Author Topic: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)  (Read 7396 times)

White Noise

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Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« on: March 14, 2010, 08:31:45 PM »
http://www.tribalfootball.com/smalling-hopes-fulham-help-maidstone-man-utd-cash-700971


Smalling hopes Fulham help Maidstone with Man Utd cash

14.03.10 | tribalfootball.com


Fulham defender Chris Smalling hopes his £10 million move to Manchester United can save his former club Maidstone United.

The homeless Ryman League minnows are in danger of going out of business and Smalling is pondering a personal plea to Mohammed Al Fayed.

Smalling and Maidstone hope that Fulham owner Al Fayed will agree to fork out at least five per cent of the £10m banked for a player who cost his club nothing two years ago.

Maidstone’s veteran general manager Bill Williams told the Sunday Express: “Chris really shouldn’t be involved in politics but we don’t get any help from anyone. We have asked Fulham for an extra ex-gratia payment but they said that what they have offered is a full and final payment.

“They have had the chance to test their morals and have made their decision. I’ve been round the block enough times to know that’s the way of the world. But 10 per cent of what they are getting for Chris would probably save our club from extinction.”

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2010, 08:35:53 PM »
http://www.footballtransfertavern.com/premiership/fulham/fulham-player-in-an-england-shirt?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TransferTavern+%28The+Transfer+Tavern+Home+Page%29

Fulham Player In An England Shirt?


Date: 14th March 2010 at 11:28 am

IS THERE A CHANCE OF SEEING A FULHAM PLAYER IN AN ENGLAND SHIRT AT THE WORLD CUP?


Article By Sefton Monk

Has anyone thought that, why is it that everyone of Fulham’s starting eleven is a international or retired international bar the Englishmen?  Also 3 of them are captains and one ex-captain who has now retired from international duty. Even though none of these countries are of the standard of England, they still are good international sides with a few in the world cup.

Schwaszer – Australian (captain)

Hughes – Northern Irish (Captain)

Hangeland – Norwegian (captain)

Paintsil – Ghanaian

Duff – Irish

Dempsey – American

Gera – Hungarian (Retired – ex-captain)

Konchesky – English (only 2 Caps)

Murphy – English (Only 9 caps)

Etuhu – English born but represents Nigeria

Zamora – English (uncapped)

Also

Shorey – English (2 caps)

Greening – English (uncapped)

Smalling – English (U21)

Johnson – English

That is eight Englishmen and not one of them a current England international. I will give my opinion on the three I think should be considered for a call up and why they should or should not be included in Fabio Cappelo’s plans for the world cup. I would like people to comment on these opinions and to give their point of view please.

Konchesky –

Being apart of Fulham’s excellent defence last season, it has been evident that during his absence (because of injury) Fulham did miss him. With current Left-back crisis, Konchesky has now been given an opportunity to stake his claim for a place in the England squad. Konchesky wasn’t what Fulham fans called a good defender under Sanchez but Roy Hodgson has improved him as a player, he has now become solid defensively and rarely gets done for pace from an attacker.

Should he get chance at playing for England at South Africa – Yes or NO?

I think that there is tough competition for places now that Cole is doubtful and Bridge has ruled himself out of the World cup. Baines is a really good defender but lacks that creativity when he goes passed the half way line as he showed against Egypt. I think that given that Konchesky showed his quality for Fulham and his good defensive and attacking ability is evident, he would be good stand in for Ashley Cole.

Nicky Shorey –

Is it a coincidence that as soon as Shorey played his first match for Fulham, that they went on to have 6 clean sheets out of 8 games in February. Fulham leaked goals like crazy from the game at Chelsea up until Aston villa at Home. It was unfortunate for Shorey because he played really well for Reading and it didn’t quite work out well at Aston Villa. Shorey has been given a new lease of life at Craven Cottage and has a chance of staking a late claim for the England team.

Should he get chance at playing for England at South Africa – Yes or NO?

I think he has just as much chance of playing for England as Konchesky. Shorey’s technical ability makes up for his lack pace and height, he holds the line well and rarely lets the attackers get the better of him. Shorey doesn’t seem comfortable overlapping the wingers and because of this Fabio might not consider him a viable option for the world cup team.

Bobby Zamora –

Bobby Zamora, what can I say? Bobby has been an ever-present in the Fulham side this season whether it is in Europe, F.A Cup or The Premier League. His goals scoring record this season speaks for itself 15 Goals in 34 starts, which is a lot of goals for a centre forward who also creates a lot for his team-mates. He is what I call an Emile Heskey who can score goals; people might not agree with me but hear my reasoning. Emile Heskey is suited to the Cappello way to play football (Big man up top to bring others into play). Heskey has done a good job for England up front but he lacks that ability to score goals and when there is a cross in that box every England fan hopes that it falls to anyone but Heskey.

Should he get chance at playing for England at South Africa – Yes or NO?

Zamora has that strength that Heskey has but he also has the scoring ability and pace that Heskey lacks. He also is great at bringing in others to the game. Emile Heskey is in and out the Aston Villa team and has only contributed about 4 goals this season. So with Zamora’s current form there is no reason why not to take him, as I said Zamora is an Emile Heskey who can score. There are many other better players Bent, Agbonlahor, Crouch and Defoe that deserve the opportunity but Zamora offers that option that is if Emile does not perform you have perfect replacement for him and there needs to be no adjustment in the playing style of the team.

Considering that Cappelo has already had the last friendly before the tournament with out choosing any Fulham players, I think it is highly unlikely that we will see a Fulham player in an England Shirt this summer. Remember, for those superstitious people, England have not won a world cup without a Fulham Player in the team.

White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2010, 09:16:46 PM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/mar/14/premier-league-manchester-united-fulham

Wayne Rooney too good for Fulham as Manchester United go top   
 
Manchester United 3 Rooney 46, Rooney 84, Berbatov 89 

Fulham 0 

Kevin McCarra at Old Trafford guardian.co.uk, Sunday 14 March 2010 15.50 GMT Article history
Wayne Rooney celebrates his opening goal in the 3-0 win that restored Manchester United to the top of the Premier League table. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

This match almost entirely concealed its significance. Victory, thanks largely to a pair of goals from Wayne Rooney, takes Manchester United to the head of the table, but there was little sense of occasion. The emphatic result was achieved merely by two late strikes against weary visitors.

There is seldom a good time for a mid-table side to visit Old Trafford, but the scheduling was particularly taxing for Fulham. On Thursday evening they had played a Europa League match at Juventus and Roy Hodgson felt obliged to make four changes to the line-up for the meeting with United. That step may have been made out of necessity more than any conviction that there is such genuine depth in his squad.

