Author Topic: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…  (Read 6718 times)

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #40 on: May 10, 2010, 04:00:52 PM »
http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2943/castrol-debates/2010/05/10/1917701/europa-league-final-debate-how-do-atletico-madrid-and-fulham
Europa League Final Debate: How do Atletico Madrid and Fulham match up head-to-head?
We compare the potential starting line-ups of both sides...

Atletico Madrid and Fulham lock horns on Wednesday to be crowned winners of the inaugural edition of the Europa League.

Both sides have been lurking in the shadows of their more well-known city rivals, and now have the opportunity to make history by emerging triumphant in the final of Europe's second-tier competition.

With the final in Hamburg looming on Wednesday evening, Goal.com UK took a look at the Castrol Rankings of the two challengers' potential line-ups to get an insight into what to expect.

And in one of the closest head-to-heads so far, Fulham have the edge player-by-player with a 6-5 victory, but Atleti hold a slender points advantage.

It is at the back that Fulham seem to have the most telling presence, Mark Schwarzer, Brede Hangeland and Paul Konchesky holding sizeable advantages over their opposite numbers.

But the midfield is an entirely different story, as influential Portuguese winger Simao's advantage over the rest of the pack proves to be telling. Even Damien Duff's 195-point advantage over Jose Antonio Reyes only reduces the gap.

Up front, former Manchester United hitman Diego Forlan and one of Europe's hottest properties at the moment, Sergio Aguero, combine to ensure that Zoltan Gera and Bobby Zamora stand little chance by comparison. This gap could increase further if the latter is not able to overcome an Achilles injury in time for the final.


Goalkeeper
David DE GEA Rank:No.1126  Points: 403   Fulham by 276pts Mark SCHWARZER Rank: No.132 Points: 679

Defence
Tomas UJFALUSI Rank: No.648 Points: 530  Fulham by 7pts    John PANTSIL Rank: No.616 Points: 537
Luis PEREA Rank: No.857 Points: 487  Fulham by 47pts     Brede HANGELAND Rank: No.632 Points: 534
Alvaro DOMINGUEZ Rank: No.627 Points: 535  Atletico by 15pts    Aaron HUGHES Rank: No.702 Points: 520
Antonio LOPEZ Rank: No.758 Points: 510  Fulham by 74pts   Paul KONCHESKY Rank: No.428 Points: 584

Midfield
Jose Antonio REYES Rank: No.1076 Points: 423  Fulham by 195pts    Damien DUFF Rank: No.297 Points: 618
Raul GARCIA Rank: No.717 Points: 518  Atletico by 64pts    Dickson ETUHU Rank: No.982 Points: 454
ASSUNCAO Rank: No.512 Points: 560  Fulham by 11pts     Danny MURPHY Rank: No.476 Points: 571
SIMAO Rank: No.291 Points: 620  Atletico by 400pts     Simon DAVIES Rank: No.1588 Points: 220

Attack
Diego FORLAN Rank: No.82 Points: 706  Atletico by 139pts     Zoltan GERA Rank: No.487 Points: 567
Sergio AGUERO Rank: No.64 Points: 722 Atletico by 179pts     Bobby ZAMORA Rank: No.588 Points: 543

Overall head-to-head score:
Atletico Madrid 5 Fulham 6

Overall points advantage: Atletico by 187

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #41 on: May 10, 2010, 04:02:04 PM »
http://www.cottagersconfidential.com/2010/5/10/1465612/analysis-of-my-5-keys-to-victory
Analysis of " My 5 Keys to Victory for Fulham Against Arsenal"

Fulham lost yesterday to Arsenal 4 - 0 at the Emirates Stadium. Going into the match I thought this was going to be an extremely difficult match. I guess I was right. I wasn't expecting though for Arsenal to score four goals.  This game was more about how great Arsenal played than how Fulham performed. I always go back to look at my "keys" to see if they were any factors to the result of the match.  Below is an analysis of "my 5 keys to victory for Fulham against Arsenal."   

