Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)  (Read 8536 times)

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2010, 11:15:38 AM »
http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=732875&sec=england&root=england&cc=5739

ESPN Soccernet Preview: Fulham v Aston Villa

By Robin Hackett

January 29, 2010

 • Live on ESPN2 at 10.00 ET

A 3-0 victory over Manchester United at Craven Cottage on December 19 last year offered further evidence of the remarkable job Roy Hodgson has done since arriving at Craven Cottage almost exactly two years earlier. Inheriting a squad that looked doomed to relegation, he has since assembled and motivated a group of players that can compete with the very best.


Yet that 3-0 win signalled a downturn that has seen Fulham take just one point from the five league games that have followed. After a respectable draw at home to Tottenham, they were narrowly beaten at neighbours Chelsea before losing away to Stoke, Blackburn and Spurs. Fulham have long been renowned as a team that struggles on the road, but a run of four straight defeats still represents a concerning statistic.

Aston Villa, three places and ten points ahead in seventh, have also seen their Premier League fortunes fade since December 19. That day, they beat Stoke 1-0, completing a run of four straight victories in the league that included a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. They have not won in the league since though, losing to Arsenal and Liverpool before drawing with West Ham and Arsenal (again), although they have won four out of four games in their domestic cup games and booked their place in the Carling Cup final.

Saturday marks an important day for two clubs that have grown accustomed to progress and even overachievement.

Fulham player in focus: Bjorn Helge Riise. John Arne's younger brother has yet to make his mark in the Premier League, but his appearances in the Europa League - including two assists for Bobby Zamora in the 3-2 win over Basle in mid-December - suggest the 26-year-old midfielder can succeed at Craven Cottage. He is a creative player with a fierce shot and, alongside Danny Murphy and Damien Duff, could cause problems on Saturday. He is under pressure to deliver, with Simon Davies awaiting his chance.

Aston Villa player in focus: Ashley Young. The winger is enjoying his time on the right flank and Gael Clichy suffered a miserable night on Wednesday when Arsenal visited Villa Park. With Fulham left-back Paul Konchesky struggling to prove his fitness and Toni Kallio and Chris Baird the alternatives for the position, Young could do plenty to exploit the lack of pace.

Key battle: Brede Hangeland v Emile Heskey. For so long the cornerstone of Fulham's successes, Hangeland has been off-colour in recent weeks and it is vital that he returns to form here. The defender is responsible for countering the aerial threat and, with Heskey providing the stature and knockdowns for Gabriel Agbonlahor, he will need to return to his usual commanding self on Saturday.

Tactics: Fulham could well employ Zoltan Gera as the second striker behind Bobby Zamora. That would suit Zamora, whose success earlier in the season came as he was played in a more advanced position, but he is still trying to shrug off his fitness worries. On the wings, Roy Hodgson is likely to play left-footer Duff on the right and right-footer Riise on the left with Murphy pulling the strings in the centre alongside a more defensive midfielder. Aston Villa, meanwhile, were accused of playing a "very efficient English game with long balls and very physical" by Arsene Wenger this week. Martin O'Neill strongly rejected those suggestions but, while there is more subtlety to their play than suggested, they are unafraid of going direct and relying on the pace and strength of their forwards. They have also proved adept as a counter-attacking side and could look to soak up Fulham's possession at Craven Cottage.


Quotes: Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill on the task ahead: "We've had a tough run of games and have another tough run of games ahead of us now. We're sticking at it and our players have done the football club proud in last couple of weeks. We're going to hang in there in the league."

Fulham striker Erik Nevland on the importance of victory at Craven Cottage this weekend: "We've had a bad run so we need to put that right on Saturday. We've been playing against very good teams recently and we haven't been playing too badly. It's always good to play at home and Saturday is going to be an important game and we have to put it right."

In the news: Martin O'Neill reacted furiously to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's suggestion that Aston Villa are a long-ball side. He said: "He has made a few ridiculous statements in his time here and that is as good as any. That's only an annoyance really at the end of it all. Anybody who saw the game wouldn't take that viewpoint. Ashley Young didn't have the time to play any long balls when he was taking that left-back to the cleaners. He didn't have time to do that. It's an appalling insult." Meanwhile, Fulham defender Chris Smalling is to join Manchester United at the end of the season for an undisclosed fee.

Fulham team news: Andy Johnson is set to miss out due to a knee injury, while left-back Paul Konchesky is battling to be fit after an ankle problem, so Toni Kallio or Chris Baird could take his place. Clint Dempsey and John Paintsil remain long-term absentees.

Aston Villa team news: Nigel Reo-Coker has been ruled out for at least three months, while Stephen Warnock has a shin problem. Nicky Shorey has returned from a loan spell at Nottingham Forest to provide additional defensive cover, but Luke Young is likely to continue at left-back. Striker John Carew was unavailable to face Arsenal with a knee problem and it remains unclear as to his hopes of playing on Saturday.

Probable Fulham line-up (4-4-2): Schwarzer, Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes, Kallio, Duff, Baird, Murphy, Riise, Gera, Zamora.