Nonetheless, it is the mark of Hodgson's managerial finesse that his side's 3-1 loss in Turin came as something of a surprise. United knew well the effectiveness Fulham have, particularly at Craven Cottage. Sir Alex Ferguson, forced to send out a makeshift centre-half pairing composed of midfielders Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher, had been beaten 3-0 there in December.

It would be a falsehood to suggest United were frothing with desire for vengeance. A match that kicked off at 1.30 looked, in the first-half, like the sort of game that might have been played a couple of hours earlier by hungover men in parks football. Clear-headed though he was, for example, Gary Neville had some feckless moments. In the 14th minute he lost the ball to Simon Davies, with the latter shooting slightly high. Near the interval, Neville then played a pass so poor that it put Antonio Valencia in enough trouble for him to commit a foul and collect a booking.

United still did the bulk of the attacking, but were at risk when Danny Murphy found Bobby Zamora and the striker's volleyed chip went slightly too high. Throughout all the uncertainty, it still looked a certainty that Rooney would make his talent count. The second-half had barely begun when he played a pass to the left-winger Nani, collected the return and shot low into the corner of the net.



 by Guardian Chalkboards

Nani has been criticised for not having the impact on the left for United as he has when he plays on the right. But his willingness to push on against a stoic Fulham defence and continue to deliver crosses into the box paid dividends as he finally found Wayne Rooney free in the box to score the opening goal. In contrast, when Ji-Sung Park is favoured on the left he is deeper and United look to the right for Valencia's pace. At home Nani is fast becoming the go-to player to unlock defences. The goal did not galvanise United, but they exercised more control and Rio Ferdinand, for instance, volleyed over from a corner. By then, too, the visitors had been destabilised by the loss of Brede Hangeland to injury, with Chris Baird stepping back from midfield to deputise.

When Fulham threatened it was because a deflection put the ball behind Nemanja Vidic, but Zamora dithered and the United centre-half recovered to block his attempt. As if realising that they might still be at risk, Ferguson's team then scored again. Dimitar Berbatov controlled a pass from Michael Carrick, broke clear on the right and picked out Rooney, who shot past Schwarzer in the 84th minute. On the verge of full-time, Rooney fired a pass to the right and the substitute Park Ji-sung's cross was headed in by Berbatov.


White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2010, 09:19:45 PM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/match/3104205

Manchester  United v Fulham

Match facts

Sunday 14 March 2010 13.30

  Score line 
Final score  Manchester United  3 – 0
(HT 0 – 0)
  Fulham 
Rooney 46
Rooney 84
Berbatov 89
   
Bookings Valencia 43
  Murphy 57
 
 Manchester United's Percentage Fulham's Percentage
Corners 11 91%  1 9% 
On target 9 75%  3 25% 
Fouls 7 36%  12 64% 
Offside 2 50%  2 50% 

Manchester United Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville (Da Silva Fabio, 87), Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, Luis Carlos Nani, Darren Fletcher, Luis Antonio Valencia (Ji-Sung Park, 73), Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney
 
Fulham Mark Schwarzer, Stephen Kelly, Brede Hangeland (Jonathan Greening, 63), Chris Baird, Nicky Shorey, Aaron Hughes, Zoltan Gera, Danny Murphy, Clint Dempsey (Erik Nevland, 72), Simon Davies (Damien Duff, 46), Bobby Zamora 

Referee Jones, M

Venue Old Trafford

Attendance 75,207

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2010, 09:27:40 PM »
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/manutd/7441862/Manchester-United-3-Fulham-0-match-report.html

Manchester United 3 Fulham 0: match report

Read a full match report of the Premier League game between Manchester United and Fulham at Old Trafford on Sunday, March 14 2010.
 
Published: 3:47PM GMT 14 Mar 2010


Wayne Rooney showed just why Real Madrid are ‘obsessed’ with signing him from Manchester United scoring twice against Fulham as the champions reclaimed top spot in the Premier League.

Rooney’s double and a late Dimitar Berbatov header sealed victory against the Londoners at Old Trafford. And Rooney, whose stunning season has made him Real’s top target according to former president Ramon Calderon, extending his incredible scoring run to lift Unite above Chelsea and Arsenal in the league table.

Sport on television United’s 3-0 defeat at Craven Cottage in December marked the low-point of their Premier League campaign on a day when, such were the injury problems facing Sir Alex Ferguson, the champions fielded a back four of Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Ritchie de Laet and Patrice Evra.

At that stage, the picture looked bleak for United, but the upsurge since that pre-Christmas humiliation in west London has been marked. Prior to this game, Ferguson’s players had collected 26 points from a possible 33 since losing at Fulham.

With Chelsea and Arsenal climbing above United following victories on Saturday, however, restoring their two-point lead over London’s big two with a win against Roy Hodgson’s team was anything but a foregone conclusion.

Fulham, perhaps drained by their 3-1 defeat Europa League defeat against Juventus in Turin on Thursday, were chasing their third successive league win against United – a feat only achieved by Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.

United have the scent of a record-breaking 19th league title in their nostrils, however, and Ferguson’s programme notes, calling for his team to win each of their remaining nine fixtures, were duly noted by his players, who should have racked up a match-winning lead by half-time.

The slick, flowing football that overcame AC Milan in midweek was repeated against Fulham, but the finishing touch was not quite so clinical. Rooney was the first to let Fulham off the hook when he fluffed a chance from six yards on ten minutes having been teed up by an unselfish pass from Darren Fletcher.

The England forward seemed surprised to receive the ball from Fletcher and the shock was enough to distract him just long enough for goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to smother the ball.

Ten minutes later, Dimitar Berbatov directed a scissor-kick wide of goal, before Rooney forced Schwarzer into a fine save with a powerful shot from 20 yards.

Fulham were content to smother United with up to nine men dropping behind the ball when the home side poured forward. But Bobby Zamora almost gave the visitors the lead on 38 minutes when he raced onto Danny Murphy’s pass forward before stretching to direct a volley over Edwin van der Sar’s crossbar.

It was a rare moment of concern for United, but while the scoreline remained level, the threat of falling behind continued to hang over Ferguson’s team. They simply had to raise their game in the second-half, but Rooney made life so much easier by scoring the opening goal just 20 seconds after the restart.

Fulham barely touched the ball before Rooney laid it off to Nani and burst into the penalty area to claim the return ball, which he sidefooted into the far corner past Schwarzer.

Another game, another goal, but there was more to come from the 24-year-old. United had to survive another Zamora scare on 75 minutes when Nemanja Vidic produced a crucial tackle to thwart the forward, but there was only going to be one winner and Rooney confirmed United’s victory by making it 2-0 on 84 minutes.

Berbatov, impressive in a rare start alongside Rooney, crossed for his strike partner to score at the near post to take his season tally to 32 goals. It also made it 17 goals since the turn of the year and 23 in his last 21 games. He now has ten goals to go before he equals the 2008 tally of 42 set by Cristiano Ronaldo.

