Author Topic: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...  (Read 15516 times)

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2014, 08:28:23 AM »
 
American Exports: Clint Dempsey leads Fulham into battle vs. league leaders Arsenal

AMSTERDAM – Premier League action dominates the weekend slate of European games involving Americans, with Clint Dempsey continuing his quest for a first career goal against league leaders Arsenal.

All times listed in ET.

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Jozy Altidore – Sunderland vs. Southampton (Saturday, 7:45 am on NBCSN)

The US striker is vying for the start as Sunderland aim to climb out of the drop zone for the first time since August. Altidore set up both goals as the Black Cats knocked Southampton out of the League Cup in November. The Saints usually are a tough task at the Stadium of Light, where they are unbeaten in the last five league clashes.

Clint Dempsey – Fulham at Arsenal (Saturday, 10 am on MBCSN/Mun2)

Dempsey is hoping his 13th appearance against the Gunners goes better than others have in the past. He's never scored against Arsenal -- the Gunners are actually one of the few EPL teams yet to suffer one of his strikes -- and he has celebrated only two wins against them to date. The Cottagers have dropped five of their last six league games on the road and they have never won at Arsenal. But despite losing 22 of 27 there, Fulham have posted consecutive draws at the Emirates.



http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2014/01/17/american-exports-clint-dempsey-leads-fulham-battle-vs-league-leaders-arsenal?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2014, 08:31:34 AM »
 
Fulham boss Meulensteen wants to raid former club United for young winger Cole

Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen wants to raid former club Manchester United for young winger Larnell Cole.

Meulensteen, who left Old Trafford with Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer, has identified the 20-year-old attacker as a player who can aid his side's attempts to stay in the Barclays Premier League.

The Cottagers boss knows all about Cole having worked with the youngster at United.


Incoming? Rene Meulensteen wants to be reunited with Manchester United's Larnell Cole (left)

Limited: Cole has played just once for United's senior side, in the League Cup against Leeds United in 2011


Cole built his reputation in United's youth teams, where he impressed alongside another Fulham target, West Ham's Ravel Morrison.

Clint Dempsey has already returned to the club on loan, while club record signing Bryan Ruiz has been loaned out to PSV Eindhoven.


Busy man: Fulham manager Meulensteen needs to strengthen his squad to fight relegation
 
One in, one out: Fulham have loaned in Clint Dempsey, and loaned out Bryan Ruiz (right) to PSV




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2541409/Meulensteen-wants-return-Old-Trafford-bring-United-winger-Cole-Fulham.html#ixzz2qjkKK9wr
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Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2014, 08:33:09 AM »
 
Transfer news: PSV Eindhoven defender Stanislav Manolev released


Stanislav Manolev: Has been released by PSV Eindhoven

PSV Eindhoven have announced right-back Stanislav Manolev's contract has been terminated by mutual consent.

The 28-year-old has fallen out of favour at the Philips Stadion over the past 18 months and spent the end of last season on loan with Premier League side Fulham.

Following his loan spell at Craven Cottage, Manolev was left with Jong PSV, the Dutch club's reserve side, where he made 10 appearances in the Jupiler League.

Manolev's discipline had been called into question during the 2011/12 Eredivisie season, with him picking up four suspensions throughout the campaign.

The 35-cap Bulgaria international has now returned to his native homeland to train with former club Litex Lovech.

"We would like to thank Stanislav Manolev for his hard work and dedication," PSV technical director Marcel Brands told the club's official website.

"He has always been a true professional during five up-and-down seasons with the club and has always got on well with his team mates. We wish him the best of luck for his future career."

Despite being released by PSV, Manolev remains keen to feature in one of the top European leagues.


http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11095/9120997/?


Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2014, 08:34:30 AM »
 
Fulham and Chievo seek Mesbah



Fulham and Chievo have reportedly made offers for Parma left-back Djamel Mesbah.

According to Sport Mediaset pundit Alfredo Pedullà, the Algeria international is looking for more playing time.

He managed only three Serie A appearances for Parma this season – scoring one goal – and one Coppa Italia match.

The 29-year-old is wanted by Chievo, who have offered winger Marcelo Estigarribia in exchange.

However, it’s believed Parma prefer the Fulham proposal of cash only without a player as part of the deal.

Mesbah has been at Parma since January 2013, having previously played at Milan, Lecce, Avellino, Basel and Lorient.


http://www.football-italia.net/43972/fulham-and-chievo-seek-mesbah?

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2014, 08:36:33 AM »
 
Fulham and Saints join striker pursuit



Fulham and Southampton are ready to battle it out with West Bromwich Albion for Blackburn Rovers hitman Jordan Rhodes, who has scored 16 goals for the Championship side this term.

The Scot, who sat out the midweek 5-0 defeat at Manchester City in the FA Cup third round replay with a muscle injury, is viewed as one of the best players outside the top flight.