Probable Aston Villa line-up (4-4-2): Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Luke Young, Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing, Heskey, Agbonlahor.

Soccernet prediction: Fulham are on a woeful run of form, but they are a much tougher proposition on their home ground. However, given their potential weaknesses in defence - both in terms of form and fitness - Aston Villa should have enough to edge victory.

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2010, 11:16:50 AM »
http://www.sport.co.uk/news/Football/33292/Wenger_We_were_close_to_getting_Smalling.aspx

Wenger: We were close to getting Smalling

Author:  Andrew Allen

Posted on:29 January 2010 - 10:38

Comments: 1 Go...
 

The French coach revealed last week that he had made a bid for the England under-21 international before both Manchester United and Fulham announced on their official websites that a fee and personal terms had been agreed.

Despite confusion amidst suggestions that Arsenal could scupper Sir Alex Ferguson’s move, Smalling did eventually complete his switch north, although he will psend the rest of the season at Craven Cottage.

Speaking about Smalling and his attempts to buy the Maidstone FC protégé, Wenger told the press:

“I believe Manchester United got Smalling.

“I’m sorry . We were close to getting him as well

“I wish the player well, it is important that he is happy and I hope he makes a great career.”

The Gunners have been linked with a host of names during the January transfer window but Arsene Wenger has so far only signed former player Sol Campbell on a free transfer.

Asked whether he was still looking at new players, the wily French tactician stated:

“It’s not impossible but at the moment it is unlikely.”

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2010, 11:19:49 AM »
http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/blogs/football-banter/Chris-Smalling-to-win-10-titles-with-Manchester-United-What-would-happen-if-the-Old-Trafford-new-boy-really-does-have-a-Roy-of-the-Rovers-career-article303949.html

What if... Chris Smalling really does have a Roy of the Rovers career...?
 
By Ian Cruise in Football Banter

Published 10:05 29/01/10

 
Recommend

 
Chris Smalling's extraordinary rise from non-league nobody to £12million superstar in the making has been called a 'fairytale rise' and a real 'Roy of the Rovers story'. Well, it has now!

But if that truly is the case, what can the Man United new boy expect as he follows in the golden footsteps of Roy Race in the coming years...?

2010: Makes his debut for Man United.

2014: Wins his first Premier League title - the first of ten.

 
2015: Smalling captains United to FA Cup glory.

2018: Somewhat later than expected, Smalling makes his England debut against Chile. On the same day(!), United will face a tricky test against fellow title contenders, Chelsea. Smalling will struggle to concentrate on his international bow but, when told United have won back at home, he finds his form and helps the Three Lions to a 3-1 win.

2020: The European Cup returns to Old Trafford. Skipper Smalling will win three in total.

2026: Smalling is selected for his first World Cup finals.

2028: Smalling helps United to win the League and Cup double, the only time they will achieve that feat in his career.

2031: At he age of 41, Smalling is named as player-manager of Manchester United.

2033: Smalling is named caretaker player-manager of England. But, after leading the side to a 5-1 win over Holland, he turns down the full-time job preferring to concentrate on his job at Old Trafford. Well, at 43, he has got a lot on his plate...

2034: His form suffers when he is linked with a big money move to the Middle East, and Fergie is even brought back to take temporary control of team affairs. But once the rumours are quashed, Smalling is soon re-instated.

2037: Smalling barely survives an attempt on his life when he is shot by a jealous actor who was due to portray him in a TV series about the club. Fortunately, he comes out of his coma as radio commentary of Man United's 14-0 win is played to him as he lies in his hospital bed.

2039: Smalling sensationally quits Old Trafford to take control at local rivals Manchester City.

2039: Just six months later, however, he returns to his spiritual home.

2042: Smalling shakes up the United team by signing TV pundits Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson, plus two members of the pop group, , JLS.

2042: Even though he's now 52, Smalling is selected for the World Cup finals. But he misses the tournament when Man United are kidnapped as part of a military coup during a post-season tour to the Middle East.

2044: Smalling scores both goals in England's 2-0 win over Turkey at the European Championship (not bad for a 54-year-old centre-half!). But in the act of scoring the second, he injures his knee and there are fears he will never play again. Luckily, he recovers and undertakes, on behalf of the Prime Minister, a European tour of goodwill taking in France, Germany and Holland.

2048: Smalling sets a new club record by scoring his 436th goal in the famous red shirt.

2049: Smalling is forced to call an untimely end to his playing career - at the tender age of just 59 - when he loses his left foot in a helicopter crash.

2050: Moves to Italy to take charge of AC Milan. But the family dynasty lives on at United with his son, Rocky, starring for the Red Devils.

2052: Smalling returns to Old Trafford for another stint as manager. He re-signs Rocky from local rivals, Man City.

2056: Smalling leads United to their first Premier League title for eight years with a victory on the last day of the season.

2057: Smalling buys Manchester United from the club's unpopular family owners.

Well... they do say that truth is stranger than fiction!


