On Monday night, Aleksandar Mitrovic has helped ensure that Newcastle United will face Bournemouth on Saturday, as a club that is not in the relegation zone.
It seems an awful long time ago now since Fulham had four points from their opening four fixtures, with four Aleksandar Mitrovic goals a key component of that decent start to Premier League life with the Cottagers.
The ‘experts’ were queuing up to question why Rafa Benitez had been daft enough to sell this excellent striker, as Newcastle struggled for goals and points.
Funnily enough, the next 10 weeks have seen the experts getting quieter and quieter, only one more goal in that time for Aleksandar Mitrovic and one additional point for Fulham.
As Newcastle fans know, whatever they thought of Mitro as a player, the really stupid thing wasn’t selling the Serbian, it was that Mike Ashley agreed a £22m (rising to £27m) transfer fee for Mitrovic BUT only allowed Rafa Benitez the £2m loan signing of Salomon Rondon as a replacement.
Monday night saw Fulham travel to Huddersfield, the bottom two clubs facing each other.
A Fosu-Mensah 29th minute own goal decided the contest, with Mitro’s main contribution being a yellow card and being caught out in an offside position which ruled out an equaliser when Schurrle did finally get the ball in the net in the second half.
The result means that Fulham drop to rock bottom and Huddersfield join Newcastle on six points but with a worse goal difference.
The Premier League table after Monday night’s Huddersfield 1 Fulham 0 match:
I don’t wish any bad luck towards Aleksandar Mitrovic but tonight just reminded me of exactly why many of us weren’t upset when he left in the summer, as described above, the only upset being that Mike Ashley insisted on a £20m+ profit on transfer deals this summer rather than properly backing the manager in any kind of reasonable way.
Against Huddersfield, Mitro looked really slow and lacked mobility, meaning he was easy to mark for the home defence and helped stifle any attacking intent that Fulham did have.
This weekend has simply confirmed that there are at least three teams that are as bad as, if not worse than, Newcastle United. This group of clubs includes Fulham despite £100m+ spending in the summer.
The challenge now is for Rafa Benitez to help this Newcastle team be better than the sum of their parts and ensure we remain above at least three of our fellow strugglers.