LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Alex Kacaniklic of Fulham celebrates his goal with team-mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Norwich City at Craven Cottage on August 18, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Fulham 5 - 0 Norwich City
Damien Duff (26)
Mladen Petric (41, 54)
Alex Kacaniklic (66)
Steve Sidwell (pen 87)
The last time we obliterated Norwich City, we sent them down to the Championship. On this occasion, however, Queens Park Rangers will have the most to worry about after coming on the wrong end of a 5-0 drubbing against Swansea City. We strolled past the Canaries here at the Cottage by the same scoreline and, undoubtedly, the same elegance.
Of course, the pre-match drama surrounded Clint Dempsey and his refusal to play for Fulham in his quest for Champions League football but the irony is, with such a ferocious start from Fulham, his current club already head the Premier League table. Until tomorrow at least.
That shouldn't eat away, though, at what was quite some performance. We've shared out our fair portion of drubbings over the past year or so but to do it on the first day, on the back of a bleak week and some distinctly harsh criticism from the press, has made this victory all the more memorable. And Mladen Petric can be pleased too, claiming two goals and setting up another.
It was Petric making himself a presence early on that set the tone, with both Bryan Ruiz and Alex Kacaniklic spraying crosses in with varying degree of success. Brede Hangeland then showed he's more than just brute force, dinking a through ball to Damien Duff, only for Michael Turner to force the winger out wide.
Norwich pressed in response but Duff got his goal eventually, John Arne Riise, who was impressive all afternoon, playing a sumptuous cross field pass to the Irishman who finished well.
There was almost a second moments later, but Bryan Ruiz was blocked off by Ryan Bennett. The following corner, however, doubled Fulham's lead as Petric headed home. The ball was hooked out by Norwich's Jonathan Howson but the linesman ruled, correctly, in the home side's favour.
The opening half came to a close with Martin Jol's men in complete control. Ruiz was dictating the game with an air of confidence we have yet to see in him, while Petric was palpably looking sharp.
It only took eight minutes after the break for Fulham to make it three, Petric again showing his class. Ruiz found the Croatian in space and he fired home from 30 yards, with the aid of a deflection.
Petric was then provider, teeing up Alex Kacaniklic with a fine back-heel and therefore providing the Swede's first Premier League goal. He was delighted and so was Jol, witnessing the young talent filling the cosmic gap left by the want-away Dempsey.
Bradley Johnson felt like at least testing Mark Schwarzer, but the Australian was equal to it. The Whites didn't take kindly to that moment of pressure and responded with force. Hugo Rodallega, on for Petric, was brought down in the penalty area and Steve Sidwell converted the spot kick. 5-0 Fulham, and top of the league.
We could have at least made it interesting.