White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2010, 11:24:00 AM »
http://articles.squarefootball.net/squarefootball/2010/01/fulham-vs-aston-villa-.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Squarefootball+%28Squarefootball%29


Fulham vs Aston Villa: Cottagers look to stop slide into danger

Posted by Antony Melvin at 09:00 AM in Aston Villa, Fulham, Predictions, Premier League | Permalink
 

Tenth plays seventh in a game that sounds a bit mid-table - but, in terms of points, Fulham are closer to the relegation zone than they are to Aston Villa.

Fulham need to pull out of their downturn of form or they could start to fall down the division quite quickly as Sunderland have - the Black Cats are only four points worse off than the Cottagers. Fulham haven't won in the league since beating Manchester United and have lost the last four league games. To pep things up Roy Hodgson will make a late transfer move after selling the promising Chris Smalling, who, incidentally, started the losing run by conceding a decisive own-goal against Chelsea in December.

Villa start this game four points behind Tottenham who are in that coveted fourth place - but with a game in hand. So despite a series of lacklustre recent results Villa are still very much in with a shout. Are Villa becoming a cup team? The last two cup outings saw 3-2 and 6-4 wins, yet Villa haven't scored a single goal in the last three league games all of which were at home. Villa always look more comfortable as a counter-attacking side and an away game against a Fulham side that always attack at home may well be a good fixture for the Villans.

Fulham vs Aston Villa; Kick Off 3:00pm 30 Jan 2010

Prediction Panel
Our panel contains both Squarefootball writers and readers, the writers are marked: (sqf).

Dave Blackburn : TBC
Chris Cox : TBC
Graham Enwright : 1 - 1
Sue Gardener : 1 - 2
Chris Goodwin : 2 - 1
Paul Grech (sqf) : TBC
Colin Illingworth (sqf) : 1 - 1
Hugh Larkin (sqf) : TBC
Peter Lee : 1 - 1
Don McMahon : 1 - 2
Antony Melvin (sqf) : 1 - 2
Paul O'Meara (sqf) : TBC
Dave Nash : 0 - 1
Stephen Orford (sqf) : TBC
Tony Ratton : 1 - 1
Peter Rendle : 2 - 2
Dan Taylor : TBC
Andy Wakeman : 1 - 1
Isaac Williams : TBC
Mark Williams : TBC

Panel Verdict
The panel is split, the consensus going for a 1-1 draw.

Home: 1; Draw: 6; Away: 4; TBC: 9.

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2010, 11:25:29 AM »
http://www.camdennewjournal.com/sports/2010/jan/eyewitness-dan-carriers-view-tottenham-hotspur-2-fulham-0

Fulham are no slouches: Hodgson has the demeanour of one of those men who re-enact the Battle of Waterloo using lead soldiers, and he arranges his teams in a similar manner. Danny Murphy sits deep and plays his side-rule passes, while his fellow central midfielder, the leggy Kagisho Dikgacoi, does his scurrying for him. Neither full back goes further than the half way line, and it meant Bentley was often crowded out. Yet it is up to him to show he is worthy of a starting place, and in reality, as tonight showed, when Lennon is fit, he is playing.

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2010, 11:26:43 AM »
http://sport.iafrica.com/news/2193285.htm


Ghana book their place


Article By: Fri, 29 Jan 2010 07:56

Ghana are into the Africa Cup of Nations final for the first time in 18 years after a 1-0 defeat of Nigeria at the 11 November stadium on Thursday.

In form striker Asamoah Gyan got the priceless first half goal to claim the honours as Ghana moved to within one win of a fifth continental crown.

The Black Stars' opponents in Sunday's 2010 climax will emerge from Thursday's second semifinal in Benguela between holders Egypt and Algeria.

"It's unbelievable," said Gyan. "We are a young team and not many people gave us a chance of making the final."

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevic added: "I told my boys we were not going to play beautiful football today, we were going to play for a result.

"Nigeria had a few good chances but my team are very young and sometimes due to inexperience it led them (Nigeria) to create chances."

Under-fire Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu was asked at the post-match press conference if he was going to stand down.

He replied: "My contract is until August. If I'm still in charge up to the World Cup I will look at our deficiencies in this competition and look at areas of reinforcement.

"I said before we came here we don't have the best team but I'm confident we are developing from match to match.

"I don't think we lost to a better side, we lost to a youthful and enterprising side."

Ghana made one change from the side that knocked out hosts Angola in the quarterfinals, with Haminu Draman making way for the fit again midfielder Anthony Annan taking to the field for the first time in Angola.

Nigeria were without defender Onyekachi Apam, sent off in the last eight penalty shoot-out defeat of Zambia, with Obinna Nwaneri called up in his place.

Amodu made two further alterations, Obafemi Martins coming in for Everton striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni, and Ayila Yussuf in for Fulham midfielder Dickson Etuhu.

A Manchester derby resembles a childrens' tea party compared to the rivalry between these west African footballing giants, with Ghana holding the recent bragging rights following their 2-1 quarter-final win over their larger neighbours at the 2008 Nations Cup on home soil.

Nigeria were looking a good deal more energised than they had done in the quarter-finals with Martins menacing the Ghana back line repeatedly in the first quarter of an hour.

