Author Topic: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)  (Read 6349 times)

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2010, 07:50:25 AM »
http://www.tribalfootball.com/fulham-poised-sign-roma-striker-okaka-608631
Fulham poised to sign Roma striker Okaka
30.01.10 | Ian Ferris
Fulham are on the brink of completing the loan signing of striker Stefano Okaka from Roma until the end of the season.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson expects the Italy Under-21 international to be available after the transfer window closes on Monday.

"The deal is on. It was never really off but there have been a lot of problems to iron out," said Hodgson.

"At the moment he's finishing off a medical. Barring any problems with the medical I expect him to join us from Monday.

"He won't be in line to play against Aston Villa tomorrow as Roma want him available for their game on Sunday."

Okaka started both of this season's Europa League matches between the clubs and scored the winner at the Stadio Olimpico in early November.

"Okaka played against us and did well. He's also played for Italy Under-21s," said Hodgson.

"We've been monitoring him for a long time, before we were drawn against Roma in the Europa League. His name was well known to our scouting staff."

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2010, 07:51:26 AM »
http://www.rte.ie/sport/soccer/2010/0129/okakas_fulham.html
Okaka set for Fulham deal

Roma striker Stefano Okaka is to join Fulham on a loan deal until the end of the season.

Okaka underwent a medical at Craven Cottage after negotiations over the 20-year-old were revived since a perceived lack of interest from the player and his club threatened to scupper the move.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson expects the Italy Under-21 international to be available after the transfer window closes on Monday.

'The deal is on. It was never really off but there have been a lot of problems to iron out,' said Hodgson.

'At the moment he's finishing off a medical. Barring any problems with the medical I expect him to join us from Monday.

'He won't be in line to play against Aston Villa tomorrow as Roma want him available for their game on Sunday.'

Okaka started both of this season's Europa League matches between the clubs and scored the winner at the Stadio Olimpico in early November.

'Okaka played against us and did well. He's also played for Italy Under-21s,' said Hodgson.

'We've been monitoring him for a long time, before we were drawn against Roma in the Europa League. His name was well known to our scouting staff.'

Fulham's scouting department have certainly been earning their keep with the sale of Chris Smalling to Manchester United trumping their scrutiny of Okaka.

Smalling made only a handful of first-team appearances for the Cottagers before the 20-year-old centre-back became the subject of a bidding war between United and Arsenal this week.

Alex Ferguson's successful offer of £7million, rising to £10million on appearances, represented a staggering profit on a player who cost just £10,000 from non-league Maidstone 18 months ago.

Hodgson expects Smalling, who will remain at Fulham until the end of the season though is barred from playing in the rivals' clash at Old Trafford on 14 March, to take the move in his stride.

'Chris is potentially a great player in the making. He can handle the step up to Manchester United,' he said.

'The day he had to step into the breach with us was a big step and now he has the next step to take. Of course I think he can go on and win England honours.'

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2010, 07:55:07 AM »
http://cravencottagenewsround.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/balance-3/
Balance
Filed under: General — weltmeisterclaude @ 10:32 pm

Football is a fluid team game, with good sides acting as machines where the component parts work together to make something good happen.   We currently have:

loads of regulars injured

just played a load of away games

And so things have looked bad.

One thing that was broadly okay on Tuesday was the centre of midfield.  Murphy had a decent battling game (despite what people have said), as did Kagiso Dikgacoi.



Here’s Kagiso’s chalkboard, and on it we see a roving performance with more forward passes that we’re used to from any of Murphy’s henchmen.   He was not averse to passing forwards, and not always over short distances.   For a player new to the league to slip in this seemlessly strikes me as fairly impressive, and Dikgacoi’s performance was one of the few highlights on Tuesday.

Thing is though, as the dust settles, Roy’s assessment that we didn’t do all that badly wasn’t far off.   If you look at the Spurs chalkboards you see that Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe did virtually nothing:



We faced a barrage of crosses from Bale and Bentley, loads of the feckers, but dealt with them all.   Take away the freak goals and it was a stalemate, which didn’t make for good viewing but which would’ve done as a decent result.  It’s the old story:  Roy’s away plan is acceptable when it works, but looks awful when it doesn’t.

Some more things:

Average positions are skewed because Duff and Gera switched at half-time, but still, Zamora was thoroughly isolated.   People have said how he didn’t look all that fit, but I thought he had a minor stormer, given no help whatsoever up front (we just got nobody around him) he still fought well, and was frequently beating Dawson in the air, chesting the ball down, etc.  It was a performance that would have looked a lot better had he had accompaniment.



