Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)  (Read 7031 times)

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2010, 07:20:08 AM »
Report: Fulham v Stoke

Etherington wins it

A late strike from Matthew Etherington gave Stoke a shock 1-0 win over Europa League finalists Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The Stoke winger latched on to Ricardo Fuller's cross to smash his drive past Mark Schwarzer to inflict Fulham's fifth home defeat of the season and move Tony Pulis' side up to 10th in the table.

Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic had to react quickly to deny Clint Dempsey in the second half but Fulham otherwise lacked any killer instinct in what was largely a dull match.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson recalled Brede Hangeland, Zoltan Gera, Danny Murphy, Damien Duff, Aaron Hughes and Dickson Etuhu to a strong side for the Cottagers' final home game of the season.

Pulis opted to stick with the same team that drew 0-0 with Everton on Sunday.

With the Europa League final just seven days away, many had predicted that Hodgson would put out a second string for the club's 61st game of a long season.

But aside from the injured Bobby Zamora, the side which Hodgson selected was so strong that he may well field the same team against Atletico Madrid next week.

Mark Schwarzer came out to punch Rory Delap's first trademark long throw in the fifth minute before Etuhu needed two minutes to recover after being hacked down by a mis-timed sliding tackle from Mamady Sidibe.

Wasteful passing from Fulham and resolute defending from Hangeland ensured neither goalkeeper was tested in the first 15 minutes.

Duff then found Gera in space in the 19th minute but he scooped his shot over from 10 yards.

Hangeland was barged into the advertising boards by Fuller as he shepherded the ball out but referee Peter Walton waved play on.

As a dull game limped past the half hour, the Stoke fans vented their frustration by deciding to embark upon a conga around the Putney end stand.

Both sides failed to create chances before the game was given a little life when referee Walton had to stop play to talk to Dempsey, who argued with Ryan Shawcross after the American's path was blocked by the defender.

The first shot on target of the game came seven minutes from the break when Dempsey slipped in Gera who shot straight at Stoke stopper Begovic.

Fuller ranted at Walton after he failed to give a foul when Etuhu pulled him back just before the break.

Robert Huth then entered the book for arguing with the referee before Glenn Whelan fired harmlessly wide on the stroke of half-time.

Duff, who finished the first half clutching his leg, failed to emerge after the break and was substituted by Erik Nevland, who was making his last home appearance for the club before moving to Viking Stavanger.

Fuller beat his marker to send a glancing header wide from a Delap throw as Stoke looked for a quick goal after the break.

Hodgson came out of his dugout to vent his frustration at his side, who were struggling to get into their rhythm.

Shawcross was booked for a blatant tug of Dempsey's shirt eight minutes into the second half.

Etherington beat John Pantsil for pace down the left but his teasing cross flew across the box without a vital tap-in.

Etuhu's 15-yard header flew over just after the hour but Stoke continued to control most of the play.

Fulham hit back though through Gera, who picked out Dempsey at the back post but the striker's shot inside the six-yard box was tipped wide by Begovic.

Pulis looked for inspiration from Tuncay, who came on for Sidibe with 20 minutes left.

Etuhu climbed well to beat Delap from a Murphy corner but Begovic was equal to the midfielder's header.

Pantsil's ambitious 30-yard drive cleared Begovic's bar with just over 10 minutes left as Fulham regained control of the game.

But with little over seven minutes left the Potters took the lead when Fuller's cross skimmed off Tuncay's back to fall to Etherington who smashed his finish home off the Fulham woodwork.

Hodgson replaced Pantsil with striker Stefano Okaka as he looked to find a leveller while Etherington left the field for Salif Diao for Stoke.

A late challenge on Tuncay earned Aaron Hughes a booking towards the death as Stoke continued to frustrate the hosts in their search for an equaliser.

The home fans urged their team on but they could not find their way through a solid Stoke back line.

The Cottagers' attentions now turn to Arsenal before next week's Europa League final in Hamburg, where they will have to improve dramatically if they are to pick up their first major trophy in their 131-year history.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2010, 07:21:19 AM »
Nevland wants to sign off from Fulham with Euro success

Erik Nevland is keen to sign off from Fulham with victory in the Europa League final.

Nevland is due to return to Viking Stavanger, the club where he began his career, at the end of the season, despite Hodgson's best efforts to keep him at Craven Cottage.

The 32-year-old admits he would relish the prospect of helping fire Fulham to victory on Wednesday if top goalscorer Zamora misses the match.

"We want to win every game we play but for me personally it would be an absolute dream to leave with a Europa League medal around my neck," said the Norwegian.

"Obviously I want to play in the final. It's one of the biggest games I will ever play in and I want to be a part of it.

"There is still a big game to play so it's going to be exciting and we are looking forward to it."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2010, 07:23:07 AM »
FULHAM will find out on Monday if they are guaranteed European competition again next season – when UEFA publish their Fair Play tables.

The top three nations are entitled to enter representatives in the Europa League and insiders say England are well-placed to claim one of the spots.

With one match to play, Fulham – in third place overall in the Premier League fair play table – cannot be caught by anybody who has not already qualified for Europe.

Should they beat Atletico Madrid on Wednesday in the Europa League final they will qualify as holders.

What is more, they would enter at the group stage in September rather than with the first qualifying round on July 1 – 10 days before this season finishes with the World Cup final.

If Roy Hodgson does lift the trophy, the fair play place will pass to Burnley thanks to their respect to opponents as well as their red and yellow card tally.

If there was a “respect for the media” award, Burnley would also be highly placed. Reporters will have a “champagne breakfast” for the final Friday press conference with Brian Laws today – Turf Moor style, with bacon butties and hash browns.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2010, 07:24:42 AM »
For Fulham, Dempsey set to become first U.S. player in European final.