But while Rooney will take the headlines again, Berbatov’s performance was worthy of mention and the Bulgarian scored the goal he deserved with a diving header from Ji-Sung Park’s 89th minute cross.

White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2010, 09:31:09 PM »
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1257828/Manchester-United-3-Fulham-0-Unstoppable-Wayne-Rooney-double-champions-Premier-League-summit.html?ITO=1490


Manchester United 3 Fulham 0: Unstoppable Wayne Rooney at the double to fire champions back to Premier League summit



By Sportsmail Reporter


Last updated at 6:23 PM on 14th March 2010

Wayne Rooney took his goal glut to 32 with another fine double to take Manchester United back to the Premier League summit.  

Although they wasted a huge number of chances, with Dimitar Berbatov the prime culprit, United did enough to re-establish their dominant position with eight games of the campaign remaining.  

Rooney provided a suitably quick-fire response after a goalless first half and after he converted Berbatov's cross seven minutes from time to leave him just 10 adrift of Cristiano Ronaldo's massive total of two years ago, Berbatov ended a frustrating afternoon by finally getting his name on the scoresheet.  

It has come to that stage in the season where every round of fixtures bring their own pressure. And, on the occasion chosen to mark Old Trafford's 100th birthday, it was United needing to follow the dark side and Arsenal, who after initial struggles, had ended up with three points yesterday.  

On the face of it, a Fulham side in the middle of a titanic Europa League tie with Juventus would appear to be the perfect opponents.  

Yet, as Ferguson pointed out in the build-up, Roy Hodgson has revolutionised life at Craven Cottage and masterminded a three-goal victory over these same opponents in December.  

At the time, United were severely weakened by a loss of defenders. With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic back those problems are now at an end.

On this occasion, it was United's attack that misfired. The hosts had plenty of possession and got into the right areas often enough. But at some stage, all their first half attacks broke down.  

Only twice could the Fulham defence take complete credit.  A collective effort ensured Rooney did not profit when Darren Fletcher elected to square the ball after charging into the box to reach Berbatov's return pass.  

Mark Schwarzer denied Rooney later in the half with a fabulous one-handed save after the England man had curled a shot goalwards from 20 yards.  

Restored to the starting line-up after missing the midweek demolition of AC Milan, Berbatov had no-one to blame but himself for failing to convert his best chances, both of which were headers.  

True, that part of the game is not the Bulgarian's strong point but, after finding space deep inside the Fulham box, he should have done better after being picked out by Antonio Valencia and Nani respectively.  

Rooney was grumbling at half-time after being hauled down by Stephen Kelly without winning a penalty. He was all smiles 29 seconds after the restart though.

A scrappy build-up saw Berbatov nod the ball into his strike partner's path. Rooney then fed Nani before advancing into the big hole Fulham's disorientated defence had left. Once Nani delivered the return pass back into exactly the same area, the outcome was inevitable.

With the home side in front, so was the result. Anxiety remained though as long as the wait for a second continued.  

Rooney and Berbatov both failed to profit from decent half chances, in the latter man's case an acrobatic volley from Valencia's cross that flew narrowly wide.  
 
At least they could claim to have got somewhere near the goal, unlike Patrice Evra, who screwed his 25-yard shot so wide it resulted in a Fulham throw.  

The value of having Ferdinand and Vidic back in harness was seen as the clock ticked down. Starved of possession and chances, Bobby Zamora had been given little opportunity to press home his England credentials. But when he ran onto a flick from substitute Eric Nevland, Zamora must have felt it was the moment he had waited for.

Instead, after being caught out by the initial move, Vidic darted back and snuffed out the opportunity with a thunderous challenge. For Zamora it was a frustrating afternoon.

It looked like being the same for Berbatov after he failed to convert Ji-sung Park's neat cross.

But after creating yet another goal for Rooney with a neat cut-back seven minutes from time, the £30.75million man finally located the target himself, from Park's cross, to complete a scoreline more in keeping with the one-sided nature of proceedings.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2010, 09:32:52 PM by White Noise »


White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2010, 09:34:55 PM »
http://fulhampatsfan.blogspot.com/2010/03/fulham-go-down-3-0-to-manchester-united.html

Fulham go down 3-0 to a Manchester United Dominant Performance


Going into the match I was hoping for Fulham to be competitive against Manchester United at Old Trafford. After just playing Juventus on Thursday it wouldn't be crazy to think Fulham could be tired. Well, Fulham were more than competitive in the first half. They definitely held their own. It was the second half where Manchester United dominated. They beat a tired Fulham club 3 - 0 at Old Trafford. Manchester United scored 3 second half goals to take over the match.

The first half began with Fulham starting strong with some possession. Clint Dempsey started off in the second minute with a shot. It didn't take Manchester United long to get into the game. In the 10th minute Wayne Rooney got loose in the box and was right in on Schwarzer. The save was made by the goalkeeper.

In the 14th minute , Clint Dempsey had a shot that just went over the net from just outside the box. The play at this point was going back and forth but, Manchester United were starting to get more control of the game. In the 25th minute Berbatov's header from Nani just went over the net. In the 30th minute a shot by Rooney was denied by a great save by Mark Schwarzer.

Nani was a constant pest for Stephen Kelly. He was involved in many plays. In the 34th minute Rooney put another header on net from a pass from Nani. There we a couple times that Manchester Players were looking for a penalty shot inside the box over possible fouls. I guess the referees did not see it that way.

The last best chance for Fulham came from Bobby Zamora In the 38th minute his flick of a shot just went over the net. He was fed a fantastic pass by Danny Murphy. Manchester United had one more chance . In the 44th minute a shot by Rooney that just went wide of the net. The half ended 0 - 0. Fulham deserved to be even Manchester United at the half.

The second half began very badly for Fulham. In the opening 30 seconds Wayne Rooney scored his first goal of the day from a nice pass from Nani 12 yards out. At this point the tempo of the game changed. Manchester United just took control and I could tell Fulham were getting tired. You didn't see that same spark you saw in the first half from the Cottagers.

Manchester United were starting to have more shots. In the 66th minute a Ferdinand shot just goes over the net off of a corner kick. In the 74th minute, a Rooney header just goes wide. Fulham were still hanging in there.

The best chance of the match came in the 75th minute for Fulham. Bobby Zamora had one on one with the goalkeeper, but at the last minute his shot was blocked by Vidic who flew back into the play. I was thinking at that point it is just not going to be Fulham's day. I couldn't have been more right.

In the last 10 minutes Manchester United scored 2 more goals. Berbatov made a great run and pass to Wayne Rooney. There was not much that Schwarzer could do as Wayne Rooney scored his second goal. This was followed up shortly after that by a Berbatov header that went into the net past Mark Schwarzer. This was set up by a great cross from Park. The game ended with Manchester United winning 3 - 0.