1. Who will be in the lineup tomorrow? Well, Roy Hodgson made many changes to his lineup yesterday. As expected players like Jonathan Greening, Chris Smalling, and Kagisho Dikgacoi did play. The problem was how well did they play? Let's just say losing 4 - 0 it is hard to say anyone played well with that result. The lineup changes were a huge factor yesterday.

2. Fulham's strikers need to take advantage of any opportunity they get to score.  Fulham as expected did not get many opportunities to score yesterday. On the small amount of chances they had,  the strikers obviously did not take advantage of them. Okaka made a nice pass to Dempsey in the penalty box. It looked like he might have been fouled. The was no foul called on this play. Erik Nevland had a chance with a header late in the first half. His shot went over the net. There were just not enough chances for Fulham yesterday.     

3. Fulham need to contain Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin.  Fulham failed big time on this key. Andrei Arshavin and Robin van Persie both scored goals and were active the entire game. The back four did a horrible job on their strikers.

4.  Kagisho Dikgacoi and Jonathan Greening need to be solid in the midfield.  Again, with Fulham losing 4 - 0 it is tough to say anyone was solid yesterday. Arsenal controlled most of the match. Fulham had very little possession. Kagisho Dikgacoi and Jonathan Greening really did not make any impact in this match.

5. Mark Schwarzer again will need to be exceptional .  I can't believe I am going to say this, but Mark Schwarzer actually made a mistake. He let Arshavin steal the ball from him which eventually led to the first goal. He rarely makes mistakes so I need to keep this mistake in perspective. However, since he was not exceptional in this match this key was a factor as well. 

I was not optimistic going into this match. I was not expecting Fulham to lose 4 - 0.  It was a bad result for the club.

In concluding,  I think everyone of my "keys"were negative factors in this match. Again, this match was more about Arsenal than Fulham. I wouldn't be surprised to see them winning the League next year. The youngsters of Arsenal are starting to grow up.

Now that this post is over I can concentrate on getting excited for Wedneday. I think you might see some posts from me leading up to the biggest match in Fulham history

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #42 on: May 10, 2010, 04:03:22 PM »
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1276387/Blow-Burnley-Fulham-England-slip-Fair-Play-ranking-lose-extra-Europa-League-spot.html?ITO=1490
Blow for Burnley and Fulham as England slip in Fair Play ranking and lose extra Europa League spot

Burnley's dream of a European tour is over after it was announced England had slipped down the Fair Play table.

From the coveted third place to a lowly seventh, England's demise has come at a cost to the Clarets who had hoped to sneak into the Europe via the back door.

UEFA reward the three 'cleanest' leagues on the continent with an extra spot in the Europa League, which this season will go to Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

England were ranked third last season and were expected to maintain that position when the latest results were published this week. However, their seventh-place standing will earn them nothing.

The news is also a blow for Fulham who now have to beat Atletico Madrid on Wednesday in the Europa League final to ensure their own passage back into the compeition next season.

The Cottagers were the best behaved team in England according to the rankings and would have had that to fall back on in the event of defeat in Hamburg.

Teams are graded on their discipline, respect for opponents and referees, positive play and behavior by fans and team officials.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1276387/Blow-Burnley-Fulham-England-slip-Fair-Play-ranking-lose-extra-Europa-League-spot.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0nXUT2RJV


Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #43 on: May 10, 2010, 06:40:44 PM »
http://www.fulham.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=198317
Fulham - Two More Injury Worries!
This close to the Europa League Final is not the time to be picking up further injuries.

Unfortunately, in the 4-0 defeat to Arsenal, two more of our likely squad for the fixture in Hamburg, didn`t make the full ninety minute mark.

John Pantsil had to leave the pitch, with a thigh problem, whilst Bjorn Helge Riise was replaced after suffering from painful stomach cramps.

Of the two, Riise is the one giving more concern with the club fearing he`s picked up a virus, or as (Sir) Roy puts it,

"Pantsil has a slight muscle strain but the physios did not seem to be terribly disturbed. We will have to re-assess him."

"Riise was suffering from stomach cramps at half time. That could be worse. He has to go home and we hope it Is not a viral infection."

Fingers crossed these two make it for what will be the biggest game in Fulham`s history!