Clint Dempsey will become the first American to ever play for a major trophy in Europe with Fulham when the English Premier League Cottagers travel to Hamburg, Germany's Nordank Arena to face Spain's Atletico Madrid in the Europa League championship match.

Somewhat surprisingly, Fulham made it into the title match on the strength of a come-from-behind 2-1 victory Thursday over visting Hamburg SV of the German Bundesliga. This gave Fulham a 2-1 aggregate for the two-match series following a 0-0 draw April 22 at Hamburg.

Fulham meets Spain's Atletico Madrid which needed an extra-time strike by Diego Forlan to beat Liverpool of the EPL 1-0.

On Thursday, Hamburg took a 1-0 lead on a 22nd -minute goal by Mladen Petric. Dempsey came on in the 57th minute replacing limping Bobby Zamora as the lone striker.

Simon Davies scored in the 69th and Zoltan Gera in the 76th to give Fulham its decision. Dempsey played strong defense to protect the lead and picked up his first yellow card of the Europa League campaign in the final minute for wasting time.

In the first leg, played during the airline embargo in Europe because of the Icelandic volcano, Fulham had to travel for a full day to reach Hamburg via English Channel ferry and motor coach. In this game, Dempsey also came on in the second half -- in the 74th minute -- and helped keep the home side off the scoreboard which gave Fulham an advantage in the return home leg.

While Dempsey was a reserve against Hamburg, he has been starting in the Premier League.

Last night, he went the distance in a 1-0 loss to visiting Stoke City. Dempsey had a good chance to score in the second half, but was denied by goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. Dempsey also had a shot saved by Begovic in the seventh minute and had a short shot tipped wide by Begovic later in the first half.

On Sunday, Dempsey played 86th minutes and scored a goal in a 3-2 home defeat of West Ham United.

After hitting the crossbar from 20 yards in the 26th minute, Dempsey opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time when he collected a pass from Simon Davies and hit a hard shot past West Ham keeper Robert Green.

An own goal by Carlton Cole put Fulham ahead 2-0 shortly after the restart. Cole redeemed himself when he headed West Ham back into the game, but Fulham substitute Stefano Okaka put Fulham ahead 3-1 from close range in the 79th minute. An injury-time goal from Guillermo Franco was the final gasp by West Ham.

American Jonathan Spector went the distance on the back-line for West Ham. Last week, Spector was charged with an own goal, but West Ham still prevailed 3-2 over Wigan Athletic to avoid relegation.

On April 25, Fulham traveled north to Everton and Dempsey faced off against U.S. keeper Tim Howard. Fulham rested a number of starters ahead of its return clash with Hamburg, but Dempsey played 90 minutes in the center of midfield.

Everton won on a penalty kick in the third minute of stoppage time.

With one match remaining, Fulham is in 12th place at 12-15-10 with 46 points. After a 0-0 draw with Stoke City Saturday, Everton (15-9-13, 58 points) will finish in eighth place -- one match remains -- and failed to earn a berth in the the Europa League next season. The fifth-, sixth- and seventh-place teams made the Europa League.

Everton thought it had scored in the 74th minute against Stoke, but the goal was disallowed for a foul that was not readily seen.

Hull City (6-20-11, 29) was relegated following a 2-2 draw Monday with Wigan. U.S. striker Jozy Altidore did not play and his career at Hull is certainly at an end following being sent off last week in Hull's 1-0 loss over visiting Sunderland.

As the halftime whistle was about to blow, Altidore and Sunderland defender Alan Hutton collided going after a ball which landed out-of-touch. Altidore ended up on the ground and Hutton took the ball and dropped it on Altidore's head. Altidore jumped up and head-butted Hutton in the face.

Referee Lee Probert immediately red-carded Altidore. After he received treatment, Hutton was sent off also. Had Altidore not retaliated, Hull would have had a man advantage the second half. Playing 10-on-10, Hull lost 1-0 and the loss doomed Hull to relegation with two matches left to play.

Going into the match, Hull's only chance of escaping the drop was to win its final three games.

Altidore was suspended for three matches and thus would miss Hull's final two matches of 2009-10. Hull's financial situation is perilous. The team is desperately trying to avoid going into "administration," a kind of bankruptcy, and have said it will have to cut expenses to the bone next season.

Altidore is on the squad through an expensive loan from Villarreal of Spain, something Hull will not be able to afford next season.

"I'm so sorry about yesterday," Altidore said. "(I) made a stupid, immature and costly mistake. I apologize to Hull City and the fans who I let down. I let my emotions get the best of me and lost my composure."

Aston Villa will be playing in the Europa League next season despite a 3-1 road loss at Manchester City Saturday.

American keeper Brad Friedel's clean sheet in last week's 1-0 victory at home over Birmingham City made the Man, City match meaningless. Against Birmingham, the match came down to an 83rd-minute penalty kick.

Friedel had seven saves, including a beauty, denying Craig Gardner who hit a 25-yard bullet. Brad Guzan was again Friedel's backup in both Villa matches.

Villa finished sixth at 17-7-13 with 64 points.

A series of draws over the past month guaranteed that U.S. keeper Marcus Hahnemannand Wolverhampton avoided being dropped and will play again in the Premiership next season.

On April 24, Hahnemann made a half dozen saves in a 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers.

Ryan Nelsen, who once toiled for D.C. United in Major League, was the one who beat Hahnemann off a corner kick.

Safe from relegation, Wolves' defense was lax Saturday and Portsmouth, which will drop to the second division, yet has advanced to the FA Cup final, won a home game 3-1.

In the English League Championship, Jay DeMerit remains sidelined with a stomach muscle strain, but Watford secured a return to the second division their survival with a pair of nice wins. On Sunday, Watford won a 4-0 road contest at Coventry City.

