Author Topic: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...  (Read 1517 times)

Offline whitejc

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Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« on: February 21, 2019, 07:55:43 AM »
Predicted line-up: Manuel Pellegrini ponders two changes to West Ham team for Fulham after conflicting reports

West Ham United take on Fulham at the London Stadium on Friday night.

The Hammers have not won for five games but have earned respectable draws in their last two games against Crystal Palace and Liverpool.

That leaves the East Londoners in 10th place as the Premier League resumes this weekend.

Manuel Pellegrini has been nursing a league-worst injury list.

But things look to be improving ahead of the visit of the lowly Cottagers.

West Ham will be boosted by the return of key players from long-term injury for the game.

Bench boost

Manuel Lanzini and Fabian Balbuena are both expected to be in the squad.

But reports that Jack Wilshere – who is expected to miss the rest of the season – and Samir Nasri will also be in the squad are believed to be wide of the mark.

Lanzini and Balbuena will not be risked from the start after such a long time out.

They will boost Pellegrini’s options from the bench.

But the Chilean looks set to make two changes to the side which drew 1-1 at Palace last time out.

Zabaleta in for Fredericks

Ryan Fredericks seemed to finally find his feet against Liverpool in the last home game.

But his performance up against Wilfried Zaha in the next game raised doubts again. Pablo Zabaleta has enjoyed a long rest, something Pellegrini was keen to afford him.

And he will come back into the side for the London derby which could see the Hammers go ninth and just three points behind seventh-placed Wolves.

Arnautovic in for Hernandez

The big change Pellegrini has been pondering and after Hernandez’s ineffectual display he may be left with little other option.

Arnautovic was handed an improved deal last month. And it is about time he started earning it on the pitch.

The Austrian has barely featured since the China saga and has been poor when he has.

Hernandez does not offer enough to play the lone striker role and Arnautovic will come back in for this one from the start.
West Ham predicted XI for Fulham

Fabianski, Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass, Antonio, Anderson, Arnautovic.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2019, 07:57:05 AM »
West Ham midfielder Samir Nasri to miss Friday night clash with Fulham as calf injury lingers

Samir Nasri has failed to shake off his calf injury in time to face Fulham on Friday night.

The midfielder has made just three appearances since he moved to West Ham on a free transfer in December at the end of his 18-month doping ban.

Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini could name Manuel Lanzini on the bench against Fulham after seven months out with a serious knee injury.

Fabian Balbuena is also back in contention following a knee problem.

The Paraguayan centre-back, a summer signing from Corinthians, has not featured since the 2-0 home defeat by Watford on December 22.

With both teams having been eliminated from the FA Cup before the fifth round, Friday's fixture represents a first for West Ham and Fulham since February 9.

The hosts have climbed to 10th after consecutive 1-1 draws against Liverpool and Crystal Palace, while Claudio Ranieri's struggling side are 19th and eight points adrift of safety after back-to-back defeats.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019, 07:59:50 AM »
Inside London Stadium

West Ham season ticket holder Jon Roffey lets us know what we can expect from our trip to the East End on Friday night.

With West Ham sitting in the top half, are you happy with how the season has panned out so far?

Given we started with four straight defeats, we can’t really complain about sitting in the top 10 currently, but our consistency is the thing that frustrates most West Ham fans. You don’t know which West Ham will turn up; it could be the one that secures wins over Manchester United, Everton and Arsenal, or the one that lets Bournemouth do the double over us and loses to Burnley when they haven’t won a game in ages!

Who have been your better performers?

Lukasz Fabianski has kept us in so many games this season and is proving a real bargain for £7m – and a huge improvement on Joe Hart. Declan Rice has moved from central defence into a defensive midfield role and has been immense, lots of heart and seems to win every tackle. Felipe Anderson has also looked a £40m player for most of the season, some of his goals and assists have been a joy to watch. Issa Diop is also turning into a bit of a beast in the heart of defence.

Where do you think you can end up?