Fulham came to play but just ran out of steam in the second half. I got to watch why Manchester United in my opinion our the best team in the world. This team just keeps coming. The difference in the match is they created and scored on the opportunities they had in the second half.

The score doesn't indicate that Fulham were competitive in this match. Fulham have come along way. They are just not at the same level of Manchester United. Not many teams are at that level. I certainly think Fulham are still a top half of the table club in the league. I think by the end of the season they will still be at that position.

Posted by Fulham-Pats Fan at 10:23 AM

White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2010, 09:37:18 PM »
http://www.plymouth.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=191682

Larrieu Or Stockdale?


Should goalkeeper Romain Larrieu return between the sticks for Plymouth Argyle?

Fulham custodian David Stockdale has been keeping goal for the Pilgrims for the last two months but his loan spell from Fulham is set to end next week. Argyle Head Coach Paul Mariner is likely to ask his counterpart at Craven Cottage Roy Hodgson if he can extend Stockdale's Home Park stay for a third and final month but is it time for Argyle veteran Larrieu to make a return to the first-team?

The statistics for each keeper is just about identical with nothing to choose between each player.
Larrieu (pictured above) has played in 24 Championship games this season, winning six, drawing three and losing 15 games. With Larrieu in goal the team has conceded an average of 1.4 goals per game and won an average of 0.88 points per game, his last game was the defeat against Crystal Palace in January.

Stockdale has almost the same record as Larrieu, he has played in 11 Championship games, winning two, drawing four and losing five games. With Stockdale in goal the team has conceded an average of 1.4 goals per game and won an average of 0.91 points per game.

Not much between them, is it?

Who would you have in goal for Argyle? Take part in our vote and have your say. The poll can be accessed on the Home and News pages.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2010, 09:41:40 PM »
Roy's Reaction


Sunday 14th March 2010


Fulham FC News

Roy Hodgson confirmed that Brede Hangeland was substituted through injury on Sunday against Manchester United and a clearer picture of the nature of the defender’s injury will only be known on Monday.

“It’s not good at the moment and we’ll have to assess the injury,“ said Hodgson after the match at Old Trafford. “He has a spasm caused by a blow to the chest. It was doubtful at half time that he would continue but he gave it a try.

“We hope it’s not a major injury but it’s affected us today of course because we had to reshuffle after going a goal behind.

“He’s in the dressing room having treatment at the moment and we’ll assess the injury tomorrow [Monday] and get a clear picture of what has happened.”

Fulham matched United during the first half at Old Trafford but United took control in the second period and with such an unforgiving fixture list at present, fatigue certainly affected the Whites on Sunday.

“I was hopeful we could reproduce our first half performance in the second half but I can’t say anything other than the best team won,” said Hodgson. “However I thought the scoreline was harsh on us.

“I thought our first half performance was very solid but of course when Rooney got his goal at the start of the second half we were going to be up against it, especially after having played on Thursday night and considering our injury situation.

“Our programme of late has been very, very hard and we looked exceptionally tired in the last twenty minutes of the game. We’ve coped with it better than anyone could have expected, especially when we lost five players in the month of January through injury. I think we’ve done remarkably well to keep playing and it’s important we get through this period before things settle down.”


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/March/HodgsonUnitedReaction.aspx#ixzz0iBoZ3cx1


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2010, 09:44:41 PM »
Manchester United 3 - 0 Fulham


After Juventus in Turin came Manchester United at Old Trafford. It was certainly a demanding schedule for Roy Hodgson's Team, who faced The Red Devils in the North West less than 48 hours after touching down from Italy following Thursday night's UEFA Europa League clash.

Hodgson's Team put on an admirable performance during the first 45 minutes and more than held their own against United. However, Wayne Rooney's goal just thirty seconds after the restart was a bitter pill to swallow for Hodgson's side, who also had to contend with the loss of Brede Hangeland through injury.

The full extent of the Norwegian's injury will only be known on Monday but Fulham fans will be hoping the centre half will be fit for Thursday night's UEFA Europa League showdown against Juventus at the Cottage.

Fulham welcomed back Danny Murphy and Clint Dempsey to the starting eleven on Sunday following their return to fitness from respective injuries. Dempsey was the main protaganist for Fulham at Old Trafford and his shoot-on-sight policy almost paid dividends on more than one occassion during the first half.

There certainly seemed to be no European hangover on Sunday as Hodgson's Team made a bright, positive start to the match. Dempsey set the tone for the match early on, firing in the first shot of the game after just two minutes play. It was end-to-end football during the first 45, with Fulham earning their fair share of possession and chances with some neat intricate passages of passing play. The Whites certainly seemed more assured in their play with Danny Murphy back in central midfield.

Fulham made a comfortable start and the Old Trafford crowd was certainly in subdued mood before the 10-minute mark, when United produced their first serious effort on goal. Berbatov turned provider and set Carrick through on goal with a perfectly weighted, defence splitting pass. On the right hand side of the area Carrick played a selfless square pass to Rooney for a clear shot on goal. Fortunately Hughes and Schwarzer combined to dispossess the England international as he looked to engineer a finish.

Three minutes later Dempsey created something from nothing when he almost broke the deadlock with a blistering drive from 30 yards which flew just over United's cross bar. Gera then tried his luck from the edge of the area with a shot across van der Sar’s goal.

After 24 minutes Nani opened up Fulham's defence with a perfect delivery from the left flank for Berbatov, positioned on the six-yard line. Fortunately the Bulgarian sent his headed effort over Schwarzer’s cross bar from close range.

Berbatov's strike partner Rooney, looking increasing dnagerous as the minutes past, then forced Schwarzer into a stunning save to deny the striker a certain goal following a shot rifled from 18 yards on the half hour mark.

With 15 minutes of the first half remaining United moved up a gear with Nani causing particular concern down the home side’s left flank. Despite United’s best efforts Fulham’s defence remained resolute, with Shorey and Kelly making some crucial interventions as the home side attacked from the flanks.

Hodgson’s side posed their own threat on the counter attack. In fact, Fulham almost earned the lead before the break following an exquisite piece of skill from Zamora, whose attempted lob from 18 yards just failed to dip under the cross bar.

Just before the break Valencia was needlessly booked for tripping Dempsey on the half way line. Wayne Rooney, by far United’s most potent threat in the first 45, then tried his luck from distance but failed to find the range to test Schwarzer.

At the end of an entertaining, free-flowing half Fulham thoroughly deserved to be on level terms with United.

Roy Hodgson made one change during the interval, introducing Damien Duff for Simon Davies on Fulham’s left flank. The second half started in the worst possible fashion for Fulham, with Wayne Rooney scoring the opening goal of the game after just thirty seconds of play.