However, he could soon be given the opportunity to prove himself at the highest level, with West Brom, struggling Fulham and crisis-hit Saints ready to pounce.

Baggies head coach Pepe Mel requires attacking reinforcements following Shane Long’s switch to Hull City.

The Cottagers, fighting to avoid the relegation trapdoor, plan to make several acquisitions this month and require more firepower, particularly if former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov departs.

Southampton, still reeling from the resignation of chairman Nicola Cortese, may sell Dani Osvaldo to Inter Milan and see Rhodes as the ideal replacement.

Blackburn are likely to hold out for at least £9million for talisman Rhodes.



http://www.sportsdirectnews.com/fulham-fc-transfer-news/38593-fulham-and-saints-join-striker-pursuit.php#.Uto8vv0eKL8

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2014, 08:38:55 AM »
 
Scott Parker reckons Fulham's 30-somethings can do a number on leaders Arsenal

Relegation-threatened Cottagers have the league's oldest team but their England midfielder says that experience can help at the Emirates - and on the run-in

Scott Parker reckons Rene Meulensteen’s 30-somethings have the ­experience to keep Fulham in the Premier League.

Parker, 33, says having so many veterans in the Cottagers’ squad should be seen as a strength rather than a weakness in their battle against the drop.

Struggling Fulham go to Arsenal this weekend still searching for consistency and results on the back of an ­unpredictable season, which has seen major managerial upheaval.

Their ageing squad includes Steve Sidwell, Damien Duff, Dimitar Berbatov, Brede Hangeland, John Arne Riise and more, who are all in the veteran stage of their careers.

But Parker believes it can only help in going to tough places like Arsenal as they all know what it takes to survive and can handle the ­pressure.

The Fulham midfielder said: “We are an older squad, but there is experience there and we have an understanding.

“I hear what people are saying, but, if you look at the stats and data, I don’t think there have been many games in which we have under-performed.

“Age is not a limit, it can only help. When you have been in ­difficult situations before, you have an understanding of what needs to be done. That can only help us.

“There are some senior players here, big characters, like Duff, ­Hangeland and Berbatov – they all have vast experience and have played at top clubs. It’s a positive.

“We also have some youngsters in the squad. I see it as a balance and, hopefully, that experience can help us move on.”

Parker is still bemused as to why Fulham – thrashed at home by Sunderland last weekend, victorious over Norwich in the FA Cup three days later – lack consistency.

It cost Martin Jol his job, but new boss Meulensteen is now being helped by Parker’s former Charlton boss Alan Curbishley and another new arrival, ex-Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins.

Parker believes Curbishley – one of the biggest influences and mentors in his career – can also provide much-needed experience after his long absence from ­management.

He said: “What Curbs will bring is that he has been in this situation before with West Ham – he will bring experience and know-how. I’m sure he will be a sounding board for the manager.

“Rene is very hands-on as a coach. He takes a lot of sessions, has a lot of input. He drills players in terms of what he wants. He is very confident. His experiences at Manchester United have brought him that ­confidence.

“He goes into games, preparing to win them. I am sure that is a bit different here and there are certain things that will have to change.

“The lads have taken to him really well. I think you have seen that from some of the performances since he has been here. But we still need to find that consistency. It’s the ­inconsistency which is why we are where we are.”

Parker is relishing the trip to ­high-flying Arsenal after a few feisty London derbies in his days at Spurs and West Ham.

He added: “Arsenal have been fantastic. I have always been an admirer of how they play. The criticism is that they have not won any trophies, but this year they seem to have turned a page.

“We are under no ­illusions how difficult it will be. We are going there to give them a good, hard game and upset them. Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea, you have to be 100 per cent. If you are, you may have a chance of an upset.”

Scott Parker appears in EA SPORTS FIFA 14, available to buy now on Xbox One, PS4 and all other formats from Game.co.uk. Start your Ultimate Team today at easports.com/uk/fifa/fut-hub.

Average age of Premier League starting XIs this season

Club   Average age
Fulham   29 years, 303 days
West Brom   29 years, 22 days
West Ham   28 years, 343 days
Crystal Palace   28 years, 249 days
Everton   28 years, 101 days
Chelsea   28 years, 72 days
Manchester City   27 years, 280 days
Stoke   27 years, 211 days
Hull   27 years, 210 days
Manchester United   27 years, 32 days
Sunderland   27 years, 18 days
Newcastle   26 years, 360 days
Swansea   26 years, 257 days
Arsenal   26 years, 214 days
Norwich   26 years, 181 days
Liverpool   26 years, 57 days
Cardiff   26 years, 56 days
Tottenham   25 years, 280 days
Southampton   25 years, 112 days
Aston Villa   24 years, 296 days


Check out all the latest News, Sport & Celeb gossip at Mirror.co.uk http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/scott-parker-reckons-fulhams-30-somethings-3033607#ixzz2qjmbZOJx
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Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2014, 08:40:28 AM »
 
Fulham's Brede Hangeland ''like a new signing'' after returning from three month injury lay-off

Manager Meulensteen thrilled to have Norwegian's calming influence in back four that has allowed a Premier League-worst 46 goals before Arsenal trip


Dip your Bred: Fulham have Hangeland fit to face Arsenal after sciatic nerve problem

Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen says skipper Brede Hangeland’s return to action is like having a new signing.