I think the top-six is pretty much sewn up but we have to aim for best of the rest in seventh – Wolves are pulling away slightly but I think that has to be the aim. I would have said “to win some silverware” too, but AFC Wimbledon put an end to that.
What were your thoughts on the reverse fixture back in December?

I actually thought Fulham looked good, especially in the first half; I think the difference on the day was our finishing – we had two chances in the first half and scored them both; you had a couple of one-on-ones and took none of them. Would like you to stay up as it’s a good away day!

How has Ryan Fredericks been getting on for you?

Ryan looked great in pre-season but didn’t start the season that well and then went off injured for a period of time. He’s come back into the team in recent weeks and looked sharp, so hopefully he can press on and have a good second half of the season.

Which Fulham players do you think could cause you problems?

I’m sure it’s the answer you get most this season but Alexander Mitrović up front could cause issues; we’ve looked weaker at the back since Angelo Ogbonna came in for the injured Fabian Balbuena. As I said, Diop for us is a beast at the back, so it should be a good match up. If Pablo Zabaleta starts, I’d expect Ryan Sessegnon could give him a few issues down your left, although I haven’t seen that much of him recently in your team.

What can Fulham fans expect from their first trip to London Stadium?

It’s been said a lot but the London Stadium isn’t built for football (although we are currently looking to bring the seats closer to the pitch apparently…). It depends on where you are sitting, but if you are in the upper tier bring your binoculars: it’s an odd setup with quite a big gap between the upper and lower tiers and you are quite a distance from the pitch. If the match is dull at least there is always Westfield…

How does Manuel Pellegrini set his side up?

Generally a 4-3-3; Marko Arnautovic up top with Anderson and (recently) Michail Antonio on the wings, switching throughout the game. Mark Noble and Rice usually anchoring the midfield, with Robert Snodgrass getting further forward. Overall he likes to be attacking, so I think Anderson and co will see a lot of the ball on Friday night.

Where’s a good place for away fans to get a pre-match pint?

There’s unfortunately not much around the stadium itself or in Stratford for away fans, so best option is probably to drink centrally en route. There are a few places inside Westfield itself, like Tap East which is a micro brewery on the ground floor, but you may struggle to get in if you are wearing colours

How do you see Friday going?

Both teams seem good going forward and pretty nervous at the back, so should be an exciting, if nerve inducing, game.

What score prediction are you going for?

I’m going for 2-1 to West Ham; I can’t see us keeping a clean sheet with your front three, but I just see us being too strong (hopefully) for you going forward.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 08:02:53 AM »
The latest on Fulham's Riverside Stand redevelopment - and whether relegation would affect it

Chief executive Alistair Mackintosh has provided an update to the Fulham Supporters' Trust over the planned Riverside Stand redevelopment

Fulham are hoping to start work on the Riverside Stand redevelopment by the end of May - regardless of which division they are in.

That's according to Fulham chief executive Alistair Mackintosh, who recently provided an update on the project to fans at a meeting with the Fulham Supporters' Trust.
At the meeting, the trust asked for an update on the redevelopment of the stand, and progress towards the stated start date for demolition of shortly after the end of the current season.

And, as reported in the notes from the meeting, Mackintosh responded to say that the club was in the tender phase for sub-contracts having previously appointed a lead contractor. In addition, he said that the club aimed to place all of the main tendered packages by the end of April through the main contractor, with all tenders invited on the basis of work starting by the end of May.

 An artist's impression of Fulham's new Riverside Stand concourse

The trust also asked whether possible relegation would impact on the project, with the Whites currently second from bottom in the Premier League and eight points from safety.

But Mackintosh responded to says that the division the club was in was irrelevant to the timescales for work starting, according to the notes from the meeting.

Meanwhile, the trust also asked questions about relocation of supporters from the Riverside Stand, and the disruption that could be caused by the project.

And supporters were told that timescales for beginning this process and the renewal of season tickets in the affected areas would be dependent on finalising detailed information about available capacity next season.

Meanwhile, the trust also asked questions about relocation of supporters from the Riverside Stand, and the disruption that could be caused by the project.