Rooney started and finished the move that earned United the lead. The striker took possession thirty yards from goal before sweeping the ball out wide to Nani on the left flank. The winger’s return pass found Rooney 10 yards from goal and his finish was clinical.

Following United’s opener Fulham were forced on the defensive as United took control of possession. Ten minutes into the second half Nani and Rooney were denied twice in as many minutes. Danny Murphy’s frustration at the turn of events was evident when he received a booking following a late challenge on Michael Carrick after 56 minutes.

On the hour mark Roy Hodgson made his second change of the game, introducing Jonathan Greening for Brede Hangeland. Hangeland appeared to be struggling since a clash during the first half. Chris Baird switched back to centre half with Greening taking up position alongside Murphy in central midfield.

Twenty minutes from time Hodgson made his final substitution of the match, replacing Clint Demspey with Erik Nevland. For United Ji-Sung Park came on for Valencia.

Fulham had just one clear opportunity on goal during the second half and it fell to Bobby after 73 minutes. Zamora raced through United’s offside trap for a one-on-one with van der Sar. It was fine opportunity but as Zamora struck his effort across goal, Vidic steamed in to produce a last ditch sliding tackle to deny Fulham an equaliser.

After 78 minutes Berbatov almost doubled United’s lead after latching onto a cross from the left flank by Ji-Sung Park. Fortunately Berbatov could not find the angle on his headed effort and the ball flew wide of Schwarzer’s far post.

A minute later Evra burst through the middle of the park before delivering a right-footed effort just wide of goal. For all United’s dominance in the second half Fulham could have easily been on level terms had it not been for Vidic’s impressive intervention.

United were building up steam ten minutes from time and Schwarzer pulled off another tremendous fingertip save to deny Fletcher’s effort from 16 yards. Fletcher's effort was most certainly heading towards the top corner of the net.

United’s pressure eventually told when Rooney scored his second goal of the game after 83 minutes to earn United a 2-0 lead. Berbatov set Rooney up for the close range finish after skipping past Baird and Shorey down Fulham’s left flank.

Berbatov increased United’s lead to 3-0 two minutes from time after heading past Schwarzer from close range after meeting a cross from the right flank at the near post. After three minutes added time Referee Michael Jones called time on Sunday’s contest.

It was United’s day at Old Trafford on Sunday with Rooney sure to grab the headlines with his brace against the Whites. Fulham will now turn their attention towards overturning Juventus’ first leg lead in the UEFA Europa League at the Cottage on Thursday night before entertaining Manchester City on Sunday.




Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/MatchAndTeam/MatchCentre/Matches/0910/Premiership/ManUtdAway.aspx#ixzz0iBpJh0TH

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2010, 09:48:02 PM »
http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11681_6026999,00.html

Hodgson - Utd were too good

Fulham boss praises gallant effort at Old Trafford


By Carla Hilton  


Last updated: 14th March 2010    

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has heaped praise on his side, who he says were simply no match for Manchester United.

Fulham crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford in what was a largely one-sided game.

The Cottagers did well to keep United at bay for the first half, but an early goal in the second half saw the home side go from strength to strength.

Hodgson says that, overall, he was pleased with how his players performed.

Good start
"I thought the first half, from our point of view, was really quite good," he told Sky Sports. "I thought we passed the ball well.

"But all of our good work was let down within a minute of the second half when we conceded a goal.

"From that moment the game was always going to be difficult."


Forced changes
Fulham were forced into a change on the hour mark when Brede Hangeland was taken off with sore ribs from a challenge earlier in the game.

"It was touch and go in the first half when Hangeland suffered a knock," said Hodgson.

"That forced us into a change and made what was always going to be a difficult task of getting a result even more difficult."

He added: "I am a bit disappointed that we conceded three goals when the boys had played so well in the first half.

"One has to hold their hands up though. We were beaten by a better team.

"I can't really ask any more from the team than they gave today."

Fulham 11/8, Juventus 15/8, Draw 12/5

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2010, 09:53:02 PM »
http://www.skysports.com/football/match_report/0,19764,11065_3242930,00.html

Rooney sends United top


United outclass Fulham to reclaim top spot


By Carla Hilton   Last updated: 14th March 2010   
 

Man of the match: Wayne Rooney, although Nani played an outstanding game.

Goal of the match: Rooney's opener 30 seconds in the second half. A powerful, low shot past Mark Schwarzer, who had no chance of getting to it.

Save of the match: Soon after Rooney's opener he was denied another when his curling shot from 20 yards out was punched clear by a leaping Schwarzer.

Moment of the match: Berbatov finding the net having helped towards Rooney's brace.

Talking point: Sir Alex Ferguson expects his side to win all of their remaining Premier League games. Can they do it?

Manchester United went back to the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Fulham at Old Trafford.

It was no more than the defending Premier League champions deserved, having completely outclassed the Cottagers throughout the match.

After a goalless first half, it took Wayne Rooney just 30 seconds from the restart whistle to stamp his mark on the game.

A header down from Dimitar Berbatov fell to Rooney, who initially moved the ball wide to Nani before picking up again and hitting a powerful, low shot past a dumbfounded Mark Schwarzer.

Fulham had done well to hold him at bay until then but they were powerless as the match progressed.

The England striker notched his second late in the game, having again been set up nicely by his strike partner.

Not to be outdone, Berbatov made it 3-0 in stoppage time with a diving header to send United back to top spot.

It has come to that stage in the season where every round of fixtures bring their own pressure.

And, on the occasion chosen to mark Old Trafford's 100th birthday, it was United, needing to follow Chelsea and Arsenal, who after initial struggles had ended up with three points on Saturday.

On the face of it, a Fulham side in the middle of a titanic Europa League tie with Juventus would appear to be the perfect opponents.

Yet, as Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out in the build-up, Roy Hodgson has revolutionised life at Craven Cottage and masterminded a three-goal victory over these same opponents in December.

At the time, United were severely weakened by a loss of defenders.

Special occasion
With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic back those problems are now at an end. On this occasion, it was United's attack that misfired.

The hosts had plenty of possession and got into the right areas often enough. But at some stage, all their first-half attacks broke down.

Only twice could the Fulham defence take complete credit.

A collective effort ensured Rooney did not profit when Darren Fletcher elected to square the ball after charging into the box to reach Berbatov's return pass.

Schwarzer denied Rooney later in the half with a fabulous one-handed save after the England man had curled a shot goalwards from 20 yards.

Restored to the starting line-up after missing the midweek demolition of AC Milan, Berbatov had no-one to blame but himself for failing to convert his best chances, both of which were headers.

True, that part of the game is not the Bulgarian's strong point but, after finding space deep inside the Fulham box, he should have done better after being picked out by Antonio Valencia and Nani, respectively.

