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General Category => Archive => Daily Fulham Stuff => Topic started by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 07:43:01 PM

Title: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 07:43:01 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/feb/28/sunderland-fulham-premier-league

Pressure mounts on Steve Bruce as Sunderland's winless run continues   


Sunderland 0 
Fulham 0 

Louise Taylor at the Stadium of Light


guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 February 2010 17.24 GMT


At least Fulham had an excuse. Roy Hodgson's side were entitled to look a little fatigued in the wake of Thursday night's trip back from Ukraine and victory at Shakhtar Donetsk but the boos which greeted the final whistle emphasised that Sunderland were entitled to no such sympathy.

Steve Bruce's suddenly relegation-threatened team have now gone 14 Premier League games without victory and, judging by the face of the chairman, Niall Quinn, the manager will have some serious explaining to do this week.

The first half was awful. Sunderland began by endeavouring to force a fierce tempo but their failure to take proper care of the ball meant they kept losing possession and any momentum evaporated. Lee Cattermole proved a principal culprit, the usually influential central midfielder experiencing a shocker.

While Zoltan Gera shot a yard wide at the end of an early Fulham counter-attack, it took 38 minutes for Bruce's side to muster a goal attempt courtesy of a Kenwyne Jones shot which swerved wildly off target.

Admittedly Mark Schwarzer was finally required to make a routine save – his sole such intervention all afternoon – from a Darren Bent free-kick harshly awarded against Brede Hangeland for a perceived foul on Jones, but Sunderland never looked like scoring.

Happily for Bruce, neither, really, did Fulham. Indeed it seemed emblematic of a woeful opening 45 minutes when Bobby Zamora, unaware he had been flagged offside, missed an open goal from eight yards.

Earlier, the unmarked would-be England striker had failed to get sufficient headed purchase on Simon Davies's defence-bisecting delivery and, much to the relief of his supposed minder, Michael Turner, sent the ball looping over the bar.

If Sunderland were badly missing the precision and incision customarily provided by the hamstrung Andy Reid – ominously, though, Reid and his fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson were the only notable absentees from a near full-strength home line-up – Jones and Bent were finding Hangeland and Aaron Hughes to be a formidable central defensive barrier. Similarly Fulham's bouts of neat passing tended to dissolve in the face of John Mensah, who, for once fit to start, enjoyed an outstanding afternoon at centre-half for Sunderland before, all too predictably, limping off.

It was no surprise when, 10 minutes into the second half, Bruce replaced Cattermole with Bolo Zenden in a rejig involving Kieran Richardson's relocation to central midfield from the left wing.

Granted, a Bent half volley flew narrowly wide while, at the other end Damien Duff saw a dangerous shot deflected off target but there was little to deflect attention from a chill wind which felt as if it must have blown in from the Russian Steppes.

There was, however, a high temperature microclimate surrounding the home technical area where Bruce's repeated volleys of expletives reflected rising tensions. A few yards away Hodgson maintained the unruffled demeanour of a country town gentleman solicitor, barely batting an eyelid when Alan Hutton connected with a Zenden cross but, much to Bruce's frustration, was confounded by the tightness of the shooting angle.

In the dying minutes Benjani Mwaruwari , on for Jones, shot selfishly when he could have centred to the better placed Bent. Yet again Sunderland's decision-making had betrayed them.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 07:44:48 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/match/1351138


Sunderland v Fulham

Match facts

Premier League

Sunday 28 February 2010 15.00

  Score line 
Final score  Sunderland  0 – 0
(HT 0 – 0)
  Fulham 
Bookings Hutton 17
Richardson 22
Turner 61
  Baird 18
Greening 70
Zamora 82
 
 Sunderland's Percentage Fulham's Percentage
Corners 2 50%  2 50% 
Goal attempts 11 84%  2 16% 
On target 4 100%  0 0% 
Fouls 18 52%  16 48% 
Offside 1 25%  3 75% 

Sunderland

Craig Gordon, Michael Turner, Anton Ferdinand, Alan Hutton, John Mensah (George McCartney, 84), Kieran Richardson, Lorik Cana, Lee Cattermole (Boudewijn Zenden, 55), Fraizer Campbell, Darren Bent, Kenwyne Jones (Benjani Mwaruwari, 80) 

Fulham

Mark Schwarzer, Brede Hangeland, Chris Baird, Nicky Shorey, Aaron Hughes, Zoltan Gera, Danny Murphy (Jonathan Greening, 58), Damien Duff, Dickson Etuhu, Simon Davies, Bobby Zamora (David Elm, 84) 
Referee Atkinson, M
Venue Stadium of Light
Attendance 40,192
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 07:47:39 PM
Sunderland Reaction

Sunday 28th February 2010


Fulham FC News


Speaking after Sunday's nil-nil draw at the Stadium of Light, Roy Hodgson gave his post-match reaction:

"It's always a good point," he said. "I suppose the importance and the quality of the point is exaggerated not only by the exertions in midweek, but the fact it's an eighth game in a short month using basically the same players in every game.

"I did fear for this game because Sunderland are very strong at home - this is where they take their points - and because we got back so late in the early hours of Friday morning.

"I was concerned if ever a game was going to take its toll, this would be the one.

"But, once again, the players really surprised me. They stood up enormously well to the balls that were played forward to the two big centre-forwards and we defended well in front of them.

"The only minor criticism that I will accept of the team is we didn't do enough sometimes with the amount of possession we had because there were some nice passing movements, but we didn't find that final pass through to the centre-forwards.

"But I am delighted with the point, I am delighted with the week's work and I wish February would last forever. But sadly, it's March tomorrow."


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/February/SunderlandReaction.aspx#ixzz0grUi79l8 (http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/February/SunderlandReaction.aspx#ixzz0grUi79l8)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 07:50:30 PM
Sunderland 0 - 0 Fulham

Fulham produced a resolute and controlled display at the Stadium of Light on Sunday to secure a well-earned point. With chances few and far between, Fulham’s defence was certainly on top as the Whites expertly controlled the pace of the game. 

Sunderland started this game on the front foot as Fulham, playing their eighth game in February, looked to sit back and test the water in the opening exchanges. Bobby Zamora continued up front for the Whites, supported by Zoltan Gera but other than a clipped effort on goal from Gera on six minutes, the duo saw little of the ball in the opening 10 minutes.

With the home side looking to notch an early goal, Fulham were content to bide their time in possession, with the back four weighing up their passing options carefully when on the ball – an almost European approach to the game.

With Frazier Campbell and Kieran Richardson looking active on the wings, the home side was eager to take advantage of the pace offered by their two wide men. But by the 20 minute mark neither goalkeeper had been required to make a save of any note, which was more to the frustration of the home fans – who were turning quite vocal in their disapproval.

As the first-half progressed Fulham started to work the ball further up the pitch and looked to bring Zamora into the game more – but this was not done to the sacrifice of Fulham’s defensive structure.

Just as Sunderland started to threaten through Kenwyne Jones and Darren Bent, Fulham slowed the tempo of the game right down – with the ball spending a lot of time being passed around the back four and Mark Schwarzer. The wind was soon taken out of Sunderland’s sails.

The home side’s first shot in anger came on 37 minutes when the ball fell to Jones 25 yards out – the Sunderland striker lined up a fierce volley which flew handsomely over Mark Schwarzer’s bar. Darren Bent’s 20-yard free-kick on 39 minutes almost created an opening when the ball bounced off Schwarzer’s chest before being cleared to safety.

Once again a crescendo of noise echoed around the Stadium of Light as the home fans sensed a breakthrough could be coming. But surely enough, Fulham soon closed up shop and sucked the energy out of Sunderland’s play.

The Whites made a strong start to the second-half, with Bobby Zamora battling well with John Mensah up front. The home side’s first effort on goal after the break came in the 56th minute when Alan Hutton found space on the edge of the Fulham area only to shoot straight at Schwarzer.

Fulham’s first change of the game came on 57 minutes when Danny Murphy was replaced by Jonathan Greening. With conditions in the Stadium of Light hardly conducive to fine, flowing football, Fulham were certainly adapting better to their environment as they resolutely maintained their shape.

John Mensah was given a talking to by the referee on 64 minutes after the official had seen one too many of his tussles with Zamora. The free-kick for Fulham that followed was cut out and the home side broke away on the counter, but much to the frustration of the home fans, the move broke down once again.

For the first time in the game Fulham embarked on a sustained spell of pressure, keeping the ball well and stringing together a number of passes which had the home side chasing shadows.

As time started to tick away, Sunderland replaced Kenwyne Jones with Benjani in an attempt to get something from the game. The change certainly gave the home side some much-needed impetus as a ball from Zenden flashed dangerously across the face of the Fulham goal.

David Elm was introduced to the action on 83 minutes, replacing Bobby Zamora who had led the line bravely.   

Sunderland managed to work shooting opportunity on 86 minutes when the ball dropped to the feet of Frazier Campbell on the edge of the area but his shot flew well over Schwarzer’s bar. Moments later Benjani’s turn and shot rolled just in front of Darren Bent, who could do little to reach it.  That proved to be the final oportunity of the encounter before the referee blew for full-time.



Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/MatchAndTeam/MatchCentre/Matches/0910/Premiership/SunderlandAway.aspx#ixzz0grV95nTg (http://www.fulhamfc.com/MatchAndTeam/MatchCentre/Matches/0910/Premiership/SunderlandAway.aspx#ixzz0grV95nTg)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 07:55:04 PM
From the Other Side

Sunday 28th February 2010


Fulham FC News
 
Looking back on Sunday afternoon's game between Fulham and Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Black Cats Manager Steve Bruce gave his post-match assessment: 

"We huffed and puffed and I couldn't fault the players' effort," Bruce explained. "But some are trying too hard to make it happen.

"At the death Fraizer Campbell looked like he was sliding in a goal to win a horrible game 1-0, but it didn't happen and the longer it goes the harder it becomes.

"Our supporters have been terrific and it couldn't have been easy to watch that. We didn't give them much to get excited about but 40,000 people on a horrible Sunday afternoon is a magnificent turnout and anything we did give them they got right behind us.

"It has been a difficult three months but we have to keep working at it and look for a break that could turn our season around."


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/February/SteveBruceReaction.aspx#ixzz0grWGwRb2 (http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/February/SteveBruceReaction.aspx#ixzz0grWGwRb2)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 07:59:05 PM
Sunderland Photo Special

Sunday 28th February 2010

http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/February/SunderlandPhotoSpecial.aspx
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 08:02:14 PM
http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11661_5996022,00.html

Hodgson praise for weary Fulham


Hodgson pleased with performance from hard-working squad


By Jonathan Witty   


Last updated: 28th February 2010   
 

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has hailed the resilience of his players after they recorded a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Sunderland.

The Stadium of Light encounter was Fulham's eighth game in a month and Hodgson's weary warriors, who returned from beating Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk less than 72 hours before kick-off, held Steve Bruce's men to a stalemate.

"It's obviously a very good point given the circumstances, it was never going to be easy for us having come back so early on Friday morning from the Ukraine," said Hodgson.

"It's the eighth match in a short month and I looked at how dangerous this game could be given how good Sunderland are at home.

"I thought we defended solidly throughout the game and limited them to longer range shots and I am delighted that we are going to finish the month unbeaten.

"After the week we have had, to come to Sunderland and get a good 0-0 has crowned a fantastic month for the club."

Congestion

Hodgson admitted that additional European fixtures are a relatively new concept to him as Fulham boss, but he is relishing the new challenge.

Fulham have played more matches than any other Premier League side so far this season, but the former Blackburn boss insists his small squad can cope.

He added: "I'm sure Alex (Ferguson), Arsene (Wenger) and Rafa (Benitez) are laughing because they have been doing it year after year, but for Fulham it is something new. It is a very different situation.

"We have played 12 matches so far this year with a limited squad, which has been limited further by injuries and it has been a burden for those lads to carry.

"The players playing today have basically been the same bunch that have played all eight games through February.

"January has been a bad month, but February has been a good month and this win goes some way to ensuring we have a 10th consecutive season (in the Premier League).

"This has been a great month in the history of the football club."
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 08:04:19 PM
http://www.skysports.com/football/match_report/0,19764,11065_3230224,00.html


Black Cats held to drab draw



Stalemate ensues at the Stadium of Light


Last updated: 28th February 2010   
 


Man of the Match: Bolo Zenden came on as a replacement for Lee Cattermole and injected some urgency into Sunderland's attacking that nearly paid dividend.

Shot of the match: Darren Bent's curling free-kick from 20 yards produced a smart stop from Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Moment of the match: Zenden's low cross that fizzed across the Fulham six-yard box, only for Alan Hutton to fire into the side netting at the far post. It was clearly the best chance of the match.

Talking points: Can Sunderland find a much-needed win and escape the drop? How much will Fulham's Premier League form be affected by their Europa League run?

Sunderland and Fulham played out a drab goalless draw at the Stadium of Light as the home side's quest for a Premier League win in 2010 continues.

Substitute Bolo Zenden and Darren Bent had the best chances for Steve Bruce's men, who had the lion's share of possession without creating any clear-cut opportunities.

Fulham looked jaded from their exertions in the Europa League in midweek and an energetic Sunderland side dominated for long spells.

The point lifted the Wearsiders three clear of the drop zone, but there is little doubt that Roy Hodgson will have been the happier manager as his team extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to eight games three days after they secured their passage to the last 16 in the Europa League.

The game had been billed in certain quarters as a showdown between England hopefuls Bent and Bobby Zamora as they attempt to force their way into Fabio Capello's World Cup plans.

In the event, both men were largely anonymous in a first half which was notable only for a woeful lack of quality.

Bent and strike-partner Kenwyne Jones got little change out of Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes, while at the other end, Zamora - playing ahead of Zoltan Gera - was equally unable to extend Michael Turner and John Mensah.