The Cottagers' towering Norwegian defender is back in the fold following three months out with a sciatic nerve problem in his leg, having come through their midweek FA Cup win over Norwich unscathed.

His comeback provides a timely boost to a side that has leaked 46 goals in this season's 21 games – the most in the Premier League by 11, ahead of the 35 Norwich and Stoke have allowed - to leave them facing a relegation battle.

Hangeland is now poised to start on Saturday against Arsenal - who were interested in signing the centre-half before he committed his future to Fulham, in 2012.

Meulensteen said: “It was very good to see him back. It’s been a big boost for us and for him. He’s been very important over the years for Fulham.

“He’s an experienced central defender who’s calm on the ball and capable of playing out of the back and feeding the ball to the midfield. His calmness transfers to the rest of the players. He’s an attacking threat in the opposition box as well with set plays and corners.

“It really is like having a new signing, because as long as I’ve been at the club I’ve had no access to him.

“We know our defensive record needs improving and that’s why we very clearly set out to keep a clean sheet against Norwich. We need to find the right balance. We’ve shown we can attack, now we need to show we can be good defenders and hard to break down as well.”



Check out all the latest News, Sport & Celeb gossip at Mirror.co.uk http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/fulhams-brede-hangeland-like-new-3032776#ixzz2qjn5VIWq
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Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2014, 08:43:13 AM »
 
Scott Parker Q&A
'Don't call us Dad's Army' - veteran midfielder Scott Parker sees experience as a positive as Rene Meulensteen's Fulham battle against relegation ahead of Saturday's important London derby at Premier League table-toppers Arsenal…

When battling against Premier League relegation, the last thing any team would want would be to visit the table toppers. That, though, is the task which faces Fulham this weekend as they prepare to take on Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

Ahead of Saturday afternoon's important London derby, Fulham's Scott Parker spoke to the national media - with Sky Sports granted access to the interview with the former Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder.

Here, 33-year-old Parker discusses Fulham's inconsistent season, the arrival of new head coach Rene Meulensteen, a reunion with Alan Curbishley, a Dad's Army tag, the challenge of facing Arsenal, and the battle to avoid the drop.

It has been a mixed couple of weeks for Fulham. How have you found things?

"It has been a mixed bag. We went into the Christmas period and seeing those four games as very important. We picked up six points out of the four. In an ideal world, we would have probably wanted a little bit more. But it was not to be and we fight on. There are a couple of tough fixtures coming up but we got a good win in the week against Norwich City. When you win games, it breeds confidence. At the moment, our inconsistency is letting us down a little bit. In this league, when you are down there, if you can go and get a couple of back-to-back wins it is massive. You can separate a little bit and get a bit of breathing space and the pressure is not on which makes it a bit easier."

Is it difficult to understand Fulham's inconsistency?

"It is very up and down. That is the reason why we are where we are. When you are down in the league where we are, confidence plays a massive part in it and certainly you could say that is a big factor with us. The minute we get a good result, confidence starts rising. If you get a bad result, you are back down there. So I think we all have to try and stay as level as we can and grind out results. We either seem to win or lose. I cannot remember many draws that we have had this year. We have got to be hard to beat and pick up some points."

How are all the new coaches settling in at Fulham?

"Very well. Rene has come in and brought his ideas and has done very well along with [technical director] Alan Curbishley and [assistant head coach] Ray Wilkins. They have come in and all brought different parts. There is vast experience between them all and so it helps massively. As a team, we seem to have picked up a little bit and we are playing a bit more dynamic. I am sure Rene is looking at it and has an understanding of what needs to be done. I am sure over the course of time he will address it as much as he can."

Talk us through Alan Curbishley's appointment. Did you have contact with your former Charlton and West Ham boss before he took up the position?

"No, I had not spoken to Crubs for a long time. Honestly, I did not have a clue. I found out the evening it was announced. Curbs has been in this position before with West Ham so I suppose the people at the club have looked at that and he will bring experience and hopefully a bit of knowhow of what needs to be done and what the players need to do to get us out of it [a relegation battle]. He will also be a sounding board for the manager. The manager is probably new to it so he can bounce ideas off Curbs."

Were you surprised Alan Curbishley was out of the game for so long?