And supporters were told that timescales for beginning this process and the renewal of season tickets in the affected areas would be dependent on finalising detailed information about available capacity next season.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 08:04:45 AM »
West Ham's Manuel Lanzini in contention to face Fulham

West Ham playmaker Manuel Lanzini is in contention for a long-awaited first appearance of the season against Fulham on Friday, live on Sky Sports.

The Argentine has been sidelined since suffering a serious knee injury while on international duty before the 2018 World Cup.

But Lanzini has been training for the last couple of weeks and could make a welcome return at the London Stadium.

"Maybe Lanzini and (Samir) Nasri can be included on the squad list," said Hammers' manager Manuel Pellegrini.

"They worked not only today but they worked the complete week. We will talk to the medical staff about whether we can use them.

"All four playmakers in our squad were injured, which is always difficult, so the return of both of them injects more quality into the squad."

Doubts continue to surround midfielder Jack Wilshere's fitness, however, with Pellegrini revealing he will be assessed again next week following a season hindered by ankle problems.

"We will analyse Jack Wilshere next week, then we will be more clear about his future."

The West Ham boss is expecting a tough test against Fulham but believes the four days spent in Spain on a warm-weather training camp will help boost his squad.

He added: "We went to Spain and worked hard. The group were living together for 24 hours. We had some time to work and also to relax together. Now we have the game, so it was very useful.

"It's a tricky game against a team fighting not to be relegated. They have a good manager and signed a lot of good players, so it will not be easy if we don't play as we did against Liverpool and in the first 45 minutes against Crystal Palace.

"We must start the game fast and play well with a good tempo to get the result that we want.

"The mood of the squad is very good. We went away for a week, all of us together, and this was good. The last two games, we played well and we got good results.

"Now, we have the option to play at home to Fulham. It won't be easy, but we will see what we can do."

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2019, 08:06:32 AM »
Programme of the Year

Fulham has won a second Programme of the Year award in two months.

After being awarded the accolade by Premier Progs in January, we have now also been named best publication by the Northern Programme Club.

See below for the NPC’s reasoning behind their decision:

Edited by Tom Harvey, this 100-page, A5 production is deemed to be the best by our panel of highly regarded programme collecting judges, each with more than 35 years service to the hobby.

A number of eye-catching features elevated this programme to the summit. For example, "The Away End" caters not only for the home readers, but is more than excellent value to the visiting club and its supporters. The feature is nourished with some impressive ingredients, notably "the Spine" and "Press Box Analysis". Meanwhile "From The Vault" (always a popular programme-themed feature for the judges to ponder) commands your attention by way of reproducing images of programmes from a various era.

Another Historical column, "This is the Cottage" charts the history of the ground and offers readers a flashback to facts and figures related to Craven Cottage.

"Back Pass" looks back at now defunct or disused stadiums where Fuham have played. Both the interview features and match reports are of the highest order, and it would be remiss not to mention the immaculate print quality and appearance of the programme which is the work of ProgrammeMaster, a highly respected publisher of programmes for many sports. This remarkable publication offers extremely good value for £3.50, and is our standout programme of the 2018/19 season. We congratulate everyone involved in its production.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2019, 08:09:01 AM »
West Brom fans slam Fulham loanee Stefan Johansen's display

West Bromwich Albion picked up a win, but Stefan Johansen's performance has caused concern.

Several West Brom fans took to Twitter during and after their stunning 3-2 victory against Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday to slam the performance from Stefan Johansen at Loftus Road.

Darren Moore's men have sent a clear message to their promotion rivals as Jake Livermore's stoppage-time goal decided a game that had previously seen the Baggies pegged back twice.

West Brom are now within touching distance of the automatic-promotion spots heading into Saturday's tantalising clash between the Baggies and Sheffield United at the Hawthorns.

But perhaps some of the West Brom fans will be hoping that the Fulham loanee does not start, as many were extremely critical of his latest performance.