A week earlier, Watford defeated Reading 3-0 on goals by Danny Graham and Heidar Helguson.

American defender Frank Simek did not dress for either of Sheffield Wednesday's final two matches, a defeat and a draw that saw them relegated. On Saunday, Wednesday drew 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace after dropping a 3-2 decision at Cardiff City.

U.S. forward Kenny Cooper did not dress for relegated Plymouth, which dropped its final two matches of the season, 3-0 at Nottingham Forest and 2-1 to Peterborough United

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2010, 07:25:57 AM »
Arsenal v Fulham: match preview
Read a full match preview of the Premier League game between Arsenal v Fulham at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday May 9, 2010, kick-off 16.00 BST.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Almunia; Sagna, Campbell, Silvestre, Clichy; Diaby, Eboué; Walcott, Nasri, Arshavin; Van Persie.
Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Pantsil, Baird, Smalling, Konchesky; Riise, Greening, Dikgacoi, Davies; Dempsey, Nevland.
Referee: Mike Jones. Matches: 19. R: 1. Y: 60.

Tale of the game

Arsenal's recent record is poor with just one point from their last four games, the latest reverse a 2-1 defeat at Blackburn on Monday. That is their worst return since April 2007, but they need one point to better last's season 72-points haul.

And Arsenal's record at home to Fulham is impressive. In 22 League games at home they have never lost to Fulham, winning 19 games and drawing three including last season's 0-0 stalemate.

If Arsenal lose and Spurs win, at Burnley, the balance of power in North London will shift to N17, with their deadliest rivals finishing third.

Arsenal, though, are unbeaten in their last eight home League games and they face a Fulham side that, in midweek, lost 1-0 to a late goal against Stoke. Manager Roy Hodgson fielded the likely team to face Hamburg in next Wednesday's Europa League final, with the exception of Bobby Zamora, who will rest until the game against Atletico Madrid.

So, at Arsenal, he is likely to revert to a team including the likes of Chris Smalling and Erik Nevland, who returns to Viking in the summer.

Arsenal test goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, who has missed the last three games with a wrist injury. But Denilson, Thomas Vermaelen, Cesc Fabregas, Aaron Ramsey and William Gallas remain on the sidelines.

Andrew Johnson is still absent for Fulham, while Damian Duff joins Zamora on the sidelines ahead of the Europa League final.

This season: Fulham 0 Arsenal 1.

Last season: Fulham 1 Arsenal 0, Arsenal 0 Fulham 0.

Stat of the game: Arsenal have scored 79 goals, their best return since the 2004-05 campaign. But they have also conceded 41, the highest since they let in 42 in 2002-03.

Betting tip: Arsenal need to win to end their bad spell. 1-0 is 13-2.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2010, 07:28:14 AM »
Arsenal vs Fulham Match Preview
Arsenal’s proverbial nose was rubbed in their own dismal end-of-season run by Blackburn Rovers on Monday, who came from behind to beat the Gunners 2-1 at Ewood Park.

Gunner’s manager Arsene Wenger bemoaned Blackburn’s tactics of crowding Arsenal’s polish keeper Lukasz Fabianski, and further claimed that referee Martin Atkinson should have done more to protect the apparently delicate Fabianski.

Still in 3rd where they have resided much of this campaign, Wenger will surely now be building for next season and indeed the announcement this week that Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh is coming to the Emirates is proof.

But this season isn’t quite over yet and suspense lingers. Tottenham’s victory over Manchester City on Thursday increases the pressure on Arsenal, who are now in clear danger now of losing their third place position to their North London Rivals. A win over Fulham on the final day of the season therefore becomes vital for the Gunners.

Fulham took on West Ham at Craven Cottage on Sunday in a lesser London derby, and despite the exertions of their Europa League Semi Final victory last Thursday, the Cottagers successfully avoided falling victim to the Euro-fatigue that often follows midweek European clashes. Fulham beat the Hammers 3-2 to further enhance an impressive season.

Less impressively, however, the Cottagers lost 0-1 at home to Stoke City midweek. Stoke’s win leapfrogged them over Fulham in the league table and into 10th place. Fulham now sit in 12th.

A win on Sunday for the Cottagers could spoil Arsenal’s season now that Spurs are within striking distance of third place. But a question of priorities has surfaced at Craven Cottage.

Fulham meet Atletico Madrid in the Europa League Final next Wednesday and have asked the Premier League to move their match with Arsenal from Sunday to Saturday to allow additional preparation time. The league has refused.

Given the importance to Fulham of their Euro final, manager Roy Hodgson may therefore choose to rest some regulars and field a weakened squad against the Gunners.
Arsenal vs Fulham Videos
Video highlights will be available after the match.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2010, 07:29:36 AM »
Fulham’s pleas are yet to convince angry fans

FULHAM fans continue to seek answers over the controversy surrounding the distribution of tickets for next week’s Europa League Final – despite the club’s attempts to cover their tracks.

The club angered their loyal following by offering each of their estimated 10,000 season ticket holders as many as four tickets each to fill the clubs 12,650 allocation.

Fulham responded to the criticism by requesting more tickets from Uefa, blaming an “unprecedented demand”.

But fans such as Paul Clayton, a season ticket holder at Craven Cottage for 12 years, remain up in arms. He said: “I followed Fulham home and away throughout this competition, yet I couldn’t get a ticket. By 9am they had all gone because people were snapping up four per season ticket. In the end, my brother got a ticket from an American website in a ‘neutral zone’, costing £225.

“It’s a joke, they’ve just tried to sell the tickets as fast as they could without any thought. It’s not difficult, if you’ve got just over 10,000 season ticket holders and 12,650 tickets to sell, why not offer two per season ticket holder?”