But it was Ghana who took the lead in the 21st minute against the run of play when Kwadwo Asamoah fired in a corner from the left for Gyan to outjump his marker, Nwaneri, and head past Vincent Enyeama.

That was the in-form Rennes' striker's third goal of the competition, putting him joint top of the scoring charts.

Ghana, with their sprinkling of youngsters and smattering of experienced stars, almost doubled their lead shortly after only for Gyan's dipping shot to go over Enyeama's crossbar.

Nigeria's front men Odemwingie of Lokomotiv Moscow and Martins were combining well and their double act would have produced an equaliser if it hadn't been for Ghana captain and skipper Richard Kingson's athletic save on 26 minutes.

Rajevic was forced into an unscheduled substitution on the half hour when Draman was introduced into the fray in place of injured Opuku Agyemang.

Seconds after the break Kingson was at full stretch to keep out a shot inadvertly sent in his direction at an alarming rate of knots by defender Lee Addy.

On 63 minutes Rajevic switched Hans Adu Sarpei for Zamalek Ibrahim Ayew.

Nigeria then strung together a slick three-cornered move involving Sani Kaita, Chelsea's John Obi Mikel and Martins but Wigan stopper Kingson was having a great game, and kept Ghana in front by chesting Martin's close range shot out of danger.

Amodu then took off Odemwingie, who handed the captain's armband to Yakubu Ayegbeni.

The Everton forward was barely on the pitch when he was set up in front of goal by Elderson Echiejile, but his shot cannoned wide.

Ghana would need all their tenacity and luck to hold on in the dying minutes but they did it to leave the Nigerians' title hopes in tatters.


White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2010, 11:28:17 AM »
http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/some-other-expensive-flops-2038419.html

STEVE MARLET

At £11.5m in 2001, the modestly talented Marlet is a poster boy for the Premier League's worst excesses. The aberration in judgment by then-Fulham boss Jean Tigana surely contributed to his sacking later that season, while he was the most expensive of bench-warmers in the autumn of his Cottagers' career.

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2010, 11:29:22 AM »
http://fansonline.net/blackpool/mb/view.php?id=299741

This article makes me burst with pride.

Think back 5 years, pre-Grayson.

And look at how we're viewed nowadays...

'DEFEND!' says Coventry Boss Coleman

Coventry City manager Chris Coleman has said this week that his team won't be playing attacking football on Saturday.

The Sky Blues were beaten handsomly 3-0 at Bloomfield Road back in August after they went and expressed themselves.

But the former Fulham gaffer is wary of the threat Ian Holloway's Blackpool bring.

'If we go into Saturday's game thinking we can go out to attack and play nice and open we will lose, so we are not going to do that, I promise you that now," he remarked.

'We will be going into it with the same mind-set (as Tuesday night away at Swansea) and if we need to score from a set play I don't care because three points on Saturday will see us sitting nice and pretty.

'We will be on 35 points with still plenty of games left and it will be a good scalp for us to beat Blackpool because we went up there earlier in the season and played open and lost 3-0, so we have got one or two points to prove on Saturday.'

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2010, 11:31:42 AM »
http://fansonline.net/middlesbrough/mb/view.php?id=1686451

Boro signed smalling!!!  
   
Typical boro!


The below exert taken directly from skysports.com. link: http://www.skysports.com/football/transfers/scout/

"during his time playing for England schoolboys that he really began to attract interest from scouts and Middlesbrough's famed youth academy spotted his potential and he agreed a deal to move to the Riverside and signed a two-year deal.

But soon after Smalling decided he wanted to stay in the South and Boro agreed to cancel their contract with him and he signed for Fulham instead."


White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2010, 11:35:03 AM »
http://www.adifferentleague.co.uk/default.aspx?Tab=1&Page=6&Article=1242

Club Focus - Fulham - The price of potential


By Matt Domm

Most people will tell you potential doesn’t have a price, but it does if you’re Manchester United. The Red Devils have paid £12m to find out whether Fulham have let go of a future England international in Chris Smalling.


The deal has to go down as a gamble on United’s part, and a very good piece of business for the west Londoners. Picked up from Maidstone United for a voluntary donation of just £10 000, Smalling has made just a handful of appearances for the Whites - impressing on most occasions, but also scoring an unfortunate own goal and conceding a poor Europa League penalty. He replaced Brede Hangeland ably when the Norwegian was injured and does seem to have a head far more mature than his 20 years, but do these reasons justify such a hefty transfer to the current Premier League champions? Probably not, but United - despite all the talk surrounding their finances - can afford to take that chance. Fulham, on the other hand, cannot afford to turn such an offer down. After all, his early promise could merely be a honeymoon period for a player who was all set for university before Fulham came calling - only time will tell whether the hangover is to come. This writer does believe Smalling is the real deal, but the immediate deal was cash on the table, which chief executive Alistair Mackintosh would have been a fool to decline. The money can now, hopefully, be used to bring a few players in to strengthen the squad, money which would not have been seen if Smalling stayed and saw his potential fade like so many other prospects at the club.