A number of fans felt that he was at fault for QPR's first goal as he was dispossessed just inside his own half before Luke Freeman went on to slam the ball past Sam Johnstone.

In fairness to the West Brom supporters on social media, they do not appear to be writing the 28-year-old off entirely, and their criticism only seems to be directed at this week's display. But it does certainly seem that he will be under a lot more pressure to shine at the weekend if he plays, especially when you consider how important a game it is for both teams.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2019, 08:10:27 AM »
Fulham Just Have To Win This Friday Against West Ham And Here’s Three Suggestions To Make That Come True

It seems an age since Fulham last played, but a quick glimpse at the Premier League table gives an instant reminder of just what dire straits the club is in.

Our first season back in the Premier League, after a several season hiatus in the Championship, has, to put it mildly, far from gone to plan, instead, Fulham are looking at a quick return to the Championship after just one season in the top-flight.

Now we can all hope for a miracle and hope that Claudio Ranieri can steer us to safety but, here at Vital Fulham, we’re realistic enough to acknowledge that with a plethora of tough home games to come, the immediate future does look bleak.

This Friday evening, Fulham make the relatively short trip to the London Stadium, to take on West Ham United in a fixture that will be broadcast live by Sky Sports.

On paper, it is, considering the previously mentioned tough run of home games, a fixture we need to win, otherwise you get the feeling it’ll be another nail hammered into our relegation coffin.

But it isn’t that simple is it?

West Ham are the type of side that can blow hot and cold, but Fulham will arrive in East London not having won an away game in the Premier League all season, the best they’ve achieved are two draws.

Keeping clean-sheets has also been something we’ve been unable to do, despite Ranieri rotating his defensive options, it has to be said whatever defence we play, whether it be a back-four or a back-three, looks likely to concede goals, the defence really has been our Achilles heel.

Therefore, if we have to win away to West Ham United what pointers should be look for?

Here at Vital Fulham, we’ve identified three.

Firstly, chances might be at a premium on Friday night, so we have to hope that when one falls our way it falls to Aleksandar Mitrovic and we have to hope our top-scorer is in lethal form. We may only get two chances all night, if that’s the case then we have to make them count, even more so with our defence likely to concede.

Secondly, Ranieri has to start with Ryan Sessegnon, the teenager has a knack of being involved in goals, either via an assist or scoring himself. It’s criminal how Ranieri chooses to not start with a player who is adept both offensively and defensively.

Thirdly, Tom Cairney has to start in his preferred position, in the centre of the midfield, it’s no use playing him out on the right, he needs to be centrally involved to thread those crucial balls through that may give our forwards those rare chances to score.

Now I’m not saying implementing the above will guarantee us a win but I’d certainly fee more optimistic about that being the outcome of the game if Ranieri were to indulge me!


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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2019, 08:12:52 AM »
West Ham fullbacks in tough with Fulham’s pacey wingers

West Ham’s fullbacks will have their hands full with a new and improved Fulham attack following the January transfer window. Here’s how the Iron’s should start at left-back and right-back and who they’ll likely face.

Left-back: Aaron Cresswell

Aaron Cresswell has now played in more games as West Ham’s starting left-back than Arthur Masuaku. The English defender is regaining his form that has dropped off a cliff since West Ham’s move to the London Stadium which fans are starting to get excited about.

What Cresswell can do for the Hammers is actually act like a left-back. That seems minimal, but after seeing Masuaku try to perform the task, it’s something we’ve taken for granted. Cresswell seems to be positionally sound and isn’t afraid to make a tackle or put himself on the line to block a cross from out wide.

Offensively, Cresswell has been performing well with Felipe Anderson. The two left-sided players overlap and interplay with ease, as Cresswell tends to keep moving after giving possession to Andreson, usually down the sideline to chip a cross or dribble into the box.

His opposition – Time for Markovic?

Fulham pulled all the stops in the summer transfer window, spending around £100m to bolster their promoted side. Since then, the team has massively underperformed and is looking at relegation in the face. They brought in Claudio Ranieri, former league winning Leicester City manager to right the ship, and he has brought in some Ranieri-esque players.