A club spokesman replied: “We are lobbying for more tickets, fans should register with us.”

Fulham have also failed in an attempt to move Sunday’s final match at Arsenal forward 24 hours.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2010, 09:36:29 AM »
Arsenal v Fulham

Fulham fielded quite a strong team for Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Stoke, which suggests to me that boss Roy Hodgson will give most of his players a rest ahead of next week's Europa League final against Atletico Madrid.

The Premier League might disagree but I think Hodgson is perfectly entitled to rotate his squad for the game at the Emirates. I expect Arsenal to end their season on a high note by winning and clinching third spot.

Prediction: 2-0

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2010, 10:34:13 AM »
Europa League glory means more than Manchester United's Champions League triumph, says Fulham star

JONATHAN Greening says winning the Europa League would mean more to him than his Champions League triumph.

The Fulham midfielder picked up a winner’s medal in Europe’s premier club competition as a non-playing substitute for Manchester United in 1999.

But the 31-year-old admitted he felt ‘a fraud’ after failing to make a single appearance on their route to the final.

Greening, who is set to start in the final league game of the season at Arsenal on Sunday, has a chance to set the record straight when Fulham face Atlético Madrid three days later.

And he insists whatever colour medal he ends up with, it will get a more prominent place in his trophy cabinet.

He said: "It would mean more than winning the Champions League.

“I’ve played my part and started a few games, and it’s great to be involved in an incredible journey with a great manager, staff and team.

“The boys have done unbelievable. Everyone who’s played a part has done a great job.

“I’m proud to be part of it, and hopefully we can go and finish the job off."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2010, 10:37:27 AM »
Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie in line to start against Fulham as Arsenal look to secure third

Arsene Wenger is ready to unleash both Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie from kick-off as Arsenal look to secure third place with victory over Europa League finalists Fulham on Sunday.   

The Gunners have seen another campaign which promised so much end without silverware for a fifth successive year, and suffered a third successive away defeat at Blackburn in the Barclays Premier League on Monday. 

Indeed, arch rivals Tottenham could yet overtake Wenger's men - and with it secure direct qualification to the Champions League group stages - were Fulham, likely to field a much-changed side, to pull off a shock victory at Emirates Stadium.   

Wenger has seen his plans hit by injury to key men like Van Persie and captain Cesc Fabregas at various stages of the season.   

Yet with the current options limited, the Gunners boss maintains he has little room for manoeuvre in terms of team selection after Tomas Rosicky (ankle), Alex Song (knee) and Nicklas Bendtner (groin) all picked up knocks which will again keep them out.   

'We always work hard in training and of course when you cannot rotate, then you do get those kind of injuries,' Wenger said.   

'[Andrey] Arshavin should be okay and should be capable to start against Fulham, [Robin] van Persie too. 

'We have the same players available [from Blackburn]. The only good news is that we may have [Gael] Clichy back.'   

Forward Theo Walcott saw his own progress at the start of the campaign hampered by a series of niggling injuries.   

The England winger - fighting to be on the plane to South Africa - feels sometimes players can be too eager to get themselves into the thick of action again, only to suffer a setback. 

'It is one of those things where we need to hopefully try to look after ourselves a bit better,' he said. 'There is a different side when you are off the pitch and we have to look after ourselves and not suffer so many injuries.'   

Much has been made about Wenger's continued faith in the promise of youth, with the Gunners boss insisting his squad will be stronger for having come through the last couple of testing campaigns.   

Walcott, 21, feels the players have learnt some hard lessons, having seen their title chances blown away with successive defeats at Spurs and then Wigan, when they lead 2-0 with 10 minutes left. 

'We can't use the experience as an excuse now, with the experiences we've had as a side - we need to go that one step further,' Walcott declared. 'It has been quite hard at times. We had a lot of injuries to big players and it has been very frustrating.'
Wenger has admitted he needs to add a couple of experienced heads this summer, but only ones which are 'top class'.   

The arrival of Morocco international Marouane Chamakh on a free transfer is set to be confirmed once the striker's contract with Bordeaux expires.   

Wenger is also said to be targeting a central defender, as the future of William Gallas remains uncertain, although fellow veteran Sol Campbell is understood to be close to agreeing a new deal.

Read more:

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2010, 10:38:47 AM »
Etherington sneaks the points for Stoke
by Dan on May 6, 2010

A rather dreary game seemed destined for a scorless draw at the Cottage last night until Matthew Etherington, who seems to greatly enjoy playing against Fulham, stepped up to score a smart-taken winner and propel Stoke above the Whites and into the top half of the table.

The defeat might prove more costly for Roy Hodgson than the loss of a league place and three points too. The Fulham manager fielded a rather strong side considering that we were a week away from a European final and had to substitute Damien Duff at half-time. The Irish winger has a calf strain and is now rated as a doubt for the trip to Hamburg to play Atletico Madrid next week.

Shots on target were at a premium throughout. Fulham tried to play the more fluid football but Stoke, anxious to avoid another hammering in these parts having been hit for seven not so long ago at Chelsea, were disciplined in defence and exceptionally difficult to break down. That’s a credit to the managerial acumen of Tony Pulis and they restricted Hodgson’s side to just  a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes. A nice move involving Clint Dempsey, playing as a centre forward in the continued absence of Bobby Zamora, and Simon Davies finished with a Zoltan Gera snapshot from 20 yards flying into the arms of Asmir Begovic.

Gera continued to prove a real threat to the Stoke goal. He collected a short pass from Duff and drove a shot narrowly over the crossbar and then created a chance for Dempsey almost out of nothing only for an excellent intervention by Robert Huth to deny the American an opportunity to get his shot away.