"I probably was. I do not know whether that was Alan's choice or not. He enjoys the media side of it, I think, and got into that. When he left West Ham, it was on difficult terms so I was quite surprised. He brought me up at Charlton and then he took me to West Ham, where he did a fantastic job."

What is Rene like? Is he interesting and different to work with on the training pitch?

"He is very hands on as a coach. He takes a lot of the session and drills into the players how he wants us to play. He is very confident. His experiences at Manchester United have brought him that success. He has a mentality where he has been at a club where, the majority of time, they are going into games preparing to win. I am sure that is a little bit different here and I am sure there are certain things he is going to have to change, like any man has to when they leave a club. The lads have taken to him really well. You can see that in some of our performances."

Do you feel you have enough in the squad to push on and get the results to move up the table again?

"Definitely. I have no doubt this is a very good squad. The Premier League is tough but you look at that table and there are a whole bunch of teams who are in it [a relegation battle] so there is still a way to go. I certainly think there is enough experience, knowhow and quality in this squad to get out of it."

The Fulham squad has been criticised this season for being a bit old. What do you say to that?

"I cannot really argue against it, I suppose. We are an older squad. But you can reverse that and talk about the experience. Playing the years that all of us have played, we have an understanding now. If you look at the stats and the data, there have not been many as a team when we have been outperformed by the opposition. I do not think age is an issue but I understand people might suggest that."

Do you feel it is a strength that you have been in a battle against relegation before in your career when you were at West Ham?

"I think that can only help. When you have been in a situation before, you have an understanding of what has to be done. Along with that, we do have some youngsters in the squad who have done very well. I see it as a balance. Hopefully the experience in the squad can help us move on."

The battle to avoid relegation is going to be very close this season. There could be three clubs from about 11 who could go down. What do you make of it?

"I looked at last weekend's game against Sunderland and if we had won that we would have been on 22 points and sitting in 11th place in the league. That is how tight it is this year."

What do you think of Arsenal this season? How surprised are you that they have become so consistent?

"They have been fantastic. I have always been a big admirer of the way they play. Over the last few years, the one criticism which has been put at them is that they have not won any trophies and have been a bit inconsistent. Certainly, this year, they seem to have turned a page in that sense, really. They have got a fantastic team with unbelievable individual talent but, not only that, this year they have shown a real defensive side to their game. Now they have got that, they are looking like a team who are well worthy of winning the Premier League."

You have had some good games at the Emirates in the past. Is it a ground which you enjoy visiting?

"Obviously I have been at some London clubs so there has been the derby rivalries - and none more so than Spurs. I do not really know my record there but the Emirates is a difficult place to go. We are all under no illusions about how difficult it will be at the weekend, with Arsenal flying and doing so well and their abundance of talent, but we are going there to give them a hard game."

Arsenal's attacking midfield could be argued as being the strongest in the league. How will you approach that challenge?

"The strongest part of their team is probably their midfield. We will prepare as much as we can and watch videos. We have all played against Arsenal and see them enough on TV to understand their qualities and understand what they do. I think the reality is that we can dress it up as much as we want but we have to be out there and it is a day when we will all have to be 9/10. If not, it is going to be a tough game."

Scott Parker appears in EA SPORTS FIFA 14, available to buy now on Xbox One, PS4 and all other formats from Game.co.uk. Start your Ultimate Team today at easports.com/uk/fifa/fut-hub


http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11096/9118897/scott-parker-qa?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2014, 08:44:48 AM »
 
Rene Meulensteen turns to Sir Alex Ferguson in an attempt help Fulham beat Arsenal
RENE MEULENSTEEN has borrowed Sir Alex Ferguson's blueprints for getting the better of Arsenal.



Meulensteen enjoyed plenty of success against the Gunners as Fergie's right-hand man at Manchester United.

He saw how the Scot got under Gunners boss Arsene Wenger's skin and stopped Arsenal's trade-mark passing game.

But Fergie did all that with a team of title-winners while Meulensteen travels to the Emirates Stadium today with a Fulham side that lost 4-1 at home to Sunderland last week.

The Cottagers have NEVER won at Arsenal in any competition but Meulensteen remains hopeful.

He said: "We know what we're going to be up against. There's no secrets - they have had no secrets for the last eight years.

"They play as they play - they won't change. That's the way they are.

"I hope I can apply some of the stuff I learned at Manchester United.

"We'll work on it at the training ground and hopefully we can look back on a performance where we get something out of the game."

If Arsenal are predictable then Fulham are the exact opposite, capable of winning at Norwich and then being thrashed 6-0 at Hull two days later.

Meulensteen added: "That is the situation you get when you are thrown in and taking over at a club because you are playing a deck of cards that is not yours.