For Cresswell, this could be Serbian right winger, Lazar Markovic. After Liverpool spent £20m on Markovic from Benfica, he hasn’t made a lasting impact on the team and has been sent of loan after loan until Fulham were able to pick him up for free this January.

Despite extremely limited playing time, this season (including his absence from the first two games at Fulham) Markovic may be in line to start against Cresswell and West Ham after the FA Cup and Champions League break. Should he play, Markovic will undoubtedly use his elite speed down the right side to try and open up the Hammers backline.

Cresswell is coming off facing Mohammad Salah and Andros Townsend in his past two matches, so he should be able to use his recent experience to slow down the possible Fulham debutant.

Another chance for Ryan Fredericks?

Back-to-back starts for Ryan Fredericks saw him tasked with marking Sadio Mane and Wilfred Zaha. He did well in each match, but both players did eventually score in those games. Despite this fact, Fredericks hasn’t put more than a foot wrong in either match and should see another start against Fulham.

Fulham have another pacey winger on the left side, and Fredericks has proved that he can handle attackers with speed, so should he start? I say yes.

If Pellegrini disagrees with my sage wisdom, Pablo Zabaleta will step in and probably boss this match. Zabaleta’s experience, positional strength, and physicality help him deal with the speed of his opponent rather than having the pace to match them. Both players can impact offensively, too so it’s truly a toss-up right now.

Babel on?

Many people, myself included, scoffed at Fulham making a move for ex-Liverpool winger Ryan Babel from Turkish side Besiktas, but he’s proving us all wrong. In his four Premier League matches this season Babel looks as fast and threatening as ever, assisting twice and constantly buzzing around his opponent’s goal.

His biggest asset is his speed. It’s why Fredericks is likely to start against him. He can cruise up the pitch on counter attacks incredibly fast and plays the Ranieri style of football that won Leicester City the title to perfection.

When combined with striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, Babel has been a reason for excitement in a revamped Fulham attack that now has speed alongside brute physicality. With the possibility of Markovic starting on the right side, Babel on the left, and Mitrovic up top, West Ham have a formidable task in front of them, one they cannot afford to overlook, despite Fulham’s place in the table.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2019, 08:14:33 AM »
Arsenal open to bids for Calum Chambers this summer

Arsenal will accept a bid for Calum Chambers this summer if it meets their valuation of the player, according to reports in the English media.

The Mirror report that it appears Chambers ‘doesn’t have a future at Arsenal’. They claim The Gunners ‘will accept a bid for the 24-year-old’ provided it meets their valuation.

There’s no hint as to what that valuation might be in the article, but you’d think the club would want to make back the £18m or so they spent on the defender. Particularly considering the England international still has a contract until 2022 in North London. There’s no rush to sell if no one will match that price.

Chambers has made 21 appearances for Fulham in all competitions this season, and he’s become a key part of the side ever since Claudio Ranieri took over. However, ever since November he’s been playing as a defensive midfielder, rather than a centre-back.

Arsenal don’t really have any shortage of defensive midfielders, whilst there are clear issues in defence, so the player isn’t really setting himself up for a return to his parent club.

Perhaps things will change between now and May, but for the moment it does look like Chambers’ Arsenal career is hanging in the balance.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2019, 08:19:10 AM »
Lee Johnson and the managers Fulham could have appointed instead of Claudio Ranieri

The appointment of Ranieri has not gone well for Fulham

Things look bleak for Fulham as they enter the final third of the Premier League season.

Already eight points from safety, it seems unlikely the Craven Cottage side will be able to avoid a return back to the Championship next season.

After a decent start to their campaign, losing just three of their first six league matches, Fulham sacked manager Slavisa Jokanovic in November following a torrid run of six consecutive league defeats.

The Cottagers simultaneously appointed Claudio Ranieri and despite a bright start, in which he won his first match in charge 3-2 against Southampton, the Italian manager has failed to string together a decent run of form, losing eight of his 14 league matches in charge.

