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Thursday Fulham Stuff (25/03/10)

Started by WhiteJC, March 25, 2010, 08:07:45 AM

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Fulham's John Pantsil set to return to training
Fulham defender John Pantsil will return to full training on Thursday after a three-month injury absence.

The 28-year-old says he expects to return to full action for the Premier League side by next month.

The Ghana international has not played since sustaining the damage to his right knee during their clash with Chelsea in December.

Pantsil said: "I thank God that things have gone on well for me as I am starting full training from Thursday."

"I have been going through physiotherapy, running and kicking for about three weeks now and I am now ready to join the first team.

"The officials here at Fulham have done an amazing job on my injury and I want to repay the team with good performances when I return hopefully early next month."

During his absence, Panstil underwent an operation to cure the posterior cruciate ligament problem but admitted his time on the treatment table has been difficult.

"It wasn't easy. It was a bit frustrating for me sitting on the sidelines and watching my colleagues play," he said.

"The good thing is that my colleagues at Fulham played their hearts out for the club to keep the momentum going and now I am also ready to help.

"My colleagues did very well and their performance in the Europa League has been fantastic and it is really exciting for me to join them again."

The injury prevented Pantsil from playing for Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola in January.

The defender is confident he will be good form for the Black Stars for the World Cup in South Africa in June.

"It is difficult missing the Nations Cup but with me returning from injury now, I can play some four or matches for Fulham before the season ends," the right-back said.

"This means I will be fully fit and ready to play for my country at the World Cup."

Ghana will face Germany, Serbia and Australia in the group stage of the World Cup which stars on 11 June.

Zamora goal can't stop Fulham losing at Spurs
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Fulham

BOBBY Zamora's early opener couldn't stop Fulham being dumped out of the FA Cup at Tottenham.

The former Spurs frontman came back to haunt his old club to leave the visiting fans dreaming of Wembley.

But the hosts hit back with three unanswered goals after the break to set up a semi-final meeting with Portsmouth.

Fulham made most of the early running, with Simon Davies stinging the hands of Heurelho Gomes from 25 yards.

And their pressure paid off when Zamora gave the visitors the lead on 17 minutes.

Damien Duff picked up the ball in the middle of the park before sliding an inch-perfect pass for Zamora to slot into the bottom left-hand corner.

The Whites had a lucky escape midway through the first-half when Stephen Kelly handled the ball in the box, but the referee waved away appeals.

However, the hosts did level inside 60 seconds of the restart when David Bentley's inswinging free-kick evaded everyone and nestled into the far right-hand corner.

Things went to bad to worse for Fulham on the hour mark when Bentley's deep cross was volleyed past Mark Schwarzer by Roman Pavlyuchenko.

And Eidur Gudjohnsen sent Spurs heading towards Wembley with a third minutes later.

Luka Modric's through ball was deflected into the Iceman's pass by Brede Hangeland, and he rounded Schwarzer to score, despite the best efforts of Aaron Hughes.

Fulham never gave up, Duff had a snap shot saved by Gomes, while substitute Clint Dempsey had an effort deflected wide, but they couldn't find a way back.

Spurs fight back ends Fulham bid
Harry Redknapp's substitutes climbed off the bench to fire Tottenham into the FA Cup semi-finals with a 3-1 win over Fulham at White Hart Lane.

Trailing to Bobby Zamora's opener, Redknapp introduced David Bentley at the interval and the winger levelled within two minutes, then Roman Pavlyuchenko came on and netted his ninth goal in eight games.

Eidur Gudjohnsen, who would not have started if Spurs had all their players fit, then booked a place at Wembley next month to face Redknapp's former club Pompey.

It means Spurs are within sight of finals in three consecutive seasons after winning the Carling Cup in 2008 and falling at the final hurdle a year ago.

For Fulham, it was the 50th game of their long season but they still have Europa League glory to aim for - they just failed to maintain their momentum after an impressive first half against Redknapp's men.

Zamora was one of five former Spurs players in Fulham's side. Another two had early efforts, skipper Danny Murphy with a volley from 25 yards and then Simon Davies unleashed an angled drive towards the top corner that Heurelho Gomes needed to parry.

After his fine form this season, it was no surprise, however, when Zamora opened the scoring after 18 minutes.

Damien Duff was allowed to carry the ball towards the penalty area and as home defenders backed away he slipped the ball through to Zamora, who curled his finish past Gomes and into the bottom corner.