"You look at it and you try to play the best hand in different situations and that's what I have done. I made nine changes against Norwich.

"You are still trying to get to the situation where you say 'now I know which cards suit best'."

Dimitar Berbatov is set to drop Darren Bent from his starting line-up, despite the latter's record against the Gunners.

The on-loan Aston Villa man has netted eight goals in his last 10 games against Arsenal and Meulensteen admitted he was tempted to give the ex-England man the nod.

He said:"There is a validity in it, certain players always score in certain places and against certain teams."



http://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/361072/Rene-Meulensteen-turns-to-Sir-Alex-Ferguson-in-an-attempt-help-Fulham-beat-Arsenal


Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2014, 08:46:02 AM »
 
Fulham ready for Gunners’ barrage

PREMIER LEAGUE:
Arsenal v Fulham
Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen admits he has no idea what to expect from his team at the Emirates today — but he knows precisely what he’s going to get from the Premier League leaders, Arsenal.

Meulensteen has been impressed by the Gunners’ consistency as they continue to stay just ahead of Manchester City in the championship race.

“Arsenal have got a very good chance compared to the previous seasons, but Arsenal have got no secrets and they have had no secrets for the last eight years. They play as they play — they won’t change. That is the way they are,” said the ex-Manchester United coach.

“For many seasons they have picked up the accolade of being the team that plays the most beautiful football.

“You know what you are going to be up against — you are going to be up against a very good football team, some very good individuals, but there are no secrets.”

Meulensteen believes this season’s title race is set for an exciting conclusion.

“The reason why Arsenal are very confident at the moment is because they are up there, when in recent seasons they haven’t been,” he said. “Arsenal are at the top, then City are at the top, then Chelsea — it is like a revolving door and they know every game is so important to make sure they stay up there.

“Only time will tell which teams will sustain that. That is why it is going to be one of the most fascinating ends to the season.”

The Cottagers head across to north London on the back of their midweek 3-0 FA Cup third-round replay win over Norwich.

However, Fulham will need to produce a much-improved display from the one they gave last time in the league when Meulensteen’s men were thumped 4-1 at home by fellow relegation-battlers Sunderland.

But he cannot guarantee what Fulham will be able to produce, accepting he is still learning about his team, who he compares to a new set of playing cards.

“And that is the situation you get when you are thrown in and taking over at a club,” said Meulensteen, “because you are playing a deck of cards that is not yours.”

Arsenal manager Wenger wants his team to focus on their own strengths and not get carried away in the hype surrounding City, who are looking to chalk up 100 goals in all competitions this weekend.

“In terms of their resources, no (we cannot compete) because they have unlimited resources. But with our resources available, we are ready to fight,” said Wenger, who indicated he may have now made a decision on whether to extend his contract, with confirmation of an extension expected to follow in the coming weeks.

“What is very interesting is what we want to do and how we want to play. Can we beat these teams? They are top quality, which I acknowledge, but we want to beat them and therefore with our style, we need to get our resources out there in every game to have a chance to do it.”

Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky is set to play in a protective face mask following surgery on a broken nose, but full-back Nacho Monreal (foot) is doubtful.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2014, 08:47:16 AM »
 
Sea change by the river?

Rene Meulensteen has made Ravel Morrison his number one January transfer target.

A quiet week down at the Cottage with Fulham comfortably seeing off Norwich -- yet again -- to advance to the fourth round of the FA Cup? Far from it. Although the early rounds of England’s famous old cup competition now struggle to engage supporters in the way they once did, a symptom of the game’s over-exposure, the real bombshell Tuesday came while the hardy 11,000 who turned up were drifting away into the dreary West London night.

Fired up perhaps by the side’s first clean sheet in eight games Rene Meulensteen chose the post-match press conference to tell the world Fulham had made a 4 million pound bid for Ravel Morrison and that, although the offer had been knocked back by West Ham, the lad ‘was keen to make the move’ and Fulham were considering going back in with a bigger offer.

This somewhat bold statement by the boss has rattled the embattled Hammers no end with the fall-out continuing all week, and Rene looking to be a little more circumspect as the transfer window temperature gets turned up. I think Fulham will go back for their man -- and once the horse-trading ends and honour has been settled, the Hammers will cash in and accept around 6 million pound for the 20-year-old prospect.

West Ham have other priorities all over the pitch. Despite that win in Cardiff they still, like Fulham, badly need to strengthen in key areas.

Not only did Fulham reveal their bid for Morrison, they also offered Leicester 2 million pounds for their centre-half Liam Moore, were in the market for Joleon Lescott on loan, and are now planning to raid Swansea for their 3 million pound rated left-back Neil Taylor. And these are only the prospective deals we know about. Rest assured there will be others the club are working on.