Scarce

Chances were few and far between with Gera curling a seventh-minute effort just wide and Zamora looping a header harmlessly off target for the visitors with 26 minutes gone.

Fulham goalkeeper Schwarzer did have a save to make, but that did not come until the 40th minute. Having seen Jones blast high over from 20 yards two minutes earlier, the Australian found himself in the firing line when Hangeland was penalised for a challenge on Jones just outside the box.

Bent curled a well-struck free-kick around the defensive wall, but the keeper was well positioned and although he could not hold the ball, his defenders mopped up before any damage was done.

But meaningful action inside either penalty area was a rarity as the game was fought out largely in the middle third, where Fulham skipper Danny Murphy was the most influential figure.

Even he, however, could not find the killer pass to open up the home defence as an attritional battle unfolded with Alan Hutton, Kieran Richardson and Chris Baird all booked for fouls before the break.

The pattern of the first half was repeated during the early stages of the second with neither side able to put together a sustained period of pressure.

Returning midfielder Lee Cattermole played his side into trouble when he lost out to Simon Davies on halfway with six minutes of the half gone.

Davies played Zamora into space down the right and then got into position to receive the ball back, although his shot was blocked at source.

Impact

Bruce replaced Cattermole with Zenden as he looked to inject some urgency, with the newcomer lining up on the left as Richardson moved inside.

The Dutchman also had an instant impact, combining with Jones to set up full-back Hutton, who stepped inside before forcing Schwarzer into a save with a low left-foot drive.

Murphy limped off to be replaced by Jonathan Greening three minutes later, and Jones went close with an 18-yard snapshot within seconds.

Newcastle old boy Damien Duff saw a 69th-minute effort deflected just wide, but Bent only just failed to get on the end of Turner's ball over the top three minutes later.

Zenden got a shot in after Hughes could only help on keeper Craig Gordon's 74th-minute clearance, but his effort from a tight angle ended up in the side-netting.

Hutton did the same from the other flank as he met Zenden's driven cross at full-stretch seven minutes later with the Black Cats belatedly establishing a momentum.

Fraizer Campbell might have snatched a precious victory with three minutes remaining, but he skied his shot high over as another two points slipped away.


Sunderland
Team Statistics
Fulham

0 Goals
0

0 1st Half Goals
0

4 Shots on Target
0

7 Shots off Target
2

1 Blocked Shots
2

2 Corners
2

18 Fouls
16

1 Offsides
3

3 Yellow Cards
3

0 Red Cards
0

64.5 Passing Success
76.1

11 Tackles
12

90.9 Tackles Success
58.3

42.8 Possession
57.2

65.7 Territorial Advantage
34.3


Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 08:07:06 PM
http://www.skysports.com/football/user_ratings/0,19768,11065_3230224,00.html

Fulham Player ratings 

Player Our Rating Your Rating Rate player


 Mark Schwarzer
Largely untroubled, but nearly caught out by a Bent free-kick in the first half.  7 6.9  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Brede Hangeland
Snuffed out the aerial threat of Kenwyne Jones.  7 6.1  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Aaron Hughes
Disciplined performance and kept  7 6.1  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Nicky Shorey
Denied Sunderland space on the right, but was uindone by opposite number Hutton a few times.  6 5.9  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Chris Baird
Solid performance and stopped Anton Ferdinand getting forward.  7 5.9  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Danny Murphy
Subbed after suffering an injury, but lookd out-of-sorts.  6 5.1  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Dickson Etuhu
Battled with Gera to stop Sunderland coming forward through the middle.  7 6.0  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Simon Davies
Tried to get forward and give Fulham some help in attack.  7 5.7  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Bobby Zamora
Battled well against John Mensah, but was isolated for large spells.  7 5.5  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Damien Duff
Frustrated on the wing and only showed glimpses of his ability.  6 5.8  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Zoltan Gera
Tried to push Fulham forward, but suffered a number of fouls against him. 
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 09:07:02 PM
Sunderland 0 Fulham 0: Super Mark Schwarzer frustrates blank Black Cats as winless run goes on

By Sportsmail Reporter


Last updated at 5:34 PM on 28th February 2010

Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer denied struggling Sunderland a first Barclays Premier League victory in 14 attempts to leave them hovering precariously above the drop zone.

The Australia international kept out Darren Bent's first-half free-kick and then blocked Alan Hutton's left-foot effort after the break to ensure the game ended goalless.

Substitute Bolo Zenden and Hutton both fired into the side-netting as the home side make a late push, but the first of four successive home games which boss Steve Bruce believes will define the club's season ended in stalemate in front of a frustrated crowd of 40,192.
 
The point lifted the Wearsiders three clear of the drop zone, but there is little doubt that Roy Hodgson will have been the happier manager as his team extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to eight games three days after they secured their passage to the last 16 in the Europa League.
   
The game had been billed in certain quarters as a showdown between England hopefuls Bent and Bobby Zamora as they attempt to force their way into Fabio Capello's World Cup plans.
In the event, both men were largely anonymous in a first half which was notable only for a woeful lack of quality.

Bent and strike-partner Kenwyne Jones got little change out of Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes, while at the other end, Zamora - playing ahead of Zoltan Gera - was equally unable to extend Michael Turner and John Mensah.

Chances were few and far between with Gera curling a seventh-minute effort just wide and Zamora looping a header harmlessly off target for the visitors with 26 minutes gone.
Schwarzer did have a save to make, but that did not come until the 40th-minute.
 
Having seen Jones blast high over from 20 yards two minutes earlier, the Australian found himself in the firing line when Hangeland was penalised for a challenge on Jones just outside the box.
 
Bent curled a well-struck free-kick around the defensive wall, but the keeper was well positioned and although he could not hold the ball, his defenders mopped up before any damage was done.

But meaningful action inside either penalty area was a rarity as the game was fought out largely in the middle third, where Fulham skipper Danny Murphy was the most influential figure.
Even he, however, could not find the killer pass to open up the home defence as an attritional battle unfolded with Hutton, Kieran Richardson and Chris Baird all booked for fouls before the break.

The pattern of the first half was repeated during the early stages of the second with neither side able to put together a sustained period of pressure.

Returning midfielder Lee Cattermole played his side into trouble went he lost out to Simon Davies on halfway with six minutes of the half gone.

Davies played Zamora into space down the right and then got into position to receive the ball back, although his shot was blocked at source.

 Tussle: Dickson Etuhu (right) and Kenwyne Jones get stuck in
Bruce replaced Cattermole with Zenden as he looked to inject some urgency, with the newcomer lining up on the left as Richardson moved inside.

The Dutchman also had an instant impact, combining with Jones to set up full-back Hutton, who stepped inside before forcing Schwarzer into a save with a low left-foot drive.

Murphy limped off to be replaced by Jonathan Greening three minutes later, and Jones went close with an 18-yard snapshot within seconds.

But as time ran down, it was Fulham who had the greater craft and composure with the home fans growing increasingly restless.
 
Newcastle old boy Damien Duff saw a 69th-minute effort deflected just wide, but Bent only just failed to get on the end of Turner's ball over the top three minutes later.
Zenden got a shot in after Hughes could only help on keeper Craig Gordon's 74th-minute clearance, but his effort from a tight angle ended up in the side-netting.
Hutton did the same from the other flank as he met Zenden's driven cross at full-stretch seven minutes later with the Black Cats belatedly establishing a momentum.
Fraizer Campbell might have snatched a precious victory with three minutes remaining, but he skied his shot high over as another two points slipped away.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1254373/Sunderland-x-Fulham-x.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0groH3Wx1 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1254373/Sunderland-x-Fulham-x.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0groH3Wx1)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 09:29:42 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/sunderland/7338674/Sunderland-0-Fulham-0-match-report.html

Sunderland 0 Fulham 0: match report

Read a full match report of the Premier League game between Sunderland and Fulham at the
 
By Rob Stewart at Stadium of Light


Published: 8:00PM GMT 28 Feb 2010

 
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce went into this game insisting that he was certain there would be an upturn in fortunes at the Stadium of Light but the majority of those who witnessed this encounter will not share in that confidence.

Bruce used his programme notes to re-assure fans that even though "we've gone too long without a win" he was "convinced we'll turn it around" yet judging by the evidence of Sunderland's 14th league game without a win there is little to suggest Wearsiders can look anything other than a prolonged fight against relegation.

Sunderland are still hovering just three points above the three relegation places but rarely looked like ending a winless sequence that stretches back to November when Arsenal were beaten here and the chorus of boos that greeted the final whistle was testimony to local unrest.

Both sides struggled to gain any fluency early on but while Fulham could point to a long trip to the Ukraine as their excuse for initial lethargy, Sunderland failed to develop any momentum due to their habit of squandering possession all too easily.

The first opening of the game fell to Fulham striker Bobby Zamora - a surprise inclusion given his Achilles problems - but he wasted a chance to underline his England credentials when he nodded Simon Davies' throught-ball wide of the target with his Craig Gordon to beat.

Even though this was a game Sunderland needed to win to ease local anxieties, it took the home side almost 40 minutes to muster an attempt on goal and when Kenwyne Jones did take aim his 20-yarder flew well wide of Mark Schwarzer's goal.

The only other glimpse of first-half hope arrived shortly afterwards when Mark Schwarzer only gathered Darren Bent's free-kick at the second attempt.

Such was the dearth of goalmouth action, it took a series of meaty challenges to get the home crowd going but that was a sad reflection on the lack of midfield guile provided by Lee Cattermole and Lorik Cana.

It meant Sunderland, who had centre-half Anton Ferdinand at left-back instead of George McCartney, resorted to long-ball tactics far too readily.

The route one approach might not have been a problem had Michael Turner's distribution not been wretched or had Breda Hangeland not been so dominant.

When Sunderland did resist the direct approach and pass the ball around it almost paid dividends as Alan Hutton engineered himself some space on the edge of the box but shot straight at Schwarzer.

Both managers made changes shortly after half-time as Bruce replaced Cattermole with Bolo Zenden before Roy Hodgson sent on Jonathan Greening in place of the injured Danny Murphy.

Zenden almost put Sunderland ahead in the 75th minute when Jones flicked on a long ball but the Dutchman put the ball into the side-netting from an acute angle.

A few eyebrows were raised when Bruce hauled off Jones for Benjani but within seconds his team almost grabbed the lead when Zenden sent a cross fizzing across the goalmouth but Hutton could only find the side-netting.

Bruce cut a frustrated figure in his technical area and appeared reday to sink to his knees when Bent allowed a late chance to go begging.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on February 28, 2010, 10:02:07 PM


Sunderland 0 Fulham 0: Deluded boss Steve Bruce defends his shocking side


By Colin Young

Last updated at 9:36 PM on 28th February 2010

Fourteen games without a win and Steve Bruce is still insistent that Sunderland will not be involved in the relegation scrap. But his squad are doing a very plausible impression of a team determined to get sucked into the bottom three.

Sunderland were booed off at half-time and the final whistle and jeered for their constant pathetic passing.

Lee Cattermole perfected the art almost every time he touched the ball and was finally put out of his misery 10 minutes into the second half. At that point the home side had managed just two shots at Mark Schwarzer.
 
The first from Kenwyne Jones flew over and Schwarzer spilled the second, an awkward bouncing free-kick from Darren Bent who chose a bad time to have an off day, just 24 hours after losing his England place.

There was little improvement from Bent or his team-mates after the break, although there were half-chances from the Sunderland top scorer, Cattermole's replacement Bolo Zenden, fellow sub Benjani and Alan Hutton, who somehow hit the side-netting with the goal open.

In the final minute, with just Schwarzer to bear, Fraizer Campbell blasted over the bar.

Bruce said: 'I still think we will be OK. We need a little break, we need to handle the expectation. We didn't handle the ball well and resorted to lumping it up the pitch.'

MATCH STATS
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Gordon 6; Hutton 6, Turner 7, Mensah 7, Ferdinand 7; Campbell 5, Cattermole 5 (Zenden 55, 6), Cana 6, Richardson 6; Jones 5 (Benjani 80), Bent 6.

Booked: Hutton, Richardson, Turner.

FULHAM (4-5-1): Schwarzer 5; Baird 6, Hangeland 7, Hughes 7, Shorey 6; Duff 6, Murphy 6 (Greening 58, 5), Etuhu 6, Davies 6; Zamora 6 (Elm 87).
Booked: Baird, Greening, Zamora.

Man of the match: John Mensah.

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Roy Hodgson's side, who have already played 44 games to Sunderland's 32, hardly looked like a team who had stepped off a flight from Ukraine in the early hours of Friday morning having pulled off one of the best results in their history.

But Bobby Zamora squandered the game's best chance with a miscued header when Craig Gordon was stranded and Damien Duff finished the game's best move of 18 passes with a shot wide.

Hodgson said: 'The good thing is that nobody can take our unbeaten February away from us and that point takes us to 38 with 10 games to go which means we don't have the Sword of Damocles hanging over us.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1254465/Sunderland-0-Fulham-0-Deluded-boss-Steve-Bruce-defends-shocking-side.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0gs24CBHc (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1254465/Sunderland-0-Fulham-0-Deluded-boss-Steve-Bruce-defends-shocking-side.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0gs24CBHc)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:12:08 AM
http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/161018/Sunderland-s-poor-form-continues-against-Fulham/

SUNDERLAND'S POOR FORM CONTINUES AGAINST FULHAM 

Monday March 1,2010

By Niall Hickman

If Gordon Brown’s temper is known to be volatile, then Steve Bruce’s will be volcanic after Sunderland yesterday laboured to a crashingly dull, goalless draw against Fulham.

Boos rang around the Stadium of Light at Sunderland as referee Martin Atkinson put 40,000-plus fans out of their misery with both goalkeepers’ knees unmuddied after 90 minutes of unadulterated mediocrity.

Fulham arguably created the best chance of the game, with striker Bobby Zamora missing a clear, first-half opportunity.

