Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff - 26/02/21...  (Read 660 times)

Offline whitejc

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Friday Fulham Stuff - 26/02/21...
« on: February 26, 2021, 12:03:34 AM »
“It’s been tough” – Player admits feeling helpless at Fulham, says Cottagers future is ‘very uncertain’

Stefan Johansen has seen Fulham achieve promotion to the Premier League on two occasions since arriving at Craven Cottage in 2016.

The Cottagers didn’t hand the midfielder regular opportunities in the top flight during the 2018/19 campaign and he was not included in the Premier League squad for this season.

Having been restricted to opportunities only in the EFL Cup, the 30-year-old joined Queens Park Rangers on a loan deal in January.

The Norway international admits feeling helpless after Scott Parker decided not to count on him at Fulham.

“When you feel that you have contributed quite a lot to get up there, it is incredibly hard not to be a part of it, but I have done what I can and then it is up to the manager,” he told TV2.

“Unfortunately, this is how it is sometimes, and if he prefers someone else, then there is not much you can do with it, you just have to live with it.”

“Then there’s just going to have to be a little devil in you, and then you’ll have to show it in other ways that you want to be there. And if you get the chance first, you have to contribute what you can and take care of it.”

“It has been a tough situation, of course. It was a bit like that again with the way it was last time. You feel you have been an important contributor to get them up in the Premier League, so it will be a bit the same again with them bringing in lots of new players. It was, of course a silly thing.”

Johansen has made five starts in the Championship and has already scored once for Mark Warburton’s side. A loan move to QPR has allowed the Fulham player to continue in London and also get opportunities to play regular football.

“It was a pretty strong wish for me to get away from there with the situation that was. I’m at an age where I feel I have a lot to give and I had to play football again. It was the most important thing in that context,” the midfielder explained.

“You have a family solution where you have a daughter who goes to school and things like that, so it was really ideal with QPR.”

“We get to stay in the same place, it only takes five to ten minutes longer and it is a traditional club that has a big name in England. It fit perfectly, both in terms of theirs and my situation.”

Johansen’s temporary stay with QPR is only until the end of this season and after that, he will have to return to Fulham, where he still has a contract until 2022. The Norwegian was honest in admitting he isn’t sure as to what’s in store for him beyond this term.

“It is very uncertain, if I am to be completely honest. I have one year left on my contract, but I do not know. I’ve got some mix signals. I have received signals from the club that they may want to take me on, so it will be a process when you return,” the Fulham owned man said.

“But I want to play football and I still feel that I have a lot to contribute, so not being intended near a match squad will probably be out of the question. Then it will be enough to see if you find something else.”

The player, however, has ruled out a return to Norway.

“No, I don’t think so. I love England. I think there’s a fantastic culture around the football here, just see how much it means to people. I think it’s a lot of fun to be a part of. You get used to the culture and life around football. Both me and my family enjoy it, so we don’t plan on Norway right away,” he concluded.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 26/02/21...
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2021, 12:04:38 AM »
Fulham defender in bullish mood ahead of derby at Crystal Palace

Joachim Andersen is confident in-form Fulham can boost their survival prospects at Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Seven points from a possible nine have boosted the chances of Scott Parker’s side climbing out of the Premier League bottom three.

Fulham could move ahead of 17th-placed Newcastle on goal difference depending on results this weekend.

But the Whites are winless in their last four meetings with Palace – losing three of them. Pajtim Kasami did score a stunner in a 4-1 victory in the 2013-14 campaign but they still ended up getting relegated.

Andersen said: “Again it is a game we need to win, a game we can win. Crystal Palace are a team that suits us.

“We just have to play our game. We’ve been doing so well for months now, we just missed the small things before and now it seems they are coming our way now.

“I hope we can build on that and continue. It is something we deserved because we have played so well and not got the results we wanted.”

Fulham have turned the heat up on Newcastle and their manager Steve Bruce. The Toon have taken six points from their last 10 matches.