Now compare all this to the short-term loan deals and sticking-plaster solutions Martin Jol was asked to work with 12 months ago and refer back to my heading. The good ship Fulham has found a helmsman again! Perhaps folding up to bottom side Sunderland proved the final wake-up call needed to turn this project around. Shad Khan is backing his baby with cold hard cash at last!

All Rene’s transfer targets are in their 20s. Dan Burn has impressed the boss enough to see his loan period with Birmingham City terminated. Together with a fit-again Brede Hangeland the side has been given a massive boost -- as good as two major new signings for the remainder of the season.

We are not out of the woods yet. The abysmal Bryan Ruiz has been loaned back to Holland and a long-term replacement for John Arne Riise cannot come quickly enough, while I still have my doubts about Dimitar Berbatov’s desire for a relegation scrap.

Well, if Dimi wants to depart the Premiership with one last swan song for Arsenal, he has the ideal stage with which to impress Arsene Wenger on Saturday. I’ll take a match-winning hat-trick from him in the white shirt please, then by next Wednesday, he can pack his backs and leg it over to the Emirates with my best wishes.

You sense that Rene would just love it if Darren Bent got on a hot streak -- my would that solve a lot of Fulham’s problems. Well he can’t score if he’s not being played, and when he does get a start for heaven’s sake give him some decent service.

There’s no point in rehashing all the old stats about our inability to beat Arsenal. They are up the top and Fulham sit just outside the bottom three for a reason. The Gunners are so much better. It was 1-3 back in August. Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski will give Fulham’s porous defence plenty to contend with, while Wenger has a settled back five to select from. Theo Walcott is out of course, which helps us enormously in the fragile left-back position – where Kieran Richardson is about due another strained hamstring.

Fulham should actually see plenty of the ball in midfield. Scott Parker will be restored, and if Steve Sidwell would only add some brain cells and cut out the ill-judged lunges and missed tackles, he may be good for another goal. I will however rise from my seat at 2.30 and head home if Rene makes the same crass mistake of playing without wingers again for this difficult fixture.

We’ve picked up draws over recent visits to Wenger’s wonderland, here’s hoping for an effort that at least does us credit and shows we have this week perhaps turned an important corner in the history of Fulham FC.

COYW!


http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/fulham/id/1748?&cc=5739

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2014, 10:06:02 AM »
 
Hangeland’s return the key to survival for Fulham
by CHRIS GILBERTSON on JANUARY 18, 2014

Guest writing for Hammyend.com Archie Rhind-Tutt looks at the return of Brede Hangeland and the significance that the Norwegian could have on the remainder of Fulham’s season.


These days, a phone call between David Moyes and Roy Hodgson would be an interesting insight into coping with two of the most high profile, and subsequently, most scrutinized jobs in English football. Just over nine years ago, Moyes and Hodgson probably had a different comprehension of the word scrutiny.


Back then in November 2004, a phone call did take place between Moyes and Hodgson. Managers of Manchester United and England, they weren’t. Manager of Everton and coach of Viking Stavanger, they were.

With a six foot six inch Stavanger centre back completing a trial at Everton, Moyes asked Hodgson if Brede Hangeland was good enough to play in the Premier League. Indeed he was, according to Hodgson. Yet despite his endorsement, Hangeland did not move to Moyes’s Everton. Instead, the towering Norwegian went to FC Copenhagen in 2006 but he would eventually get that Premier League move.

With his former manager moving to Craven Cottage in late 2007, Brede Hangeland became Roy Hodgson’s first signing at Fulham in January 2008 – and what a signing. Without Hangeland, you could argue whether Hodgson would be in the position he currently holds, such was the integral role he played in the side that revitalised Hodgson’s standing in English football.

Like most relationships, it all started on a cold Tuesday night in Bolton with a most glorious clean sheet. That night was the genesis of a central defensive partnership that would form the bedrock of Fulham’s success under Hodgson. Because it was there, that Hangeland first played with Aaron Hughes.

Salt and pepper, gin and tonic, fish and chips, Batman and Robin, dust pan and brush –Hangeland and Hughes was a combination to rival any. Hangeland, in footballing parlance “the stopper”, was the man charged with sniffing out the danger, meeting it head on whilst it was Hughes’ job to cover the lanky Norwegian should any pesky forward nip past him.

So they had to overcome some hard times, namely the Whites near relegation to the Championship in 2008. But after that hurdle was negotiated in the most improbable manner, it was with Hangeland and Hughes at the back that Fulham enjoyed, firstly, their best ever league finish and then most memorably, that run to the Europa League Final. Hangeland was the one who took most of the credit, linked with a move away as a result, with Hughes the able yet underappreciated sidekick.

But then came the inevitable fall after attaining such heights. Whilst the partnership made it through the Mark Hughes reign, it was to be Martin Jol who’d split up the pair and it’s no coincidence that Hangeland’s performances deteriorated. Pace has never been a great strength of the lanky Norwegian, so as a result, Jol’s increasingly attacking or defensively irresponsible tactics, depending on your point of view, were not conducive.