The Under-21 international is staying until the end of the season, and is needed as first-choice back up to Hangeland and Aaron Hughes. The deal went through on Wednesday, but the certainty of his big move failed to fully motivate the youngster against Tottenham the night before - he was part of the Fulham side which was routinely beaten at White Hart Lane. And of more concern than losing a hot prospect is the club’s plummet in form since Christmas which has seen four league defeats from four. Although neither side created many chances, Spurs were far better and got at their London rivals by closing them down quickly all over the pitch - a tactic employed by the Whites’ opposition in three of the last four Premier League games (all somewhat comprehensive defeats). While John Pantsil and Paul Konchesky bomb forward at every opportunity to provide much-needed width, there were no recognised full-backs in Roy Hodgson’s White Hart Lane line-up. Thus, with the pressing of Danny Murphy forcing Damien Duff inside to help, combined with Hughes and Chris Baird - it was a defensive system which meant there was little penetration from the visitors in the final third.


Coinciding with this worrying lack of threat going forward is the form of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who has had two very poor outings in a week. The goal Accrington Stanley scored at the weekend was due to the Australian parrying a ball back into play that was going yards wide of the post - usually a rare error from the ever-present No 1. The mistakes slipping into the defence over recent fixtures have seemingly spread to Schwarzer who, usually so commanding in the air, wildly missed a punch from a looping cross before Bjorn Helge Riise failed to usher it behind, resulting in the opening goal. While Riise should have hacked it clear, his goalkeeper should have dealt comfortably with the situation initially. The two combined again for Tottenham’s second. Fair enough, it was a wicked deflection off Riise’s head, but this writer cannot help but feel Schwarzer should have been standing at the other side of the goal - being behind the wall somewhat nullifies the point of having one in the first place. Schwarzer’s recent performances are uncharacteristic, however, and the Australian stopper remains one of the top goalkeepers in the league. All he needs - like the rest of his teammates - is some confidence. A return to Craven Cottage will do wonders in that respect.


Aston Villa have been short of league form themselves and have failed to score in their last three. If the visit of a misfiring Villa strike force to a ground where they consistently underperform doesn’t represent an opportunity for a Fulham clean sheet, then nothing does. While logic suggests a 0-0 draw, nothing with this club is that simple. There will be goals.

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2010, 11:36:01 AM »
http://hammyend.com/?p=5023

Up next: Aston Villa (h)

by Dan on January 29, 2010

Despite four straight defeats, Fulham are still in the top half of the table, progressing nicely in the FA Cup and in Europe and have a run of home fixtures to offset our awful away form. But no amount of ‘blue sky thinking’ will prevent their being a tangible air of tension around tomorrow’s game with Aston Villa as injuries and sudden lack of confidence threaten to turn a promising season into an anxious one.

Roy Hodgson’s side haven’t picked up a point in 2010 and you’d have to go back to just after Christmas and their narrow defeat at Chelsea for their last strong showing. Fulham’s cause hasn’t been helped by injuries to key players – they could be without John Pantsil, Paul Konchesky, Clint Dempsey and Andy Johnson again tomorrow – but their also seems to a fragility in place of the resolute defence that supported the surge to a European place last year.

Four successive away defeats are not unusual for Fulham, but the manner of their capitulation at Blackburn and Spurs was disappointing. Nor is it as simple as just returning to Craven Cottage, where the Whites home record remains impressive. The bear facts tell you that Villa have failed to score in their last four league games, but when you consider that they’ve played Arsenal (twice) and Liverpool in that sequence, it doesn’t look so bad. Martin O’Neill’s side were particularly impressive against the Gunners in midweek and will desperate to make up ground on the sides above them on Saturday.

O’Neill’s dealings in the transfer market have been pretty savvy and the manager himself should take plenty of credit for Villa’s resurgence under Randy Lerner, the quiet American owner who could give the Glazers invaluable lessons about being accepted at a Premier League. Eyebrows were raised when O’Neill moved to Villa Park from Blackburn, largely because of his age, but as we have seen with Mark Schwarzer here at Fulham, age is no barrier, especially in a goalkeeper’s case. Friedel is a strange one: he’s undoubtedly one of the best keepers in the Premier League, but never really exuded assurance at Liverpool.

O’Neill’s reworked the Villa defence too. Yes, he might have paid more than £3m for Zat Knight, but having shipped the former Fulham defender out to Bolton, he’s even managed to cover the loss of Martin Larsson. Richard Dunne is surely the signing of the season, but with James Collins pressing Carlos Cuellar for a spot alongside the Irish international and Curtis Davies still progressing nicely, the central defence looks very well staffed.

The manager’s policy of being young, English talent has been commended frequently, particularly as it often means paying over-the-odds for players who haven’t quite proved themselves. It needed a big fee to persuade Watford to part with Ashley Young, but the speedy winger is nigh on unstoppable on his day. James Milner was inecxplicably ignored by a succession of Newcastle managers and has flourished under O’Neill’s management, showing his talent and versatility in equal measure. Stewart Downing, brought in from Middlesbrough, has yet to overcome a serious injury to return to the line-up but he’s now going about justifying the faith shown in him. Having Stilyian Petrov, once derided as not being good enough for the Premier League, anchoring the midfield means such adventure isn’t as dangerous as it might have been.