Rooney was grumbling at half-time after being hauled down by Stephen Kelly without winning a penalty. He was all smiles 30 seconds after the restart though.

A scrappy build-up saw Berbatov nod the ball into his strike partner's path.

Rooney then fed Nani before advancing into the big hole Fulham's disorientated defence had left.

Once Nani delivered the return pass back into exactly the same area, the outcome was inevitable.

With the home side in front, so was the result. Anxiety remained, though, as long as the wait for a second continued.

Rooney and Berbatov both failed to profit from decent half chances, in the latter man's case an acrobatic volley from Valencia's cross that flew narrowly wide.

At least they could claim to have got somewhere near the goal, unlike Patrice Evra, who screwed his 25-yard shot so wide it resulted in a Fulham throw.

The value of having Ferdinand and Vidic back in harness was seen as the clock ticked down.

Starved of possession and chances, Bobby Zamora had been given little opportunity to press home his England credentials.

But when he ran onto a flick from substitute Eric Nevland, Zamora must have felt it was the moment he had waited for.

Instead, after being caught out by the initial move, Vidic darted back and snuffed out the opportunity with a thunderous challenge.

For Zamora it was a frustrating afternoon. It looked like being the same for Berbatov after he failed to convert Park Ji-Sung's neat cross.

But after creating yet another goal for Rooney with a neat cut-back seven minutes from time, the £30.75million man finally located the target himself, from Park's cross, to complete a scoreline more in keeping with the one-sided nature of proceedings.


Manchester United
Team Statistics
Fulham

3 Goals
0

0 1st Half Goals
0

9 Shots on Target
3

14 Shots off Target
2

12 Blocked Shots
3

11 Corners
1

7 Fouls
12

2 Offsides
2

1 Yellow Cards
1

0 Red Cards
0

82.2 Passing Success
75.5

14 Tackles
14

78.6 Tackles Success
57.1

55.5 Possession
44.5

60.7 Territorial Advantage
39.3




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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2010, 09:55:02 PM »
http://www.skysports.com/football/user_ratings/0,19768,11065_3242930,00.html

Fulham Player ratings 

Player Our Rating Your Rating Rate player


 Mark Schwarzer
Excellent saves  6 6.3  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Brede Hangeland
Played well before knock  5 4.6  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Stephen Kelly
Average display  4 4.3  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Aaron Hughes
Average display  4 4.2  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Chris Baird
Average display  5 4.4  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Nicky Shorey
Average display  5 4.5  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Danny Murphy
Heavy challenges  4 4.2  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Simon Davies
Created chances  6 4.6  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Bobby Zamora
Missed opportunities  4 4.1  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Clint Dempsey
Created chances  6 4.7  Rate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 
 Zoltan Gera
Average display 

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2010, 10:01:11 PM »
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/columnists/patrick_barclay/article7061636.ece

Rooney banishes devils to become selfless team man showing way to England

Patrick Barclay, Chief Football Commentator
 

The commentator was screaming his name, the crowd were chanting it and his Manchester United team-mates were joyously converging on him.

The only person in Old Trafford not obsessed with Wayne Rooney was Rooney himself — and at that moment just after 8.30 on Wednesday night, as Rooney, beaming, trotted gratefully to Nani, the personality that has carried him over the threshold of greatness was revealed.

It was a beautiful sight. Rooney cared only to thank his Portuguese team-mate for the pass, bent into his path with the outside of the right boot, that had been stroked into the AC Milan net for the second of four United goals. The Englishman has a rare and particular kind of ego and its crucial aspect is that it is always subject to the interests of the team. For football, at its highest levels, is a game of unselfishness.

We saw it in 1970 when Pelé took delight in rolling, for Carlos Alberto, the ball that launched the Brazil captain’s iconic goal. We saw it in 1986 when Diego Maradona, man-marked by the West Germans in another memorable World Cup final, concentrated on laying the stage for Jorge Valdano and Jorge Burruchaga, whose Maradona-prompted goals won it for Argentina. It is the quality of champions and Rooney — at this point every supporter of English football should pause for humble reflection — has got it.

Players destined to inhabit the next class down might point to the name on the back of their shirts. Rooney exposes that as naff. He is above clichés, at least in his behaviour. He is too intelligent to be swayed by passing clamours. When everyone was entreating him to be more selfish — with the notable exception of Sir Alex Ferguson, who appeared in two minds — he interpreted it as a stimulus to score more frequently for the team. The difference is not always understood in this strike-centric footballing culture.

The clamour before that concerned his temper problem. Twice it emerged when he was playing for England: when they lost to Northern Ireland in Belfast in 2005 and he swore at his captain, who happened to be David Beckham; and when he had to be pulled off the field during a defeat by Spain in Madrid the year before in case he was sent off. On each occasion, the profession chorused its customary bad advice. “Don’t lose that devil,” he was told. “It’s what makes you the player you are.”

That devil made the most recent of its now-rare appearances nearly a year ago, when Rooney was sent off at Craven Cottage for hurling the ball and departed punching a corner flag. He has learnt to channel his energy, as great players do. No devil eroded Pelé or Maradona (not on the field, anyway). England’s greats — Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore — knew how to behave, too. And where was the devil in Tom Finney? You are more likely to find it in underachievers such as Paul Gascoigne.

Rooney has worked this out. He has transcended the hackneyed claptrap of his environment. He is a man of the world and to survey those pictures of him gazing at the 12 inches of solid gold that is the World Cup last week was almost to feel the excitement of what might begin to happen in South Africa in June. After the beauty of Glenn Hoddle, the brittle genius of Gazza and the glitter of Beckham, the real thing is on England’s side.

Even Spain, as they continue to give an impression of near-invincibility, will go to the tournament with a healthy respect for it. And if, for just a month, the rest of Fabio Capello’s players can be persuaded to forget about the names on the back of their shirts, a team in the admirable image of Rooney can make history.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2010, 10:08:44 PM »
http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/blogs/mirror-football-blog/Why-Fulham-fans-shouldn-t-worry-about-Manchester-United-defeat-because-they-ve-have-never-had-it-so-good-David-Anderson-comment-article355529.html

Never mind Man United defeat, Fulham fans have never had it so good

By David Anderson in Mirror Football Blog

Published 18:08 14/03/10

 
The original Supermac - Harold Macmillan, not Malcolm Macdonald - once told the British public: "You've never had it so good."

Fifty-three years on from his famous Bedford speech, Roy Hodgson could empathise with those sentiments as he reflects on the golden age he has ushered in at Craven Cottage.

What with their Premier League status secured long ago, a Europa League tie with Juventus looming on Thursday and an FA Cup quarter-final replay with Spurs, Fulham fans have never had it so good.

Never mind Mother's Day, their supporters must feel like it's Christmas, Easter and every Bank Holiday Monday going rolled into one at the moment.