Still, by this point, Hangeland had been made Fulham captain after Danny Murphy’s departure. His mere presence in the side was still important though. Fulham and Hangeland’s form was already waning before he was ruled out through injury in October last year.

His final game of 2013 came against Crystal Palace where he was outjumped by Adrian Mariappa for the opening goal. Clearly the sciatic nerve problem, as it was later revealed, was affecting him given that Mariappa is nearly a foot smaller than the Norwegian. Fulham went on to win that game but it would be Jol’s final victory as five consecutive defeats after sealed his fate.

His successor Rene Meulensteen hasn’t had a chance to use Hangeland in the Premier League yet but he might well be the key to survival this season. In the eight games with Brede Hangeland this season, Fulham conceded 10 goals in eight games. In the 13 without him, the Whites have conceded a staggering 36 – averaging out at nearly three per game.

It’s not just his statistical importance to Fulham though – symbolically, he is crucial. It’s a mark of the man that away from home, no Fulham player makes a greater point of running over to the visiting fans to applaud them before kickoff. After every game, he’s there too. He embodies the spirit that you want from a captain.

It’s poignant too that his Premier League return should come against Arsenal. It was against the Gunners that he was first presented to the Craven Cottage faithful back in January 2008. His first Premier League goal for Fulham was also against Arsene Wenger’s side and during his time at Craven Cottage, he has been linked with a move to the Emirates on a few occasions.

Six years to the day that he signed for Fulham, Brede Hangeland is likely to lead the Cottagers out at front runners Arsenal on Saturday. A result is unlikely but that game won’t decide if Fulham survive. If Rene Meulensteen was able to bring in a lithe central defensive partner for Hangeland, it would only help but that looks unlikely given the backlog of centre backs at the club. Dan Burn appears to be Hangeland’s protégé judging by the FA Cup replay against Norwich.


Burn worked well with the captain on the Norwegian’s return from injury as the Whites kept only a second clean sheet in Rene Meulensteen’s 13th game in charge. He may not be the most suitable partner for the rest of the season but in the long term, he looks the heir apparent to Hangeland’s position in the side.

Even though 20 goals have been shipped in the last 6 league games, the general performances have been improved under Meulensteen. You might argue that it wasn’t too difficult when they’d plumbed to such depths as those given away at West Ham in Martin Jol’s final game. Then again, the ten goals conceded against Hull and Sunderland alone testify against any improvement but overall, there has been a greater balance to Fulham under the former Manchester United coach.

Brede Hangeland’s return to the first team will only improve that and providing he stays fit until the end of the campaign his comeback is likely to provide the stability that Fulham need to stay in the Premier League once more.

Archie is a reporter for BT Sport’s European Football Show and he produces LBC 97.3′s Saturday Afternoon radio programme Scores with Ian Payne. You can follow Archie on twitter @archiert1



http://hammyend.com/index.php/2014/01/hangelands-return-the-key-to-survival-for-fulham/?


Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2014, 10:09:11 AM »
 
Finding A Balance

René Meulensteen is looking for Fulham to produce the perfect away performance when they take on Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday.

The Gunners are overwhelming favourites to triumph at the Emirates but Meulensteen knows that if his side can find the right balance between attack and defence, then they have a decent chance of leaving North London with a result.

“I think you need to be sensible, that’s the word,” he explained. “You need to look at what the situation is – they’ve got a very good record throughout the season, home and away, so it’s going to be a hell of a challenge for us.

“But on the back of the clean sheet against Norwich City, I said to the players that in many performances we’ve shown that we can attack and go forward, but let’s also start to show that we can be good defenders as well and be very solid and very hard to break down.

“I think you need to find the right balance. If you’re too open they will hurt you because of the players that they’ve got, if you’re too negative you won’t get forward and won’t ask them any questions. It’s making sure you find the right way to be solid but still be able to hurt them when we can.”

He continued: “We know what we’re going to be up against, there are no secrets. We’ve worked hard on the training ground and I really hope I can look back on a performance which sees us get something out of the game. If we do that we’ve done really well.”

Fulham’s main aim on Saturday will be to ensure that it’s not consecutive defeats in the league, following last week’s perplexing 4-1 reversal against Sunderland. The Whites dominated for large portions of that fixture with little to show for it, but Meulensteen reassured fans that everyone at the Club is working hard to find the correct formula for success.

“There’s a great application from everybody,” he said. “I cannot fault for one minute the application that these boys show and the desire in every training session we put in.


“I’m still juggling and finding the best combinations and I’ve seen a lot of positive things. I saw a lot of positive things against Norwich and if we can build on those together, we’ll become more and more solid.

