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Thursday Fulham Stuff (01/12/11)...

Started by WhiteJC, December 01, 2011, 07:40:07 AM

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Fulham aim to seal last 32 berth

Fulham could qualify for the last 32 of the Europa League with victory over FC Twente in Group K on Thursday night.

The Craven Cottage club will kick-off in Enschede sitting three points behind their Dutch hosts after four matches.

But manager Martin Jol, who played for Twente between 1979 and 1982, knows a victory in his homeland would earn a place in the knockout stages.

The Andy Johnson-inspired 4-1 win over Wisla Krakow on Matchday Four provided Fulham, finalists in 2010, with an excellent chance to progress having already come through three qualifying rounds and the play-offs.

But Jol, who saw his side held to a 1-1 draw by Twente at Craven Cottage in September, knows his former club represent a significant test, although he is expecting counterpart Co Adriaanse to rotate his squad.

Jol said: "I feel that they will probably think about changing the line-up but not in the way we do in England.


"There could be two, three or four other players, but they are at home so have to show what they are capable of."

Twente are unbeaten in Group K and have already secured progression to the knockout stages, which will be a factor in their probable changed starting XI.

But, if he plays, striker Luuk de Jong will be a man to beware after scoring eight league goals this season to guide Twente to third in the Eredivisie.

Fulham will look for victory without key first-team players Clint Dempsey and Chris Baird.

Dempsey will miss the clash with a thigh complaint, while Northern Ireland defender Baird is out due to personal reasons.

Steve Sidwell remains out with a hernia injury, while Bryan Ruiz is ineligible to face his former club.

The Costa Rica international departed Twente for West London in the summer, but will be at the match, as he will be honoured by his former club.

Lokomotiv Moscow v SK Sturm Graz
AEK v Maccabi Haifa
Schalke 04 v Steaua Bucuresti
Odense BK v Wisla Krakow
FC Twente v Fulham
AEK Athens v Anderlecht
Sporting v FC Zurich
FC Vaslui v Lazio
Stoke v Dynamo Kiev
Maccabi Tel-Aviv v Besiktas
Athletic Bilbao v Slovan Bratislava
SV Red Bull Salzburg v PSG


Fulham boss Martin Jol reveals squad for FC Twente clash

The Fulham boss has a squad of 21 to choose from

Fulham manager Martin Jol has revealed his squad for tonight's Europa League Group K game at FC Twente.

Only three of Fulham's regulars are unavailable for the clash, leaving Jol a squad of 21 to choose from.

"Chris Baird stayed at home and Simon Davies will join us next week," he said. "Clint Dempsey has a slight thigh problem so he stayed in London. We've got 21 players with us for Thursday night's match."

Jol also maintains that the Whites have been able to take the additional fixtures in their stride.

"Tomorrow will be our 27th game but FC Twente have played a lot of games as well," the Manager stated. "I'm in favour of a winter break but it's impossible in England. We're working fine and our injury problems are not dramatic. I'm quite satisfied.

"There's more goals in us. We created plenty of chances in our recent away games - it's a matter of confidence and it coming right like it did against QPR."

Twente have already qualified for the next round but Jol also dismissed notions that the home side will take it easy on his side.

"I think they'll think about changing the line-up but they will want to perform at home," he said.

"They're getting bigger and bigger as a club. It's a very nice club and over the last few years they've been champions and moved to Champions League level.

"They've got a good structure and organisation and they're playing good football."


Fulham star looking to qualify at FC Twente

Bryan Ruiz is looking to get the right result at his former club

Fulham star Bryan Ruiz is confident about Fulham getting a result at his former club, FC Twente.

The 26-year-old signed for the west London club in the summer from the Dutch club, where he scored 35 goals in 65 league appearances for the 2010 Eredivisie champions.

"I think they will play very offensive because when Twente plays at home, they normally do that," Ruiz told the club's official website.

"They will try to press us and try to keep the ball, that's one of the qualities Twente has.

"I think we can win the game but we have to be really focused, defend well and also keep the ball when we have it. I think for sure we'll have chances so we have to convert the chances we create.

"We have to take care of Nacer Chadli, Luuk De Jong and Ola John and also Emir Bajrami – if those players play they are very good. Twente are not having the best season but they are doing well in the Europa League, they know that they are through – but they will like to finish well.

"The Fulham supporters will help, when we have the supporters behind us we get extra motivation so, for sure it will help the players."


Fulham V Liverpool – Match Preview

In form Liverpool travel to West London on Monday night to take on Fulham knowing that a win could see them move into the Premier League top four

Victory is never guaranteed against the Cottagers though with Martin Jol's side putting in a dogged performance to claim a point from London rivals Arsenal last week. Fulham were at their stringent best against the Gunners as they came within a whisker of leaving the Emirates Stadium with all three points. Jol has found it difficult to get his team performing on the domestic front with his players saving their best performances for the Europa League. However after a break from European action Fulham have looked revitalised and credible draws away at Arsenal and Sunderland has boosted morale in the dressing room. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer rolled back the years last Saturday putting in an unbelievable display in North London whilst veterans Danny Murphy and Bobby Zamora also put in star performances. The trio were fantastic for Jol's side using their experience to quell the threat of a Gunners side who have been in red hot form of late. Zamora, in particular, put in a tireless shift up front taking a few knocks holding the ball up and bringing others into play. Even more pleasing for the Cottagers will be the performance of summer signing Bryan Ruiz who showed flashes of his brilliance as he continues his adaption to the English game. With high flying Liverpool descending onto the Thames on Monday night Jol will be expecting his side to improve a home record that has boasted only one win in six attempts.