Despite the strides the Cottagers have made under Hodgson, their away form remains a concern.

Their sole league win on the road was at Portsmouth on the opening day of the season and only Burnley, who get a nose bleed when they go as far as the M65, suffer from worse travel sickness.

They did well in the first half against United. Too many teams who roll up at Old Trafford these days are beaten before they have even emerged from the tunnel.

But prompted by Danny Murphy's passing, Fulham played their usual neat football and might have taken something from the game if Bobby Zamora had been more clinical from two great chances in either half.

Hodgson, who lost defensive lynchpin Brede Hangeland to injury, put the England wannabe's misses down to fatigue and says campaigning on three fronts is taking its toll on his small squad.

"Bobby had a chance in the first half and another in the second half and I think that could be put down a little bit to the programme of the lads and it has been very, very hard," he said.

"You can't expect the same sharpness we had a couple of months ago.

"After Juventus and our replay against Tottenham, we should be more like our normal programme of playing once a week.

"I only hope that it we go out of one competition, it doesn't impact on us. I wouldn't want to see our season, which has been quite fantastic up to the middle of March, slip away."

The Fulham fans can leave Hodgson to worry about that. Whatever happens over the next 12 huge days, it has still been one hell of a ride this season.


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2010, 10:19:21 PM »
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/2890769/Ill-watch-World-Cup-on-the-telly.html


I’ll watch World Cup on the telly


By ANDREW DILLON

Published: 13 Mar 2010

FULHAM goal ace Bobby Zamora is spending this summer in gamblers' paradise Las Vegas as he resigns himself to missing out on the World Cup.

Zamora, 29, has scored 15 goals this season yet did not get a call-up to England's friendly against Egypt on March 3 and has now booked his holiday.


He said: "I have booked it but, wherever I am, I will be watching the World Cup on the TV.


"I would be prepared to cancel it but it's not something I'm thinking about."


But Fulham team-mate Paul Konchesky believes he is an outside bet to make Fabio Capello's squad for South Africa.


The left-back, 28, said: "If I'm doing well and the team's doing well you never know. I'd like to think I've got a chance."

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2010, 10:22:18 PM »
Man United 3 Fulham 0

Published: Today
 

Add a comment (181)

WAYNE ROONEY took his goal tally to 32 with another double to fire Manchester United back to the Premier League summit.

United were guilty of missing a number of chances, with Dimitar Berbatov the main culprit.

But they totally outclassed Fulham to leapfrog title rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.

Rooney provided a quick-fire response after a goalless first half, sweeping home Nani's pass after 46 minutes.

And the in-form England striker converted Berbatov's cross six minutes from time to leave him just 10 adrift of Cristiano Ronaldo's massive total of two years ago.

Fulham refused to roll over and die on a frustrating afternoon but there was still time for Rooney's strike partner to hammer the final nail in their coffin.

The Bulgarian had not enjoyed the best game of his career in front of goal but his perseverance was rewarded a minute from time when he headed home the third.

United enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening 45 minutes and tore the Cottagers apart at will.

But all their first-half attacks came to nothing with the lack of a killer touch costing them dear.

Fulham did their best to contain the champions and a collective effort ensured Rooney did not profit when Darren Fletcher squared the ball after reaching Berbatov's return pass.

Mark Schwarzer then denied Roo with a one-handed save after the hitman had curled in a 20-yarder.

Restored to the starting line-up after missing the midweek demolition of AC Milan, Berbatov had no one to blame but himself for failing to convert his best chances.

Heading may not be his strong point but the former Tottenham man should have done better after being picked out by Antonio Valencia and Nani respectively.

Rooney was left grumbling at half-time after being hauled down by Stephen Kelly without winning a penalty.

But he was all smiles 29 seconds after the restart when a scrappy build-up saw Berbatov nod the ball into his path.

Rooney fed Nani before latching onto the return to break the deadlock.

With the home side in front, the result appeared a forgone conclusion.

But Rooney and Berbatov both failed to profit from decent half-chances, while Patrice Evra sliced well wide.

The value of having Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in tandem at the back paid dividends for United as the clock ticked down.

Starved of possession and chances, Bobby Zamora had been given little opportunity to press home his England credentials.

But when he ran onto a flick from substitute Eric Nevland, Zamora must have felt it was the moment he had waited for.

Instead, after being caught out by the initial move, Vidic darted back and snuffed out the opportunity with a well-timed challenge.

For Zamora it was a hugely disappointing afternoon.

And it looked like being the same for Berbatov after he failed to convert Park Ji Sung's neat cross.

But after creating yet another goal for Rooney in the 84th minute, he finally headed home from Park's cross to complete another impressive win a minute from time.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville (Fabio Da Silva 87), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia (Park 73), Carrick, Fletcher, Nani, Berbatov, Rooney. Subs not used: Kuszczak, Obertan, Corry Evans, Diouf, Gill. Booked: Valencia.

Goals: Rooney 46, 84, Berbatov 89.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hangeland (Greening 62), Hughes, Shorey, Davies (Duff 46), Murphy, Baird, Dempsey (Nevland 72), Gera, Zamora. Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Okaka, Stoor, Dikgacoi. Booked: Murphy.

Att: 75,207

Ref: Michael Jones (Cheshire).



Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/2891805/Manchester-United-3-Fulham-0.html#ixzz0iByorzta

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2010, 09:15:44 AM »
Man United v Fulham ratings

MAN UTD

Van der Sar 6

Neville 6 (Fabio 5)

Ferdinand 7

Vidic 8

Evra 7

Valencia 5 (Park 6)

Carrick 8

Fletcher 7

Berbatov 8

Nani 7

Rooney 9 - STAR MAN

Subs not used: Kuszczak, Obertan, Corry Evans, Diouf, Gill. Booked: Valencia.

FULHAM

Schwarzer 7

Kelly 6

Hangeland 5 (Greening 5)

Hughes 5

Shorey 6

Davies 5 (Duff 5)

Murphy 8

Dempsey 5 (Nevland 5)

Baird 7

Gera 5

Zamora 5

Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Okaka, Stoor, Dikgacoi. Booked: Murphy.



Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/2892397/Man-United-v-Fulham-ratings.html#ixzz0iEcfCIsT


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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2010, 09:17:57 AM »
http://timesonline.typepad.com/thegame/2010/03/chance-for-fa-to-make-an-example-of-boateng-tackle-.html


Simply the best of everything made it a week to remember

What a week: the best pass of the season, the best piece of control and the best goal. The pass? Nani’s peach for Wayne Rooney to score his second against AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday. The control? Dimitar Berbatov’s sublime skill to set up Rooney’s second against Fulham yesterday. The goal? Jonathan Zebina’s screamer for Juventus against Fulham in the Europa League on Thursday.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.03.10)
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2010, 09:20:29 AM »
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/rooneys-class-claims-new-victim-in-fulham-1921460.html

Rooney's class claims new victim in Fulham

Manchester United 3 Fulham 0: Ferguson bullish about United's chances for title run-in after second-half masterclass

By Ian Herbert, Deputy Football Correspondent


Monday, 15 March 2010


Sir Alex Ferguson's minor revelation in his programme notes was that he has set his side "a title target – to win every game between now and the end of the season!" Note the exclamation mark. It suggests that this little pact is just a bit of training ground fun, made in jest like the goal-scoring bets he'd once have with Cristiano Ronaldo and the talk he'll probably soon have with Wayne Rooney about him scoring 42 goals this season. "I don't know about that but I'm not putting it beyond him," Ferguson said of that particular target last night.

But there's nothing jovial about the sight of United at present. Their eight-game run-in, with Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City all ahead, makes Ferguson's challenge a particularly formidable one in a season in which any side can upset another – and will continue to do. But they are title challengers who have quietly gathered the momentum of a juggernaut – eight wins, two draws and the loss at Goodison Park since Roy Hodgson's side dealt them a 3-0 defeat at Craven Cottage in late December.

In Rooney, two goals the richer and now just 10 away from Ronaldo's 42-goal haul of two years ago, they possess a player whom Chelsea will need all the properties of a brick wall to stop when the sides meet here on 3 April.

As his side climbed back ahead of Chelsea by two points, with a goal difference which is four better, Ferguson also declared last night that he expects this title race will be the closest ever. But that is what we thought precisely 12 months ago, when Rafael Benitez's resurgent Liverpool smashed United 4-1 at Old Trafford, leaving the club so wounded that their place on that "flipping perch" that Ferguson once talked of looked as immutable as ever.

United chose yesterday to commemorate the very first game on their hallowed Stretford turf, against Liverpool, a century back. The script of that day's one- penny match programme, which was distributed with yesterday's match magazine, belonged to different times. "In their leisure moments our players have for their use a fine gymnasium, billiard or reading room and in the latter we may have our chaps preparing [to become] barristers or MPs," it read. A scenario almost as outdated as Benitez putting one over on Ferguson.

Fulham were a tired side who, just as Hodgson had predicted last spring, seemed overwhelmed by the demands of undertaking a Europa League programme on a relatively small squad. So war-weary were Hodgson's players that he gave Simon Davies and Damien Duff a job-share, fielding each for 45 minutes. But nothing should detract from the way United strolled through a team who have beaten them in consecutive league fixtures beside the Thames.

Rooney's finishing was sublime – an elegant side-footed finish from Nani's cross fewer than 30 seconds into the second half, then a sharp swipe with the in-step from Dimitar Berbatov's 84th minute assist – prompting the Bulgarian to satisfy that appetite football has for "world's best" tags. "I think he is the best in the world and he is still so young," Berbatov said. "I've just told him many times – just stay healthy and you can achieve anything."

Ferguson considers Rooney a certainty for PFA and Football Writers' Player of the Year. "You can't ignore his form and I think he has a great chance of winning both," the manager said. But Berbatov's goal, a brave header to convert substitute Park Ji-Sung's fine cross a minute from time, was the most deserved of the afternoon. This has been another season when the Bulgarian's languid style and self-professed preference to be a provider rather than a finisher has called his contribution into question, but on days when the going is easy he looks like a world best, too. That word "assist" does not do justice to the way he took down a 30-yard pass, nutmegged Nicky Shorey and raced beyond Chris Baird to set up Rooney's second.

Normal service was also resumed here from Rio Ferdinand, unruffled and frequently stepping up from defence to distribute, though there were echoes of the Fernando Torres v Nemanja Vidic clash of last March when the Serbian was deceived by a long ball flicked on by Erik Nevland on 74 minutes and found himself chasing Bobby Zamora's shadow towards United's goal as Fulham scented an equaliser. Vidic placed a fine recovering tackle, though Torres will be a different proposition. Games can turn on moments like that.

Fulham needed two immaculate saves by Mark Schwarzer to save them embarrassment and Hodgson, who will learn today whether the blow to the chest which forced Brede Hangeland has caused damage, did not even offer conjecture on Rooney's value on the day when Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon mischievously suggested he was worth £100m.

"I think it's fairly pointless for me to waste everyone's time here by saying that I think Wayne Rooney is an excellent player because you can get that from the man in the pub," Hodgson said. A point of classic simplicity about a player at whose feet the course of this season now rests.

Manchester United (4-4-2): Van der Sar; Neville (Fabio, 87) Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia (Park, 73) Fletcher, Carrick, Nani; Rooney, Berbatov. Substitutes not used: Kuszczak (gk), C Evans, Fabio, Obertan, Diouf, Gill.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland (Greening, 63), Shorey; Gera, Baird, Murphy, Davies (Duff, 45); Zamora, Dempsey (Nevland, 72). Substitutes not used: Zuberbuhler (gk), Okaka, Nevland, Stoor, Greening, Dikgacoi.

Referee: M Jones (Chester).

Booked: Man Utd Valencia; Fulham: Murphy.

Man of the Match: Berbatov.

Attendance: 75,207.

Title run-in: Challengers' remaining fixtures

*Manchester United (Played 30, Points 66)
Sun 21 Mar ......... Liverpool (h)
Sat 27 Mar ......... Bolton (a)
Sat 3 Apr ......... Chelsea (h)
Sun 11 Apr ......... Blackburn Rovers (a)
Sat 17 Apr ......... Manchester City (a)
Sun 25 Apr ......... Tottenham Hotspur (h)
Sat 1 May ......... Sunderland (a)
Sun 9 May ......... Stoke City (h)

*Chelsea (P29, Pts 64)
Sun 21 Mar ......... Blackburn Rovers (a)
Wed 24 Mar......... Portsmouth (a)
Sat 27 Mar ......... Aston Villa (h)
Sat 3 Apr ......... Manchester United (a)
Tues 13 Apr ......... Bolton Wanderers (h)
Sat 17 Apr ......... Tottenham Hotspur (a)
Sun 25 Apr ......... Stoke City (h)
Sat 1 May ......... Liverpool (a)
Sun 9 May ......... Wigan Athletic (h)

*Arsenal (P30, Pts 64)
Sat 20 Mar ......... West Ham United (h)
Sat 27 Mar ......... Birmingham City (a)
Sat 3 Apr ......... Wolverhampton W (h)
Sat 10 Apr ......... Tottenham Hotspur (a)
Sun 18 Apr ......... Wigan Athletic (a)
Sat 24 Apr ......... Manchester City (h)
Sat 1 May ......... Blackburn Rovers (a)
Sun 9 May ......... Fulham (h)