They are at home to Wolves tomorrow.

“If they are confident let’s see where they are at the end of the season,” said Bruce. “You have to quietly get on with the job and get points on the board and that’s what we’ll do.

“We know we have to get to a certain figure as soon as we can.

“No matter what anybody else does you set yourself a target.”

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 26/02/21...
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2021, 12:05:43 AM »
Why Fulham vs Newcastle might aide fans’ return to stadia before May 17

Fan return to stadiums

With the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine having had a significant impact on the pandemic in the UK, it is now within the realms of reality that fans could once again soon return to stadiums, possibly before the end of the current campaign.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed his road map out of lockdown for the nation, and this included the reintroduction of fans to stadia around England.

Under the current parameters, fans could return on the 17th of May, which would mean some could be present for the final match of the Premier League season, ahead of the FA Cup final and European Championships this summer.

The turnstiles of our sports stadia will once again rotate,” said Johnson

The financial support which fans provide to clubs through ticket sales has accounted for a large proportion of income lost throughout the pandemic, with a return to grounds as soon as possible a necessity.

Fulham vs Newcastle implications

There are, though, issues which have arisen in the wake of news breaking regarding the return of supporters.

The final game of the season between Fulham and Newcastle could be a match which decides the respective top-flight futures of both sides. As such, if fans are in attendance, it could represent an unfair advantage for the Craven Cottage club.

Fans did return in some capacity in the period between the second and third lockdowns. Little was mentioned then regarding any possible unfair advantage, but with the number in attendance set to be increased to 10,000 supporters – or 25% of the stadium’s capacity (whichever is smaller) – this could have an exponential boost on player mentality.

The Times reports that meetings are taking place between clubs in an attempt to find solutions to these issues. This includes discussion surrounding proposals centering on 4,000 supporters returning to grounds in mid-April. This would allow for a greater spread of support across the back end of the season across the UK.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 26/02/21...
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2021, 12:07:45 AM »
Charlie Methven makes a candid admission on how Sunderland's former ownership handled the Josh Maja contract saga
Ex-Sunderland director Charlie Methven says that Josh Maja should not be blamed for the manner of his exit from the Stadium of Light – as the striker continues to shine in the Premier League.

Maja rejoined former club Fulham on loan in the January window and has caught the eye in the top flight, with Scott Parker’s side looking to mount a remarkable escape from relegation danger.

The 22-year-old’s brace against Everton earlier this month prompted talk on Wearside to turn back to the winter of 2019, when Maja was allowed to join Bordeaux after talks over a new contract failed to reach a positive conclusion.

But former director Methven, who still retains a minority shareholding in the club, says the finger should not be pointed at Maja himself for the exit.

“It certainly wasn’t Josh’s fault,” said Methven, speaking to The Athletic.

“If anything it was our fault, and a lack of communication between the football director and Jack (Ross). We should have made sure he was tied down to a longer contract before they started him as their first-choice striker.

"It was the seminal moment of our ownership of Sunderland.”

Maja’s contract talks were played out in front of the Netflix cameras and broadcast on the second series of Sunderland ‘Til I Die – but Methven felt the ultimate portrayal of the youngster wasn’t a particularly fair one.

"It was unfair. It was dramatised, it amped up the awkward moments,” he said.

"I don’t think it fully reflected the genuinely difficult position that a young man found himself in.”

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 26/02/21...
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2021, 12:09:08 AM »
Premier League clubs counting cost as 2021-22 start date adds to pre-season uncertainty

JOHN CROSS COLUMN: Premier League clubs tend to travel to hotspots like the USA, Asia or Australia for a mix of warm-weather and crowds for their pre-season tours

Premier League clubs have put plans for pre-season tours on hold amid huge uncertainty over what this summer will look like.

League bosses have yet to even confirm an official start date for the 2021/22 season yet and travel restrictions mean the usual money-spinning foreign trips are likely to be off the agenda.