But all the talk on Wearside will surround the way Sunderland’s season has collapsed on the back of 14 games without a win.

Runs like that tend to get managers the sack and Bruce will be hoping owner Ellis Short’s patience is a lot longer than his surname. A few weeks ago Bruce insisted he had the hide of a rhino when it came to dealing with criticism and he might need it if Texan billionaire Short watched this one, as it was plain dismal from start to finish.

Well before the end the Sunderland supporters started to voice their anger and even though the draw meant Bruce’s side remain three points above the drop zone, the fact remains they are in a relegation battle – a staggering decline following an enterprising first three months under their new boss.

Bruce said: “I am the manager and the buck stops with me. If anything is levelled at the players it is my job to protect them.

“It has not been easy lately but I will not shy away from it, although I admit it has been difficult.

“I have been decent at this job in the past and I will just stick at it but the frustration is we have not been able to turn draws into wins. We have to batten down the hatches and keep working at it. I have seen the players do it at the start of the season so I know they can.” 

Zoltan Gera shot wide before Zamora mis-directed his free header from Simon Davies’s astute pass, while Sunderland finally managed a shot on target five minutes before the break, a fairly tame free-kick from Darren Bent, which Mark Schwarzer saved with some ease.

It could only get better after half-time, except it did not. If anything it got worse as Sunderland could find no way past Fulham’s resolute back line, shepherded by the outstanding Brede Hangeland. Alan Hutton and Bolo Zenden found the side-netting and the Dutchman’s late cross flew across the face of Fulham’s goal but, in general, the visitors were never remotely stretched.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson said: “It is always a good point when we have come from so far away in midweek and just had our eighth game in a month.

“I want February to last for ever. It has put us in a good position with 38 points in the league with 10 games left and we are in the FA Cup quarter-final as well as a European tie with Juventus.”

Sunderland (4-4-2): Gordon 6; Hutton 6, Ferdinand 6, Mensah 7 (McCartney 84, 6), Turner 6; Richardson 6, Cattermole 6 (Zenden 55, 6), Cana 5, Campbell 5; Jones 5 (Benjani 80, 6), Bent 5. Booked: Hutton, Richardson.

Fulham (4-5-1): Schwarzer 6; Baird 6, Shorey 6, Hangeland 8, Hughes 7; Davies 7, Etuhu 6, Duff 6, Gera 6, Murphy 6 (Greening 58, 6); Zamora 6 (Elm 84, 6). Booked: Baird, Zamora.

Referee: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:15:26 AM
http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/clubfootball/news/newsid=1175270.html?cid=rssfeed&att=


Bruce: The buck stops with me


(PA)

Sunday 28 February 2010
 

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce was in defiant mood after seeing his side's winless Barclays Premier League run extended to 14 games. This afternoon's 0-0 draw with Fulham at the Stadium of Light left Sunderland perched just three points above the drop zone and looking anxiously over their shoulders.

Bruce's men have not won a league game since 21 November and have slipped from the exalted position of European hopefuls to relegation candidates during the ensuing months. However, the 49-year-old remains convinced they can get themselves out of trouble.

Bruce said: "Listen, I am the manager, the buck stops with me. I have brought five or six of them to the club and anything that's levelled at any of them, it is my job to try to protect them if I can, which I will do.

"Of course it's my responsibility and it hasn't been easy, that's for sure. But the one thing I am not going to do is shy away from it. I always knew it was going to be difficult. The great start we got off to maybe led us up a path we weren't ready for.

"However, I didn't want this to happen, that's for sure, and the only thing that's left for me to do is make sure I stick with it," he said. "I think I have been decent at the job in the past and I am convinced I am still right to do it."

In a game of few clear-cut opportunities, it was Sunderland who enjoyed the better of them, but while Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was busier than opposite number Craig Gordon, he was never over-extended. He made two significant saves, the first from Darren Bent's 40th-minute free-kick and the second from full-back Alan Hutton's second-half drive, but neither troubled him unduly.

Substitute Bolo Zenden and Hutton both fired into the side-netting after the break, but Fraizer Campbell squandered perhaps their best chance when he fired over three minutes from time.

Hodgson happy

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson was delighted with the point three days after a gruelling trip to Ukraine in which his side claimed a mouthwatering Europa League last-16 match with Juventus after next weekend's FA Cup quarter-final showdown with Tottenham Hotspur. The Londoners played eight games in all competitions in February, winning five and drawing the other three.

Hodgson said: "It's always a good point, isn't it? I suppose the importance and the quality of the points is exaggerated not only by the exertions in midweek, but the fact it's an eighth game in a short month, using basically the same players in every game.

"I did fear for this game because Sunderland are very strong at home - this is where they take their points - and because we got back so late in the early hours of Friday morning. I was concerned if ever a game was going to take its toll, this would be the one.

"But, once again, the players really surprised me. They stood up enormously well to the balls that were played forward to the two big centre-forwards and we defended well in front of them," said Hodgson.

"The only minor criticism that I will accept of the team is we didn't do enough sometimes with the amount of possession we had because there were some nice passing movements, but we didn't find that final pass through to the centre-forwards. But I am delighted with the point. I am delighted with the week's work and I wish February would last forever. But sadly, it's March 1 tomorrow."
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:17:03 AM
http://hammyend.com/?p=5742


Juventus beaten at home


by Dan on February 28, 2010

Our next Europa League opponents, Juventus, were beaten 2-0 tonight at home by Palermo, one of the intriguing sides in Serie A of late. The result ruined Alberto Zaccheroni’s decent start in charge of Juve, who had put together a better run of form under their new coach.

There will have been plenty to encourage both Roy Hodgson and any Fulham fans who tuned into ESPN to conduct some early scouting. Juventus dominated the first period but couldn’t find a breakthrough and it was hardly surprising when their former midfielder put Palermo ahead on the hour with a quite brilliant strike from the edge of the area.

Fulham’s forward will have drawn plenty of encouragement from the comical defending that gifted the visitors a decisive second. A hopeless backpass from Zdenek Grygera allowed substitute Igor Budan to score with his first touch, rounding the ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Manninger easily, and rolling home a simple second. Juve fans responded by lighting several flares in disgust.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:20:30 AM
http://hammyend.com/?p=5738

Stalemate at Sunderland

by Dan on February 28, 2010

Fulham picked up a useful point at struggling Sunderland this afternoon to help solidify their spot in the top half of the Premier League.

Steve Bruce had targeted this game as an ideal chance for his side, without a win in some fourteen league games, to get their season back on an upward trajectory but they struggled to break down a Fulham defence that was just as resolute as in Thursday’s battling draw against Shakhtar Donetsk that took the Whites into the last sixteen of the Europa League.

For all of Sunderland’s probing, and there was plenty especially in a more open second half, they struggled to create too many clear-cut chances. Fulham managed to keep Kenwyne Jones, the tall striker who has a habit of scoring against the Cottagers, fairly quiet and Darren Bent looked a shadow of the livewire who shot himself into England contention with such a blistering start to the season. Aaron Hughes was forced into a timely interception as Jones burst onto a through ball from Frazier Campbell, but Fulham had already enjoyed the first sight of goal, with Zoltan Gera curling a speculative shot just wide.

The Hungarian was busy in his now customary role behind Bobby Zamora, who was fit to start today’s game despite hurting his Achilles in Donetsk, but he’ll be a bit sore in the money. He twice took hefty whacks to his head in aerial challenges and was caught on the ankle by a late challenge from Kieron Richardson in the second half. Simon Davies was becoming more influential as well for Fulham and his wonderfully flighted pass found Zamora in plenty of space behind the Sunderland defence but the striker, overlooked by Fabio Capello for the Egypt friendly last night, was disappointed to have headed harmlessly wide.

Sunderland perked up a little before the break but their pressure resulted in shots from distance that were simple for Mark Schwarzer to deal with in the main. Jones tried his luck from distance after the ball fell nicely for him in a central position just outside the area but his shot was always heading over the bar. A generous free-kick decision saw Bent test the Australian keeper with a low shot that bounced back off Schwarzer’s body and away to safety before a Danny Murphy mistake allowed Jones a sight of goal but the Trinidadian’s tame effort trickled through to the goalkeeper.

The second period saw markedly more adventure from both sides. Fulham started brightly and it needed a well-timed challenge from John Mensah to halt a dangerous run down the right by Damien Duff. A promising burst from Bobby Zamora led to a Simon Davies shot being blocked, but Sunderland carried plenty of purpose about them as well. Bolo Zenden’s introduction seemed to give them an immediate lift as the Dutch midfielder teed up Alan Hutton for a shot that Schwarzer juggled alarmingly with three red and white shirts waiting to pounce in the six-yard box.

Bent, becoming a little more of a focal point for the home side, sent a shot wide as Sunderland built up a head of steam but Fulham were still threatening on the break. Some lovely patient passing fashioned a chance for Duff and the former Newcastle man was unfortunate to see his effort deflected wide.

A late flurry from Bruce’s men threatened to steal the points but they couldn’t find the finishing touch. Zenden almost embarassed Schwarzer at his near post but sent his shot into the side netting from an acute angle and then the former Middlesbrough midfielder drilled in an inviting cross that reached the sliding Hutton at the far post. Fortunately for Fulham, the right back could only hit the side netting. Campbell should really have done better than spooning a shot high and wide from eight yards after he had taken a touch to set himself and a low cross-cum-shot from substitute Benjani narrowly eluded Bent as the Black Cats failed to find a winner.

SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Gordon; Hutton, Ferdinand, Turner, Mensah (McCartney 82); Campbell, Richardson, Cattermole (Zenden 53), Cana; Jones (Benjani 80), Bent. Subs (not used): Carson, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Da Silva.

BOOKED: Hutton, Turner, Richardson.

FULHAM (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Baird, Shorey, Hughes, Hangeland; Etuhu, Murphy (Greening 57), Duff, Davies; Gera; Zamora (Elm 82). Subs (not used): Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Smalling, Riise, Okaka.

BOOKED: Baird, Zamora.

REFEREE: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire).

ATTENDANCE: 40,192
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:24:12 AM
http://www.footballfancast.com/football-blogs/football-follow-fulham-formula


Football should follow the Fulham formula




Date: 28th February 2010 at 8:39 pm

Author: Kieran Lovelock


Despite a fortnight of Champions League drama, the most intriguing spectacle over the past few weeks has come from Craven Cottage.

Whilst the world was watching the glamorous prospect of Wayne Rooney tearing apart an aging AC Milan backline, the more studious characters of Roy Hodgson and Bobby Zamora displayed once more the art of how to keep a club overachieving. One of the everlasting beauties of football is that at times it isn’t a game of numbers, unlike the financial world where in every set of circumstances the more muscle you have more successful you will be, football has a human element to it which allows small and relatively unsuccessful clubs like Fulham to overcome the likes of Newcastle who’s stadium is more akin to something out of Star Trek.

How do Fulham do it? How does a club that was close to falling out of the football league altogether just 15 years ago all of a sudden beat Shaktar Donesk, to possibly land the most glamorous of ties against Juventus? Like all successful ventures there is a simple formula behind it, the chairman appoints a manager who signs good honest players that aren’t superstars and then complements them with artists who can create something out of nothing, whilst essentially sticking to the game plan of playing simple football and always putting the safety of your own goal first.

Mark Schwarzer, Andy Johnson, Bobby Zamora, Brede Hangeland, and Dickson Etuhu were all signed by Hodgson and have been essential to the continuation of the Craven Cottage revolution leading them to the dizzy heights of the Europa League, something which would have been beyond the wildest dreams of even the most romantic Fulham fan just two years ago. None of these players had ever set the world alight before arriving at Craven Cottage, they have been reliable performers their whole careers but that’s about it. However the genius of Roy Hodgson is that he knows what he wants and develops a game plan and a formation in which players of modest talents, such as Bobby Zamora, can blossom. Due to Hodgson’s clarity of vision, it is no coincidence that he has made very few bad signings he took over on December 28th 2007.

Compare this on the other hand to the way Charlton were relegated when Alan Curbishley left. Curbishley is a manager cut from the same cloth as Hodgson; a composed and intelligent man who never seemed to make many bad signings. After 15 years of constant achievement against the odds, Curbishley felt he had taken the club as far as it could go and decided that it needed a new lease of life. Enter Iain Dowie, a manager whose record for talking a good game is significantly better than his record of securing points on the board, bar one Andy Johnson inspired miracle with Crystal Palace. Dowie was the new style. A young, apparently sophisticated manager who was fully up to date with the latest training methods, instead of shooting practice Dowie took his team swimming. Boxing was preferred to ball control drills and Dowie looked the real deal with his fancy headset and his fancy ideas. This was the route to go if Charlton were to continue to achieve success with the departure of the man who masterminded their rise from first division strugglers, to contending for European football every season.

However it didn’t quite happen that way. Instead of signing established Premiership or Championship players who fitted with Charlton’s ethos, something Curbishley had down to an art, Dowie signed Souleymane Diawara, “the best defender you’ve never heard of,” from Sochaux. Players like Simon Walton from Swindon followed, “a talented boy who might surprise a few people,” and Dowie was out of a job by November with Charlton lying rock bottom. Now Charlton find themselves in England’s third tier and struggling to get out, I wonder if they would rip up the Curbishley manual today?

Similar things are happening in the Premiership today. Compare the meticulous and calculated methods of Birmingham manager Alex Mcleish with the somewhat bullish Phil Brown. Mcleish’s side have enjoyed an incredible season basing their success on consistent team selection and a system to get the most out their players. Calculated signings such as Lee Bowyer, Barry Ferguson and Steven Carr, who have been solid yet unspectacular professionals their whole careers, have been the basis to their challenge for European football this season.