Read more: http://www.fulham.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=198317#ixzz0nY83FEZi

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #44 on: May 10, 2010, 06:42:04 PM »
http://www.fulham.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=198315
Fulham - Zamora Injury Update!
As the 12th May draws ever closer, we`re no nearer to finding out whether Bobby Zamora will make the starting eleven.

Our nineteen goal striker continues to receive treatment on his Achilles problem and relating to the current position, (Sir) Roy has commented,

"Bobby is also making progress and we will have to see if he is fit enough to train, or whether he needs more time."

"Off course though, the more time he needs, the more difficult it makes my team selection because he has not trained or played since coming off against Hamburg."

Could Roy be thinking of starting with Bobby on the bench or will he risk him from the off?




Read more: http://www.fulham.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=198315#ixzz0nY8NxClH

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #45 on: May 10, 2010, 06:43:12 PM »
http://www.fulham.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=198314
Fulham - To Err or Not To Err?
As one of only two players, the other being John Pantsil, who were in the starting eleven and who also turned out against Stoke in midweek, it was uncharacteristic for Mark Schwarzer to make an error.

The Australian keeper has been one of our more consistent performers over the last two years but, as we all know, errors are part and parcel of the game.

Being a keeper though, you`re cut from different silk and being a proud bunch, it`s probably inevitable that Mark was reluctant to take any blame for his gaff, as (Sir) Roy explains,

"Schwarzer is blaming the pitch, saying it took a bobble, but nobody believes him!"

"Mark made a very uncharacteristic error - but I am pleased he has got it out of his system."

Exactly, the Nordbank Arena is not the place for anyone to commit an error / mistake. If Atletico Madrid are to be beaten it`ll need to be one of those nights where everyone is on top of their game.




Read more: http://www.fulham.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=198314#ixzz0nY8fNX4W


Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2010, 06:46:45 PM »
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1276581/Danny-Murphy-demands-final-fling-Fulham-bring-home-Europa-League-trophy.html?ITO=1490
Danny Murphy demands final fling from Fulham to bring home Europa League trophy

Danny Murphy has urged Fulham to complete the fairytale when they face Atletico Madrid in Wednesday's Europa League final.   

The Cottagers have defied all odds during their arduous 10-month march to the Hamburg Arena by producing a string of giant-killing displays.   

Big-spending holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Italian giants Juventus and German champions Wolfsburg are among the victims strewn across the 18 matches it has taken to reach the final.   


Dan the man: Murphy is desperate to finish the job against Atletico Madrid
Universally acclaimed for reaching a European showpiece and doing it the hard way, Fulham are braced for the biggest match in their 131-year history.   

But Murphy insists the plaudits will sound hollow unless they claim the club's first major piece of silverware.   

'Even though we deserve the praise we're getting, it won't make it feel any better if we wake up on Thursday morning without having won the trophy,' said the club captain.   

'It's great to be in the final but we want to win and complete the fairytale. If we manage that we can be pleased with ourselves and look back with huge satisfaction on a wonderful season.   

'For us to win would be an unbelievable achievement. To do what we've done is remarkable with the squad and the budget we have.   

'We know it will be difficult because that's the way it's been in every match of this competition.'
Mirroring virtually their entire European campaign, Fulham are expected to be up against it one last time after bookmakers installed Atletico as clear favourites.   

Roy Hodgson's side have spent the season making a mockery of predictions so another upset would hardly be surprising, but Murphy insists Atletico start in pole position.   

The Spanish club may sit in mid-table of La Liga but they have also reached the final of the domestic cup and bristle with attacking options in Sergio Aguero, Jose Antonio Reyes and Diego Forlan.   

'I wouldn't understand if people made us favourites. You have to base it on the players the team has and the budgets they work from,' he said.   

'I'd hazard a guess that Atletico's wage bill is far greater than ours. They have a lot of top-class international players   

'We deserve respect for what we've achieved but they're still the favourites. That's no problem to us anyway, we're used to it now. If we play well we can beat anybody.'
Murphy helped Liverpool win the 2001 UEFA Cup but insists Fulham's European adventure is a greater achievement.   