It was Zamora's 17th goal of the season and he looked completely different to the player who arrived at Spurs in 2003 and stayed for just over six unhappy months.

His form has made him an England candidate and after his goal against Juventus last week he is showing Fabio Capello, who was in the stands, he has the taste for the big stage.

The Italian would have noted Zamora also looking after Peter Crouch in his own penalty area when Spurs had set-pieces, then he almost doubled the lead just before the break when Zoltan Gera floated a ball to the far post.

Spurs appeared to be lacking Aaron Lennon's pace but most of their attacks were going through Gudjohnsen. The Iceland forward forced a save from Mark Schwarzer with a backheel and chested the ball down for Luka Modric to fire wide.

But it needed a change to inspire Spurs, so boss Redknapp made his move at the interval, bringing on Bentley and Tom Huddlestone for Niko Kranjcar and Benoit Assou-Ekotto - and it took just 79 seconds for one of his replacements to make an impact.

Stephen Kelly's trip on Gareth Bale earned the Fulham full-back a yellow card, leading to Bentley's inswinging free-kick curling straight in, helped by Vedran Corluka beating the offside trap and ducking under the ball to distract Schwarzer.

Encouraged by the equaliser, Bale drove over the crossbar with a fearsome half-volley, then Bentley almost curled in another free-kick from a similar position - but Schwarzer was ready on that occasion.

Redknapp, however, needed to reorganise as Corluka picked up an apparent ankle knock, leading to Pavlyuchenko being introduced off the bench.

And Redknapp's substitute inflicted immediate damage again. Bentley provided the assist, a looping cross from the right flank that Pavlyuchenko met first time with a volley that beat Schwarzer at the near post.

The next goal came in the 66th minute. Gudjohnsen started the move with a driving run, Modric played him through with a return pass and he flicked the ball past Schwarzer before bundling in.

Duff had a chance to get Fulham back in the tie but his volley was saved by Gomes.

Zamora headed down the tunnel after being replaced with 13 minutes remaining. He was booked for a clash with Sebastien Bassong but escaped a red following a foul on Bale shortly after

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Fulham 1: match report
Read a full match report of the FA Cup sixth round replay between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham at White Hart Lane on Wednesday March 24 2010

That's Zamora: fter his fine form this season, it was no surprise when Bobby Zamora opened the scoring against his former club after 18 minutes Photo: ACTION IMAGES

The meaning of Tottenham Hotspur's famous Latin motto - audere est facere — is among the most popular of all quiz questions and, on last night's evidence, it can be safely assumed that Harry Redknapp is well aware of the answer. 'To dare is to do' is the exact translation and there can have been few nights in Tottenham's entire history that have better encapsulated that philosophy.

At half-time, Tottenham trailed Fulham by a goal and looked poised for a limp and deflating FA Cup exit. The solution? Three exceptionally brave substitutions and, within 21 minutes, Tottenham had scored three times to find themselves just one match away from a first FA Cup final since 1991

Redknapp modestly described his changes as a "lucky gamble", yet it is difficult to think of many other managers who would risk replacing his two full-backs with a striker and a winger.

By a wonderful twist, it is Portsmouth who will await in what will be Redknapp's fifth trip to Wembley in less than two years. The FA Cup is supposed to be a competition about romance, but there will also be some tension in the air given that Redknapp was the Portsmouth manager during the era of extravagant spending that came to precede such financial turmoil.

Redknapp, of course, can also point to the considerable successes he came to oversee at Fratton Park and his brand of tactical common-sense, shrewd judgment and charismatic man-management is producing a similar wave of optimism at White Hart Lane.

Indeed, in a week when the national game has been consumed by one of the more gory chapters in its endless civil war, the Football Association should also find some unity in their appreciation of last night's match.

Tottenham might ultimately have prevailed but both Redknapp and Roy Hodgson — surely the two best English managers of this generation — combined to provide the sort of entertainment that upholds the very best traditions of the FA's flagship competition. With Fabio Capello looking on, the match was even dominated by two Englishman, with David Bentley masterminding Tottenham's second-half comeback after Bobby Zamora had put Fulham ahead.

Given that last night was already their 50th game of the season, Fulham actually began with real energy and were rewarded on 18 minutes with a goal that looked simple but was wonderfully worked.

Damien Duff drifted in from the left, glanced up and, with Michael Dawson keeping Zamora onside, pierced the Tottenham defence with a perfectly weighted pass.

Zamora did not even have to adjust his run and calmly side-footed his finish beyond Heurelho Gomes.