With the decision to appoint Ranieri now looking to be an erroneous one, could Fulham have opted for another manager to change the course of their fate back in November?

Christophe Galtier

Club: Lille

Age: 52

After a successful career as a defender in French football, Christophe Galtier embarked on his first role in management at Saint-Etienne where he spent eight years and boasted a decent win percentage of 41%.

He joined Lille last season when they were second from bottom and staring down the prospect of relegation, but turned around the fortunes of the French side and avoided relegation with a game to spare.

This season his Lille side have been one of the standout performers in Ligue 1 and find themselves in second behind league leaders PSG. He sets up predominantly in a 4-4-2 formation, making his side difficult to break down but also dangerous in attack.

Only two Ligue 1 teams have conceded fewer than Lille’s tally of 22 goals this season; meanwhile at the other end of the pitch, spearheaded by the formidable Nicolas Pepe, his side have scored 42 goals, which ranks second in the scoring charts to PSG.

Fulham’s band of French exiles would surely benefit, too.

Peter Bosz

Club: Bayer Leverkusen

Age: 55

In his playing days as a midfielder he featured for the likes of Feyenoord - and Peter Bosz has coached at some big names across Europe too including Ajax and Dortmund.

Bosz led a young Ajax side with an average age of 22.4 years old to a second-place finish in the Eredivisie, and they were runners-up in the Europa League that same season.

He moved to Dortmund that summer, but despite a record-breaking start of five games without conceding a goal, his spell there lasted just six months. Notwithstanding his short spell in charge, his improvement of prospects like Christian Pulisic added with his success with a young Ajax side put him on the map as a admirable coach of young talented players.

Now at Bayer Leverkusen, his impact has been immediate since his arrival one month ago. Despite defeat in his first match, his side have gone onto win four back-to-back league matches and look to have an outside chance and Champions League qualification.

Ralph Hasenhuttl

Club: Southampton

Age: 51

A former forward in his playing days, Ralph Hassenhuttl made his name at Ingolstadt in the 2013/14 season when he took over the club when they were at the bottom of the Bundesliga II. He managed to save them from relegation and thereafter he lead them to promotion into the Bundesliga.

The Austrian then joined RB Leipzig and guided them to a second-placed finish in the Bundesliga in 2016-17. The following season he led Leipzig to a Europa League quarter-final and a sixth-placed finish in the Bundesliga. However, in the summer he failed to agree a new contract and left the club.

In December he joined a Southampton side loitering in 18th without a home win all season and sitting just one point above Fulham. Following his arrival, his side lost just four of their 11 league matches and have opened a seven-point gap on Ranieri’s side.

The Saints have benefited from his high-energy pressing style of play and have become much more clinical up top. With 15 goals in 11 games, they are outperforming their xG of 13.34 and look to have a real chance of avoiding the drop.

Interestingly, Fulham moved to appoint Ranieri when they had that Southampton were thinking of making a move for him too - it's looking like Saints got the better end of that deal so far.

Roger Schmidt

Club: Beijing Sinobo Guoan

Age: 51

An unremarkable midfielder as a player, Roger Schmidt enjoyed a successful managerial spell at Red Bull Salzburg, where he won the Austrian league title, before joining Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2014.

In his first season in Germany, his shrewd tactics coupled with his hyper-aggressive style of management produced goals - an average of 1.82 per 90 minutes. Not only was his side strong going forward, they were also tight in defence. Only Champions Bayern Munich managed more clean sheets than his sides 16 that season.

Under his command, they went onto qualify for the Champions League in each of his three full seasons at the club before his departure in March 2017 after a disappointing run of form in the league and Champions League exit the Atletico Madrid.

Now in China, he guided Beijing Sinobo Guoan to a fourth-placed finish and qualification into the Asian Champions League for this coming season.

Lee Johnson

Club: Bristol City

Age: 37

After a playing career that spanned across the lower divisions of England and Scotland, Lee Johnson secured his first managerial role at Oldham. Successful spells at Boundary Park and Barnsley thereafter landed him a role with Championship side Bristol City in February 2016.