'There's a big difference - at Liverpool you're expected to be in finals every year,' said the 33-year-old midfielder. 

'When we started out on this campaign even the die hard fans probably didn't anticipate such a wonderful run to get to the final.   

'This is a different type of satisfaction. The expectancy hasn't been there and the underdog tag has stuck with us throughout the competition.   



Dangerous: Fulham's defenders will have to keep a close eye on Aguero'A good analogy is that the other day Liverpool were talking about winning the Europa League as a consolation.   

'We're talking about it being the best trophy in the club's history.'
Fulham are waiting for injury updates on striker Bobby Zamora and winger Damien Duff, who face a race against time to be fit from their respective achilles and leg problems.   

'Hopefully Bobby and Damien will be fit,' said Murphy. 'It would be a shame if either of them were to miss out because they've contributed so much to this season.   

'They've been two of our best players so it's fingers crossed because you want your best team available.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1276581/Danny-Murphy-demands-final-fling-Fulham-bring-home-Europa-League-trophy.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0nY99r2lI

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #47 on: May 10, 2010, 06:48:03 PM »
http://www.teamtalk.com/fulham/6145898/Murphy-calls-for-one-last-Euro-push
Murphy calls for one last Euro push

Danny Murphy has urged Fulham to "complete the fairytale" when they face Atletico Madrid in Wednesday's Europa League final.

The Cottagers have defied all odds during their arduous 10-month march to the Hamburg Arena by producing a string of giant-killing displays.

Big-spending holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Italian giants Juventus and German champions Wolfsburg are among the victims strewn across the 18 matches it has taken to reach the final.

Universally acclaimed for reaching a European showpiece and doing it the hard way, Fulham are braced for the biggest match in their 131-year history.

But Murphy insists the plaudits will sound hollow unless they claim the club's first major piece of silverware.

"Even though we deserve the praise we're getting, it won't make it feel any better if we wake up on Thursday morning without having won the trophy," said the club captain.

"It's great to be in the final but we want to win and complete the fairytale.

"If we manage that we can be pleased with ourselves and look back with huge satisfaction on a wonderful season.

"For us to win would be an unbelievable achievement. To do what we've done is remarkable with the squad and the budget we have.

"We know it will be difficult because that's the way it's been in every match of this competition."

Mirroring virtually their entire European campaign, Fulham are expected to be up against it one last time after bookmakers installed Atletico as clear favourites.

Roy Hodgson's side have spent the season making a mockery of predictions so another upset would hardly be surprising, but Murphy insists Atletico start in pole position.

The Spanish club may sit in mid-table of La Liga but they have also reached the final of the domestic cup and bristle with attacking options in Sergio Aguero, Jose Antonio Reyes and Diego Forlan.

"I wouldn't understand if people made us favourites. You have to base it on the players the team has and the budgets they work from," he said.

"I'd hazard a guess that Atletico's wage bill is far greater than ours. They have a lot of top-class international players

"We deserve respect for what we've achieved but they're still the favourites.

"That's no problem to us anyway, we're used to it now. If we play well we can beat anybody."

Murphy helped Liverpool win the 2001 UEFA Cup but insists Fulham's European adventure is a greater achievement.

"There's a big difference - at Liverpool you're expected to be in finals every year," said the 33-year-old midfielder.

"When we started out on this campaign even the die hard fans probably didn't anticipate such a wonderful run to get to the final.

"This is a different type of satisfaction. The expectancy hasn't been there and the underdog tag has stuck with us throughout the competition.

"A good analogy is that the other day Liverpool were talking about winning the Europa League as a consolation.

"We're talking about it being the best trophy in the club's history."

Fulham are waiting for injury updates on striker Bobby Zamora and winger Damien Duff, who face a race against time to be fit from their respective Achilles and leg problems.

"Hopefully Bobby and Damien will be fit," said Murphy.

"It would be a shame if either of them were to miss out because they've contributed so much to this season.

"They've been two of our best players so it's fingers crossed because you want your best team available."