Tottenham had entered the game with the confidence of a seven-match unbeaten run but, in the absence of both Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe, they do currently lack pace in key areas. Wilson Palicios, who remarkably played through the pain of a tear in his groin, had the first clear sight of goal, blazing a clear chance narrowly wide. Eidur Gudjohnsen was involved in much of Tottenham's best football on his first start for the club, wasting one opportunity before forcing a reaction save from Mark Schwarzer with an improvised back-heel.

On the flanks, both Gareth Bale and Niko Kranjcar, who had begun the day by outlining a desire to finish his career at Tottenham, delivered crosses of persistent quality. Fulham, however, are blessed with a centre-back in Brede Hangeland who stands only two inches shorter than Peter Crouch and could neutralise the obvious aerial threat.

Indeed, despite Tottenham's mounting possession, Fulham carried the greater cutting edge throughout the first-half and, having shown such a clinical touch earlier in the game, it was a surprise when Zamora headed Zoltan Gera's cross over from inside the six-yard box. Hodgson later revealed that Zamora had been playing despite a sickness bug and, after spending much of half-time in the toilet, he was eventually replaced in the 78th minute.

Redknapp was more decisive in his substitutions, re-organising his team at the beginning of the second-half with both Bentley and Tom Huddlestone coming on. The effect was immediate. Bale won a free-kick on the left and Bentley fizzed in the sort of swirling and free-kick that had once convinced many good judges that he could be David Beckham's long-term England replacement. His cross completely eluded Fulham and, while Vedran Corluka appeared offside, it was doubtful whether he actually made any contact before the ball crept inside Schwarzer's post.

A third substitution was forced on Redknapp when Corluka hobbled from the pitch, yet it proved equally inspired. Rather than bring on another defender, Redknapp introduced Roman Pavlyuchenko and simply went all out for the win. Such adventure was quickly rewarded. Bentley, once again, provided a flawless delivery with a cross that drifted over the Fulham defenders and into the path of Pavlyuchenko, who volleyed emphatically past Schwarzer.

Fulham suddenly looked jaded and, with Tottenham rampant, the tie was effectively sealed when Luka Modric sliced open the defence for Gudjohnsen to steer home with a little help from Aaron Hughes's out-stretched foot. As the home fans loudly boasted, it is Tottenham who are going to Wembley

Spurs 3-1 Fulham: Close, but no cigar...
March 24, 2010

Well, that is the joy of cup competitions. It is all or nothing, and unfortunately Fulham have walked away with nothing.  I felt that the scoreline flattered Spurs to be honest. Fulham had won the first half and were looking to consolidate in the second, but Spurs took their chances and here we are.

The game started fairly anonymously with both sides feeling each other out. Fulham looked very comfortable hustling a sleepy Spurs side off the ball and putting together some very good passing moves. The WHL crowd was silent and all that was coming through on the TV was the noise of the Fulham fans singing their hearts out, tucked away in the corner.  And it was Fulham who took the lead after a good spell of play. With Duff running through the centre at the defence, Zamora cut inside from the right hand side, pointed to where he wanted the ball and received a slide rule pass from Duff. If anyone had any remaining worries about Zamora's composure in front of goal they were swept aside as he took the ball in his step and hit a beautiful curling finish into the bottom left hand corner around the outstretched Gomes. A very well worked move against one of the best defences in the premier league and Fulham were in front. This seemed to galvanise Spurs who started attacking with more purpose with Schwarzer saving a good backheeled effort from Eidur GudJohnsen at his near post.

Half time came and went and it was obvious that Redknapp was not going to let his team produce another fairly insipid performance in the second half. They came out fired up and with added impetus from the two new additions at half time in the form of Huddlestone and Bentley. And it was Bentley who was going to have the decisive impact on the match. Kelly gave away a foul near the touchline as he upended Bale, and Bentley stepped up and curled a cross in that avoided the crowded area and found itself in the net. There were questions of offside as Corluka looked to be distracting Schwarzer but the goal stood and Spurs were off and running. It was fairly obvious that Fulham were in for a battering for the remainder of the half, and it was a question on whether Fulham could nick a goal on the break. When Corluka went off with an ankle injury I thought that Fulham might have a chance, but on came Roman Pavlyuchenko and he was to be the real difference.

