1. Ream’s return
Having been heavily involved in the United States’ run to the Gold Cup Final over the summer, Tim Ream was left out of the matchday squad against Barnsley to allow him some extra recovery time. He was back with aplomb on Saturday, though, with a defensive masterclass to help Fulham claim a clean sheet in our maiden Craven Cottage outing. Ream was unflappable at the back, showing a glimpse of the form that saw him named our Player of the Season the last time we were in the Championship.
2. Empty Riverside Stand
With work having already begun on the Riverside renovation, the stand looked somewhat eerie with all the seats removed. It didn’t seem to affect the atmosphere, however, with the home fans in the Putney, Johnny Haynes and Hammersmith ends all in fine voice. Some action shots with the Riverside Stand as a backdrop had a bit of a ‘pre-season abroad’ vibe about them – something we’ll get used to as the campaign progresses.
3. Collective joy
One such photograph taken after our second goal perfectly encapsulates the team spirit in the ranks when we find the net. Aleksandar Mitrović runs towards the Cottage in celebration, flanked by an airborne Anthony Knockaert and the wide-grinning pair of Tom Cairney and Bobby Decordova-Reid. (See also: Alfie Mawson’s little jump and punch after Cairney bent in the opener).
4. Arter: fan favourite potential
After joining the Club on loan from AFC Bournemouth on Tuesday, Harry Arter was put straight into the starting line-up against Blackburn Rovers, and proceeded to run the show. Throwing himself in front of shots, intelligent midfield play, assisting the opener and constantly running are just some of the ingredients which suggest the 29-year-old will become a popular figure amongst the Fulham faithful. (Spoiler: he’s absolutely walked the Man of the Match vote).
5. Cairney’s magic left foot
Fulham fans have seen enough Tom Cairney worldies over the years that Saturday’s screamer came as little surprise. So sweet was the connection that it was in from the moment it left his foot, and one almost feels sorry for the Rovers goalkeeper who was left clutching at thin air. The Hammy End rising as one in celebration of the quality of the hit was a sight to behold, and one that is hopefully a regular occurrence this season.