The visitors started the second half the brighter. Though they played plenty more football than their reputation as long-ball merchants might suggest, Stoke’s first chance came courtesy of a Rory Delap long throw. Fulham dealt with the aerial bombardment pretty well all evening but this time they allowed Ricardo Fuller to find some space in the box and he headed narrowly wide.

Fulham responded with a rather vigorous riposte. Gera’s terrific reverse ball looked to have freed Dempsey at the back post but the American, sliding in to finish, was thwarted by a terrific reaction save from Begovic. The former Portsmouth goalkeeper threw himself to his left to turn the ball away for a corner, which was particularly impressive as Dempsey was less than six yards out. The American international tried his luck twice from long range but was off target on both ocassions.

The winner arrived with seven minutes to play. Fuller ventured down the right and, encouraged by an untimely slip from Paul Konchesky, crossed for Etherington, who underlined his status as Stoke’s player of the season, by firing high into the roof of the net. Pulis was understandably delighted afterwards as Stoke took another step towards their highest league finish for 35 years.

FULHAM (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Pantsil (Okaka 86), Konchesky, Hughes, Hangeland; Etuhu, Murphy, Duff (Nevland 45), Davies; Gera; Dempsey. Subs (not used): Zuberbuhler, Smalling, Baird, Dikgacoi, Riise.

BOOKED: Hughes.

STOKE CITY (4-4-2): Begovic; Higginbotham, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross; Whelan, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington (Diao 88); Fuller (Lawrence 90), Sidibie (Tuncay 71). Subs (not used): Simonsen, Collins, Pugh, Moult.

BOOKED: Shawcross, Fuller, Huth.

GOAL: Etherington (83).

REFEREE: Peter Walton (Liverpool).


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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2010, 10:40:04 AM »,17033,13320_6136795,00.html
Why Woy Is Wong Man For Anfield...

If, as has been suggested in some quarters, Liverpool FC decide to employ Roy Hodgson as a replacement for Rafa Benitez, then the club will be making a profoundly worrying statement about how it sees its future.

That may seem unfair to the Fulham manager, who is undoubtedly having an exciting season at Craven Cottage, but were he to be offered the Anfield hotseat then the Merseysiders will be tacitly accepting that the club's future lies outside of the top echelons of the game.

I've found it hard to escape a sense this term that sections of the football media have decided that the manager of a big club must go, and Rafa Benitez's poor season with Liverpool and his continuing, public battle with the club's owners have made him by far the most likely candidate. It may seem like an unlikely conspiracy theory. But then consider yet more hysterical headlines this week suggesting that Benitez had snubbed two opportunities to meet with Liverpool's new chairman - headlines that were not even supported by the stories they topped, each of which simply stated that Liverpool's travel difficulties in getting to Madrid and their busy fixture list meant that any meeting was difficult to arrange. Is there really no underlying agenda against the Spaniard?

By the same token, there has been a movement in sections of the British media to see British football managers in British football jobs. Roy Hodgson has been the most recent beneficiary of this persistent undercurrent. His good work at Fulham in keeping them away from the relegation trapdoor while blazing a trail across Europe has seen him become the latest in a line of flavours of the month.

The irony is unlikely to be lost on the likeable Hodgson - having been largely ignored by the English press during his continental years and having been pilloried when struggling with Blackburn in the late 1990s. Philosophical and long in the tooth, he is well-placed to appreciate the position in which Benitez finds himself at Anfield.

But for the sake of argument, suppose the Spaniard does leave Liverpool under his own steam, or otherwise, what is there to suggest that at the grand old age of 61, Hodgson has become a serious candidate for one of the biggest jobs in British and indeed European football? For all his relative success at Fulham, his trophy hauls from the backwaters of European club football and his modestly-impressive international achievements, if the Liverpool board have seriously pinpointed him as a candidate for the Anfield job, then clearly all hope that the club once had of regaining its former glory has been extinguished.

Benitez is clearly not everyone's cup of tea - few managers have polarised opinion to such an extent - but the Spaniard clearly has the kind of profile required for management at the highest level. If Liverpool do look for a replacement, then they should be looking for someone of a similar calibre.

When the Reds sought to replace the lost-for-ideas Gerard Houllier, the decision to hire the Spaniard was applauded for its boldness. Benitez was a manager on the up - in his early 40s, he had won two La Liga titles with Valencia plus the UEFA Cup. His Valencia side was one of the more feared outfits in the European game. In appointing Benitez, Liverpool were showing serious intent.

So, were Liverpool now to turn to Hodgson, then it would surely only serve to underline just how far the club has fallen under their current owners and just how low Liverpool fans should level their expectations. The unkind amongst you may suggest that Hodgson is about the right level for a club that is heading for prolonged, mid-table anonymity - with qualification for the Europa League the loftiest target. And if that nice Uncle Roy - sacked by Bristol City, Blackburn and the UAE in his time - does get the job, then Liverpool fans would probably have little choice but to agree with you.

Paul Little

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2010, 10:41:44 AM »
Hodgson Hopeful On Duff 
By PA Thursday, 6th May 2010
Roy Hodgson hopes the injury which Damien Duff sustained during Wednesday night's 1-0 defeat to Stoke will not rule him out of next week's Europa League final against Atletico Madrid.

Duff hobbled off at half-time during the Barclays Premier League defeat with a leg muscle injury. The winger has been an integral part of the Cottagers' European campaign, which has seen them brush aside the likes of Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk and Wolfsburg to reach Wednesday's final in Hamburg.

"Duff was taken off at half time because he took a kick a while ago and we think one of his muscles was cramping up," said Roy Hodgson. "That was a blow of course. We hope it's not too serious. I hope he'll be fit for the final."