After two stable seasons under Johnson in the Championship, his young side have begun to click together this season. Despite possessing an average starting eleven age of just 24.5 years old, they haven’t lost a league game since November 24 and currently find themselves inside the Championship play-off places.

His success this season has been built on strong and stable defensive foundations. His side boast the second best defensive record in the Championship and despite their Expected Goals Conceded (xGC) total equalling 36.08 this campaign, his side have conceded just 30 goals so far.

Whether with Bristol City or another side, you would expect it won’t be long before Johnson is in the dug out for a Premier League side.

He'd certainly be a popular choice with the Fulham fans, though.

Sam Allardyce

Club: None

Age: 64

Love him or loathe him, Sam Allardyce has a remarkable record of never being relegated from the top flight.

In most recent seasons, he has enjoyed success in achieving Premier League survival for Crystal Palace in 2017, and steadying a turbulent Everton ship last season.

Notably, Allardyce succeeded Alan Pardew with the Eagles 17th in the Premier League and one point from safety. Allardyce’s unattractive but firm and organised tactics shored up Palace’s defence and reduced the average goal conceded total per 90 minutes from 1.94 to 1.47. 

Ultimately this saw Allardyce lead Palace to a 14th place finish and they eventually avoided the drop by seven points. Maybe not a long-term option, but there is no doubt he has a proven track record in Premier League survival.

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2019, 08:20:18 AM »

Cottage Talk: View Of The Opposition - Bob Ballard Breaks Down West Ham
Take a listen to a podcast that focuses on Fulham Football Club.

This episode is an interview with Bob Ballard, who is a radio and television broadcaster, and he also happens to be a West Ham supporter.

During the intervew, he shared his views on West Ham so far this season. We ended the show with Bob sharing his thoughts on this upcoming the match, and he gave a prediction. This is our preview show for this match.

You can also listen to the show by following this link...

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2019, 08:26:44 AM »
Calum Chambers interview: Fulham midfield role will help progress
Fulham take on West Ham on Friday Night Football

 Calum Chambers believes his move to midfield can help his defending

Arsenal defender Calum Chambers moved on loan to Fulham in the summer in the hope of getting minutes at the back, but now he is their holding midfielder. Adam Bate sat down with him to discuss the challenge and why he thinks his new role is making him a better player.

Calum Chambers is used to new positions. This is a man who made his England debut at right-back while still a teenager, played centre-half for Arsenal, did a year as a striker in Southampton's academy and spent time on the wing there too. Now he is on a season-long loan at Fulham and playing in the heart of their midfield. It was never the plan.

"In football sometimes things don't work out how you want them to," Chambers tells Sky Sports. "It's how you adapt and react to it. At the start of the season, I wasn't in the team and that was a bit frustrating, so when I got the chance to play in midfield I was obviously going to take it because all I want to do is play. I'm giving it all I have got. That's all I can do."

In football sometimes things don't work out how you want them to. It's how you adapt and react to it.

Calum Chambers

It's been a curious development given that Fulham seemed well stocked in the centre even before spending £40m to bring in Jean-Michael Seri and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa in the summer. But Chambers has done more than give it a go, he has impressed, making more interceptions per 90 minutes than anyone else in the Premier League this season.

"That was sort of the intention when I first moved in there," he explains. "To bring solidarity to midfield and help out the back four by being a shield in front of them. I know from my experience as a centre-half what I would want from my central midfielder, so I try to think about that and bring that to my game in midfield by helping those boys at the back out."

Chambers is in relaxed mood as the sun shines into the Rookery at Fulham's training ground. The club are eight points from Premier League safety going into the game against West Ham on Friday night, so these are worrying times for Claudio Ranieri's team. But from a personal point of view, the 24-year-old is now getting the minutes that he needs and learning fast.

 Chambers tops the list of players with most interceptions (minimum 15 apps)

"To be honest, it has been enjoyable," he explains. "As each game comes and goes I am feeling more comfortable. I am getting used to seeing these pictures and when scenarios come along in games I already know the picture because I have seen it before so I know where to play the ball. My touch has already improved massively and my vision as well.