Hull on the other hand have chosen to place their bet on the ultimate three legged rocking horse. Spending a club record 5 million on the talented yet hugely injury prone Jimmy Bullard, whilst putting him on 50,000 a week, is nothing short of suicidal. It is errors of judgment like this, as well as choosing to conduct a half time dressing down in front of millions, that separates highly successful managers such as Roy Hodgson from young upstarts like Phil Brown.

If moderately sized clubs such as Hull, West Brom, Burnley, Wolves and Nottingham Forest want to become established Premier League clubs, there is a formula that has been proved to work more often than not. You appoint a smart manager who can get the most out of his players, but more importantly is shown to be calm and calculated when it comes to managing the transfer market and who isn’t prepared to risk it all on the best player you have never heard of. When you reach the Premiership most players are already at the top of their games. Therefore it doesn’t matter who the best coach or the best motivator is; it is simply about what manager is the best at judging whether or not a player will be a good fit for the club and the for the team.

It sounds simple and it is, if a small club like Fulham can achieve European football then it can’t be that complicated. But as the midfield general of the great Leeds side of the 1970’s, Johnny Giles, once so eloquently put it to his teammates: “Football is a simple game; it’s just hard work to make it that way.”

Written By Kieran Lovelock
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:25:59 AM
http://fulhampatsfan.blogspot.com/2010/02/fulham-0-0-at-sunderland.html


Fulham 0 - 0 at Sunderland

Going into this match Fulham had only 1 win on the road this season. That was in the first game of the season against Portsmouth. They left the Stadium of Light with only one point today. Fulham and Sunderland played to a scoreless draw.

There was good news for Fulham fans as the game began. Bobby Zamora was in the starting lineup. He picked up an Achilles injury during the last Europa League match. The half was more controlled by Sunderland. However, both sides had a few decent chances to score.

Sunderland started the first 5 minutes of the match with good pressure in the Fulham half. It was though Fulham who had the first good chance. In the 6th minute Gera takes a good shot that goes wide of the net. In the 26th minute Simon Davies passes a nice ball to Bobby Zamora who heads it wide.

The Sunderland chances started with a Jones strike that went high over the net. In the 39th minute a free kick for Sunderland was taken by Darren Bent. His shot though was saved by Schwarzer. Kenwyne Jones actually had 2 more decent chances as Sunderland continued the pressure late into the half. The last chance for Fulham in the 44th minute was a free kick by Nicky Shorey. It was easily handled.

The half was physical with Zoltan Gera getting knocked around twice. Fulham and Sunderland ended the half 0 -0. To win the game we would have to see more out of Roy Hogdson's team in the second half.

The second half started with more pressure from Fulham. Early on a Simon Davies corner kick goes harmlessly in the box as there is a foul by Hangeland. Sunderland had the next 2 chances. In the 56th minute a nice shot by Alan Hutton is saved by Schwarzer. This was followed up in the 58th minute by a shot by Darren Bent which went wide of the net.

Shortly before that last shot Fulham's first change came when Danny Murphy was replaced by Jonathan Greening. In the 69th minute a beautiful left footed shot by Damien Duff just went wide. This was probably Fulham's best chance of the match. In the 73rd minute Simon Davies made a nice run but his shot was easily saved by Craig Gordon.

The end of the game saw a few more chances for Sunderland. In the 74th minute off of a long ball, a shot by Zenden hits side of the net. In the 80th minute a cross by Zenden goes right to Alan Hutton but again hits the side of the net. One of the best chances for Sunderland came in the 86th minute. Frazier Campbell's right footed shot in the center of the box goes high over the net. The final chance for Sunderland came in the 88th minute with a nice pass from Benjani that just missed Darren Bent.

The only other change for Fulham came late in the game with David Elm coming in for Bobby Zamora. Unfortunately for Fulham, Elm was not effective in Zamora's place. Bobby played decent but did not get any real good chances today.

Both teams deserved a well earned point. I thought it was a pretty even game with a slight edge to Sunderland. The game ended as it started 0 -0 from the Stadium of Light. Now it is time to move on to the F A Cup next week against Tottenham at Craven Cottage.
Posted by Fulham-Pats Fan at 9:43 AM
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:28:14 AM
http://goal.com/en/news/9/england/2010/02/28/1811606/sunderland-0-0-fulham-no-goals-in-scrappy-affair-at-the

Sunderland 0-0 Fulham: No Goals In Scrappy Affair At The Stadium Of Light
Black Cats fail to move clear of relegation battle...



By Niall McGlone


Feb 28, 2010 4:45:00 PM

Sunderland failed to move away from the Premier League relegation zone as Steve Bruce’s men saw out a goalless draw with Fulham at the Stadium of Light.

Chances were at a premium throughout the games a neither side looked confident enough to push forward.

Fulham traveled to the Stadium of Light looking for their first away win in twelve Premier Leagues matches, whilst the host were looking for the first league win in thirteen games.

The Black Cats recent run of poor form had left them just two points clear of the relegation zone heading into today’s game.

The Cottagers went into the game fresh of the back of an impressive win in the Europa League against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek.

The home side started the better of the two teams but the Mackems failed to turn their early possession into clear-cut chances.

Few chances fell for either side in what was a scrappy opening quarter of the match. The first real opportunity came to the away side; Simon Davies clipped the ball into Bobby Zamora inside the Sunderland box but the in-form striker couldn’t head the ball on target.   

Kenwyne Jones had Sunderland first real chance to speak of for the home team. Graig Gordon sent the ball long and Jones flicked the ball onto strike partner Darren Bent, the former Spurs player returned the ball back to Jones but the Trinidadian could only volley over on the stretch.

Bent then forced a save out of Mark Schwarzer after the striker appeared to miss hit a free-kick and the ball rolled underneath the Fulham wall but the Australian goalkeeper reacted quickly and saved the effort.

Fulham had another chance through Zamora just before the half time break but the 29-year-olds header was saved comfortably by Gordon after a mad scramble in the box.

The teams went into the break level after an opening half that saw few chances as both sides looked reluctant to push forward in search of an opener.

The first ten minutes of the half started slow yet again, Alan Hutton struck a shot  after cutting inside Nicky Shorey, but the on loan Tottenham midfielders strike was straight at Schwarzer.

Sunderland were looking the most likely to score as the home fans urged on Steve Bruce’s men.

However, Fulham may have had a penalty when a Jonathan Greening appeared to strike the hand of Michael Turner inside the box but any appeals were waved away by the referee.

The Mackems had chance from another long punt forward, Jones again flicked the ball, this time to Boudewijn Zenden, but the midfielders effort went wide of the mark.

Zenden was involved yet again when the former Liverpool and Chelsea player centred a ball for Hutton, but the Scottish international couldn’t reach far enough.

Sunderland pressed for a winner in the closing minutes but couldn’t carve out a chance as the game ended goalless.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:30:31 AM
Match report from Sunderland official site -

http://www.safc.com/news/20100228/report-goalless-on-wearside_2256213_1979967 (http://www.safc.com/news/20100228/report-goalless-on-wearside_2256213_1979967)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:33:39 AM
http://football.fanhouse.co.uk/2010/02/28/sunderland-0-fulham-0-steve-bruce-still-waiting-for-overdue-vic/

Sunderland 0 Fulham 0: Steve Bruce Still Waiting for Overdue Victory



28/2/2010 11:51 AM GMT

By John Wardle


Sunderland must beware the sides of March after another miserable match that exposed the shortcomings of Steve Bruce's team.

They now face three home games in March and it's essential they locate a few wins to ease relegation fears that won't be swept away with performances such as this one.

Sunderland have now gone 14 games without a Premier League win and never looked likely to end that dismal record against an unambitious Fulham side, who were happy to settle for a draw.

Fulham's Bobby Zamora went closest to breaking the deadlock when his first-half header beat keeper Craig Gordon but drifted wide in a rare break by the Londoners.

Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer was not seriously troubled by a Sunderland team who largely relied on long-range efforts from Darren Bent, Kenwyne Jonesand Alan Hutton for their only threats.

But they were inches away from an undeserved winner when Benjani just failed to connect with a cross from Bolo Zenden nine minutes from the end.

REACTION:
Bruce remains confident that Sunderland can claw their way out of trouble before the end of the season.

But he pulled no punches about a dismal game when asked what he could say about it. "If I'm being honest, not a lot," he said.

"We need a little break and the players have to handle the expectations of playing here. It's not easy. We were very sound defensively, but offensively it takes a different type of courage. Basically we lumped it up the pitch which happens when you become edgy.

"I don't want to see my teams thumping it forward, but that's what we did. We are not set up to play that way and it becomes a frustration. We had the best chances in the game - and there weren't a lot. We didn't create a lot in terms of getting the ball down and trying to play.

"We're paid to handle these situations and at the moment we have too many not playing well enough. we have to get out this run. weve got to stick together and learn from it. It's a difficult time but I still think we wil be okay. When you are up against it, all you can do is keep working and believe you are doing the right thing."

Roy Hodgson's mood was very different as they ended a successful month with another solid performance.

The Fulham manager said:"The good thing is nobody can take away what February has done for us. With 38 points we can be reasonably confident we will have another year in the Premier League and that was our major goal.

"The only minor criticism is that we didn't do enough with our possession and we didn't find that final pass, but I'm delighted with our week's work.

"But this was our eighth game in a month using basically the same players. I did have fears about this game because this is where Sunderland get their points. We arrived back in the early hours of Friday morning and it's always a a good point when you get one after a European game."

Fulham now enter a March when they face Juventus twice in the Europa League, Tottenham in the FA Cup and the two Manchester clubs in the league. "Rather than fear those matches and fear we will be knocked out, we should be delighted we have come so far," he said.

HOW IT HAPPENED:
In mind-numbing fashion. Fulham, who have won only once away from him this season, were content to sit back and leave with a point after their exertions in midweek in the Europa League. And Sunderland lacked the quality to open up a well-organised defence as their early control soon turned into a a desperate desire to hit the ball forward to Jones and Bent, who chased far too many lost causes. Fulham failed to mount a genuine threat once Zamora's header drifted wide early in the game, but should wonder what might have happened if they had been more ambitious.

WHAT IT MEANS:
More trouble for Bruce as Sunderland fans continue to question the shape of a side that looks woefully short of ideas, particularly in a midfield which is strong on destruction, but weak on contruction. They have a chance to ease their worries with three successive home game, but there is little optimism about their prospects among troubled supporters. Fulham's mood is vastly different and they face an exciting month in the FA Cup and Europa League. Hodgson is right to point out that they can concentrate on the cups in the knowledge that they are safe in the league.

QUOTABLE:
"We don't have the Sword of Damocles hanging over us where you worry whether you can marry the cup with the league."
Hodgson delves into Greek mythology to explain the current position.

SUNDERLAND 0 FULHAM 0

PLAYER MARKING:
Sunderland (4-4-2): Gordon 6; Hutton 9, Turner 6, Mensah 7 (McCartney 84,5), Ferdinand 6; Campbell 6, Cana 5, Cattermole 5 (Zenden 56,5) Richardson 5; Jones 5, Bent 5.
Substitutes not used : Carson, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Benjani, Da Silva.
Fulham (4-5-1): Schwarzer 5; Baird 6, Hughes 6, Hangeland 9, Shorey 6; Duff 5, Murphy 5 (Greening 58,5), Etuhu 6, Davies 6; Gera 5; Zamora 6 (Elm 84,5).
Substitutes not used: Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Okaka, Riise, Smalling.

ATTENDANCE: 40,192

NEXT UP:
Sunderland v Bolton (Home), Premier League 09/03, 1945 GMT
Fulham v Tottenham (Home) FA Cup 06/03, 1720 GMT

MAN OF THE MATCH:
Brede Hangeland (Fulham): The giant central defender was in total control in the air and on the ground, although the lack of imagination shown by Sunderland's forwards made his life easier than usual. His assurance on the occasions he was tested showed why Arsenal are among his admirers.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:36:40 AM
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/fans-turn-against-bruce-as-winless-run-goes-on-1913711.html


Fans turn against Bruce as winless run goes on


Sunderland 0 Fulham 0

By James Mellor


Monday, 1 March 2010


After more than a decade in management, Steve Bruce insists he's developed the toughened exterior of a rhinoceros. Such was the vitriol aimed in his direction from his own supporters after a 14th Premier League game without a victory, the Sunderland manager must wonder if there is anywhere left to go in terms zoological/dermatological metaphors required to deal with the increasing scrutiny his future is now subject to.

A share of the spoils from a contest which, if anything, was even more of a non-contest than the tepid stalemate here with Stoke earlier in February, re-establishes their three-point cushion from the relegation places. That, however, is where the positives come to an abrupt halt.

"What can I say about that? If I'm honest, not a lot," Bruce admitted. "We just need a break but we were edgy, we didn't handle the ball well enough and resorted to lumping it up the pitch."

The fixture computer is clearly doing its best to help extricate Sunderland from a predicament they find themselves in courtesy of a three-month winless streak, with this the first of four consecutive home games, starting against a Fulham side without a Premier League away victory since the opening day of the season and with legs wearied by a draining return trip to the Ukraine in the Europa League.

Even with such advantages flung their way, Sunderland never remotely looked like recording their first three-point return since 21 November, and had an unmarked Bobby Zamora not made a hash of a clear early header from an inviting Simon Davies centre, the post-match abuse aimed the way of Bruce would have been even more lacerating.

The Sunderland squad had almost fallen over themselves during the week to pledge their backing for their beleaguered manager, but their unconvincing actions spoke far louder than any of their words.

With Brede Hangeland again commanding at the back for the visitors, the few openings Sunderland created were at best half-chances, as Kenwyne Jones fired over from Darren Bent's knock-down, while Mark Schwarzer shovelled away Bent's 20-yard free-kick, before smothering a low Alan Hutton effort at the second attempt.