John Carew, he of the failed Fulham medical, might be missing tomorrow but Villa do have striking riches. Gabby Agbonlahor always looks lively up front and Emile Heskey will have his club place to play for, not to mention his spot as Fabio Capello’s number one target man. Nathan Delfouneso has demonstrated his potential in a few league and European outings and could make an impact from the bench. Former Villa defender Aaron Hughes will have his work cut out for him, whether Hodgson reprises Tuesday’s experiment and plays him at right back, or opts to play him in his natural role at centre back.

Hodgson’s selection will be interesting. Chris Baird did a decent job at left back at White Hart Lane, but we missed his presence in midfield alongside an off-colour Danny Murphy. While the options box might be thin, I’d be tempted to go back to the full backs who started the game against Accrington. At least they’ll be better able to contain the threat coming down Villa’s flanks and prepared to go forward. Simon Davies should replace Bjorn-Helge Riise, who froze at Tottenham in midweek. In the absence of Andy Johnson, Hodgson may continue with Zoltan Gera just behind Bobby Zamora, who will have had a few more days of training behind him. The likes of Diomansy Kamara and Erik Nevland could provide attacking options from the bench.

MY FULHAM XI (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Kelly, Kallio, Hughes, Hangeland; Baird, Murphy, S. Davies, Duff; Gera; Zamora. Subs: Zuberbuhler, Smalling, Dikgacoi, Greening, Riise, Nevland, Kamara.

os5889

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2010, 11:39:20 AM »


White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2010, 12:46:03 PM »
United Fixture

Friday 29th January 2010

Fulham FC News

The Club can confirm that Fulham's Barclays Premier League fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford will now be played on Sunday 14 March 2010.

The game will kick-off at 1.30pm and will still be shown live on Sky Sports.


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/January/UnitedFixture.aspx#ixzz0e0MWUX2H

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2010, 01:03:46 PM »
http://www.clubcall.com/fulham/cottagers-hitman-out-defender-doubtful-1014416.html

Cottagers hitman out - defender doubtful

Fulham, 12:34, January 29, 2010

Fulham are set to be without Andrew Johnson for Saturday's visit of Aston Villa due to a knee injury, while Paul Konchesky is doubtful.

Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson appears resigned to being without strike ace Johnson for the Craven Cottage showdown and looks set to play Zoltan Gera as the second striker behind Bobby Zamora.

Full-back Konchesky has a chance of playing, but Toni Kallio and Chris Baird are waiting in the wings to take his place if he fails to shake off an ankle injury in time.

Clint Dempsey and John Paintsil remain long-term absentees and will miss out again as Fulham look to bounce back from the 2-0 defeat at Tottenham on Tuesday.

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2010, 01:04:32 PM »
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article7007806.ece

6. CHRIS SMALLING (up)

Sports Watch loves a transfer from leftfield.

Mark Hateley to AC Milan, Juninho to Middlesbrough, Carlton Palmer to anyone. Now the Fulham rookie has signed for Manchester United despite never being on the winning side in a Premier League match. We bow to no one in respect for Roy Hodgson's knowledge and hope Maidstone United really is the future.


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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2010, 01:05:56 PM »
http://www.kentnews.co.uk/kent-news/Smalling-speaks-of-dream-United-move-newsinkent32300.aspx?news=sport

Smalling speaks of dream United move

Former Maidstone United defender Chris Smalling has described his dream transfer to Manchester United as an “unbelievable opportunity”.

The 20-year-old defender has made a meteoric rise from non-league football with Maidstone United to Premier League champions Manchester United in less than two years, after completing his transfer this week.   

Smalling told his new club's website: “My time at Fulham has been great and I have learned a lot about the game from Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff. But the chance of coming to the biggest club in the world is something I just couldn’t turn down. I’m excited about working with Sir Alex and the fantastic players in the squad.

“I’ve played a few times in the Europa League this year, but the thought of making the step up to the Champions League next year is great. I can’t wait.”

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson revealed he had been monitoring the defender’s progress for some time before he tabled a bid to Fulham believed to be around £8 million.

He told the club website: "Chris is an extremely talented young defender. He’s very quick and reads the game well. He will be a great asset to the club, playing alongside some of the best defenders around and we’re delighted to have secured his signature.”

Smalling, a former Chatham Grammar Schoolboy joined Fulham in May 2008 after coming through the youth ranks at Ryman Premier League Maidstone United. While at Maidstone he made 12 first team appearances before he was spotted by Fulham playing for England Schoolboys. 

The defender made rapid progress at Fulham, initially captained the reserves, before he broke into the first team. He has made four Premier League appearances, including his first start in a 2-1 defeat against Chelsea last month. He has also been one of Hodgson’s first choice defenders in Fulham’s Europa League campaign.