Top clubs often sign up to multi-millionpound deals to play pre-season friendlies in the United States, Asia or Down Under but the money comes in from tickets sold and “bums on seats” as much as TV contracts.

But with uncertainty about whether crowds will be allowed in other countries, clubs are having to pull the plug on tours as they either look to re-arrange, forfeit deposits or, largely, just look to stage a few domestic friendlies ahead of the new season.

It is yet another commercial blow for clubs already struggling because of the pandemic as many tours are tie-ups with global sponsors and is part of deals with existing backers so will leave them millions out of pocket.

Meanwhile, UEFA are as bullish as ever publicly over the Euros being staged across 12 countries in the current format despite plenty of smoke signals about the tournament being moved with England cropping up as a popular theory.

But the Football Association are definitely not the ones pushing that idea and, with so many commercial deals, ticketing, transport plans and logistics needed for a whole tournament, it would take a huge effort to reorganise at such late notice.

Howe and Dyche in line to take over from Hodgson

Roy Hodgson provides a cast iron guarantee of Premier League stability and that will never be underestimated at Crystal Palace.

But Hodgson’s contract is up at the end of the season and, from almost expecting the 73-year-old to leave, he could yet stay at Selhurst Park with big decisions yet to be taken.

alace have been looking around at potential replacements and Eddie Howe and Burnley ’s Sean Dyche are two of five names who would be considered if they make a change this summer.

But it may also come down to the finances available as Palace chairman Steve Parish runs the club brilliantly as no-one should forget this was a club which was taken into administration by previous ownership and drifted between divisions.

Parish and Hodgson between them have established Palace in the Premier League and no-one should underestimate just what a good job they do.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 26/02/21...
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2021, 12:10:02 AM »
Johansen hints he could stay at QPR

 Stefan Johansen has hinted that he could stay at QPR after impressing since his loan switch from Fulham.

Johansen has yet to taste defeat since joining Rangers, with his presence in midfield coinciding with four wins and a draw.

The Norway captain, who scored his first goal for QPR in the 2-1 win over Bournemouth last week, has a year remaining on his Whites contract.

He does not know where he will be playing next season but hopes it will still be in London.

“You have a family solution where you have a daughter who goes to school and things like that, so it was really ideal with QPR,” Johansen told Norwegian TV station TV2.

“We get to stay in the same place, it only takes five to 10 minutes longer (to get to training) and it is a traditional club that has a big name in England. It fits perfectly, both in terms of theirs and my situation.”

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that if Fulham, who are currently three points from safety, remain in the Premier League then Johansen knows he’s unlikely to be part of their plans next season.

But if they return to the Championship he may still have a future at Craven Cottage.

Two years ago he was loaned to West Brom after Fulham were promoted, only to be welcomed back after they went down last season. He played 33 times to help Scott Parker’ side get back up via the play-offs.

The 30-year-old says there have been tentative discussions with Rangers about potentially staying, but said it’s too early to say if it is likely to happen.

“It is very uncertain, if I am to be completely honest,” he explained.

“I have received signals from the club (QPR) that they may want to take me on, so it will be a process when I return.

“But I want to play football and I still feel that I have a lot to contribute.”

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 26/02/21...
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2021, 12:12:12 AM »
Premier League predictions: Lawro v Dot Major from electro-pop band London Grammar

Chelsea are still unbeaten under new boss Thomas Tuchel - but will his impressive start continue against Manchester United on Sunday?

"Tuchel got a great result in Europe with Tuesday's win over Atletico Madrid," said BBC football expert and former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson. "That was probably his best result in eight games as Blues boss so far.

"I am pretty sure his remit is to get them a top-four finish, so they are back in the Champions League again next season. From what we've seen so far, he's got a really good chance of doing it."

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 Premier League matches this season, against a variety of guests.

For this weekend's Premier League fixtures, he is up against Dot Major from electro-pop band London Grammar, who is a Chelsea fan.