John Mensah, the injury-prone defender who again succumbed to his ailing body, was among the few of those clad in red and white to emerge with credit, while Bolo Zenden injected a modicum of urgency following his second-half introduction, finding the side-netting with a cheeky cross-shot, before sending a low centre across the penalty area, which just begged to find a touch. The out-of-touch Fraizer Campbell summed up Sunderland's afternoon three minutes from the end, firing over from Hutton's cross.

"I keep expecting us to hit the wall," Roy Hodgson, the Fulham manager conceded after his side's 44th game of a season now into its ninth month. "This is where Sunderland take their points and I was concerned that if ever a game was going to take its toll then it would be this, so I'm delighted." After a chastening January, Fulham were unbeaten last month, winning five of their eight games. Hodgson added: "I wish February would last for ever."

Sunderland (4-4-2): Gordon; Hutton, Turner, Mensah (McCartney, 84), Ferdinand; Campbell, Cana, Cattermole (Zenden, 54), Richardson; Bent, Jones (Benjani, 80). Substitutes not used: Carson (gk), Bardsley, Kilgallon, Da Silva.

Fulham (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Shorey; Davies, Murphy(Greening, 58), Etuhu, Duff; Gera, Zamora (Elm, 84). Substitutes not used: Zuberbühler (gk), Kelly, Okaka, Riise, Smalling.

Referee: M Atkinson (Yorkshire).

Booked: Sunderland Turner, Hutton, Richardson; Fulham Baird, Murphy, Zamora.

Man of the match: Mensah.

Attendance: 40,192.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:39:21 AM
Sunderland 0 Fulham 0

From STEVE BRENNER at Stadium of Light

Published: 28 Feb 2010


 Add a comment (2)

YOU know things are bad when even the booing at full-time is half-hearted.

Sunderland's fans, to their credit, stuck by Steve Bruce's strugglers all game.


When the whistle blew to mark the hosts' 14th Premier League game without a win, the expected cat-calls were delivered from the stands.


But they came with a whimper, not a blast - a bit like Sunderland's performances right now.


The Mackems faithful are clearly growing so tired of the dross being served up they are struggling to voice their anger with any real purpose.


These are worrying times on Wearside, with Sunderland slumping at an alarming rate.


Darren Bent worked hard for the hosts and John Mensah showed that, when he is fit, he is a colossus at the back.


Just ask Bobby Zamora what it was like to take on the Ghanaian yesterday.


But the underlying problems are there for all to see.


Bruce has precious little creativity in midfield, meaning the supply line to Bent and Kenwyne Jones is non-existent.


And, boy, it makes for grim viewing.


If the midfield are not squandering possession, the defence are lumping it forward.


Bruce can still turn it around - but time is running out.


Lorik Cana and Lee Cattermole are battlers not playmakers in a side desperate for one.


Kieran Richardson made little contribution and Fraizer Campbell played as a winger, despite the fact he is a striker.


While Bruce is having a nightmare, Fulham boss Roy Hodgson continues to work his magic.


Into the last 16 of the Europa League and the last eight of the FA Cup, the Cottagers are having the season Sunderland hoped for after their lightning start in August.


Yet while Fulham have pushed on, Sunderland have crawled backwards.


It took the home side 37 minutes to register a shot yesterday.


Before that, Fulham had created the two best openings.


Zoltan Gera shot wide on six minutes and Zamora wasted his only chance on what was a frustrating afternoon.


In reply, Jones blasted over the Black Cats' first chance before Bent tested Mark Schwarzer with a free-kick that was scrambled away by the Aussie.


Half-time came and went, yet still there was nothing to get excited about.


After the break, Fulham put together an 18-pass move which resulted in Damien Duff screwing wide on 68 minutes before sub Bolo Zenden toe-poked into the side-netting.


With four minutes left, Campbell fired over but that was that.


It is now 100 days since Arsenal were shot down 1-0 at the Stadium of Light.


The way things are going right now, with Sunderland just three points off the drop zone, it will be another 100 before the natives are smiling once again.

DREAM TEAM

STAR MAN - JOHN MENSAH (Sunderland)


SUNDERLAND: Gordon 6, Hutton 6, Turner 6, Mensah 8 (McCartney 6), Ferdinand 6, Campbell 4, Cana 5, Cattermole 5 (Zenden 7), Richardson 5, Jones 5 (Benjani 6), Bent 6. Subs not used: Carson, Bardsley, Da Silva, Kilgallon. Booked: Hutton, Richardson, Turner.


FULHAM: Schwarzer 7, Baird 6, Hughes 7, Hangeland 8, Shorey 6, Duff 6, Etuhu 7, Murphy 6 (Greening 6), Davies 6, Gera 7, Zamora 7 (Elm 6). Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Okaka, Riise, Smalling. Booked: Baird, Greening, Zamora.



Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/2871682/Sunderland-0-Fulham-0.html?OTC-RSS&ATTR=Football#ixzz0gu8eWS7O (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/2871682/Sunderland-0-Fulham-0.html?OTC-RSS&ATTR=Football#ixzz0gu8eWS7O)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:42:29 AM
http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Sunderland-0-0-Fulham-Black-Cats-bad-run-continues-after-dour-stalemate-The-Daily-Mirror-match-report-article339551.html

Sunderland 0-0 Fulham: The Daily Mirror match report


Published 22:45 28/02/10

By Simon Bird
 
 
There are days when the beauty, skill and unpredictability of a good football match leaves you uplifted.

Then there is watching Sunderland during their miserable 100 day run without a win.

Witnessing afternoons like this at the Stadium of Light of such mind numbing, life-sapping tedium, leaves you wondering why anyone would ever want to pay money to watch 22 men kicking around a piece of leather.

The home crowd couldn’t even be bothered to boo with much fervour as a 14th game slipped by without victory on a run that is sucking Steve Bruce’s men closer to the relegation zone and fraying already fragile bonds between manager and locals.
 
If a good day out consists of seeing a Sunderland defender hoofing a football 60 yard ball down the throat of a 6ft 6in opposing centre half then Bruce’s side is for you.

Shorn of confidence and unable to string a series of passes together, this is a long term malaise. Bruce has conjured just two wins in 21 games, and one of those was in the FA cup against non-league Barrow.

No other top flight side is without a win this year, and therefore no one else in worse form.

Fulham couldn’t find the killer ball to finish the game off, but Roy Hodgson’s side made it look like culture versus cloggers. They went close with a stunning 18 pass move across the pitch only for Damien Duff’s shot to be saved. Bobby Zamora also nodded a free header high and wide early on.

Where does Bruce go from here? He doesn’t seem to know. The excuse of having key players injured or suspended has not held for a few games. There has been no discernable lift in form since players like Michael Turner, Anton Ferdinand and Lee Cattermole returned.

This is the squad - only Andy Reid is out injured - that he spent £30 million on last summer in the hope of making the Mackems relegation proof, and pushing on to the top half.

The trials of previous top flight campaigns have not been shaken off. Players are nervous in possession, even though yesterday’s 40,192 crowd were magnificently patient throughout.

The balance of the squad means a central midfield full of enthusiastic tackling, but little guile, and two fine strikers lacking in any sort of service. No wonder Darren Bent’s World Cup dream was ended this weekend by Fabio Capello’s snub.

Sunderland’s best chance was an Alan Hutton shot on 56 minutes, and sub Bolo Zenden produced two moments of danger down the left late on.

Bruce said: “My teams have never resorted to lumping it up the pitch, but that’s what we resorted to. That becomes a frustration.

“We’ve got to handle the expectation of playing here. We’ve got to give the crowd something to shout about. You’re paid to handle these situations and at the moment we’ve got too many not playing well enough.

“I am the manager and the buck stops with me. I brought 5-6 of them here and anything levelled at them I will protect them. It is my responsibility. It has not been easy.

“I am not going to shy away from it. I’ve been decent at the job in the past and I’m sure I can still do it.”

Fulham recovered well from their UEFA Cup success against Shaktar Donetsk and Hodgson said: “It was a good point, always. The quality of it is exaggerated after our exertions in midweek. I did fear for this game because we got back so late on Friday morning. I thought it could take its toll but we defended well used the ball well but didn’t do enough with the possession. I wish February would last forever!

“We have a quarter final of the FA Cup and we are delighted to come so far in it. We have 38 points ten games left and not got that sword of Damocles hanging over us that the cup will effect us and it looks like we will have another year in the Premier League. The aim for us is to keep that run in the top flight going.”.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:48:03 AM
http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Sheffield-United-4-3-Plymouth-Stockdale-learns-valuable-lesson-after-keeping-cock-up-The-Daily-Mirror-match-report-article338857.html

Sheffield United 4-3 Plymouth: The Daily Mirror match report


Published 05:00 01/03/10



By Sarah Winterburn
 
David Stockdale will probably get a sackful of football blooper DVDs for Christmas featuring David Stockdale in a starring role after his 'keeping cock-up at Bramall Lane.

The DVDs might end up in the bin, but Plymouth's on-loan Fulham keeper will have learned a valuable lesson: Always look behind you before dropping the ball as there may be a sneaky striker lurking.

Shay Given always has a glance after being embarrassed in an identical incident by Dion Dublin, so Stockdale is in good company after gifting Richard Cresswell a goal.

"You don’t see goals like that too often but it was a nice one to get and a vital one too," said Cresswell. "I had a feeling their goalkeeper was going to drop it so I hid behind him.

"I am sure he will only make that mistake once and never again in his career."

What makes it worse for Stockdale is that his teammates had fought their way back from 3-0 down to the unlikely scoreline of 3-2 when he committed the cardinal sin of goalkeeping.

Argyle were starting to sniff the whiff of a miraculous point from a bizarre game which the Blades appeared to have in the bag after 47 minutes.

United were cruising thanks to Jamie Ward's well-struck double and a classy opener from Henri Camara, who was sent scarpering towards goal by the impressive Mark Yeates.

But a minute after Ward made it 3-0, Plymouth struck back through substitute Yannick Bolasie after a mix-up in the Blades defence.

That looked like a consolation goal until 18-year-old striker Joe Mason scored his first ever senior goal as panic set in for promotion-chasing United.

Plymouth threw everything at the Blades in pursuit of an equaliser but Stockdale's moment of madness once again put the game beyond the Green Army.

Or so we thought. Jamie Mackie had other ideas and his impressive 20-yard finish set up a frantic final few minutes, with the Blades hanging on for dear life for three points they thought they had sealed before the break.

Blades boss Kevin Blackwell might have nightmares about his side's attempted capitulation but he believes they may have learned a valuable lesson ahead of their play-off-chasing run-in.

"I wish we didn't have to go through it to learn, but we have learned something today," said Blackwell. "We were comfortably coasting in a game and almost threw it away.

"We are building on the hoof all the time but we showed character and we have learned about each other.

"Sometimes you have to go through those situations to learn things. The next time we're 3-0 up I can say to them 'remember Plymouth' and they will know.

"Knowledge is acquired through experience, which is why experienced players are always valuable, and the youngsters will have learned something today.

"Young Kyle Bartley, who's on loan from Arsenal, has come off the pitch upset with himself because he made some mistakes, but he will have learned something."

Sheffield United now sit just one point outside the play-off positions and Cresswell knows what it might take to seal that place.

"We need to get on a run now and hopefully go unbeaten from now until the end of the season - that is the aim," said the striker.

"It has been difficult this season with the amount of players who have come in and gone. There have been 20 debuts this season so praise is due to the gaffer for shuffling his pack.

"Hopefully, we can get a settled team from now until the end of the season and that will give us a better chance."

At the other end of the table, Plymouth are five points from safety with 14 games still to play.

"We put together a little mini-run - a win and two draws - which was pleasing and we genuinely thought we were going to get something today," said boss Paul Mariner.

"We have got to go on another run, there's no two ways about it."
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 06:51:07 AM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/article7044414.ece


March 1, 2010

Steve Bruce calls for brave Sunderland hearts to fight drop


Sunderland 0 Fulham 0


George Caulkin, Stadium of Light
 

Steve Bruce shrugged his shoulders and blew out his cheeks. It is now 14 games and 100 days since Sunderland last experienced victory in the Barclays Premier League and Bruce’s air of punch-drunk resignation was evident.

At the end of a life-sapping episode at the Stadium of Light, Bruce’s moribund team remained fourteenth in the table, three points clear of the bottom three. They are the only side in the division not to have won a league match in 2010 and their annus horribilis is in danger of becoming an annus muchworseius.

Three consecutive home matches — against Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City and Birmingham City — offer a chance for respectability, but the concern on Wearside is that the club’s mediocrity and lack of confidence is entrenched. “I’m sure we’ll be OK,” Bruce said. “I’m the manager and the buck stops with me.”

For Fulham, it brought a satisfying close to a satisfying month. “I wish February would last forever,” said Roy Hodgson, whose side has progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League and the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. “That point takes us to 38 with ten games to go,” the manager said.

The 18-pass move that concluded with Damien Duff shooting wide was the highlight of a quite dreadful fixture. “We resorted to lumping the ball forward, but we have to be braver than that,” Bruce said. He also talked — again — about the expectation of North East crowds, but the only expectation is that if something can go wrong, it will. At present, it is.

Sunderland (4-4-2): C Gordon 6 — A Hutton 6, M Turner 6, J Mensah 6 (sub; G McCartney, 84 min), A Ferdinand 5 — F Campbell 4, L Cana 4, L Cattermole 4 (sub: B Zenden, 55 5), K Richardson 5 — D Bent 7, K Jones 6 (Benjani Mwaruwari, 81). Substitutes not used: T Carson, P Bardsley, M Kilgallon, P Da Silva. Booked: Hutton, Richardson, Turner. Next: Bolton Wanderers (h).