The Republic of Ireland midfielder did emerge after the final whistle to take part in a lap of appreciation for the Fulham fans following the club's last home game of the season.

He will now be monitored by the club's medical staff, who are already working overtime to make sure that top goalscorer Bobby Zamora is fit for Wednesday's final.

Hodgson added: "There's a week to go now. The medical staff don't think it's a muscle tear or anything like that. They think that it's something to do with a kick he took a while ago which is switching off the muscle."

Zamora's physical presence was sorely missed by Fulham's attack on Wednesday night as Hodgson's team slid to their fifth home defeat of the season with a sub-par performance.

The former Spurs striker has scored 19 times this season, including eight in Fulham's European campaign.

Hodgson revealed that the 29-year-old is struggling to overcome the Achilles injury which has kept him out of the Cottagers' last two matches.

Hodgson said: "Bobby stands a chance of making it but he's not making vast amounts of progress on a daily basis so it could be touch and go."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2010, 10:43:40 AM »
Skipper staggered by Fulham's final date

Even skipper Danny Murphy shakes his head in disbelief at Fulham's extraordinary march to the Europa League final.
A competition initially viewed as a novelty that became a nuisance as injuries mounted has provided the club with the biggest match in its 131-year history.

Over nine months, 20,000 miles and 18 games have passed since Fulham set-off last July on an epic journey that has taken them to the extremity of the continent.

Their heroics in humbling heavyweights such as Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk, Wolfsburg and Roma has seen them feted across Europe.

Adding to the fairytale is that it has been achieved with a small squad working off a limited budget, while comfortably avoiding a relegation battle in the Premier League.

Murphy has been present virtually every step of the way yet even he rubs his eyes in astonishment at the way Fulham have repeatedly defied all expectations - even their own.

"If you had looked at the betting at the start of the Europa League we would have been nowhere near the final," said the former Liverpool midfielder.

"If I'm being honest even here at the club we thought that if we could get to the group stages we would have done well.

"That's because we are realists and we had to mix the Europa League with the Premier League.

"As we progressed it became more evident we had a good chance of doing well.

"Each time we drew big teams people thought we were the underdog and everyone thought it would be the end of the road but we kept jumping over the hurdles."

Fulham's march to the final reflects the genius of manager Roy Hodgson and perhaps more than any other player Murphy has been revitalised by his arrival.

It may be hard to imagine now but 18 months ago he was viewed by fans as a secondary figure in Fulham's midfield, overshadowed by the more popular Jimmy Bullard.

Questions were even asked whether the return to fitness of Dickson Etuhu would see Murphy dropped.

Hodgson had his reservations about Bullard, however, and acted by selling him in to Hull.

Fast forward to the current season and Hull have been relegated while Murphy has been in inspired form, his vision, composure and leadership making up for legs that have inevitably slowed with time.

The 33-year-old has little chance of adding to his nine caps but has been one of England's form midfielders and is far more than the ageing journeyman that lost his way at Charlton and Tottenham.

"Roy's contribution to the club in such a short space of time has been nothing short of amazing," said Murphy.

"He really has transformed the club and the reason for that is because he's a knowledgeable man with his football.

"He treats people with respect and maturity and while they sound like obvious things for a manager, I can assure you they're not.

"He's an honest man. He's always there to talk to you and whether it be positive or negative, he will tell you how he's feeling,

"That is healthy I think and honesty is not always something that managers are good at.

"In terms of his coaching he is a perfectionist. He works really hard on the training pitch with his other staff, to make sure the team plays the way he wants.

"We know our jobs - there's no question mark over what he wants from us, and I think you see that."

Atletico Madrid will start as favourites at the Hamburg Arena yet this will be shrugged off by a Fulham side that has spent the season making a mockery of predictions.

For Murphy the philosophy behind the success is simple.

"There are no stars. Perhaps Bobby Zamora has become the star this season because of his goals," he said.

"But if you ask people about Fulham they will say we will play as a team."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #34 on: May 07, 2010, 10:45:11 AM »
'This result will not be blood and thunder'

For Arsenal and 18 other Premier League sides, the 2009/10 season finishes on Sunday. But Fulham still have the Europa League Final to play on Wednesday night.

The game has been described as the biggest in the Cottagers' history, so that was the topic which dominated when we spoke to Paul Warburton of the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle ahead of Sunday's London derby.

"I think Fulham were hopeful that the Arsenal game would be moved to allow them some breathing space before the biggest game in their history on Wednesday night. But they are a pragmatic bunch at Craven Cottage, they tend to take both success and failure in much the same stride so I don't think it will affect them unduly."

"The whole season depends on the game against Atletico and it would be naïve not to think anything else. When they were beaten by Stoke on Wednesday night it was a pretty decent Fulham team on the field, so for them to be beaten by Stoke was something of a surprise, even given all the excitement around the game against Atletico. But that gives you some indication as to where their priorities lie."

"Roy Hodgson has very rarely changed the Fulham team because he believes that a team with momentum and a team that is playing together all the time knows each other inside out and if they are getting decent results then they will take that form into any kind of game, regardless of if it is a European final or not. But I think you are likely to see changes on Sunday. The truth of the matter is that first of all you have the recovery time and secondly you run that horrible risk of having somebody injured going into a final."

"It would be a crime against humanity if Hodgson isn't named Manager of the Season. You have a side like Fulham, who are considered to be a humble organisation who even if they squeeze everybody into every spot of the Cottage can still only manage a maximum of 25,000 for home games. Everybody sees them as a mid-table Premier League side and yet they are in a Europa League final with a side of few particularly renowned players. It is a remarkable achievement."

"I think the kindest thing to say is that this result will not be blood and thunder and guts for Fulham. We all know there will be a different momentum going into the Europa League Final compared with that going into the final game of the season where Fulham can only manage a mid-table finish."