"The Premier League is quick anyway but to go from centre-half, where everything is in front of you, is a massive difference. You have got to be swivelling 360 all the time so that's been the thing I have had to get used to the most, playing on the turn and having a picture in your head of what's around you. It definitely sharpens you up and improves you."

It was Scott Parker, the former England midfielder now working as Fulham's assistant manager, who tipped off Ranieri that Chambers could play there. "He has been a big help. It's the little details. We do drills after training together just to work on my body shape when receiving the ball and turning with the ball. It is the one-touch play and stuff like that."

 Chambers shrugs off the attentions of Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku

Hearing Chambers talk about learning his trade and the need to gain more experience, it is strange to think that this is a player with more than 100 Premier League appearances to his name. It is well over four years since that England debut and longer than that since he made his first appearance for Arsenal in a 3-0 win over Manchester City at Wembley.

Chambers signed a new four-year contract with the Gunners in the summer but has been on the outside looking in during these fledgling days of the Unai Emery regime. "It has been a bit different watching it from a distance," he admits. It is tempting to wonder whether what Chambers really needs now is a bit of stability in terms of his future and his position.

So does he see himself as a victim of his own versatility? It would be easy to feel that way given that, even years after the event, his Arsenal team-mates were still publicly ribbing him about the working over that Swansea winger Jefferson Montero once gave him. But he refuses to see it that way. He insists getting his chance at right-back was the making of him.

"It has been an advantage for me because I had only done half a season there before my first-team breakthrough with Southampton. It was a decision that I made by looking at the players ahead of me at the time and working out what would be my best route to the first team. So it was my decision, one that worked, and one that obviously helped me a lot.

"But I do feel more comfortable at centre-half. The modern-day full-back, when they come up against a world-class winger, they have got to be so sharp because the wingers can go either way at the highest level and they are unbelievable. For me, I am quite big, and I just feel it suits my physique more with my reading of the game to be a centre-half."

Arsenal could do with one of them but Chambers' focus right now is on Fulham and avoiding the same fate that he suffered on loan at Middlesbrough a couple of seasons ago. "It is a bit of a tough situation we are in but there is still time to turn it around," he says. "The quality in the squad is huge. We have just got to keep believing and hopefully it will turn."

As for the future beyond this season, there is time for Chambers too. He has seen 35 players make their England debut since he did, but his best years can still be ahead of him and the hope is that this experience in midfield could be the catalyst that helps him take his defending to the next level too. "I have definitely learnt a lot," he adds.

"When I do drop back to centre-half it is only going to help me on the ball. I now know what a midfielder would want from me as a centre-half, when you want the ball and when you might not want the ball. I can take all of these things back with me when I do move back to centre-half. It is going to be beneficial as these are all things I will add to my game.

"The more you play, the more experience you get and the more you can bring to the team. That was important for me this season. I am still relatively young. I just need to keep playing, keep getting that experience, and keep making sure I learn from every game. That's the way you progress and that's what I need to be doing at this stage of my career."

Offline whitejc

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Re: Thursday Fulham Stuff (21/02/19)...
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2019, 08:27:55 AM »
Sergio Rico wants to return to Fulham next season

Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico has stated he would like a return to the club, and ideally the Premier League, next season.

Rico, who signed for the London club on a season-long loan from Sevilla last summer, has made 17 appearances so far this season for the Cottagers and kept three clean sheets.

The Spain international has been at Sevilla since his youth career, winning the Europa League twice, but a return to England - and hopefully the Premier League - is something he is seriously considering.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, the 25-year-old said: "I have to come back to Seville but I would like to come here [Fulham] next season because I am very happy here.

"I like the Premier League and I enjoy it a lot here in London, I am so happy. I don't know the future now but I would like to come here again."

Fulham currently sit 19th in the Premier League table and are set to face West Ham on Friday evening at the London Stadium, live on Sky Sports.