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #48 on: May 10, 2010, 06:49:06 PM »
http://www.sportinglife.com/football/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=soccer/10/05/10/SOCCER_Atletico_Madrid_Nightlead.html&TEAMHD=soccer
DE GEA AWARE OF ZAMORA THREAT

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea is wary of the threat posed by Fulham striker Bobby Zamora.

The 29-year-old has had a breakthrough season with Fulham and still hopes to be fit to face the Spaniards in Wednesday's Europa League final in Hamburg despite a long-standing Achilles injury.

Such has been his form this term he is even expected to be named by Fabio Capello in England's provisional 30-man World Cup squad.

That has not escaped the attention of De Gea, who is wary of the threat posed by the Cottagers on the break - and Zamora in particular.

He told Marca: "They are very physical and will have to defend very well to stop us scoring and I will have to be very careful to stay on my game.

"In addition Zamora is a great player and I'll have to be aware of him."

At the start of the season, De Gea, 19, could not have imagined he would have a pair of finals to look forward to.

Coach Abel Resino had brought in Sergio Asenjo from Real Valladolid as one of his highest-profile summer signings.

But their poor early-season form meant Resino was shown the door, replaced by Quique Sanchez Flores, while 20-year-old Asenjo's errors saw him replaced in the first team by De Gea.

The campaign has been on the whole disappointing for Atletico, as they failed in the Champions League and will finish the Primera Division season in a relatively lowly ninth.

The silver lining though is a pair of cup finals, on Wednesday against Fulham and a week later against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey, giving De Gea plenty to be proud of at such an early stage in his career.

"I don't know if this is the season of my life, but it is so far, because it's been very good in that I played in the Primera Division," he said.

"Playing finals is a dream and hopefully we can win both.

"This was unthinkable when the season started, because I didn't play much for the team, but I knew that by working and struggling I would have a chance, and I had to seize it."

Atletico have not won a major title since their league and cup double in 1996.

"A final is always special, but this is still more so because it's a long time that the club has not won a title and we want to do, so let's go for the two competitions," said De Gea.

"I don't remember much about the double, but I've seen a lot of videos and pictures and hopefully it will be repeated because it was a very big party."

While things have got better and better for De Gea, injury was added to insult for Asenjo on Saturday when, in a rare start in the 1-1 draw against Sporting Gijon, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

He is due to undergo surgery tomorrow and is expected to be sidelined for around six months.


Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #49 on: May 10, 2010, 06:50:33 PM »
http://fourfourtwo.com/news/restofeurope/53882/default.aspx
EXCLUSIVE Roy won't enjoy final

Fulham are preparing for their first ever European final – but manager Roy Hodgson has admitted he's not going to enjoy the experience.

The Cottagers have exceeded all expectations in their run to the Europa League final, but the well-respected gaffer has been in the game too long to kick back and have a good time – as he reveals in an exclusive interview for an official UEFA online magazine created by the folks behind FourFourTwo.

"The idea of enjoying matches goes out of the window when you sign your first professional contract," insists Hodgson, who has been a manager since 1976. "After that the only enjoyment you can get is doing your job well – that means winning."

Hodgson acknowledges that victory won't come easily against Atletico Madrid – "a really top team" who eliminated Liverpool in the semi-finals – but insists that reputations count for nothing in finals.

"Luckily, the match isn’t going to be decided on who has the most previous experience in Europe or the most famous players," he says. "It’ll be won by the team who play the best football on the night."

See the Hamburg Final Online Magazine for full exclusive interviews with Hodgson, Brede Hangeland, Quique Sanchez Flores, Andy Roxburgh and others, plus much much more.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #50 on: May 10, 2010, 06:51:53 PM »
http://cottagers.blogspot.com/2010/05/hamburg.html
Hamburg
We're going to Hamburg! Which is a bit scary. I did question whether I had any right to attend the final but as a season ticket holder for four years (will I will be) and having already been to watch Fulham overseas in Switzerland then I think I'm justified in having one of the 12,000+ tickets made available.
Also my trip has been funded by Mr Paddy Power after a successful punt on Fulham and Athletico getting to the final as mentioned here and also a bet on Chelsea betting Wigan by more than five goals this weekend. It's hard to like Chelsea but the way they have pummelled teams this season is worthy of the title.
Here are some OFFICIAL UEFA statistics:

•Atlético have reached the final of a major UEFA club competition on four previous occasions, enjoying just one triumph. That came in the 1961/62 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup when they drew 1-1 with ACF Fiorentina in Glasgow before beating the Italian side 3-0 in a replay at the Neckarstadion in Stuttgart on 5 September 1962. Thus, Atlético won their only major European trophy on German soil.
•They also reached the 1962/63 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final, but – in their only previous final meeting with an English side – lost 5-1 to Tottenham Hotspur FC at De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam.
•Overall, their record in six major UEFA showpiece matches reads W1 D2 L3 (not including the European/South American Cup), scoring six goals and conceding 14 in those games.
•Current Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has been involved in one major European final before, with his FC Internazionale Milano side losing the 1996/97 UEFA Cup showpiece 4-1 on penalties at San Siro after trading 1-0 home wins with FC Schalke 04.
•Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer played for Middlesbrough FC in the final of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup, which his side lost 4-0 to Atlético's Liga rivals Sevilla FC.
• Danny Murphy is the only Fulham player to have won a UEFA Cup final, having been on the victorious side with Liverpool FC in the 2000/01 edition. The Reds beat Spanish side Deportivo Alavés 5-4 thanks to an extra-time golden goal at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund. Thus, his only previous UEFA club competition final against a Spanish side in Germany ended in victory.
•The final will be Atlético's 75th UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League outing and Fulham's 25th. Atlético have disputed 211 UEFA club competition games to Fulham's 32.
•Fulham are now unbeaten in their last five European games since a 3-1 loss at Juventus in their round of 16 first leg. The London side will be competing on German soil for the third successive round after meeting VfL Wolfsburg and HSV in the quarter and semi-finals respectively; away from home, they beat the 2008/09 Bundesliga champions 1-0 before drawing 0-0 with Hamburg.
•The final will be Fulham's 19th game since they started their UEFA Europa League campaign in the third qualifying round. Their record in 18 European fixtures this season reads W11 D4 L3, scoring 30 goals and conceding 16. It will be Atlético's 17th European fixture since their campaign began in the UEFA Champions League play-off round. Their 16 games thus far have given them the tally W4 D8 L4, scoring 17 goals and conceding 22.
•• Atlético have lost all three of their UEFA club competition penalty shoot-outs to date; 7-6 at home to Derby County FC in the 1974/75 UEFA Cup, 3-1 at Fiorentina in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup and 3-1 at home against Villarreal in a 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup final.
•The referee is Italy's Nicola Rizzoli, who bossed Manchester United's game against Bayern Munich from which the German side advanced on away goals after United's right back was dismissed for two soft yellow cards. Well, a soft second yellow at any rate. He has refereed Atheltico before - an Intertoto cup defeat by Romanian side Gloria 1922 Bistriţa in 2007.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #51 on: May 10, 2010, 06:53:14 PM »
http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11681_6145899,00.html
Murphy orders one last push
Fulham skipper warns plaudits will sound hollow unless they land trophy

Danny Murphy gave Fulham a frank rally-cry ahead of their Europa League final - complete the fairytale.

The Cottagers are within one win of securing the greatest result in their 131-year history as they take on Atletico Madrid in Wednesday's European showpiece.

In the 18 games it has taken Fulham to reach the Nordbank Arena, Roy Hodgson's side have defied odds to upset a host of clubs across the continent, including big-spending holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Italian giants Juventus and German champions Wolfsburg.

The Premier League outfit have earned rave reviews for reaching the final in Hamburg but club captain Murphy, who won the same trophy with Liverpool in 2001, says the arduous 10-month campaign will count for nothing unless they are crowned winners in Germany.

"Even though we deserve the praise we're getting, it won't make it feel any better if we wake up on Thursday morning without having won the trophy," said the 33-year-old.

"It's great to be in the final but we want to win and complete the fairytale.

"If we manage that we can be pleased with ourselves and look back with huge satisfaction on a wonderful season.

"For us to win would be an unbelievable achievement. To do what we've done is remarkable with the squad and the budget we have.

