On balance, more positives than negatives in my book. Just two wins from ten starts doesn't sound like we've been setting the Prem alight, and our ridiculous inability to win on the road is really starting to bug me. I've just got this inkling of a premonition fate is setting us up to bury this horrible stat at the Bridge next Wednesday...It might just happen!
We could so easily have another four points and be sitting in the top 6. No one side has bested us by any considerable margin except for a predictably feeble effort at Stoke in the Carling Cup. Our two recent defeats saw both opponents score match winning goals that on another day would have been ruled out. Man United were frankly relieved to escape with a point in our first home game, and I genuinely think we would have closed out the away match at Blackpool had Bobby not had to go off after half-time. We were disjointed up front after that, Blackpool raised their game, and we contributed to our downfall with untypically poor defending for both their goals.
The one game that irritates me though is West Ham. A very strong shout for a pen ignored - again one sloppy pass out of defence being punished by a goal, and Fulham missing three big chances to punish the Hammers late on. This is a side heading for relegation methinks and we really should have killed them off.
Add to the mix the huge loss of Zamora, not one member of the first-time squad offers similar qualities, plus injuries elsewhere to Duff (a big influence last year), Stockdale (just as he was looking so good), Etuhu (again, a big presence) and Dembele - and we aint done half bad to sit in the top half of the table.
I know all football clubs suffer injuries, but I feared for the worst when Bobby went down under Henry's challenge. I was a fierce critic of our number 9 two seasons ago. Zamo really couldn't hit the proverbial barn door, I was at a loss to understand why Hodgson had signed him, and remember being bitterly disappointed when he failed to sign for Hull in the summer of 2009.
How I came to eat my words last season. As the World Cup loomed I don't think there was an English centre forward in better form. A fully fit Bobby for the Hamburg final and...well, we will never know. It's gone, so time to move on.
The mid-term report not only gives high marks to the newest members in class, notably Senor Salcido (what a bargain), but also the busy Dembele from Belgium, it must also pay tribute to the new head of school. Mr Hughes has to my mind said all the right things, despite at times being clearly close to boiling point with refereeing decisions and some of the Premier Leagues ruffians. He's had to hit the ground running while trying to find the right blend on the pitch.
We are without doubt a team of many talents, but forging the cohesive unit that produces a well-oiled points gathering side week on week - as Roy managed - is not usually conjured up inside a few weeks. In this respect Mark knows, and we recognise, that with time, things at Fulham FC can only get better and the side stronger.
A week in football is a long time. Whites supporters were all getting a tad jumpy prior to the Wigan game, with three points much needed. Since Saturday we've had a week to bask in some of the best copy of the season. Yes, the win was overdue and deserved. But the manner of our performance was to my mind more profound. We go into Saturday's game with Villa full of confidence, Etuhu, Duff and AJ are on the verge of regaining full fitness, while Houllier's side saw Petrov and Heskey this week undergo surgery - and they've lost 4 of 5 on the road so far.
I'm certainly expecting three points Saturday to delight another full house. After that, trips to Chelsea and Newcastle will provide a clearer picture of just how far we've come since the summer. One thing I do know in the unpredictable world of footie is this, right now it's GREAT to be a supporter of Fulham Football Club!
To anyone needing re-affirmation of what following FFC is all about refer to the latest post to "Flying the Flag" from Drew.