“If we become more solid then that’s the way forward because we’ve proven we’ve got enough going forward, and there’s also the introduction of some young Academy players. You can see straight away there’s quality there, there’s energy there, they’re definitely not the finished article but they can act as our sort of trump cards that you can throw in and use when you have to.”

Shipping goals has been a major concern for Fulham this season, and so the return to fitness of Brede Hangeland is most welcome. The Club Captain played 90 minutes in midweek as the Whites defeated Norwich 3-0, and when questioned as to whether his availability for selection is akin to a new signing, Meulensteen stated: “It is, absolutely. Brede is like a new player because as long as I’ve been here and involved I’ve had no access to him.

“It’s a big boost, and a big boost for him because, first and foremost, he’s a fantastic centre-back, a very good footballer. You see his calmness and straightaway that transfers to all the players. It was very good to see him back – he’s been very important over the years for Fulham so it was a big boost.”

Aside from a couple of nervy moments early on against the Canaries, the home defence was relatively comfortable containing their attacking threats, and Meulensteen was naturally delighted to see his side prevent the opposition from scoring for the first time in eight outings.

He revealed: “I said before the game, ‘listen guys, if you get me a clean sheet I’ll be the happiest man in England, whatever the number is after that, even if it would’ve ended up in a 0-0 after 90 minutes plus extra-time.’ So I really set that out as a target and we were focused on that and the lads did ever so well.”


http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2014/january/18/finding-a-balance?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2014, 10:10:41 AM »
 
STATS GIVE ARSENAL AN 87% CHANCE OF BEATING FULHAM – PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW

Arsenal continue to set the pace at the top of the Premier League, though both Manchester City and Chelsea are keeping them honest. The Gunners took just a single point from their pre-Christmas clashes with this duo, though they have responded with five straight wins in all competitions. Fulham find themselves in relegation trouble, but they did beat Norwich in the FA Cup on Tuesday night.

The Cottagers have been pretty wretched on their top-flight travels in recent times, suffering seven defeats in nine matches. Hull put six past them in their previous encounter, so it is easy to see why their hosts begin as overwhelming favourites (87%). Arsene Wenger’s men have been fairly dominant on their own patch of late, collecting 23 points from a possible 27 since losing to Aston Villa on the opening day.

We do not expect both teams to score (61%), as this has been the case in 14 of the last 20 Fulham away games at this level. Each of the visitors’ previous five Premier League fixtures on the road have yielded over 2.5 goals (68%), however, so Arsenal could be in for a handsome victory. In terms of an exact result, then it is fair to say that 3-0 (13%) and 4-0 (10%) have to be considered viable options.

Best Bet: Arsenal to win (87%)  @ 1.22 with Bet Fred. Simply click the link to fill out the bet slip.


http://www.kickoff.co.uk/12970/stats-give-arsenal-an-87-chance-of-beating-fulham-premier-league-preview/?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Saturday Fulham Stuff (18/01/14)...
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2014, 12:44:10 PM »
 
Why Arsenal MUST and will try to put FIVE past Fulham!!

I am not one of those people who think that Arsenal cannot win the Premier league unless we start to win games against our big rivals and I don’t think Arsene Wenger is either. Of course he wants to beat Chelsea, Man City just as he wants to beat every team he plays, but it is not the be-all-and-end-all for the Gunners. That is winning the title.

And the Gunners can do that by beating everyone else, after all it has got us this far, despite losing to both Manchester sides and drawing with Chelsea. Wenger spoke about the importance of beating the smaller teams, as reported by Arsenal.com, just to drive the point home. I think he was urging his players on to make sure there is no repeat of the last 15 minutes at Aston Villa.

Wenger said, “That gives you consistency. After that you want to make some special results against the direct contenders as well.

“Of course that is the target but let’s first be consistent.”

In all honesty, Arsenal could and should have destroyed Villa in that game, but we sat back and invited pressure and it will bite us in the Arsenal before long. We have a great defence, but why test them out when you have the creative, attacking talent able to blast a team off the pitch. And a big win shoots confidence through the team, just look at City who have scored their way out of a poor start to an inconsistent start to the season.

I think it is important for Arsenal to not lose at Chelsea and when City come to the Emirates, but we simply must beat the lower sides and if we start beating them by 3 or 4 it will make those bigger teams much warier when they face us.

Finally, Wenger is about to have a much bigger group of players to choose from, with the likes of Ramsey, Arteta, Bendtner and Rosicky coming back, so whoever plays today should be aware that he needs to be good to keep his place. Smashing five past Fulham, just as Hull City did, would be a great way of Wilshere, Ozil, Podolski, Giroud and all stating their cases. Come On You Gunners, give me five!


http://justarsenal.com/why-arsenal-must-and-will-try-to-put-five-past-fulham/29848?