Fulham (4-4-2): M Schwarzer 6 — C Baird 6, A Hughes 7, B Hangeland 7, N Shorey 6 — D Duff 5, D Etuhu 5, D Murphy 5 (sub: J Greening, 58 5), S Davies 6 — Z Gera 6, R Zamora 6 (sub: D Elm, 84). Substitutes not used: P Zuberbühler, S Kelly, S Okaka, B H Riise, C Smalling. Booked: Baird, Greening, Zamora. Next: Manchester United (a).
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 11:43:06 AM
http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11681_5996874,00.html

Amauri blow for Juve


Striker sidelined for 25 days


Last updated: 1st March 2010   
 

Juventus have confirmed that Amauri will be out of action for much of March with a thigh injury.

The 29-year-old striker lasted just 14 minutes of Juve's 0-0 draw with Ajax on Thursday, which saw them prolong their Europa League adventure.

He now appears set to sit out both legs of a last-16 tie with Fulham, while also missing crucial domestic fixtures.

"Amauri underwent tests following the injury suffered during the match against Ajax," read a statement on Juventus' official website.

"The tests confirmed the diagnosis made after the match. The prognosis is of 25 days."

Amauri joins Gianluigi Buffon on the sidelines at Stadio Olimpico, with the talismanic keeper set to be out of action for
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 11:50:24 AM
http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/columnists/stan-collymore/Stan-Collymore-column-Why-John-Terry-can-serve-his-country-best-by-following-Wayne-Bridge-s-lead-and-quitting-England-s-World-Cup-squad-article338533.html

I would have liked to see Bridge wait a little longer until he made his decision though - he could have dropped out of the squad for the Egypt game only initially.

Now he has opted out though, it does not leave long for Capello to look at left-backs as Ashley Cole is crocked.

Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock has had a fantastic season, Everton’s Leighton Baines is quality and then there is Fulham duo Paul Konchesky and Nicky Shorey.

Shorey is an interesting one because he couldn’t get into Villa’s team and has been loaned out to Nottingham Forest and now Fulham.

But he would be the one I would go for because he has played for England before.

He is not a dynamic, bombing-forward full-back but he won’t let anyone down and I wouldn’t discount him.

He concentrates on his defending and, more often than not, doesn’t get flustered.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 11:51:40 AM
The formation of a Premier League TV channel, starting next season, will interest BBC football commentator Jonathan Pearce, who is hugely frustrated at the Beeb’s shock decision to choose Guy Mowbray as their No 1. Over at Sky Sports, they continue to make great play about policing rogue screenings of live matches in pubs. Yet unofficial coverage of Sunderland’s goalless draw with Fulham yesterday was available on the Sky website during the Carling Cup final.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-1254494/CHARLES-SALE-London-2012-medals-China.html#ixzz0gvPYokzo (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-1254494/CHARLES-SALE-London-2012-medals-China.html#ixzz0gvPYokzo)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 11:54:18 AM
http://www.dailystar.co.uk/football/view/124321/Fulham-in-Sunderland-stalemate/

FULHAM IN SUNDERLAND STALEMATE


1st March 2010

By Ian Murtagh

IT IS now 100 days since Sunderland won a Premier League game and judging by their latest confidence-shot performance, they may face a long wait for their next.

Forget the fact their next three games are also at the Stadium of Light. The harsh truth is Sunderland probably couldn’t win a one-horse race right now.

They may be three points clear of the relegation zone with a superior goal difference over those teams below them.

But try telling the 40,192 unfortunates who witnessed this grim stalemate that they are not in danger of going down.

It is now 14 league games since they beat Arsenal 1-0 and they remain the only side not to have won this year.

They have drawn four of the last five but Steve Bruce would be a brave man to cite that stat as a reason to be cheerful.

Fulham arrived on Wearside via a gruelling Europa League trek to Ukraine and Sunderland could not have asked for a better fixture. Yet at times in the second half Fulham ran rings round their hosts.

Twice in the space of three minutes, they strung together 20 or more passes. The Black Cats’ best sequence throughout probably didn’t reach double figures!

They did have two chances in the final 15 minutes with Bolo Zenden’s cross driven into the side-netting by Alan Hutton while Fraizer Campbell scooped a shot over the bar.

But victory was more than Sunderland deserved and for the third home game in a row, they were booed off.

“We just need a break,” said Bruce. “The big frustration is that we haven’t turned one of our recent draws into a win. If we had, I think you would have seen a different team.

“Unfortunately, on a difficult pitch, we did not handle the ball well enough and resorted to lumping it up the pitch, which is what happens when you are edgy.”

If Hodgson’s game plan was for his side to take the sting out of Sunderland and silence the crowd early, it worked. The Black Cats were, as they so often are, fast out of the blocks but once their initial flurries came to nothing, anxiety set in.

Fulham created the first decent chance when Bobby Zamora, passed fit before kick-off, raced in front of Hutton to meet Simon Davies’ flighted ball only for his header over the advancing Craig Gordon to drop the wrong side of the upright.

Some meaty tackles from Lorik Cana and Lee Cattermole introduced some zip into Sunderland’s game.

Jones and Bent linked up effectively on 38 minutes with the big Trinidadian connecting to his partner’s pass without being able to keep his volley down.

Mark Schwarzer was tested moments later when Bent’s set-piece curled around Fulham’s wall and though the 37-year-old keeper was unable to hold on to the ball, no-one was on hand to get the rebound.

Cattermole, plagued by injuries in recent months, came off within 10 minutes of the restart and Zenden contributed to a flowing move, before Hutton’s shot was saved by Schwarzer.

The Aussie keeper, however, will rarely have enjoyed such a quiet afternoon.

“I did fear for this game,” said Hodgson, whose side have now played 44 times compared to Sunderland’s 32.

“Sunderland are strong at home while we did not get back until the early hours of Friday morning so if ever a game was going to take its toll, this was it.

“But the players surprised me by standing up to them so well. It’s a good point and I don’t want February to end because we’ve emerged from a difficult month unbeaten in eight games.”
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 11:55:39 AM
http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/60283,sport,football,transfer-talk-deal-to-bring-marouane-chamakh-to-arsenal-is-progressing-well-but-raheem-sterling-joins-liverpool

But one player Arsenal have missed out on is 15-year-old sensation Raheem Sterling who has chosen to sign for Liverpool, despite keen interest from a host of other clubs inlcuding the Gunners, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Fulham.

The youngster who is on QPR's books but has never made a first team appearance for the Hoops is said to be as good, if not better, as Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott were at the same age.

Liverpool have made an initial payment of £500,000 for the player and the fee could rise to as much as £2m depending on how he develops and the number of performances he makes.

The Mirror reports that the teenager will also get a £300,000 contract when he turns 17 - which may have influenced his decision.

The initial fee is less than some others had offered, City were reportedly prepared to pay £1m and offered players as well and QPR's local rivals Fulham thought their £1.5m offer would secure the signing.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 11:56:44 AM
http://hammyend.com/?p=5746


What we learned from the Premier League this weekend

by Dan on March 1, 2010

1. High drama at Stamford Bridge even before the kick off. Wayne Bridge was never going to shake John Terry’s hand, but more revealing was Craig Bellamy’s reaction as he walked past the adulterer. Just in case anyone hadn’t heard him, the Welshman reinforced the point during his post-match interview. The football showed that Terry’s come very close to being a liability at the heart of the Chelsea defence. Only days after being embarassed by Diego Milito at the San Siro, the deposed England captain looked all at sea against Carlos Tevez, committing another error to allow the Argentine a run on goal. Amongst all the Bridge/Terry hype, there’s been little focus on Tevez, who delivered a superb display only hours after returning from his homeland to attend to his premature daughter. Quite astounding.

2. You could understand Arsene Wenger and Arsenal’s outrage on Saturday night. Immediately after the game is obviously a difficult time to calmly rationalise what had just happened at the Britannia Stadium and Arsenal have lost three players to serious injuries from terrible tackles over the last few years. But nobody should castigate Ryan Shawcross. There’s plenty of people who describe Stoke’s style as an affront to the Premier League, but they are after all only upholding the traditions of the English games. It was a mistimed rather than malicious challenge from a distraught defender, whose tears won’t have been quelled by news of his England call-up. One can only hope Aaron Ramsey, a seriously bright prospect, recovers fully.

3. The Welsh midfielder won’t play any part in the title run-in but in this topsy-turvy season you suspect Arsenal just might. They showed real character to get a result at Stoke after all that had happened and close to within three points of Chelsea. They have the easiest closing schedule of any of their title rivals and this would the ideal way for Wenger to deliver a riposte to all those pundits who have been barracking him for not winning a trophy since 2005. Given the mesmorising quality of Arsenal’s football, they have the ability to go one of those league unbeaten runs that could make the title race very interesting indeed.

4. Portsmouth’s suffering supporters deserved some cheer and, on Saturday at Burnley, they got it. Pompey’s players might just revel in the absurdity of their situation and they produced a remarkably professional performance in light of what’s been going on around them to record an excellent win. One of the Pompey fans I spoke to on Saturday night talked of how highly they regard Avram Grant, who sometimes comes over as aloof. There was nothing detached about his joy at the final whistle.

5. Spurs are buzzing around that fourth place with intent. They dominated the first half at White Hart Lane yesterday – and – worryingly given our FA Cup date with them next week – look irresistable going forward. Little Luka Modric will be a real problem come Saturday and he scored a delightful second goal that seemed to put the game beyond Everton. That reckoned without the fighting qualities of David Moyes’ side and were it not for a truly stupifying miss from Landon Donovan then the visitors would have walked away with a point. Forcing Tottenham onto the defensive will be key at the weekend.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:03:19 PM
http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/football/danny-murphy/article/3799/

Zamora worth an England call-up

Thu Feb 25 01:01PM  (http://l.yimg.com/i/i/eu/sp/epta22.jpg)

 I do believe that Bobby Zamora is a genuine contender for an England World Cup place, but it depends on what the manager is looking for.
If he is looking for someone who is strong, can hold the ball up, can get in behind the back four and has the ability to finish then Bobby certainly fits that mould, but it would be a bold decision given his lack of international involvement to date.

I rate Bobby very highly, and he has been our best player to date this season. He could certainly cope on the international stage and I am sure he will continue to produce the goods, which will give him the best opportunity possible.

He has responded fantastically well to the negative criticism he received from a minority of Fulham fans, but their general opinion of him and vice versa is certainly very positive given his form this season. It shows the strength of Bobby's character that he has used the negativity to motivate him and produce some outstanding performances.

Fabio Capello was at Craven Cottage on Sunday but I don't think it affects the players knowing he is there. You have to be level-headed, and, as I mentioned, focus on what you can control which is what happens on the pitch. Ironically he missed Zamora's late winner, his 15th goal of the season.

I don't think that managers do undervalue experience in a side. The important thing is that you have a good blend of both experience and youth, which ideally should complement one another. At Fulham, we have built a team that is certainly competitive and it just happens that there are a number of very experienced players within our line-up.

From a long-term perspective, it is important to develop and nurture youth, but the experienced core within our side has certainly been pivotal to our success so far this season. Despite being so experienced, we certainly don't lack athleticism with the likes of Simon Davies and Damien Duff being tremendously fit.

It is a massive game for us away at Shakhtar in the Europa League, and one of the biggest in the club's history. The great thing about the game is that we are certainly underdogs, so we can go there with a real belief that we can claim a major scalp. The fans have been absolutely fantastic this season, and we really believe that they deserve this win, so we can't wait for the opportunity.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:05:19 PM
http://www.tribalfootball.com/fulham-face-west-ham-pressure-over-zamora-contract-675201


Fulham face West Ham pressure over Zamora contract

02.03.10 | tribalfootball.com


Fulham are desperate to open new contract talks with Bobby Zamora.

The People says the red-hot striker has just 16 months to run on his current deal.

West Ham's new owners David Sullivan and David Gold have let it be known that they wish to tempt Zamora back to Upton Park in the summer. Several other clubs have been monitoring the player's outstanding form as he spearheads Fulham's progress in the Premier League, FA Cup and in Europe.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was ready to sell Zamora to Hull last summer - only for the striker to reject the move after a fee was agreed.

But now the Craven Cottage club will pull out all the stops to tie Zamora to a longer deal with improved terms.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:39:26 PM
http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/sport/football/5033977.Hodgson_hopes_magic_continues/


Hodgson hopes magic continues



11:00am Monday 1st March 2010

By Simon Fitzjohn »


Roy Hodgson is hoping for a March to remember as Fulham continue their unexpected progress on three fronts.

An unbeaten run of eight games through the month of February has left the Cottagers facing a mouth-watering FA Cup Quarter-Final against Tottenham and an Europa League clash with Juventus.

And Hodgson insists there will be no inferiority complex from the Londoners.

He said: “The brilliant thing is that we have a chance.

“At this stage of the season a lot of teams are left watching these competitions on the television but we are still in there kicking.

“We are competing and the team is performing extremely well.

“We are also hopeful that one or two players should be back in the near future and that will make our squad even stronger.

“So, after the month we had we should look forward with confidence.”

Fulham returned from their heroics in Ukraine to earn a battling point in a 0-0 draw at Sunderland on Sunday.

And the Fulham boss heaped praise on his side for their display.

Hodgson added: “I was a bit concerned that after our flight back on Friday we were heading to this game but the players responded magnificently.

“Sunderland are difficult to play at home and I thought we were well worth a point.

“I did worry whether some of the players would be up to the task but they all put their hands up saying they wanted to play.

“It has always been my belief that it is better to let people play if they want to.

“We were watching them very closely and if they showed any signs of flagging we would take them off, like we did with Danny Murphy.

“But everyone is really giving for the cause and I cannot say enough how proud of them I am.”

Fulham’s next three matches: Mar 6 Tottenham (FAC, h), 11 Juventus (EL, a), 14 Manchester United (a )
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:40:41 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/sunderland/7344012/Sunderland-fans-urged-to-get-behind-team-despite-threat-of-relegation.html


Sunderland fans urged to get behind team despite threat of relegation


Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn launched a charm offensive today as he issued a rallying call to the club’s supporters with the threat of relegation looming over the Stadium of Light.
 
