Author Topic: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (06/04/10)  (Read 4510 times)

Offline whitejc

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (06/04/10)
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2010, 03:38:12 PM »
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/7559339/Who-is-the-Premer-Leagues-most-improved-player-of-2009-10.html
Who is the Premer League's most-improved player of 2009-10?
So Wayne Rooney is a runaway bet for end-of-season honours, but which other players should be recognised as the most improved in the Premier League? Have your say below and vote in our poll.

Rooney’s outstanding season for Manchester United has overshadowed some terrific performances at rival clubs. Here is Telegraph Sport's choice for the 10 most-improved players in this season’s Premier League.

Leighton Baines (Everton)
Everton’s left-back has been one of the club’s most consistent performers this season, producing a string of impressive displays leaving him well worth his England call-up after 16 appearances for his country’s Under-21s. With Ashley Cole injured and Wayne Bridge withdrawing from international football, the left-back slot was available and he did not disappoint against Egypt, taking the opportunity well and impressing Fabio Capello in the full 90 minutes.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
Harry Redknapp cannot believe his luck. Benoit Assou-Ekotto was his first-choice at left-back and the Spurs manager waxed lyrical about the Cameroon international’s performances. But an injury meant that Bale, more used to operating on the left side of midfield, was thrust into defence – and he did not disappoint. And yet when Assou-Ekotto returned from injury, Bale took advantage to injuries, mainly to Aaron Lennon, and remains one of the first names on Redknapp’s list. Great news for Spurs and, also, for Wales, who has lest Aaron Ramsey for the foreseeable future and need a player of Bale’s capabilities.

Darren Bent (Sunderland)
Surely the time will come when Fabio Capello recognises Bent’s remarkable achievements at the Stadium of Light this season. Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp saw fit to allow the former Ipswich and Charlton striker to leave, for a £10 million fee that will eventually rise to £16m. But it is looking like money well spent and Bent must have relished his two goals against Spurs – even though he also missed two penalties – against Redknapp, whose jibe about “my missus could have scored” when Bent missed against Portsmouth last season, coming back to haunt him. His 23 goals represent his best ever scoring season so far and England could beckon.

Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
It’s easy to take Drogba’s goals for granted but the records confirm his massive improvement this season. On Saturday, at Old Trafford, he scored the winner to take his tally for the campaign to 31 goals, including 25 in just 27 appearances in the Premier League – and that is more than in his previous two seasons combined. Last season he managed just 14, with 15 in the 2007-08 campaign. Three more goals will give him his best ever return (he got 33 in 2006-07), and then he flies the Ivory Coast flag at the World Cup. Perhaps that has been the spur.

Joe Hart (Birmingham City)
It is, perhaps, no surprise that Birmingham’s hugely impressive return to the Premier League has coincided with goalkeeper Hart’s arrival at St Andrew's. He is on loan from Manchester City, having lost his place to Shay Given, and fears a return to the City bench next season. Hart has not played for City since the arrival of Given but was allowed to help Birmingham in their return to the Premier League and was important in guiding the club to a 12-match unbeaten run, the club’s best sequence since 1908. He is brave and athletic, with room to improve further, and could be Fabio Capello’s third choice goalkeeper.

Lucas Leiva (Liverpool)
Not the best season for Liverpool, while Lucas has not always been the most popular player on Merseyside. But even his most ardent detractors cannot deny that the Brazilian midfielder has improved vastly this season. The feeling remains that there is more to come, but Rafael Benitez remains a great fan and continues to select him.

James Milner (Aston Villa)
Fabio Capello has already identified Milner as the “most improved” England player this season. The Villa player has been instrumental in helping Villa push for a European spot and the England manager, when asked which players caught his eye, Capello had no hesitation in singling out Milner, saying: “Last season Theo Walcott was a surprise to us, he came in and was very important in crucial qualifying games. This year our most improved player is Milner. He played with us three or four times and he will be part of the squad.”

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)
Shawcross’ season will be best remembered for the regrettable incident when he broke the leg of Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey. But his performances have been outstanding, with the one-time Manchester United defender producing a succession of outstanding performances. He never played for United but after a loan spell at Stoke, he joined full-time. Ironically, he earned an England call-up the day of the incident involving Ramsey. With Rio Ferdinand and Gary Cahill unavailable against Egypt Shawcross got the call. Though he was an unused substitute, he remains in Fabio Capello’s mind.

Alex Song (Arsenal)
Just how much Song has improved could be gauged by how much Arsenal missed him when he was on duty at the African Cup of Nations in January. Equally at home in midfield or the centre of defence, Song is still only 22 but his strength and passing have been influential in helping Arsenal to maintain an interest in the Premier League race. Indeed, Arsenal’s continuing injury problems would have been felt much more but for the burgeoning talents of Song. Even his manager admitted recently that Song was Arsenal’s most improved player, admitting he had “real quality”.

Bobby Zamora (Fulham)
Just a couple of corner kicks away from Drogba, at Craven Cottage, Bobby Zamora has hit back at his critics, including Fulham fans, to inspire a remarkable season down by the River Thames. It could have been so different for Zamora; in the summer his manager Roy Hodgson gave the former Spurs and West Ham striker permission to speak to Hull but he decided to stay and it has proved to be the best decision of the season. Andrew Johnson’s injury has helped; now he is the main striker and has responded with 18 goals – more than his previous three seasons combined.


