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  1. Work-rate. Incisiveness. Nous. I don't ask for much. This is how it's gonna be. Build from the ground up. So now we focus only on the league, not only needing to make sure that we take care of our business, but also hoping the other two contenders shit down their own leg at some point. All 3 have made a right bollock-up of their European quarter finals. Our failure was the disaster at home to Atalanta. City did not put Real Madrid to bed at the Emptyhad. Arsenal showed 'inexperience' against one of the weakest-looking Bayern sides in recent memory. The first is entirely on us. The second is another example of an Ancelotti side being on the ropes but getting the rub of the green at the crucial time. The last is just making excuses to justify yet another European campaign for Arsenal ending on a damp squib. Taking care of our business starts with making sure we take all the points at Fulham. We didn't manage to do that on the opening day of last season. Fulham had just returned to the top flight, and had also been shorn of one of their key players in the previous campaign when Fabio Carvalho joined us. That deal had basically been agreed the previous January, but Fulham couldn't get a replacement across the line so late in the transfer window so the Portuguese stayed put, and continued to look like a player that might really impress in the top flight. They still had Mitrovic up front though, and he had been a true goal machine in the Championship. He continued that form in this game, proving to be a real handful all match. He opened the scoring with a towering far post header having outjumped Trent, and got a second via the penalty spot after the softest of fouls by Virg. In between, Darwin got us an equaliser following a nice move, when Big Game James' pass around the corner got Mo into space down the right. His cross was met by Darwin at the near post with a 'trademark Usher finish' (his words, quite literally, as I'm certain he said as much in his match write-up!). Following Mitrovic's penalty, we were chasing an equaliser again, and found it late on when a ball over the top was contested by Mo and a defender. The defender could only flick it to Darwin who mis-controlled the ball perfectly for Mo to fire home the loose ball. Both sides had hit the woodwork in this game already, and we did so near the death when Hendo fired a 30-yarder onto the bar after Harvey played the ball out to him. 2-2 it finished. Dropping points to a newly-promoted team was not an ideal start to the season, and it wouldn't be until our 4th league game of the season that we would register a victory. Fulham are a difficult side to call. They can look awful and really be got at in some games, and in others they are a real handful. We've had 3 tough games against them already this season, and Craven Cottage is a ground Jurgen has yet to win at. It's not like the days under Rodgers and Kenny when the likes of Sturridge and Maxi were netting hat-tricks. Earlier in the season they were struggling to replace Mitrovic's goals (he'd take the mercenary route and grabbed the Saudi oil money), and players like Jimenez and Muniz weren't looking like the answer. Muniz has slowly settled in, and behind him they have players like Wilson, Willian and DeCordova-Reid who all have an eye for goal. What we badly need at the moment is a return of our ruthless streak, alongside the ability to create something from open play. We need our players to play with tempo, and when we get bodies forward and in numbers, we need to start making the right decisions and be precise and composed at the critical moment. Everyone that was available for the Atalanta game should be available for this one. I would seriously consider putting Mo on the bench, with the idea of using him when the Fulham defence begin to tire later on. In recent weeks, he hasn't been able to make much headway when up against defenders who still have enough gas in the tank. The penalties make his stats look OK but the eye test tells a different story. He's still more than capable of making a telling contribution. We just need to put him in when the conditions are right to make hay with what he can bring. We play this game after City and Arsenal have played their games so we'll either be playing catch-up or have the opportunity to make a real dent in their aspirations. The focus should be each game though, not the bigger picture. Maximum motivation, concentration, attitude and application from first minute to last. 3 points please. Get it done!
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