"I've grown up my whole life with a Chelsea season ticket," Dot told BBC Sport. "My dad is a big fan so I started going with him in the mid-1990s, when we'd just starting bringing big foreign stars like Ruud Gullit to the club.

"I'm from Northampton and have always followed the Cobblers on and off but we would charge down the M1 to get to Chelsea games and then on our way home I always remember lying in the back of the car hearing James Alexander Gordon read the scores out on the radio.

"Now I live in London, I still have a season ticket and am quite close to Stamford Bridge after moving further west, which is handy - or will be when we can start going to games again.

"My favourite player was always Gianfranco Zola, who was like our figurehead even if his output wasn't as prolific as players like Eden Hazard that have followed him. But then I loved Dennis Wise as well and that whole team of Dan Petrescu and Gus Poyet was just special."

Dot has been there to witness most of Chelsea's many successes in the past 25 years, but two in particular stand out.

The first was at Bolton's Reebok Stadium in April 2005, when the Blues clinched the Premier League title.

"I was in the home section and we were being really quiet when Frank Lampard put us 1-0 up, but it turned out half the stadium were Chelsea fans," he explained. "We hadn't won the league for 50 years so to see that was pretty amazing.

"It is still my dad's favourite moment so it was really good to see that with him. I was 14 at the time so I didn't really understand the significance, but I do now."

The other was a game he wasn't at - the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, which Chelsea won on penalties

"Even though I wasn't in Munich, it was just amazing to see that group of players I'd grown up with finally win it," he added. "We'd been the best team in it for a few years without going all the way, and I'd resigned myself to it never happening.

"When Didier Drogba won it for us, with what we thought at the time would be his last kick of the ball for the club, something in that moment actually changed for me as a Chelsea fan, where nothing we could do would ever mean as much to me as that did."

Crystal Palace rode their luck to beat Brighton and that win put them one step closer to being sure of staying up.

Fulham are still fighting for survival and Eagles boss Roy Hodgson knows all about that - he was in charge of the Cottagers for one of the greatest escapes the Premier League has ever seen, in the 2007-08 season.

This one will be close, but I am going with Palace to edge it. I'm not writing off Fulham's chances, though - their home game against Newcastle on the final day of the season has got last-day decider written all over it.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Dot's prediction: 1-1

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 26/02/21...
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2021, 12:13:04 AM »
Parker Has Evolved As A Manager And Should Stay At Fulham Whatever Happens

Ahead of the visit of an in-form Fulham, TEB had a chat with the guys at Cottage Talk to find out about their season so far, thoughts on the game and much more.

Q. What did you make of the game between the two sides at Craven Cottage earlier in the season?

It was a tough loss as I feared the match would go the way it did with Fulham controlling the play, but I knew Palace would be dangerous on the break. The good thing is I feel Fulham learned a great deal from the match and will be making the proper adjustments for the upcoming match.

Q. How has this campaign been for Fulham so far?

Well, it started very badly, but I guess that was to be expected with the quick turnaround and Fulham still in need for adding upgrades. Once they got the players they truly needed, the defence became very solid and Fulham became difficult to beat. As the season progressed, slowly the points started coming, and I can honestly say I feel Fulham can beat anyone except for Manchester City.

Q. It looked like it would be a long season for Fulham but having showed some fight there is a chance of survival – how did things turn around?

As I just mentioned it came down to the recruitment and it took some time for the team to come together. Once the defence became solid, the points followed and now it is about being more clinical to turn draws into more wins.

Q. Whatever happens this season, are you hoping Scott Parker remains in charge of Fulham?

I want Parker to be the manager moving forward for next season. He has evolved as a manager and I expect him to be the manager next season. He has learned from his mistakes and is willing to make changes when needed.

Q. How was your business in the January transfer window and do you have needs that have not been addressed?

The major need was a striker and they addressed that with bringing in Josh Maga on loan. Only time will tell if he is the striker the team needed but I am encouraged by what I have seen so far.

