, the Ecuador international has been a key player for the Red Devils for a number of years after finding a home at right-back. However, the ex-Wigan man has made just four appearances in the Premier League so far and has less than one year remaining on his contract. The defender has also stated his intention to stay in England if United aren’t willing to extend his stay at the club.
Valencia has bags of Premier League and European experience which would prove vital in the long-term as Fulham bid for survival. His time with Wigan will also help the defender settle into life under Ranieri as fast as possible. The 33-year-old may be approaching the end of his career, but he still has a few years left at the highest level and bringing him to London wouldn’t break the bank.
Landing Valencia in January could prove to be a masterstroke from the former Inter Milan boss.
Scouting Fulham's FPL Fallout
Monday, November 19, 2018
The Official launch of the TOOFIF book
went off with a bang at an incredible evening on Wednesday November 14 2018
billp Friday, 16 November 2018