By Rob Stewart

Published: 10:14AM GMT 01 Mar 2010

 On the slide: Steve Bruce's Sunderland have gone 100 days without a win in the Premier League Photo: PA
Quinn urged Wearsiders to continue backing the club which has now gone exactly 100 days since its last Premier League victory as Sunderland announced details of a package of incentives for next term's season tickets as the prospect of a return to the Championship grows.

The popular Irishman made the plea for supporters to remain faithful following the 0-0 draw with Fulham that left his club hovering just three points above the relegation zone that extended Sunderland’s sequence of games without a win to 14.

Quinn said: “Home form is vital in ensuring the success of our football club and this season we’ve had the backing of almost 30,000 season card holders which is something that has given me a huge sense of pride.

“Our attendances are already among some of the highest in the top flight but it’s my goal to see this stadium full to the rafters for every game.

“We’re making progress and that is in no small part is down to our supporters. I’m looking forward to 2010-11 and the sharing the next part of the journey with them.”

Quinn looked anxious when television cameras focused on him at the end of the Fulham game but today it was business as usual as he appealed for supporters to pledge their loyalty to the club he runs for Irish-American owner Ellis Short.

Despite the investments of tens of millions of pounds by Short the club’s future is now looking uncertain thanks to manager Steve Bruce’s inability to inspire his team to victory so Quinn will know that he is asking fans to take a leap of faith over season-tickets.

The former Republic of Ireland international added: “I believe we’ve achieved a good balance with our prices between keeping football affordable and bringing in the revenue we need to help us continue to progress and improve on and off the field and I hope this will encourage even more fans to join us for the 2010-11 season.

“We’ve continued our ethos of welcoming families and young supporters with a realistic pricing structure.

“For an under 16 to be able to attend a game for less than £3 represents fantastic value for money and is something that I’m sure will help us to welcome the next generation of Sunderland supporters to the Stadium of Light.”

The club have created an incentive for Sunderland supporters to part with their hard-earned cash with those who commit to renew an existing seat or to purchase a new season card by April 3 can secure a whole season of football at the Stadium of Light at 2007-08 prices.

The initiative means seats for under 16s will be available from only £49 - less than £3 a game. Adult seats will be priced from £380 and reduced prices are also available for over 65s and under 22s, starting at £265.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:41:37 PM
Stockdale made a 'once-in-career error'

Monday, March 01, 2010, 07:00


2 readers have commented on this story.


ARGYLE goalkeeper David Stockdale made what head coach Paul Mariner described as a 'once in a career error' in the game against Sheffield United.

And, ultimately, it proved very costly for the Pilgrims as they lost out in a seven-goal thriller at Bramall Lane.

Argyle had rallied from a three-goal deficit to 3-2 when Stockdale made his blunder in the 82nd minute.

The on-loan Fulham 'keeper dived on top of the ball after United striker Richard Cresswell had raced into the penalty area.

Cresswell was still behind Stockdale when he got up, moved forward a couple of yards and bounced the ball once.

 
Then the Argyle 'keeper tossed the ball onto the ground and prepared to make a clearance.

However, before he could do that, Cresswell had pounced. He darted past Stockdale and rolled the ball into the empty net.

It must have been one of the easiest – if not the easiest – goals of his career.

Mariner said: "It's probably a once-in-career error. I could see he (Stockdale) was going to do it. I think everybody in the stadium could see he was going to do it, and he did it."

Mariner revealed Stockdale had apologised to his team-mates in the dressing room after the game.

"He feels as though he could shoot himself, but he's a young goalkeeper and he's learning his trade," said Mariner.

"I would think that (Fulham goalkeeping coach) Mike Kelly has told him a million times, when you get the ball and you are going to roll it out, have a little check behind you to see who is there.

"On that occasion, because of all sorts of things that are going on, he didn't do it."

Former Argyle goalkeeper Kevin Blackwell, now the boss of Sheffield United, had sympathy for Stockdale.

Blackwell was relieved he had not made a similar error during his career.

He said: "Cressy saw something that nobody else saw. He bided his time, and young Stockdale (pictured right) , to be fair, is learning his trade.

"Unfortunately, it has cost Plymouth today. If you take young players on loan, you pick up their learning curve.

"From now on, for the rest of his career, he will always look over his right shoulder, and if he's on the other side of the pitch he will look over his left."

Blackwell believes Stockdale's mistake, which was highlighted on the BBC's Football League Show, will be heeded by 'keepers across the country.

He said: "You watch them now, a lot of 'keepers will have the ball in their hands and they will be scanning all around them.

"It has been a long time since something like that has happened, and I think it's a good warning now for everybody else.

"You have got to give Cressy credit. He waited and waited. Unfortunately, the kid, at some point, just didn't see him.

"I'm thankful he didn't," added Blackwell, whose side moved up to seventh in the Championship table after beating Argyle.



Read more: http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/sport/Stockdale-career-error/article-1872372-detail/article.html#ixzz0gvc51hwu (http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/sport/Stockdale-career-error/article-1872372-detail/article.html#ixzz0gvc51hwu)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:44:08 PM
http://hammyend.com/?p=5744

Monday morning musings


by Dan on March 1, 2010

Roy Hodgson described yesterday’s point at Sunderland as ‘a good zero zero’ on MOTD2 last night, which proves that there’s something Italian about him. This was almost your archetypal Serie A performance, which proves why British TV companies have stopped queuing up to screen Italian football of late. Fulham were all the things you expect away from home now. Organised, disciplined, determined and tough to break down, which is quite some turnaround from the shambles Hodgson inherited.

We still can’t seem to win away from home now. It’s something that holds back our bid to gain a permanent place in the top ten rather than temporarily joining English football’s elite and being commended for ‘overachieving’ rather than being recognised as an established top flight side after nine years. Just the opening day win at Portsmouth, which at least got the awayday monkey off our backs early, and – apart from a couple of promising counter-attacks, we didn’t look like scoring at Sunderland.

No matter. We normally concede up there, especially to Kenwyne Jones, but Fulham managed to successfully nullify the threat that both he and Darren Bent, no longer as lethal in front of goal as he seemed to be at the start of the season, posed. It was only when the clever Bolo Zenden appeared in the second half that Sunderland threatened to get in behind us, but Fulham were stoical in the face of a late home onslaught.

Having criticised Dickson Etuhu for not being at the level we had come to expect from him since he returned to the team from the African Nations Cup, I’ve got to commend his performance yesterday. He broke up the play diligently and ferried the ball onto his fellow midfielders eagerly. You sense that Sunderland away was just the game that Etuhu was bought for, particularly with two tenacious tacklers in Cattermole and Cana starting in central midfield for the Black Cats. The importance of Etuhu’s contribution can be seen from just how deep he played most of his passes – sitting in front of the Fulham defence, guarding them and finding a team-mate:

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<font size="1">&nbsp;by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/chalkboards">Guardian Chalkboards</a></font>)

by Guardian Chalkboards

Fulham didn’t exactly create much going forward, which may have been a cause for concern for some, but not to Roy. He’ll have known that, after a tough trip to Donetsk and with some weary legs in his side, the first priority was stopping Sunderland. There was some bright link-up play between Gera and Zamora and we looked most dangerous when Simon Davies ventured infield. He played two delicious lofted through balls, one which landed on Zamora’s head, and the other that just eluded the striker. If Davies is returning to the sort of form that punctuated our Great Escape season, that can only be good news for Fulham:

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<font size="1">&nbsp;by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/chalkboards">Guardian Chalkboards</a></font>)

by Guardian Chalkboards

Quite that chalkboard has Nicky Shorey and not Brian McBride scoring our opening at Reading is unclear.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:46:40 PM
http://www.journallive.co.uk/safc/safc-match-reports/2010/03/01/sunderland-0-fulham-0-61634-25934132/

Sunderland 0 Fulham 0


Mar 1 2010

by Luke Edwards, The Journal


AT the start of this embarrassing run Sunderland were seen as a good team playing badly, now they just look like a poor team playing terribly.

Perceptions shift with results and Steve Bruce will continue to argue they are just one good result away from rediscovering the confidence which will unlock their dormant potential. His problems, though, are mounting and his critics grow in number and noise with every game they fail to end a winless run which stretches back to the end of November.

In 21 games, Bruce has guided the Black Cats to just two wins, the second of which came at home to non-League Barrow in the FA Cup. With just Andy Reid missing, he no longer has the excuse of injuries and suspensions to fall back on.

There was very little to endear Sunderland to anyone in a woeful first half yesterday, and even their most ardent supporters must be fearful of what horrors await them without a sudden and dramatic improvement in the quality of their performances.

The one overwhelming positive from an otherwise most depressing afternoon was they did not lose, the draw ensuring they remain three points clear of the relegation places.

If there was one other plus point in a depressingly negative display, it was the defence, a back four which at least managed to defend well, albeit against opposition who lacked the ambition to push the numbers forward having only arrived home from a European game in Russia against Shaktar Donetsk in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Considering Fulham have won just once away from Craven Cottage in the league this season this is not quite as complimentary as it should be, but at least it suggests Sunderland are hard to beat even when they have forgotten how to win.

The message emanating from the Sunderland ranks the last few weeks is that it is unrealistic to expect a club fighting for its lives in the Premier League one season to qualify for Europe the next.

It is, but that does not mean it cannot be done. Fulham just about escaped from relegation two years ago under Roy Hodgson and qualified for the Europa League in his first full season in charge.

Pointedly, he also spent considerably less money than Bruce has, although it could also be argued the Cottagers were already an established top flight club after almost a decade in the division.

And then there is Birmingham City to further dent an otherwise sensible argument.

The Championship runners up last season are flying in the top flight and while they may be newly enriched by Carson Yeung’s investment, they did not have that money to spend in the summer, but are still comfortably out-performing the Black Cats.

If expectations are too high on Wearside, as Bruce has suggested, it is teams like Fulham who help raise them.

Sunderland’s average crowd is double Fulham’s and there would be a similar disparity in the money spent on new players since the Black Cats returned to the Premier League. Money times fan base does not equal success, but that does not prevent people from calculating that it does and if this created the pressure on Sunderland’s manager and players in the first place, they have done nothing to relieve it in 2010.

At the moment, Sunderland look like a team without guile, imagination and flair. They are crying out for a creative spark in midfield, having to rely on little more than effort and commitment, qualities that were unable to prevent Fulham knocking the ball around Lorik Cana and Lee Cattermole with assured ease.

A lack of a consistent supply line reduces Darren Bent and Kenwyne Jones to foragers, searching for tiny scraps on a rubbish tip. They are a potentially potent pairing, but they were almost completely impotent against Fulham, with Brede Hangeland and the former Newcastle defender Aaron Hughes dominant.

Neither side had a clear-cut chance in the first period, Jones blasting a rising shot over the bar from the edge of the area after Bobby Zamora had headed Fulham’s best opening wide as he ran on to Simon Davies’ lofted pass.

Mark Schwarzer did need to make a save from a Bent free-kick, but it was a regulation one and things did not get any better after the break in a contest which went from the dull to the tedious.

There were more groans around the Stadium of Light in the second half than the staff room at 10 Downing Street when Gordon Brown’s aides discover the Prime Minister is at home and in a bad mood.

Time and time again, the ball went backwards when it could have gone forwards, before being punted aimlessly in the direction of Jones and Bent by a clueless defender.

Bruce screamed his irritation every time, but the lack of confidence played havoc with his players’ decision making as the closest they came to a chance fell to full-back Alan Hutton, who cut inside before shooting straight at former Middlesbrough keeper Schwarzer.

At least there was something approaching a late rally, with Bolo Zenden – on for the hugely disappointing Cattermole – rolling a shot into the side netting from an impossible angle before firing a low ball across the face of goal, which missed everyone until Hutton arrived at the far post and slide a shot wide.

And, with three minutes remaining, the otherwise anonymous Fraizer Campbell may have snatched the victory Sunderland are so desperate for, but he lifted his shot from 12 yards high over the bar.

We expect better, but he is not the only one we can say that about.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:48:07 PM
http://www.sunderlandecho.com/safc/Bore-draw-against-Fulham-went.6112808.jp

Bore draw against Fulham went to form


Date: 01 March 2010


Yesterday's goalless draw at the Stadium of Light means that there have been just two goals in the last four meetings of Sunderland and Fulham.

The Londoners won 1-0 at Craven Cottage in December, with Bobby Zamora on target, while last season it was 0-0 in London and 1-0 to Sunderland in the return, when Kenwyne Jones struck the home winner.

The draw denied Fulham only a third league double over Sunderland – their successes coming in 1958/59 and 2002/03. Sunderland have recorded doubles over the Cottagers five times – in 1949/50, 1973/74, 1979/80, 1985/86 and 1987/88.

Fulham secured their ninth away 0-0 draw of the last two seasons yesterday.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:49:30 PM
http://hammyend.com/?p=5748


What can we expect from March?

by Dan on March 1, 2010

One of the things you love about Roy Hodgson is that he comes out with things other managers just wouldn’t but delivers them in such a calm and sophisticated manner. Last night, he told us he wished February didn’t have to come to an end. He’s not the only one. As we discussed on the Fulham Offside podcast the other day, Fulham had a brilliant month: taking eleven points from a possible fifteen as well as progressing both the Europa League and FA Cup. It was beyond our wildest expectations after such a dismal January.

Before the Shakhtar second leg, Hodgson said he enjoyed managing a club that’s now on the up, even with the increased pressure of big games that game with it. As he said in the press conference after that magnificent effort in the Donbass Arena, he’s almost managed in a century of UEFA matches now and you got the sense that he was a little too good to be spending his time fighting a relegation battle rather than in the cauldron of European competition. He’d be too nice to agree with that assertion, of course.