The move to Premier League giants Mancheter United this week has confirmed Smalling is one of the hottest prospects in the English game and he is looking forward to impressing at Old Trafford. He will stay at Fulham for the remainder of the season, before joining up with United in the summer.

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2010, 01:06:59 PM »
5th Round Awaits

Friday 29th January 2010

Fulham FC News 
 

Fulham’s FA Youth Cup adventure continues on Tuesday night when the Whites take on Ipswich Town at Portman Road in the 5th Round.

Fulham completed a league double over their Cup opponents last weekend with a resounding 6-1 victory, but Academy Manager Gary Brazil is certainly not be underestimating Ipswich, who knocked Arsenal out the 4th Round in convincing fashion.

“It’s the same opposition but the teams will be very different on Tuesday night," Brazil explained. "There were changes from the Ipswich team that beat Arsenal and we weren’t going to put our Youth Cup Team out against them last weekend.

“I have to say it was a very pleasing performance on Saturday and the result was a positive one. We scored some very good goals and overall the team play was very strong.

“It won’t be an indicator for next Tuesday but it does you no harm to go out and score goals and we’ve beaten Ipswich home and away now. It will be down to who handles the night the best on Tuesday."

Brazil revealed his Team’s preparation for FA Youth Cup matches replicates that of the First Team and the support of the Club is certainly paying dividends on the pitch in this season's Cup competition.

“The preparation has already started for next week," said Brazil. "We have a game against Portsmouth on Saturday which is a good way of preparing for what will be a tough game on Tuesday. We’ve been well supported by the Club having had the opportunity to take the boys away prior to both the previous rounds.

“We treat them as though they’re the First Team in terms of their preparation. The principle is the same; staying away the night before, preparing and training. A lot of the people involved in our Academy have experience of First Team football and the players have responded to that.

“We’ve prepared really well for the last two rounds in our professional preparation and the way we’ve looked after the boys and in fairness to the players they’ve responded with committed performances.

“The real good preparation for Bolton was to go away for five days to the indoor tournament in Germany and put the boys in pressure situations when they have to win to go through to the next round.

“We went out to Austria Vienna on penalties in that competition but going through that process, you can’t replicate that feeling when penalties are happening, you’ve got to score and the boys did very well in Germany but went out in sudden death. At the Reebok every player kept their cool and Marcus Bettinelli kept his cool in goal.”

Brazil was certainly impressed with Ipswich’s 4th Round victory over Arsenal and is hoping his Team can secure a place in the Quarter Final's for a clash with Aston Villa or Millwall at the Cottage.

“We’ve got hard work to do at Portman Road but the reward for Ipswich or ourselves will be a home fixture against Aston Villa or Millwall. They play on Friday night and I’ll be going up to watch that game. It’s an opportunity to go even further.

“Kris Kywomia [Ipswicxh Academy Manager] will have his side well organised. They were excellent against in the previous round and deserved to beat Arsenal. It’s a tough, tough fixture but we’ve got nothing to fear.”


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2010/January/YouthCupPreview.aspx#ixzz0e0S90F3Z

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2010, 01:08:05 PM »
Own The DVD

Friday 29th January 2010

Fulham FC News

Fulham 3-0 Man United DVD: In Stores NOW!

Roy Hodgson and his players made it a Christmas to remember for Fulham's loyal supporters.

Following a memorable 3-2 win over Basel in Switzerland that saw the Club qualify for the later stages of the UEFA Europa League, the Whites delivered a pre-Christmas cracker at the Cottage with a stunning 3-0 victory over the Barclays Premier League champions, Manchester United.
Now you can own this bit of history by purchasing| the official Fulham 3 - 0 Manchester United DVD today.

Hodgson's side dominated the contest from the off and when Danny Murphy put Fulham ahead the Whites were on their way to another historic win at the Cottage.

Second-half goals from Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff wrapped up another famous victory for Hodgson's men who once again proved their mettle against one of the great forces of world football. It was quite simply a proud day for every Fulham fan across the globe.

This DVD is available online|  or in stores now. Pick yours up tomorrow when Fulham take on Villa at the Cottage. 


Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2009/December/ManUtdDVD.aspx#ixzz0e0SLErt7


White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2010, 01:09:03 PM »
http://www.sport.co.uk/news/Football/33304/Capital_trip_for_ambitious_Villa.aspx

Capital trip for ambitious Villa

Author:  Ben Moss

Posted on:29 January 2010 - 11:40 AM

Aston Villa make the trip to capital on Saturday to face Roy Hodgson's Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The visitors will be looking for a much-needed three points if they are to continue their top-four charge, but after picking up a draw at Villa Park against Arsenal on Wednesday evening, Martin O'Neill's men could be confident.

Villa are four points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League place, although they do have a game in hand over their London rivals.

Fulham will not be an easy conquest for the Midlands outfit, especially with a fine home record that has steered them into top-half contention.

They have not lost at Craven Cottage since the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on September 26 and 11 games has passed since this setback.

Fulham will proudly look back knowing they have put Liverpool and champions Manchester United handsomely to the sword in this sequence.