Beating the Reds will be a tough task with Kenny Dalglish's side looking strong on their travels after winning four of their six games away from Anfield. A summer of spending is slowly but surely starting to pay dividends with the Merseysiders sitting just three points outside of the top four with a relatively simple festive schedule coming up. Liverpool will take on Blackburn, Wigan, Aston Villa, and QPR over Christmas and Dalglish will be expecting his new men to make a real push for the Champions League places over the next month. Their current form is not to be sniffed at either with the nine games since their 4-0 defeat to Tottenham yielding four wins and four draws and their performance against league leaders Manchester City will have raised the confidence levels at Anfield. Their display against the champions elect was arguably their finest of the season with summer signings Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Jose Enrique all putting in excellent shifts against arguably the top flights best team. That performance against City coupled with the win over Chelsea a fortnight ago will have lifted the mood in the stands after supporters become distressed after they were held at home by promoted sides Swansea and Norwich. A win against Fulham on Monday night will go a long way to solidifying their top four challenge and the omens are certainly in their favour with the Reds having won six times in the Premier League at Craven Cottage.

Fulham – 15th

Last Five: Drew 1-1 v Arsenal (A), Drew 0-0 v Sunderland (A), Lost 3-1 v Tottenham (H), Won 2-0 v Wigan (A), Lost 3-1 v Everton (A)

Potential Starting X11: 1. M. Schwarzer 6. C. Baird 18. A. Hughes 5. B. Hangeland 3. J. Riise 11. B. Ruiz 13. D. Murphy [C] 20. D. Etuhu 23. C. Dempsey 30. M. Dembele 25. B. Zamora*

Injury News: Damien Duff and Steve Sidwell will both miss the visit of Liverpool whilst defender Stephen Kelly is also struggling to be fit with a groin injury.

Key Player: Bobby Zamora

Despite not weighing in with a glut of goals the England striker has once again displayed his importance to the Fulham attack with his intelligent link up play in the final third making him a real asset. The way he held up the ball against Arsenal and brought his teammates into play showed he can cut it against the best in the Premier League and Fulham will need his strength in the final third to break through a tough Liverpool defence.

Match Fact: Fulham and Liverpool have met 20 times since the Cottagers were promoted to the Premier League in 2001 but have only beaten the Reds four times in that period.

Liverpool – 6th

Last Five: Drew 1-1 v Manchester City, Won 2-1 v Chelsea (A), Drew 0-0 v Swansea (H), Won 2-0 v West Brom (A), Drew 1-1 v Norwich (H)

Potential Starting X11: 25. P. Reina [C] 2. G. Johnson 5. D. Agger 37. M. Skrtel 3. J. Enrique 11. M. Rodriguez 26. C. Adam 14. J. Henderson 18. D. Kuyt 7. L. Suarez* 39. C. Bellamy

Injury News: Dalglish will be without key midfielder Lucas with a knee injury ruling the Brazilian out of the trip to West London whilst captain Steven Gerrard also remains out

Key Player: Luis Suarez

The Uruguayan striker has been rather quiet over the past couple of weeks but Fulham should not take his presence lightly with his ability to strike at any moment making him a danger to any side. Suarez has forged a reputation as being a menacing, ankle biting front man that never gives defenders a second on the ball and his high tempo pressuring is key to Liverpool's attacking philosophy. He'll be expected strike fear into the Fulham back four and irritate them for the whole 90 minutes on Monday night.

Match Fact: Liverpool enjoy their trips to Craven Cottage winning six of their 10 meetings with Fulham on the Thames since their first Premier League encounter a decade ago.

Last Time at Craven Cottage

Premier League 9 May 2011

Fulham 2-5 Liverpool

Dembele, 67 Sidwell, 86

Rodriguez, 1, 7, 70 Kuyt, 16 Suarez, 75

Attendance: 25,693

Referee: Lee Mason


Fulham's form over the last few weeks hasn't been the best although performances do suggest that they are capable of picking up results against any team in the league. Their battling display against Arsenal will have filled the dressing room with confidence and given the Cottagers belief that they can take something away from their encounter with Liverpool. The Reds have been in superb form of late and know a win will push them closer to the top four. Their form on the road has been superb with four wins from six meaning they'll be the favourites going into the game at Craven Cottage.

Score: 1-3


Fulham line up unsettled Benfica defender

Fulham are in the hunt for Benfica's Brazilian centre-half Jardel.

The 25-year-old, who has also been linked with Scottish giants Celtic, is sick of not being a first choice at the Portuguese club.

Benfica may listen to offers to take him in January either on loan or in a cut-price £4m permanent transfer.