"Their away form is woeful. Domestically, they have not been the same team away from home as they have been at Craven Cottage for the last three seasons. To be honest if their home form had been as poor, I think by now they would be a Championship team."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2010, 10:46:57 AM »
Fulham in safe hands with Schwarzer
A 2006 UEFA Cup final loser with Middlesbrough FC, Mark Schwarzer will draw on that experience to try to avoid more heartache with Fulham FC against Club Atlético de Madrid.

One of two members of the Fulham FC squad to have played in a European final, Mark Schwarzer's experience will prove invaluable when the London club round off their most historic campaign with the UEFA Europa League showpiece against Club Atlético de Madrid.

The goalkeeper was part of the Middlesbrough FC team that competed in successive UEFA Cup seasons from 2004/05, culminating in a 4-0 defeat by Sevilla FC in the 2006 final. En route to Eindhoven, Schwarzer appeared in some memorable matches, notably against FC Basel 1893 and FC Steaua Bucureşti – both times Middlesbrough conceded early in the home second leg but defied the odds by scoring the required four goals to progress.

Nor has drama been in short supply in west London this term. Roy Hodgson's side overturned a 3-1 first-leg loss to Juventus in the round of 16 by winning the return 4-1 at Craven Cottage. Then, after a goalless semi-final opener with final hosts Hamburger SV in Germany, they recovered from shipping an away goal with two strikes in the space of seven second-half minutes.

Throughout Fulham's run to the Hamburg Arena, which has also included the scalps of FC Shakhtar Donetsk and VfL Wolfsburg, Schwarzer has continually drawn upon his Middlesbrough experience. With another final looming on Wednesday, the Australian international will delve into the memory bank once again. "You think back to the times you had before, particularly my times with Middlesbrough," the 37-year-old, who left Teesside for Fulham in summer 2008, told

"On any given night we could beat any team at home, and that's the way it's run for us this season at Fulham," he added. "The experience you gain in the past, you try to bring forward. You try to use it to help your team-mates along the way, the guys who haven't been in that position."

Fulham's unforgettable night against Juventus is one of the defining moments of a European odyssey which began almost ten months ago with a third qualifying round tie against Lithuania's FK Vėtra. "Those evenings are the sort you've dreamed of," said Schwarzer, who has figured in all but one of Fulham's 18 games in this competition. "You would normally write a movie script about it, but to actually experience it and live it is very special. It's something that will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life, as well as the rest of the players. We'll definitely look back with fond memories."

Defeating the two-time European champions was perhaps the cue for Hodgson's men to dare to dream they could add to the Cottagers' 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup triumph – the only honour in Fulham's 131-year history. After all, as Schwarzer admits, winning the inaugural UEFA Europa League was the last thing on anyone's mind at the start of the club's second continental campaign.

"At the beginning it was fantastic to be playing in Europe. It was a bit of a journey, a bit of excitement, a challenge, and we thought 'let's enjoy it while it lasts'," he said. "With each round we progressed through, the self-belief and the confidence grew, not only in the players but also with the fans."

With 14 goals between them, Bobby Zamora and Zoltán Gera have commanded many of the headlines accompanying Fulham's unexpected journey to the final. Schwarzer, though, prefers to champion the collective effort which has taken a team considered rank outsiders to the brink of a fairy-tale achievement. "So far this season the guys have been exceptional – it's very difficult to pick any one individual you would say has outshone the others," he continued.

"Obviously Bobby has scored a lot of goals and that has been a major reason for our success in Europe, as well as in the league. He can turn a game on its head, as can a number of players. That's the good thing about us – we have a lot of good players but no out-and-out superstars. We are pretty level-headed and everyone gets on extremely well. We fight and pull for one another all the time, all over the pitch."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2010, 10:48:32 AM »
Derby Finale

Arsenal v Fulham, Barclays Premier League
Sunday May 9th 2010, Kick-Off 4pm

Our final Barclays Premier League fixture of the season is the relatively short trip to North London. Fulham have yet to win at the Emirates, and also failed to record a victory at Arsenal’s former Highbury home.

Despite that record, our performances at the Gunners’ newer home have been presentable. On our first visit in April 2007, we looked briefly to be heading for a point following Simon Davies’ 78th minute equaliser, only for Arsenal to score two late goals. Four months later, we led for more than 80 minutes following David Healy’s first minute opener, only to lose the game in the final minutes. Last season the sides shared a goalless draw.

For a while it looked as if Sunday’s fixture might be significant to the destination of the Premier League title, but Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat at Wigan last month all but ended their championship hopes following, as it did, a 2-1 reverse at Tottenham a few days earlier. This is therefore the fifth season without a trophy for the north London side, although since winning the FA Cup in 2005, the Gunners have reached the finals of both the 2006 Champions League and the 2007 Carling Cup.

Arsene Wenger’s side started the campaign with a 6-1 win at Everton, but it is their form at home which has been outstanding. It is, however, significant that their only reverses have come at the hands of fellow title contenders Chelsea and Manchester United.

In the cups, the Gunners’ Carling Cup campaign ended in a quarter-final defeat at Manchester City, whilst they failed to progress beyond the last 32 in the FA Cup, Stoke inflicting a 3-1 defeat at the Britannia. In Europe, they were undone at the quarter-final stage courtesy of a virtuoso performance from Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

Injuries have played a decisive role in the Gunners’ line up almost throughout the season. Star men Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie have been significant absentees for much of the campaign and Belgian centre-back Thomas Vermaelen recently sustained an injury likely to sideline him for the rest of the campaign. Denilson, Eduardo and Gallas are also injured at the time of writing.