But Gera was busy being a fifth midfielder, Riise is very much a wide player, and Duff was always waiting for the run that never came from Baird.     In short, the right hand side was blunt, where Hughes (as we might expect) did a fair job of getting up the line, but where Riise struggled to find his European form and didn’t cut inside as Duff and Dempsey do (thus giving support to the forwards).   The left hand side where Duff was having a quiet one and where Gera didn’t go, even post switch, was an attacking blank, which really only left us the middle of the pitch, which is easy to defend if you’re not being stretched at all.  Here Murphy and Dikgacoi did all the usual approach work you might expect, but with Gera, Duff, Riise, Hughes and Baird not attacking as a unit like Gera, Dempsey, Duff, Paintsil and Konchesky did, we were, effectively, five attackers short!



(my high-tech diagramming tool seems to have wiped out Zamora there…)

That sounds like an exaggeration, but we usually expect attacking work in combination from those five players, and we just didn’t get it on Tuesday.    People moan about Andy Johnson’s slow return to form, but the movement when he, Zamora, Dempsey and Duff are all in the team, with Konchesky overlapping, well that’s what Roy’s after, and that’s why he’s nervous at the moment.    I think we’ve still got the spine of the team about right, but the improvement (why am I italicising everything?) to this year’s side has been what’s going on on the flanks, the outstanding work of the pairings (I nearly italicised that too) on each side.   With Zamora holding up, Dempsey and Duff darting in and the full-backs using that space we’re a cohesive attacking unit;  with Tuesday’s configuration we’ll never score in a month of Sundays.

This is what I was driving at earlier in the week when I pondered the Duff/Davies full-back tandem.  It isn’t a realistic option – I know that – but the effects of the injuries we have are greater than it feels like they should be.    The machine needs all its parts to work;  take out four importants nuts and bolts and it doesn’t matter how good the rest of the build is, something’s going to suffer.   

It’s going to be a long few weeks…


Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2010, 07:56:41 AM »
http://hammyend.com/?p=5038

Collins John to join Chicago Fire on trial


Collins John will join Chicago Fire on trial for their pre-season training camp.

This piece suggests that Frank Klopas, the Fire’s technical director, has spoken with Brian McBride, who would team up with John again in Chicago, and Carlos Bocanegra about the Dutch striker, who they know from his days at Fulham.

John’s career has gone rapidly downhill since a bright start at Fulham. Exceptionally talented, the Liberian-born forward was capable of scoring breathtaking goals – like that jaw-dropping volley at Middlesbrough – but also frustratingly lazy and seemingly unable to grasp the concept of the offside law. Having been released by Fulham, John has failed to impress at NEC or KSV Roeselare in Belgium.

Let’s hope he’s grown up a bit or he could be that all-too-common footballing phenomenon: a talent youngster who squandered his talent.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2010, 08:00:26 AM »
http://www.dailystar.co.uk/football/view/119694/Hodgson-backing-Chris-Smalling-/
HODGSON BACKING CHRIS SMALLING
ROY HODGSON is backing Chris Smalling to become an England star once he makes the move to Manchester United in the summer.
The 20-year-old centre-half is so level-headed that Fulham manager Hodgson expects him to cope with his shock £8m move to Old Trafford even easier than he adjusted to life at Craven Cottage after leaping up from non-league Maidstone.

Smalling starts for Fulham against Aston Villa today, with Hodgson insisting he will go from strength to strength.

He said: “Of course he can go on to play for England. Sir Alex must know that, too, with him paying so much money to sign him.

“He must think he will help him win trophies at home and abroad.

“Chris’ major step was the one he ­already made from non-league. ­After that everything will come gradually.

“Alex has seen players like this ­before and dealt with them. He will relate him to a 17-year-old Ryan Giggs, 18-year-old David Beckham and 19-year-old Wayne Rooney.

“Chris is not the finished article, yet they are signing a player who can deal with the big time.”

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2010, 08:01:44 AM »
http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/155100/Hodgson-Chris-Smalling-can-make-it-big-/
HODGSON: CHRIS SMALLING CAN MAKE IT BIG

ROY HODGSON is backing Chris Smalling to become an England star once he makes the move to Manchester United.



Centre-half Smalling, 20, is so level-headed Fulham boss Hodgson expects him to cope with a shock £10million move to Old Trafford even easier than he adjusted to life at Craven Cottage after leaping up from non-league Maidstone.

Smalling starts against Aston Villa today as United have allowed him to remain with Fulham until the end of the season. And Hodgson said he will go from strength to strength. “Of course he can go on to play for England – Sir Alex Ferguson must know that too with him paying so much money to sign him. He must think he will help him win trophies at home and abroad too.

“I have had lots of talks with Sir Alex recently and he has given me his blessing to play Chris in as many games as we like. The more experience he gains now will only help him in the future.

“His major step was the one he made from non-league. After that everything will come gradually. We unearthed a diamond.”


Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2010, 08:07:40 AM »
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/8481175.stm

Fulham    v    Aston Villa
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

White Noise

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2010, 09:59:19 AM »
 
Andy Townsend's boot room: Long and short of what Aston Villa do best
By Andy Townsend

Last updated at 7:45 PM on 29th January 2010

Comments (0)

Aston Villa will not be going to Fulham today to play long-ball stuff, despite what Arsene Wenger accused them of this week.

The world and his wife, quite rightly, eulogise about the quality of Arsenal's play but it was a bit unnecessary of Wenger to infer that Villa just launch it and chase.

Arsene should bear in mind that lots of managers have spoken very highly about the way Arsenal go about their football.
 

Villa are certainly not long-ball merchants. They are an attack-minded team. How many sides in the Barclays Premier League play with two out-and-out wide men?

They have always got an out ball on both flanks and they are very quick to counter- attack. Physically they can stand up to most, so it is no surprise to me that Villa are a decent side away from home. You are entitled to say Villa get it forward quickly into danger areas but they can also get it down and play. They are not crude. They play the sort of game that suits their personnel the best. That is sensible tactical football.

O'Neill's side will not be lacking in confidence, having already won at Old Trafford and Anfield. Going to Fulham is certainly not like an away game at Plough Lane or The Dell on a wet Tuesday night.

You haven't got a slope to deal with or a blasting wind. In fact, a trip to Craven Cottage was one I always enjoyed as a player.

It is far from being one of the most intimidating places to go and play but there are certain teams that, when they get a bit of home form going, really welcome playing on their own patch.

Fulham have the joint best defensive record in the division at home and have already beaten Manchester United and Liverpool, so getting a result will be no mean feat for Villa.

Roy Hodgson has allowed players to express themselves in the right areas, so confidence has grown. The crowd are a realistic bunch and they realise Roy has moved the team on. It is not so long ago that Fulham were simply concerned with avoiding relegation.

Experienced managers, when they come into a club, simplify things. Too many of the younger managers are looking to rewrite the coaching manuals.

Sometimes, at the top level, the players frown on that kind of thing. Roy has brought an effectiveness to the team and they are proving very difficult to break down at home. Mark Schwarzer is a good goalkeeper and in Brede Hangeland they have a dominant centre half. Danny Murphy is enjoying the responsibility that goes with the captaincy.

With those three players, Fulham have got the right blend of quality and experience where they need it.

Up front, Bobby Zamora has certainly benefitted form his manager's influence.
He is a talented player who I have watched a lot. But too often he has played in areas where he is never going to get his quota of goals. If a striker is not scoring, his confidence is going to drain away. But he is playing with confidence under Hodgson and, while he is never going to top the scoring charts, he has certainly got a better return than before.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1247141/Andy-Townsends-boot-room-Long-short-Aston-Villa-best.html#ixzz0e5X7zAOX

White Noise

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2010, 10:04:31 AM »
http://hammyend.com/?p=5033


Fulham ‘declare their interest’ in Moses


by Dan on January 29, 2010

According to Sky Sports News, Fulham have declared their interest in Victor Moses after Newcastle made a bid for the Crystal Palace starlet. I’m not really sure what declaring an interest actually means, but apparently Wigan and West Ham have also done it.


White Noise

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2010, 10:06:31 AM »
http://hammyend.com/?p=5031

Making us tick

by Dan on January 29, 2010

A few people have mentioned to me that they think Danny Murphy’s in decline – in that his performances are much less impressive than last season – and that this probably should be his last season in a Fulham shirt. I think that’s very harsh, but what is clear that the opposition have worked out how to make us less of a threat: shut Murphy down.

Stoke did it very effectively at the Britannia in the New Year, but the most graphic demonstration comes from a comparison between Murphy’s return to the league side, against Manchester United at home in December, and Tuesday’s sorry display against Spurs:


by Guardian Chalkboards

Murphy had much more space to operate in against Manchester United, perhaps because we were at home and more adventurous. But he did get that opportunity against Tottenham. Palacios and Huddlestone hurried him and most of his passes are concentrated in the middle of the field, deprieving Fulham of any forward energy, something particularly important in the absence of Clint Dempsey and with a lone striker. He also wasn’t helped by having a nervy Dikgacoi alongside him rather than Chris Baird.

You can be sure Villa – probably through Petrov – will look to press Murphy again tomorrow. Fulham will need their captain to be a little more dynamic and his fellow midfielders to offer themselves more if their football is to be fluid enough to pass the test.

White Noise

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (30/01/10)
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2010, 10:07:52 AM »
http://hammyend.com/?p=5029

Even steven

by Dan on January 29, 2010

Remarkable stat from OptaJoe:

17 – Fulham and Aston Villa have met 51 times in the league with 17 wins for Fulham, 17 victories for Villa and 17 draws. Uniform