After all of the excitement and expectation that followed the most spectacular transfer window in Fulham’s history, here was the most sudden of reality checks. On day one of a much-hyped new era at Craven Cottage, Crystal Palace swaggered through the door and swiftly set about crashing the party.
If Slavisa Jokanovic did not know already that the Premier League is a punishing place, then he certainly does now. His Fulham side controlled so much of the ball, weaving their passing patterns as they did so often in the second tier, but they were twice left reeling by the Palace counterpunch. Jeffrey Schlupp scored the first for Roy Hodgson’s side, before Wilfried Zaha ripped the life from Craven Cottage deep into the second half.
There will be lessons learned from this, and also questions asked. Were Fulham too aggressive? Did their enthusiastic approach leave them over-exposed? The response may be that this is the style that brought them back to the big time after four years away, so it would be foolish to change now. But to see how Palace repeatedly drew them out and then stung them on the break was to see how tough this season will be for Fulham, no matter the size of their transfer budget.
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