Perhaps the biggest story in recent weeks though has been the form shown by Sol Campbell, who started the season playing for Notts County at Morecambe, before making a sensational return to his former club.

Ground Details:
Address: Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5
Telephone: 020 7619 5003
Capacity: 60,355
Visitors Sections: South East Corner
Disabled Enclosure: South East Corner

P22 W0 D3 L19 F18 A55

Barclays Premier League 28.02.09

Arsenal 0
Fulham 0

Attendance 60,109 

Getting There:
(Approx 12 miles from Fulham)

Depart Motspur Park 12.30pm/Craven Cottage 1pm
Price: Season Ticket Holders/Fulham Members’ Club Adults £10, Juniors £5
Non-Season Ticket Holders Adults £15, Juniors £8

By Road
Leave Fulham area via Hammersmith and follow A219 to Shepherds Bush. Turn right at Shepherds Bush Green onto Uxbridge Road then left at roundabout onto M41 (signs A40(M)West End, City). Continue on A40M to end of motorway and across flyover into Marylebone Road (A501). Turn left onto Albany Street (A4201) and continue to Camden Town then follow signs for A503 into Camden Road. Continue ahead at junction with A1 into Seven Sisters Road and then turn right into Hornsey Road. Ground is on the left.

Car Parking
There is quite a large residents only section around the Emirates so it is advisable to make all or part of your journey by public transport. Any street parking is likely to involve a long walk to the stadium.

By Rail
The nearest tube station is Arsenal (Piccadilly Line), turning right when exiting the station. Highbury & Islington (Victoria Line) and Finsbury Park stations (Piccadilly and Victoria Line) are both about a 15 minute walk from the ground.

Note: Holloway Road (Piccadilly Line) is closest to the ground, but is often closed or exit only on matchdays. Finsbury Park is the closest Network Rail station.

You should note that engineering works regularly take place on tube lines at weekends so please consult the Transport for London website to see if these will affect your journey.

Read more:

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2010, 10:49:31 AM »
Team news v Fulham: Options limited by injury

Written by Jonathan Chong on Friday, May 7, 2010
 It looks like the injury crisis that perhaps put an end to our title challenge this season isn't abating as we approach our final game of the season.

And we need to beat Fulham, as there is a real danger that Tottenham could still pip us into third place should we lose on Sunday and they earn three points.

Manager Arsène Wenger says that only Andrey Arshavin looks to have recovered, but Robin van Persie could start upfront. Our options are limited by injuries to Tomas Rosicky (ankle), Alex Song (knee) and Nicklas Bendtner (groin).

Speaking to Arsenal TV Online, Wenger said: "There is a small chance for Clichy. Everyone is still out.

"We always work hard in training and of course when you cannot rotate then you do get those kinds of injuries.

"(Andrey) Arshavin should be okay and should be capable to start against Fulham, (Robin) van Persie too.

"We have the same players available (from Blackburn). The only good news is that we may have Clichy back."

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2010, 01:14:32 PM »
My experience of playing in a European final will help Fulham in Europa League - Mark Schwarzer
Veteran shot-stopper believes these are special times for club

Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer insists that he will draw on his vast experience to help his side win the Europa League.

The Cottagers take on Atletico Madrid in the final of the competition on May 12, and the shot-stopper is one of only two people in the squad to have played in a European final prior to the dream run under manager Roy Hodgson.

The Australian was a part of the Middlesbrough side that went all the way to the final of the UEFA Cup in 2006, only to lose 4-0 to Sevilla and return empty handed.

However, the Cottagers' custodian hopes to draw on his past experience and ensure that a similar situation does not occur this time around.

"You think back to the times you had before, particularly my times with Middlesbrough," Schwarzer told

"The experience you gain in the past, you try to bring forward. You try to use it to help your team-mates along the way, the guys who haven't been in that position."

Earlier in the season, it had appeared as though Hodgson's charges were certainly going to bow out of the competition, following a 3-1 loss to Juventus in Turin. However, the London-based club staged a sensational comeback to beat the Italian club 4-1 at home and ensure progression in the competition.

"Those evenings are the sort you've dreamed of," said the 'keeper. "You would normally write a movie script about it, but to actually experience it and live it is very special. It's something that will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life, as well as the rest of the players. We'll definitely look back with fond memories."

Fulham will clash with Atletico on May 12 at the HSH Nordbank Arena in Hamburg, Germany.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff... (07/05/10)
« Reply #39 on: May 07, 2010, 01:15:41 PM »
Fulham Boss Roy Hodgson & Twente Coach Steve McClaren Wanted By Wolfsburg - Report
Die Wolfe’s search for a new coach has taken them to English shores...

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson continues to attract interest from home and abroad due to his recent exploits at Craven Cottage, and the Englishman is in the running along with countryman Steve McClaren, the current coach of Twente, to become Wolfsburg’s next boss, according to Kicker.

The Bundesliga club have endured a difficult campaign and are presently coachless as Lorenz-Guenther Koestner is only taking care of the side on a temporary basis until a permanent appointment can be made. Gerard Houllier has already reject die Wolfe, prompting general manager Dieter Hoeness to look to England for his next general.

Hodgson would appear to be the ideal candidate. Not only has he enjoyed terrific success with the Cottagers this season, leading them to the final of the Europa League, he also has vast experience of coaching abroad, having enjoyed posts in Finland, Italy and Switzerland amongst others. His ability to speak German is also considered a major plus.

Meanwhile, McClaren’s stock has risen dramatically since being sacked as England boss in 2007. The former Middlesbrough leader has enjoyed a renaissance in the Netherlands, leading Twente to their first Eredivisie title.

Die Wolfe are likely to have stiff competition for both men as there are whispers linking the managers to Liverpool.