Despite this, Fulham's last four Premier League fixtures have all been away from home, and they have lost each one to Chelsea, Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers and Spurs and it is a mini-slump that Hodgson will want to arrest.

Fulham's progress has been hindered with the loss of several key first-team players in recent times.

American star Clint Dempsey, Andrew Johnson and John Paintsil (all knee) will be missing with Paul Konchesky (ankle) struggling to shake off his problem.

Villa currently have few injury concerns which must delight O'Neill at this crucial stage of the season, although midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker has been ruled out for three months with an ankle problem.

The Villans have secured their place in the final of the Carling Cup after semi-final wins against Blackburn and it was the same side they knocked out of the FA Cup.

A further FA Cup win against Brighton & Hove Albion has put them into the fifth round and after picking up draws with West Ham United and Arsenal, a win at the Cottage would certainly increase team morale as they look to remain unbeaten.

White Noise

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (29.01.10)
« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2010, 01:52:39 PM »
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/8481175.stm

Fulham    v    Aston Villa

Live text and stats

Content will update automatically

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Fulham v  Aston Villa 15:00
 
   

FULHAMASTON VILLAPossession
Fulham 50% Aston Villa 50% Attempts on target
Fulham 0 Aston Villa 0 Attempts off target
Fulham 0 Aston Villa 0 Corners
Fulham 0 Aston Villa 0 Fouls
Fulham 0 Aston Villa 0 Barclays Premier League
Venue: Craven Cottage Date: Saturday, 30 January 2010 Kick-off: 1500 GMT
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 Live, local radio, Final Score & highlights on Match of the Day


TEAM NEWS
Fulham striker Andrew Johnson remains sidelined, along with defender Paul Konchesky and midfielder Clint Dempsey.

Chris Smalling should continue in defence despite agreeing to join champions Manchester United at the end of the season.

Aston Villa are likely to again be without Stephen Warnock, who is suffering with a shin injury.

Nigel Reo-Coker could be sidelined for up to three months with an ankle injury picked up in training.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fulham

Injured/unavailable: Dempsey, Johnson & Pantsil (all knee), Konchesky (ankle), Etuhu (Africa Cup of Nations)

Aston Villa

Doubtful: Carew (knee), Warnock (shin)

Injured: Albrighton & Reo-Coker (both ankle), Bouma (toe), Harewood (foot)


MATCH PREVIEW
Aston Villa enter a critical stage of the season that will "make or break" their Champions League challenge, according to manager Martin O'Neill.

 I think the target for the team is to finish higher than we did last year... Hopefully that could potentially mean a Champions League spot

Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne
Villa are four points off fourth spot and round off the month with Saturday's trip to Craven Cottage before facing Tottenham and Manchester United at the start of February.

Despite reaching their first Wembley final for a decade, Villa's league form has suffered an alarming dip. Wednesday's goalless draw with Arsenal was a return to form of sorts, but it was Villa's fourth game without a win in a spell during which they have only collected two points. Significantly they have failed to score in any of those four matches.

Fulham have suffered their own dramatic decline. They have now lost four league games in a row and gone five without a win since December's 3-0 defeat of Manchester United.

Roy Hodgson's side are, however, unbeaten at Craven Cottage since September and have not lost at home to Villa since February 2004.


MATCH FACTS
Head-to-head

• This is the 56th meeting between these sides. Fulham have won 18, Villa 19 with 18 draws.

• Only one of the 17 Premier League meetings between the two sides has ended as an away win.


• Fulham are unbeaten at Craven Cottage since the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on 26 September, a run of 11 games.

• If selected, Danny Murphy will be making his 100th appearance for Fulham.

• The Cottagers have won 100 Premier League matches. Roy Hodgson has also overseen 100 games at the club.

Aston Villa

• Villa have only taken two points from their last four league matches, and not scored a single goal in that time. Failure to score at Craven Cottage would equal their top-flight record, last set between February and March 1992.

• Villa have won just four of their last 16 Premier League matches on the road.

• Curtis Davies has made 199 career appearances.


LEADING GOALSCORERS

 
Fulham

Zamora: 11 goals (6 league); Dempsey: 7 goals (6 league)


 
Aston Villa

Agbonlahor: 10 goals (8 league); Milner: 8 goals (4 league)


MATCH OFFICIALS
Referee: Lee Mason

Assistant referees: Simon Long & Ceri Richards

Fourth official: Andy D'Urso


LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS
Fulham (L0-2 v Tottenham, a): Schwarzer; Hughes, Hangeland, Smalling, Baird, Riise (Davies 64), Dikgacoi, Murphy, Gera (Kamara 72), Duff, Zamora (Elm 79). Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Greening, Kallio.

Aston Villa (D0-0 v Arsenal, h): Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, L Young, A Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing, Agbonlahor, Heskey (Delph 78). Subs not used: Guzan, Shorey, Beye, Davies, Sidwell, Delfouneso.


MOST RECENT MEETING

Aston Villa 2-0 Fulham (30 August 2009)

Aston Villa scorers: Pantsil 3 (o.g.), Agbonlahor 59