Spurs started dominating and with the improvement in the quality of the crossing, it was only a matter of time before another chance fell spurs way. Bentley crossed deep to the back post, Pavlyuchenko peeled off of Kelly, who missed his header by inches, and powered home a fierce left foot volley.  Before Fulham could settle and try to regroup, Spurs struck again. Modric poked a ball through to Gudjohnsen who took it round a flailing Schwarzer and passed it into an empty net. Game Over. Roy made changes, bringing on Okaka and Dempsey but it was too late. The game petered out with no real meaningful chances at either end and Spurs progress.

Fulham haven't really had the rub of the green against Spurs this season, but Spurs deserved to win as they took their chances and controlled the game when it mattered.

A few other thoughts from the game:

1) Bentley was never man of the match. His first goal was almost as fortuitous as the one against Fulham in the league and whilst his assist for the second goal was decent, it was Pavlyuchenko who turned it into an excellent goal. Other than that he looked very average, mainly because he had absolutely no pace.

2) I hope Spurs go on and win the damn trophy now. If they lose to Chelsea in the Final then I don't think I could forgive them. I will certainly now be throwing the weight of my support behind them now.

3) Kelly should not be scapegoated. Yes he did not play outstandingly, but if Baird had played at right back then Bale would have had even more of a field day.

4) I generally don't believe that the media is out to get us, but the commentary in the second half with the commentators drooling over Spurs was quite offputting. There was none of the same for Fulham in the first half, just 'that was a good passing move' etc. etc.

Anyway, onwards and upwards, A win away at Hull would be nice, and then the real fun against Wolfsburg.

Heartache at the Lane

Fifteen minutes. Tottenham needed to play well for just 15 minutes and are now going to Wembley.

Well, I suppose that's better than United needing just, what, 45 seconds a few weeks ago? We saw a similar performance then like we did today, and they both hurt.

Okay, this hurts more. It's somewhere at a Level XIII or Level IV on the Levels of Losing. Personally, I'm going with The Guillotine:

Level IV: The Guillotine
Definition: This one combines the devastation of The Broken Axle Game with sweeping bitterness and hostility. ... Your team's hanging tough (hell, they might even be winning), but you can feel the inevitable breakdown coming, and you keep waiting for the guillotine to drop, and you just know it's coming — you know it — and when it finally comes, you're angry that it happened and you're angry at yourself for contributing to the debilitating karma. ... These are the games when people end up whipping their remote controls against a wall or breaking their hands while pounding a coffee table. ... Too many of these and you'll end up in prison.

To be honest, when Kelly needlessly challenged Bale I just knew the free-kick would go in and the tide would turn. What was frustrating is that, although, yes Fulham were down 3-1, Tottenham's set up was very open to a counter attack: The majestic (at CM) Palacios was moved to RB and Gudjohnsen seemed to be a roving CM. Had Spurs attempted this in a similar fashion against a better side, I'd imagine they'd presumably pay for it.

Sigh. Fulham got as close to Wembley as we did last season, but this just felt closer.

It's been a good year, but now all that's left in the season really is taking care of Wolfsburg, and maybe finally beating West Ham.

And perhaps we can take some solace in knowing that at least Tottenham, thanks to good ol' 'Arry, will be in administration in a few years?

Replay Reaction

Roy Hodgson praised his Fulham Team for the level of performance they produced on Wednesday night despite exiting the FA Cup following a 3-1 defeat to Spurs at White Hart Lane.

"I can quite happily give my players credit for playing so well against them [Tottenham] during the course of the 90 minutes," said Hodgson during his post-match press conference.

"I thought we played really well in the first half and were good value for our one goal lead - but unfortunately conceding so early in the second half gave Spurs some momentum.

"They ended up scoring two more goals and towards the end of the game I thought we came back very strongly and we were dominating the game during the final stages.

"We were playing against a good team today and I think we matched them throughout the game but we paid the price for a couple of mistakes. We were punished by people scoring magnificent goals.

"We didn't lose the game through fatigue or lack of mental alertness – we lost the game basically because we conceded two wonder goals, and then, in the aftermath, they unfortunately got the third goal.

"If the third goal hadn't of gone in, and with the pressure we were exerting towards the end of the game, I think there would have been quite a bit of panic in the Tottenham team. However they were never really threatened because they had that two goal cushion."

Hodgson revealed to the press that striker Bobby Zamora was substituted late in the second half because the striker fell ill during the first half at White Hart Lane.

"Bobby was sick," explained Hodgson. "It was doubtful whether he could continue at half-time with the problems he was suffering, but he wanted to continue. It was just a question of how long we could leave him on for.