Offline whitejc

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (06/04/10)
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2010, 03:39:39 PM »
http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/April/StokeFixture.aspx
Stoke Fixture Notice
Tuesday 6th April 2010
 
Fulham would like to announce a change in date to the Fulham V Stoke City fixture scheduled for 14 April.

The Club made an application to the Premier League Board and to Stoke City, to enable the Club to spread its fixture commitments, which was kindly agreed to.

The re-scheduled date will be either Wednesday 5th or Thursday 6th May and will be confirmed shortly.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (06/04/10)
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2010, 03:41:33 PM »
http://www.itv.com/sport/football/news/facup/generalnews/gera-geared-up-for-big-occasion-775120870.html
Gera geared up for 'big occasion'

Fulham midfielder Zoltan Gera has warned Tottenham he is relishing another chance to shine on the big stage after last week's heroics against Juventus.

Gera scored twice against Serie A giants Juve in the Europa League but considers the FA Cup quarter-final replay, with a place at Wembley at stake, just as important.

"This is a big occasion for the players, fans and the club," he said. "It will be an important night for us all, and hopefully I can play my part. I am pleased with my season so far, but there is always more that you can do."

He added: "I have managed to score some important goals, and I would like to do so again. It's always nice to score, but of course, when it has a greater importance for the team that is great.

"But it's not just about one player, this is a team and we all have the same hopes for Wednesday - we all want to go through."

Getting to Wembley would be the latest chapter of success under Roy Hodgson, who has taken the club into Europe after being relegation candidates under Lawrie Sanchez.

"It has been a long while since Fulham last ran out at Wembley," Gera added. "So to be part of a team that achieves that for the club would be very special.

"And it's a special place to play, one of the best. I have been lucky enough to play there twice before, but I would love to go back and this time with Fulham."

Chris Smalling's last trip to White Hart Lane came on the day it was confirmed he would join Manchester United next season.

"We'd love to reach the semi-final of the FA Cup, that really would make this season another one to remember," the youngster said. "We've had quite a few games lately but the focus now falls solely on Spurs. And it's one that we're relishing."


Offline whitejc

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (06/04/10)
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2010, 03:44:19 PM »
http://www.fulham-mad.co.uk/news/tmnw/europa_league_hard_slog__hodgson_512562/index.shtml
Europa League Hard Slog - Hodgson

Roy Hodgson believes the Europa League is a far tougher competition to be successful in than when he was rampaging across Europe with Inter Milan.

In 1997 Hodgson guided Inter to the final of what was then the UEFA Cup before losing on penalties to Schalke. On Thursday night he will attempt to lead Fulham a step closer to this season's showpiece when another German outfit, Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg, arrive at Craven Cottage for the first leg of their quarter-final.

He said: "In reaching that final at Inter we did not encounter anything like the standard of opposition that we have had to meet here."

It promises to be another memorable chapter in an adventure which began with a trip to Vetra Vilnius of Lithuania back in July and has since taken in, among others, Basle, Roma, Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus.

He added: "Ten months is a long time to be playing. These will be our 16th and 17th games in this competition. When I got to the final with Inter, which was a double-headed final, we played 12 games.

"Now we'll have ended up playing 17 even if we go out, so it's half the season longer. That shows what we have achieved."

Hodgson rested five players for Saturday's defeat at Hull, a move which has reportedly irritated the Tigers' relegation rivals West Ham.

But the Cottagers chief is sticking to his guns over his team selection.

"We haven't prioritised," he said. "But in one particular game after we played Juventus, Manchester City and Tottenham and prior to playing Wolfsburg, I made the decision to rest four or five players knowing full well I had a right to do that with the quality I have at my disposal."


Offline whitejc

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Re: Tuesday Fulham Stuff (06/04/10)
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2010, 03:53:30 PM »
http://www.fulham-mad.co.uk/news/tmnw/hodgson_optimistic_about_bobby_513817/index.shtml
Hodgson Optimistic About Bobby
Roy Hodgson is hoping that star striker Bobby Zamora will be fit to face Wolfsburg in their Europa League quarter-final second leg in Germany on Thursday.

Zamora missed Sunday's 2-1 win over struggling Wigan because of an Achilles tendon injury, but Hodgson believes that Zamora - who scored in the 2-1 first leg victory over the German side - will be fit enough to lead the attack.

"Bobby suffers with his Achilles tendon, as do many players," said Hodgson. "The problem with those injuries is that if you get a kick on it, like he did the other day, it makes it worse. We were hoping he would recover in time to play against Wigan but didn't. The medical staff are optimistic he will recover in time for Thursday."

Zamora's replacement against Wigan, David Elm, only lasted until half-time after Hodgson admitted he blundered by selecting him.

Elm had not fully recovered from a virus and was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.

"He was totally shattered at half-time," Hodgson added. "With hindsight I made the wrong decision playing him because he is in hospital at the moment on an ECG machine because the virus in his body is still there.

"I could see that he was struggling. I thought it was maybe because he had not played for a while and the pace of the game was beyond him.

"I suddenly realised at half-time I had made a big mistake and that I should never have thrust him into a game of this nature. The illness took more out of him than I thought."