The trouble with Fulham’s fab February is that it will raise expectations. People will expect to beat Spurs on Saturday and give Juve a run for their money. Of course, Fulham don’t do things like that. Glorious failure is normally our thing. But Fulham hadn’t finished seventh or reached the last sixteen of a European competition until Hodgson came along. Nobody, least of all the players, should get carried away but when you consider that when I first starting going to the Cottage Fulham were languishing at the wrong end of the Third Division, this month’s fixture list is remarkable:

Sat 6 March (Tottenham home, FA Cup Sixth Round): Given Fulham’s penchant for a galling failure against a lower-league side (Bristol Rovers, Leyton Orient, Hayes … need I go on?), it’s tempting to regard a place in the last eight as a bit of a triumph. That’s until you realise that we were here last year and haven’t had a bad recent record in the FA Cup. Our last quarter final appearance ended in a pasting from Manchester United live on national television but you’d hope Hodgson’s side wouldn’t fold like a pack of cards this time round.

Thu 11 March (Juventus away, Europa League Round of 16, First Leg): The fact that we’re about to play the Old Lady still blows my mind. It’s even more crazy when you consider that whilst we were pottering around at the bottom of Division Three fifteen years ago, Juventus won the Champions’ League and two Serie A titles. That we’ll face the Italian giants as equals symbolises just what an extraordinary job Hodgson has done. He picked Juve as the side he’d like to draw once we’ve got out of the group stage and once fancies he’ll have a gameplan up his sleeve to keep the tie alive for the return leg at Craven Cottage.

Sun 14 March (Manchester United away, Premier League): You’d expect much from Old Trafford on a good day and, with the trip to the champions sandwiched between two mouthwatering ties against Juventus, expectations will be lowered. Might Hodgson rotate his squad as he did up there last season with the Europa League on his mind? It might be dangerous given the precedent the Premier League have set with their fining of Wolves, but you’d back wily old Roy to be a little smarter than Mick McCarthy if he decides to field a few fringe players.

Thu 18 March (Juventus home, Europa League Round of 16, Second Leg): Juventus at the Cottage will be a great night, only slightly dampened if Fulham don’t have a hope after the first game. The list of names just roll off the tongue don’t they? Buffon, Chiellini, Cannavaro, Grosso, Iaquinta, Del Piero, Camoranesi and Trezeguet. It’s doubtful that the Italians will take us lightly given how close we came to humbling Roma and our elimination of the UEFA Cup holders.

Sun 21 March (Manchester City home, Premier League): There’s a danger that this might be a little post-Lord Mayor’s show, although Fulham will need to be switched on for the visit of Roberto Mancini’s team. City ended their recent struggles with an awesome win at Chelsea on Saturday and have a quite staggering array of attacking talent. Getting something of this one will be very tricky indeed.

Sat 27 March (Hull City away, Premier League): Hull will fancy a repeat of their opening day win last year, especially as they battle against the drop. That loveable old rogue Jimmy Bullard might even be fit make another comeback against us. Might this be the chance for one of those rare Fulham things: an away win?

Whatever the month holds, it certainly won’t be dull, will it?
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:50:17 PM
Fixture Notice

Monday 1st March 2010


Fulham FC News

Due to the Club's participation in the UEFA Europa League, Fulham's fixture against Manchester City at the Cottage has been moved to Sunday 21st March. The match will kick-off at 3pm.

Tickets for the match against Manchester City are now on General Sale| .


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/March/ManCityFixture.aspx#ixzz0gveGNFlu (http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/March/ManCityFixture.aspx#ixzz0gveGNFlu)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:51:22 PM
Fulham Flyer to Turin

Monday 1st March 2010


Fulham FC News

We are delighted to announce that the Official Fulham Flyer overnight trip to Turin is now on sale to Season Ticket Holders and Club Members .

The trip includes return direct flights from Gatwick Airport, a night in a 4* hotel, all overseas transfers (airport-hotel-stadium-airport) and your match ticket, prices start at £425pp.

Secure your place now|


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/February/FulhamFlyertoTurin.aspx#ixzz0gveWwKri (http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/February/FulhamFlyertoTurin.aspx#ixzz0gveWwKri)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 12:52:56 PM
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-sport/football/article-23810781-roy-hodgson-hails-fulham-for-steering-clear-of-the-wall.do


Roy Hodgson hails Fulham for steering clear of the 'wall'


01.03.10



Roy Hodgson today paid tribute to his battle-weary squad after Fulham secured a hard-earned point at Sunderland.

Yesterday's draw was the 44th game of the season for the visitors, whose campaign began way back in July.

Hodgson said: “I keep expecting the players to hit the wall after all the games we've played this season but they keep proving me wrong. 

“When you reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and the last 16 of the Europa League, there are a lot of teams sat at home watching on television who would happily swap places with us.”   

Hodgson admits the players are showing signs of wear and tear after completing an eight-game February unbeaten and all but securing another season in the top flight.

Hodgson claims the resurgent form shown by his side last month has bought them valuable time to welcome back a number of their key performers from injury in time for the crucial run-in.

Saturday's FA Cup visit by Spurs comes a little soon for Fulham's walking wounded but Hodgson believes the return of several key players is imminent.

“We don't have the kind of squad where we can make wholesale changes,” he said. “We know what our best team is and we try to get it on the field.

“The good thing is that if we can survive the early part of March, then who knows? Paul Konchesky is close to a return, while Clint Dempsey and Kagisho Dikgacoi might not be that far away either.

“So going into the latter part of the season we might have the sort of squad we had at the start of January before that disastrous month robbed us of all those players who would give us a welcome boost.”

Fulham failed to test Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon in a dour contest that will not live long in the memory. But barely 48 hours after their return from Europa League action in the Ukraine, the manager professed himself more than happy with a share of the spoils.

He added: “We're now up to 38 points in the league and, with 10 games left to play, that gets rid of that Sword of Damocles hanging over us.

“We can be reasonably confident we've secured another season in the Premier League, which is our main target each year.”
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 05:11:18 PM
Ticket Office Hours


Monday 1st March 2010


Fulham FC News


Supporters should note that the Craven Cottage Ticket Office will be open from 11:30am this Saturday ahead of the FA Cup Quarter-Final against Spurs (kick-off 5:20pm). The Office will also be open after the game


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/March/TicketOfficeHoursSpurs.aspx#ixzz0gwhwEnB5 (http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/March/TicketOfficeHoursSpurs.aspx#ixzz0gwhwEnB5)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 05:12:40 PM
Ticket Update

Monday 1st March 2010


Fulham FC News

What a wonderful month February was for the Whites!

With five victories and three draws in eight matches, February has seen Roy Hodgson’s side climb to 9th in the Barclays Premier League and qualify for the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup and the last 16th of the UEFA Europa League!

The Whites will be looking to continue their great form in March, with vital matches against Tottenham, Juventus and Manchester City at Craven Cottage.

Don’t miss any of the great action!


Tottenham Hotspur – Saturday 6th March (Kick-Off 5:20pm)
Don’t miss the FA Cup Quarter Final at Craven Cottage this weekend! With a place in a Wembley Semi-Final at stake, this is one not to be missed! The match is almost sold out, but we still have a limited number of tickets available to Season Ticket Holders and Members.

Info & Prices |

Juventus – Thursday 18th March (Kick-Off 6pm)
Roy Hodgson’s heroes will face two-time European Champions Juventus in the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League, with the home leg taking place at Craven Cottage on Thursday 18th March (kick-off 6pm).
Season Ticket Holders and Members can now purchase up to 6 tickets for the match.
Info & Prices |

Manchester City – Sunday 21st March (Kick-Off 3pm)
Although almost sold out, there are still a limited number of tickets for this match available. Tickets are on General Sale.
 
Info & Prices |

With so much at stake in March, your support could really make the difference!


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/March/TicketingUpdate.aspx#ixzz0gwiH9M45 (http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/March/TicketingUpdate.aspx#ixzz0gwiH9M45)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 05:13:34 PM
Fans Forum

Monday 1st March 2010


Fulham FC News

Fulham Football Club is delighted to announce that it will be hosting a Fans Forum at Craven Cottage on Wednesday 3rd March at 7:00pm .

On the night, you will be given the opportunity to put your questions and thoughts to Fulham’s Chief Executive Officer Alistair Mackintosh .

Due to limited capacity , attendance is strictly by invitation only. If you are interested in attending then please contact the Club via email: enquiries@fulhamfc.com| by 3pm on Tuesday 2nd March .

We would be grateful if you could provide both your name and Season Ticket or Club Membership number.

You will be notified by email if you are fortunate enough to be randomly selected to attend.

We would also invite you to submit any questions that you wish to put to the panel in advance. A representative sample of questions will then be selected to form the basis of the Forum agenda.

Supporters who are unable to attend can still take part in the debate by submitting questions for the panel to enquiries@fulhamfc.com|  Please state your name, where you are from, and any question or comment that you wish to be considered.

We look forward to seeing you at what promises to be a lively and constructive evening of discussion and debate.


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/February/FansForum.aspx#ixzz0gwiYIvV4 (http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/February/FansForum.aspx#ixzz0gwiYIvV4)
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 05:14:44 PM
http://www.safc.com/news/20100301/monday-tactics-rock-steady_2256213_1981037


Monday Tactics: Rock Steady

A look at why John Mensah was one of Sunderland's key performers against Fulham.
 
In our latest Tactics feature, safc.com Editor Stu Vose goes behind the numbers to bring you a guide to the key clash of yesterday's draw with Fulham.

Ghanaian defender John Mensah was a tower of power for Sunderland as he rubbed out the considerable threat of Bobby Zamora.

Dubbed 'The Rock', Mensah lived up to his nickname by coping brilliantly with the physical presence of the ex-Brighton striker, who has already scored 15 times this season.

Inevitably the focal point of much of his side's play as the lone frontman, Zamora did not pose too much of a threat and appeared increasingly agitated with Mensah's constant presence.

Let's take a look at the stats. Zamora and Mensah mostly clashed down the left-hand side as Mensah pushed up to counteract his opponent dropping deep to collect possession before distributing it to supporting midfielders.

Mensah led his team in interceptions (11), underlining his importance in nullifying Fulham's attacking threat. He kept a high defensive line while working with his colleagues - particularly Michael Turner - to ensure Fulham didn't get in behind and through on goal.

That was particularly important as Fulham alternated between Zamora dropping short and having him playing 'on the shoulder' to meet balls over the top.

As the game progressed, Zamora became frustrated, as shown by the total of eight free-kicks he conceded. Mensah, meanwhile, conceded only five. Zamora was booked late in the game for persistent fouling.

Interestingly, Zamora was limited to a single effort on goal, a first-half header which looped wide of Craig Gordon's goal. Sunderland, at least in part, can be thankful for another promising display from the on-loan Lyon man.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 05:16:16 PM
http://fulham.theoffside.com/match-report/fulham-and-sunderland-draw-blanks.html

Fulham and Sunderland draw blanks

By: timmyg | March 1st, 2010
 
From football365.com:

Fulham
The success story of the season? The Manager of the Year Award for Roy Hodgson? Exploits of Fulham’s kind don’t make for great headlines or tabloid recognition but what they have achieved this season in maintaining their mid-table competitiveness at the same time as securing a date with Juventus in the Europa Cup with a medium-sized squad is outstanding. To put their draw at Sunderland, made just three days after their encounter against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine, into some context, it was their 44th game of the campaign whereas the home side have played just 32.

Well, I feel that sort of sums it up yesterday’s rather uneventful draw really. But did anyone else find it odd yet reassuring to not be the team in desperate need of a win, at home, against a poor road opponent?

Some additional notes though:

1) Fulham kept a clean sheet, their fourth in February — and, by my count, the most kept in a single month since being in the top flight.
2) Fulham led the form table in February with 11 points from 5 games — again, the most ever while in the top flight.
3) Aside from Baird’s own goal against Brum, (speaking of, do those count in the “goals against” category? You know, sort of like how losing in penalty’s doesn’t count as a “loss”,) Fulham did not let any league opponents score, and only conceded two goals to Shaktar Donetsk.

Fulham needed this month to go well considering their horrid January and tough road ahead: home to Spurs in FA Cup, away to Juventus, away to United, home to Juventus, home to City in March alone; and then away to Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton before the season’s end.

Add into the equation Everton nipping at our heels, Brum two points ahead with a game in hand, and Aston Villa seven points ahead with two games in hand, it seems Fulham managed to carve out another Top 10 finish.

Which, ultimately, is really all we could’ve asked for.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 05:17:12 PM
http://hammyend.com/?p=5759

Clattenburg in charge of Cup quarter final

by Dan on March 1, 2010

Mark Clattenburg has been named as the referee for Fulham’s FA Cup quarter final against Tottenham on Saturday.

Clattenburg took charge of Fulham’s games at Bolton, when he controversially disallowed a late goal from Kevin Davies, and at Stoke.
Title: Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (01.03.10)
Post by: White Noise on March 01, 2010, 05:18:25 PM
http://fulham.theoffside.com/team-news/loaner-report-3110.html

Loaner Report 3/1/10

By: timmyg | March 1st, 2010
 
Diomansy Kamara started and played 90 minutes in Celtic’s 1-0 loss at Rangers on Sunday.

Eddie Johnson was an unused substitute in Aris Salonika’s 2-0 win vs. Larissa on Sunday.

David Stockdale started, played 90 minutes, and made seven saves in Plymouth Argyle’s 4-3 loss to Sheffield United on Saturday. He conceded the rather bizzare/blooper losing goal when he rolled a ball out in preparation to clear but did not see Richard Creswell lurking behind him. Creswell then slotted the ball into the net.

Toni Kallio started, played 90 minutes, and registered an assist in the Blades’ 4-3 win over Plymouth.

Wayne Brown did not dress in Bristol Rovers’ 3-2 win over Colchester United on Saturday. He is recovering from an ankle injury.

Matthew Saunders started, played 90 minutes, and registered an assist in Lincoln City’s 1-1 draw with Crewe Alexandria on Saturday.