"Had we not been 2-1 down, and then 3-1 down, I would have taken him off a lot earlier. We'll have to see what the problem is. It's a stomach problem but hopefully not a serious one."

Read more:

Bobby Zamora strengthens England World Cup case with FA Cup goal for Fulham
He had scored just one goal in 18 appearances as a Tottenham player, yet when he latched on to Damien Duff's pass early in the first half it was inevitable that Bobby Zamora would continue a remarkable goalscoring season that could still end in South Africa

Handy work: Bobby Zamora impressed again for Fulham and could be rewarded with a surprise England call-up for the World Cup Photo: GETTY IMAGES
In scoring for Fulham Zamora had claimed his 17th goal of the season, overtaking his combined total for the three previous campaigns, one at West Ham and the last two with London's least fashionable club.

Fabio Capello, who has made a habit of watching Zamora recently, was present to witness his latest lesson in finishing and must be finding it harder, with each passing performance, not to include him for the forthcoming May friendlies against Mexico and Japan. How ironic that one striking certainty for South Africa, Jermain Defoe, was missing through injury.

And Zamora is unlikely to be unsettled by the possible elevation to full international. He could actually have been a full international with World Cup experience already had he not spurned the advances four years ago of Leo Beenhakker, then the coach of Trinidad and Tobago.

Zamora had faith that one day he may be noticed by the country where he was born rather than his father's, and with each performance it is becoming more difficult to ignore both his goals and his prodigious work-rate.

Just 24 hours earlier Harry Redknapp had spoken of how Tottenham, as well as West Ham, must have rued the day they let him leave their clubs.

"A lot can happen between now and the World Cup finals," warned Redknapp, "and I am sure Fabio Capello could not have failed to be impressed by Bobby."

But Zamora is just one cog in a machine oiled by Roy Hodgson to last a season which reached its 50th test on Wednesday night. Brede Hangeland, back after a rest, was stoic at the back and close to a second Fulham goal before the interval.

And there was not just the incentive of a Wembley trip to boost Fulham, with no fewer than five of the team with Tottenham experience, with Stephen Kelly, Simon

Davies, Paul Konchesky and Danny Murphy joining Zamora as ex-Spurs players.

But it is Zamora who impressed most and gave the impression that he could provide the story of the season, with an unexpected flight to Johannesburg to cap a memorable campaign.

Hodgson proud in defeat
Fulham boss not down despite defeat

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was full of praise for his side despite going down to Tottenham 3-1 in their FA Cup quarter-final replay.

The Cottagers were the better side in the opening 45 minutes at White Hart Lane and deservedly led at the break through Bobby Zamora.

But Spurs fought back in the second half and won the game with goals from David Bentley, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

"I can quite happily give my players credit for playing so well against them [Tottenham] during the course of the 90 minutes," said Hodgson.

"I thought we played really well in the first half and were good value for our one goal lead - but unfortunately conceding so early in the second half gave Spurs some momentum.

"They ended up scoring two more goals and towards the end of the game I thought we came back very strongly and we were dominating the game during the final stages.

"We were playing against a good team today and I think we matched them throughout the game but we paid the price for a couple of mistakes. We were punished by people scoring magnificent goals.

"We didn't lose the game through fatigue or lack of mental alertness - we lost the game basically because we conceded two wonder goals, and then, in the aftermath, they unfortunately got the third goal.

"If the third goal hadn't of gone in, and with the pressure we were exerting towards the end of the game, I think there would have been quite a bit of panic in the Tottenham team. However they were never really threatened because they had that two-goal cushion."

Fulham game confirmed
Liverpool's game with Fulham is definitely on Sunday, April 11th.

The home game with Roy Hodgson's side is a 3pm kick off on Sunday, April 11th because of the Grand National at Aintree the day before. This game could have been moved if Fulham were involved in the FA Cup semi-final, but their quarter-final defeat to Spurs last night means the game goes ahead as planned.

The final game of the season, away at Hull, is a 4pm kick off on Sunday, May 9th in line with all other Premiership fixtures

Stockdale has the last laugh
BACK in his playing days with Manchester United, Roy Keane once referred to a section of the Old Trafford faithful as 'the prawn sandwich brigade'.

On Tuesday night, the Ipswich Town boss may well have been wishing the prawn sandwich which Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper David Stockdale had eaten on Sunday would have laid him low for a day or so longer. After a man-of-the-match display at Portman Road, Stockdale admitted that he had been forced to miss training on Monday after contracting a bout of food poisoning 24 hours earlier.

