When David Elm arrived at Fulham, manager Roy Hodgson admitted he would not be given many chances to make an impression in the first team. This was just his second start in a white shirt, yet by half-time he had set up an opening strike for Danny Murphy and scored his first Premier League goal.
The contribution left Burnley dumbstruck, perhaps because most of their players had probably never heard of him before. Elm joined from Kalmar FF at the end of August for about £300,000, and was signed in hope he could fulfil his potential, rather than meet any expectations. He signed a one-year contract, and could not have done more here to show that he can still have a future in England.
In light of Chris Smalling's recent £10million transfer to Manchester United following a rapid rise from non-league Maidstone United, he could yet turn out to be the club's latest diamond.
"He will be encouraged by the goal and has been a revelation since he joined," said Hodgson. "He has really progressed quickly through the ranks. When we play like that we are a tough nut to crack for any team."
This victory virtually ensures Fulham will not become entwined in a relegation battle. Instead they can focus more intently on attempting to win silverware. They remain in the FA Cup and Europa League and will have high hopes of finishing in the top half of the Premier League.
As routine victories go, this is about as straightforward as they come. And while Burnley continue to search for a first away league victory, manager Brian Laws can not help but feel his side are having little luck.
He felt the two opening goals could have been given as offside. "You need the referee and linesmen to get those decisions right, and quite clearly they didn't," he said. "It knocked the stuffing out of us, but we will pick ourselves up because no one is crying about it. Our away form is not great but we have to remain optimistic."
Fulham were bouyed by the presence of Bobby Zamora, returning from a brief bout of flu. The only surprise after Fulham had dominated the opening stages was that Zamora did not score the opening goal. Instead the honour fell to captain Murphy.
Full-back Nicky Shorey swept a cross deep into the Burnley penalty box and Elm headed the ball downwards Murphy arrived to steer the ball over the line. Fulham doubled the lead when Zamora sent a drilled effort towards goal which goalkeeper Brian Jensen failed to hold and Elm followed in to score. Zamora put the game out of sight, curling home a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.
It all looked so easy. Burnley have 13 matches left to prove they are worthy of their Premier League status. That may prove far from easy.
Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Shorey, Hangeland, Hughes, Baird; Davies (Greening 62), Etuhu, Murphy, Duff (Riise 77); Zamora (Okaka 71), Elm. Substitutes not used: Zuberbuhler (gk), Kelly, Smalling, Nevland.
Burnley (4-4-2): Jensen; Carlisle, Mears, Cort (Eagles 32), Edgar; Fox, Bikey, McDonald, Elliott (Cork 56); Fletcher, Nugent (Paterson 76). Substitutes not used: Weaver (gk), Duff, Blake, Thompson.
Referee: C Foy
Booked: Fulham: Etuhu
Man of the match: Zamora
Attendance: 23,005Reuse content