The Tony Gale Column

Tuesday 3 September 2013 11:00

I was really disappointed with the performance and result up at Newcastle United on Saturday. I felt it was a game where we could get a point or possibly even three.

Newcastle were low on confidence but we didn’t really seem to get going. It took until the 67th minute for us to get an attempt on target and even though we were away from home, that’s not really good enough. That’s not being critical of the team, it’s just we’re better than that.

Although Newcastle scored late, the goal was coming, and it would have arrived earlier had it not been for David Stockdale. It was a blow when Maarten Stekelenburg got injured as he’s a quality keeper and could be one of the best signings of the season. But David never lets anyone down when he comes into the side. He’s just unfortunate that after Mark Schwarzer left, he’s going to have to fight another top, top keeper for a place in the side.

David got valuable experience last season when he was out on loan at Hull City and the more games he plays, the better a keeper he’s going to be and the more confident he’ll feel being in the Barclays Premier League.

So we didn’t really deserve anything up at Newcastle, which was in stark contrast to our previous league fixture where I thought we got a little bit mugged by Arsenal. We had quite a lot of possession for long periods but didn’t create enough chances and we left ourselves open at the back to the counter-attack. There aren’t many quicker teams on the break than Arsenal and they punished us.

I can’t say I know too much about our only signing on deadline day in Elsad Zverotić but, by all accounts, he’s a versatile player who can also fill in at right-back if Sascha Riether is injured.

We did a lot of our business before the madness of deadline day and we went for experience. Darren Bent and Scotty Parker are both good players but to supplement that I’d like to have seen some good young signings. They cost a lot more money, though.

I still think we could still do with a bit more pace in the side. Bryan Ruiz, Adel Taarabt and Dimitar Berbatov are all good players, but we’ve got to find a way in behind teams. Hopefully Darren will provide that and stretch defences but Martin Jol has a bit of a juggling act to do in picking the right line-up and formation.

He needs to get a system that works for us. We’re not going to be a fast, counter-attacking team – I think we’ll see a lot of patient play from Fulham this season. That’s not a bad thing but Martin’s got a couple of weeks now to try and plan how it’s all going to come together.

Our next opponents in West Bromwich Albion haven’t had a great start and it’s a good time to play them at the Cottage. They’re on their backsides at the moment but I actually felt they’d do well this season. I thought Nicolas Anelka was a great signing and now they’ve added to that with Stephane Sessegnon and Victor Anichebe. Sessegnon caused Fulham all manner of problems for Sunderland at Craven Cottage last season and they’ve also got Shane Long too. Both teams need the points but I fancy us to beat them.

There are no top-flight games this weekend due to the international break but instead of being dragged round the shops with your missus, you can still get your football fix by coming down to see my team Walton Casuals this weekend. As part of Non-League Day, Fulham Season Ticket Holders and Members can get free entry to our game against Redhill. All I ask is that you buy a pint in the bar!

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