The on-loan Fulham goalkeeper was virtually a spectator in the opening half of Argyle's 2-0 Championship win. However, the 24-year-old was unbeatable in the second period, thwarting Town's Pablo Counago, Gareth McAuley, Daryl Murphy and substitute Grant Leadbitter with an array of stunning saves.

"I got food poisoning on Sunday and I had to miss training on Monday, so it wasn't good for me," explained Stockdale. "It was only me that ate the prawn sandwiches."

By kick-off on Tuesday, however, Stockdale was again fighting fit as he followed up his impressive showing at Scunthorpe last Saturday with an even better display against the Tractor Boys.

It was, according to the player, just what he needed after he had been the subject of some fierce criticism from Argyle supporters in recent weeks. "Obviously people say things to you and you read things," he said. "The fans are entitled to express their opinions, but I just wanted to show them what I could do. That's why I came here and long may it continue."

Asked whether the remarks had hurt him, the Leeds-born player replied: "I was spurred on by them. Paul Mariner had faith in me and he basically told me 'we know what you can do' and I showed that in a few of the games before.

"Yes, I had a dip in form. Everybody does. It's how you come back from that."

He added: "I would have liked to have got maybe a point out of the Scunthorpe game. It's nice to do well, but I'd rather be playing in a winning side or playing like we did tonight."

Although defeated at Scunthorpe, Argyle sandwiched that loss with victories over Bristol City 3-2 at Home Park and then Ipswich 2-0 on Tuesday. "We have got six points out of three games and if you had offered that to us before those three matches I think we would have snapped your hand off," said Stockdale.

"After Saturday the boys were all down, especially the way we lost, but the coaches got us working and the lads believed in themselves tonight and it showed."

Up against an Ipswich side which had not lost at home since Newcastle United triumphed 4-0 back in September, Stockdale was somewhat surprised that he did not have more to do during the opening 45 minutes.

"The gaffer and John Carver told me at half-time 'you are going to be called into action, just do what you can'. You just keep your head, but I would rather have had nothing to do and we won 2-0."

Meanwhile, Leeds United have confirmed they have signed Shane Lowry on loan until the end of the season. The Australian international defender played 13 games for Argyle earlier this season

Wolfsburg draw for Fulham
The draw for the quarter-finals of this season's Europa League was made late last week with surprise side Fulham from the English Premier League handed a tie against current German champions VfL Wolfsburg.

To the surprise of many, Fulham knocked out reigning Europa League champions Shakhtar Donetsk from the Ukraine by an aggregate score of three goals to two in the second round of the competition. In last week's third round, Roy Hodgson's side shockingly progressed after recovering from losing the first leg away by three goals to one and conceding an early goal in the second leg at Craven Cottage to secure a memorable five goals to four aggregate win over Italian giants Juventus.

However, the London-based team are not being given much chance of winning the final, which is due to be held at Hamburg's Nordbank Arena on May 12, with showing the shortest odds at 7/1. Even longer, is offering Fulham at 8/1 to win their first ever European trophy while and show 9/1.

Eleven years ago, Fulham were playing in England's third level of professional football against sides such as Torquay United but three promotions in five seasons saw the team achieve English Premier League status in 2001. has the Londoners at odds of 97/10 to win this season's Europa League followed by,,,,,,,, and showing 10/1.

If Fulham make it through the last eight, they will face either Hamburg or Standard Liege in the semi-finals with offering punters odds of 21/2 on Europa League glory for 'The Cottagers' come May followed by and with 11/1.

The only other English club remaining in this season's Europa League, Liverpool, remain favourites to win the competition with,,, and offering odds of 10/3. The Merseysiders were dumped out of the UEFA Champions League in December at the hands of Italy's Fiorentina but have since recovered to defeat Unirea Urziceni from Romania and France's Lille in the second and third rounds of Europe's lesser cup competition.

Punters can get odds of 7/2 from,,,,, and on Liverpool winning the Europa League for the fourth time while, and are going with 15/4.

Liverpool manager Raphael Benitez is facing a lot of criticism after assembling a very expensive side and needs a trophy this season to silent his naysayers. currently shows odds of 389/100 on the English side winning the Europa League while bettors can get 4/1 from

Liverpool have been drawn against Portugal's Benfica in this season's quarter-finals with the second leg at Anfield with a semi-final match-up against either Valencia or Atletico Madrid awaiting the victor.