"We know it will be difficult because that's the way it's been in every match of this competition."

Underdogs
Mirroring virtually their entire European campaign, Fulham are expected to be up against it one last time after bookmakers installed Atletico as clear favourites.

Hodgson's side have spent the season making a mockery of predictions so another upset would hardly be surprising, but Murphy insists Atletico start in pole position.

The Spanish club may sit in mid-table of La Liga but they have also reached the final of the domestic cup and bristle with attacking options in Sergio Aguero, Jose Antonio Reyes and Diego Forlan.

"I wouldn't understand if people made us favourites. You have to base it on the players the team has and the budgets they work from," he said.

"I'd hazard a guess that Atletico's wage bill is far greater than ours. They have a lot of top-class international players

"We deserve respect for what we've achieved but they're still the favourites.

"That's no problem to us anyway, we're used to it now. If we play well we can beat anybody."


Zamora & Duff injuries
Fulham are waiting for injury updates on striker Bobby Zamora and winger Damien Duff, who face a race against time to be fit from their respective Achilles and leg problems.

"Hopefully Bobby and Damien will be fit," said Murphy.

"It would be a shame if either of them were to miss out because they've contributed so much to this season.

"They've been two of our best players so it's fingers crossed because you want your best team available."


Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (10/05/10)…
« Reply #52 on: May 10, 2010, 06:54:43 PM »
http://www.cottagersconfidential.com/2010/5/10/1465782/i-also-want-fulham-to-win-the
I also want Fulham to win the Europa League Final for all the small clubs in the EPL

As we get closer to the Europa League Final I keep going back to how incredible this journey has been for Fulham.  They are a mid - table club right now in the EPL. I think in the future they could possibly be a top half of the table club consistently most years. In comparison to the "big four" they are a small club. The fact that they are a small club makes this story even better.

The game of football is dominated by the teams who have the most money. They can spend more money on players than a team like Fulham. The Cottagers have to be smart on who they sign and spend their money wisely. They have succeeded in building their club against the difficult financial advantage that bigger clubs have.

Fulham cannot win the Barclays Premier League the way the league is currently structured. However, they have proven to be very competitive in the league and Europe. The credit goes to the manager, the owner, and the players. Everyone that is associated with Fulham should be very proud of getting to the Final of the Europa League.

There is one more step in their quest and that is trying to win the Final on Wednesday. To win this match would be incredible not just for Fulham, but I think for all the small clubs in the EPL.  I think a win for Fulham could help clubs like Blackburn, Stoke City, Sunderland, and Wigan. These clubs and their fans would know that maybe they can win Europe someday just like Fulham accomplished it . The odds are stacked against all of these clubs including Fulham.  It comes down to money. 

Middlesborough almost accomplished winning the UEFA Cup in the 2005/ 2006 season. They got to the Final and lost. It is a great accomplishment getting there, but winning it is a completely different story. After Middlesborough lost this match their manager took the England job. Three years later the club was relegated to the Championship.

If fulham win how can this help the other smaller clubs in the EPL? As I stated before maybe the mentality of these clubs change. They now see a club just like them win a European Championship. The next time a larger club comes knocking on the door to "cherry pick" one of their best players away, maybe this time the smaller club says "no". They hold on to the players they have and try to build on the structure already in place. The transfer money offers makes it difficult, but if you are building a team you believe in I think you need to hold on to your "key Players".

The money in football makes it very hard for smaller clubs. I just would like them to see what can be accomplished.  I think a win for Fulham could be beneficial for the EPL.

All of this talk brings me back to my favorite movie of all time. It is Hoosiers starring Gene Hackman. It is a story about a small Indiana high school basketball team that defies the odds and wins the State Championship. The coach asks his players if they have anything to say before they play the biggest game of their lives. In the movie Hoosiers, one player says " let's win this one for all the small schools who never had a chance to get here."

Don't get me wrong. I  do want Fulham to win this match for themselves and their fans. But, I also hope it could be beneficial for other clubs just like Fulham.  I also want Fulham to win the Europa League Final for all the small clubs in the EPL.