Just as all the football writers (including this one) were checking back over Mark Hughes record of draws during his tenure at Manchester City’s Lottery HQ, the first three points of the season thankfully arrived with the 2-1 weekend win against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
It will have come as a relief to Hughes and means a four game unbeaten start to the season – even though he will still be recalling that during his spell at City he only suffered one defeat and that still led to his dismissal – something that still, understandably, irks him.
The victory over a determined Wolves side had many plusses...
A Moussa Dembele double continued to support the claim that he could turn out to be the bargain of the season, a sign that the free flowing Fulham style is safe under Sparky and that the togetherness and character of the side is not only alive and well but thriving under his management.
And of course Mark Schwarzer returned to claim the keeper’s jersey. However, it came at what could be a huge cost.
Bobby Zamora broke his fibula. A successful operation on Sunday to mend the fibula and repair the ligament damage is good news but tempered by the fact that Bobby is likely to be out until the end of January.
It is a huge personal blow for Zamora – not to mention a damaging one for Fulham - whose season had started so brightly with his first international cap followed by signing a new four-year contract just a day before suffering the leg break.
And it is a big loss to Fulham too as Zamora has become a focal point of our attack and now puts, as Hughes himself highlighted, a big onus on new-boy Dembele. It also brings a shuddering halt to their partnership which was showing all the signs of becoming one of the strike pairings that teams would fear the most.
So, the bedding in period for Dembele has come to a dramatic end and both Clint Dempsey and Zoltan Gera are going to have work hard at limiting Bobby’s temporary demise.
It remains to be seen whether Hughes decides to have a look at any potential Bosman signings – the only ones available to him – or whether he feels he has enough to get through the next four or five months.
The next couple of games are going to be crucial in limiting the effect of Zamora’s absence.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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