Author Topic: Saturday Fulham Stuff (24.04.10)  (Read 4281 times)

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (24.04.10)
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2010, 06:09:33 PM »
http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2891/previews/2010/04/24/1892951/premier-league-preview-everton-fulham

Premier League Preview: Everton - Fulham


Toffees target Europa League as Cottagers eye final in Hamburg


By Jamie Dunn


24 Apr 2010 16:30:00


Kickoff: Sunday 25 April, 15:00 BST
Goodison Park, Everton

After a slow start to their Premier League campaign, Everton turned a corner at the start of 2010 and haven't looked back since. David Moyes' side have arguably been the form side at the turn of the decade, losing just three times in the league all year, claiming the scalps of Chelsea and Manchester United in the process.

Injuries hampered Moyes' squad early on, but that weight has been almost lifted and, as a result of the Toffees' rejuvenated form, coupled with Portsmouth's lack of a UEFA license, the Goodison Park faithful are hopeful of qualification for the Europa League.

Reaching next season's competition would most likely come at the expense of seventh-placed Liverpool and a win over Fulham could reduce the gap between the Merseyside rivals to just two points. Completely derailing the Reds' year would make success all the more sweet.

Fulham are out of the running for European places this season, but their commitments on the continent are far from over. Roy Hodgson's side battled to a goalless draw at the Nordbank Arena in Hamburg and, should they secure a victory at Craven Cottage, the Whites will be returning to Germany for the Europa League final in May.

Hodgson has admitted to having one eye on midweek endeavours in the past and is likely to change the side that played on Thursday in order to rest key personnel. Regardless, Everton should still expect a tough test from a side that has proven to be extremely difficult to break down for long spells of the season.

FORM GUIDE

Everton

Blackburn 2-3 Everton (Premier League)
Aston Villa 2-2 Everton (Premier League)
Everton 2-2 West Ham (Premier League)
Wolves 0-0 Everton (Premier League)
Man City 0-2 Everton (Premier League)

Fulham

Hamburg 0-0 Fulham (Europa League)
Fulham 0-0 Wolves (Premier League)
Liverpool 0-0 Fulham (Premier League)
Wolfsburg 0-1 Fulham (Europa League)
Fulham 2-1 Wigan (Premier League)

TEAM NEWS

Everton

Moyes has only a handful of injury worries ahead of Sunday's game; John Heitinga [ankle] is forced out, while long-term absentees Marouane Fellaini [foot] and Dan Gosling [knee] are still missing.

Possible Starting XI: Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Bilyaletdinov, Neville, Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar; Saha.

Fulham

Bobby Zamora has aggravated an Achilles injury and is unlikely to be risked ahead of the Europa League second-leg with Hamburg. Andrew Johnson [knee] is out for the season, and Simon Davies [rib] is a doubt, but John Pantsil, who has been out for four months, could make his long-awaited return.

Possible Starting XI: Schwarzer; Pantsil, Smalling, Hughes, Shorey; Duff, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey; Gera; Okaka.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Everton

He may be lucky to be available for selection following a petulant poke to the eye of Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen, but Mikel Arteta has played a central role in Everton's rejuvenation. The midfielder is a cultured player of the highest class who, were it not for the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Xavi, would surely be bound for South Africa this summer.

Fulham

With Bobby Zamora set to miss out due to injury, Stefano Okaka may get another chance to impress at Goodison Park. The young striker is cup-tied for Europa League duty and so is missing the European adventure, but the on-loan forward could endear himself to Fulham fans with a few Premier League goals before returning to Roma.

PREDICTION

Fulham fans haven't seen a goal in over four and a half hours of football. That is likely to change at Goodison Park against an Everton side who have conceded two goals in their last three games, but should edge this encounter.

Everton 2-1 Fulham

White Noise

  • Guest
Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (24.04.10)
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2010, 06:17:35 PM »


Clint Dempsey: Fulham's season already a success



American attributes season's fortunes down to hard work


By Tim Ward


24 Apr 2010 16:00:00


Clint Dempsey has declared Fulham's season a success no matter what happens over the coming week.

After their marathon trip to Hamburg, Roy Hodgson's men are back on the road again on Sunday when they tackle Everton, who have not given up hope of landing a European berth themselves following confirmation that Portsmouth will not be allowed to enter.

But Fulham could hardly be blamed for looking slightly further ahead to Thursday's semi-final second leg with Hamburg, arguably the biggest game in the club's history.

After a 0-0 draw in the first leg Fulham are fancied to progress to May's final, but even if they do not, having come so far in a competition they began back in July and with mid-table security already established in the Premier League, Dempsey feels his teammates will deserve a pat on the back.

"No matter what happens now we have already had a good season," said the United States international.

"I am not surprised at how well we are doing. We work hard and when you put in work like that it shows."

Danny Murphy has already gone public with Fulham's plan to rest key players at Goodison Park to try to keep some freshness in the team ahead of their date with destiny.

If past history is any guide, Nicky Shorey and Manchester United-bound Chris Smalling will both be involved against the Toffees, along with Stefano Okaka.

Fulham have never won at Everton in the league, a record which looks unlikely to be broken in the circumstances.

Roy Hodgson will be looking for goals after going three matches without finding the net, even if the Fulham boss claims to not be concerned.

"They have not been easy games," he said. "We had a goalless draw at Liverpool, which most people would regard as a positive result, and drawing in Hamburg was pretty creditable as well.

"It was disappointing not to score against Wolves last weekend but maybe our minds were already on the Hamburg game.

"I am not too concerned because we have goals in the team."

Hodgson can only hope that by making changes for such a tough game he is injecting his side with a group of players with something to prove.

Even for a manager of his capabilities though, it seems a pretty hard job given the proximity of the two games and what is at stake.

"We are so close to making the final and you don't get many opportunities to do that," said Dempsey. "It would be great for Fulham but it would also be great for the players who are putting in the work every week.

"We have come this far. We will be doing everything we can to make sure we are there."