Q. Who has been the stand out player for Fulham so far this season?

I think you have to say goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. He has been excellent and he is probably one of the best in the league right now. He does not give up many goals.

Q. What do you make of Palace this season?

Palace are pretty consistent and that is what I expect from a Roy Hogdson team. With that said I think Palace are too reliant on Wilfried Zaha and without him are a different team. However, Palace are a team I have much respect for.

Q. It has been a tough time for everyone but football fans and clubs have certainly played their part during the pandemic and pulled together which has been particularly pleasing, right?

I could not agree more and we are lucky that we have had the ability to have football right now as it has taken our minds off of the hard times in our world with the pandemic.

Q. Name one player from each team that you believe will be a threat to the opposition in this match.

I will go with Lookman for Fulham as he is always a threat when he has the ball at his feet. He is not clinical enough but if he is on, he will be a handful in this match. I know Zaha has been injured but if he is back for this match, he is the game changer overall. I think he is that important to Palace.

Q. …and finallly, your all important prediction?

I am predicting a 2-0 Fulham victory as I think the momentum of of last week will continue on Sunday. I think Scott Parker will have his team prepared for Palace and make the proper adjustments from the first match between these clubs.

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff - 26/02/21...
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2021, 08:47:09 AM »
Newcastle's safe slumber fast becoming a nightmare in the Premier League

The Premier League’s fixture list for the final weekend has become rather more newsworthy.

Partly because the British government’s road map out of lockdown opens up the possibility some fans make their belated return to grounds on May 23.

But partly also because what could have been one of the more meaningless games, between two teams whose destinies had already been decided, has started to loom large.

Fulham versus Newcastle could be huge. It could complete a great escape. The fear around St James’ Park it that it seals an ignominious decline. Even for such a seismic occasion, Craven Cottage may not be a cauldron of noise but the sounds emanating from Tyneside are distinctly panicky.

Fulham took seven points in as many days last week, narrowing a 10-point gap to three. Newcastle host Wolves on Saturday and could be dumped into the bottom three on Sunday.

A seemingly finished relegation battle has been revived. Newcastle risk the third demotion of the Mike Ashley era; it would be another milestone of mismanagement.

Fulham have the momentum, the spirit and the slicker football, all engineered by Scott Parker, one of Newcastle’s best midfielders of this millennium.

For months, they have looked a better team than Newcastle. None of which seemed to matter when Fulham’s fine displays only yielded draws, Newcastle could conjure wins in between, or occasionally in, poor performances and there was a gulf between them.

Newcastle have spent much of their time under Steve Bruce confounding the statisticians, ranking among the stragglers in most charts – shots for and against, possession, pass completion rate – but safely in lower mid-table in the standings that mattered most. That illogical formula looks less failsafe now.

What the Newcastle stars earn
Callum Wilson’s seemed a £20 million guarantee of safety. When he is fit, the striker ranks as one of Ashley’s shrewder deals. Wilson has scored in five of Newcastle’s seven wins, plus two of their draws. A return of 10 goals from 16 shots on target, plus five assists, makes him remarkably productive. He was outstanding in their best display of the season, the victory at Everton.

So his absence with a hamstring injury, potentially for much of the remainder of the campaign, is potentially fatal. He is the anti-Joelinton and the £40m Brazilian has one Premier League goal for the season and three in his career.

Bruce has responded to criticism of Newcastle’s negativity by trying to make them attacking.

They have registered 25 shots on target in their last six games – a dramatic improvement on a return of 11 in the previous six – aided by the return to fitness of Allan Saint-Maximin and the loan signing of Joe Willock, but changing both the brand of football and the results is no simple task.

It is rendered tougher by the reality Newcastle’s strangely-compiled squad do not really suit any one system.

The defenders’ fondness for three centre-backs, dating back to Rafa Benitez’s day, is clear, but can make them duller. Bruce’s preference for a back four has tended to be accompanied by a midfield diamond and two strikers of late, even if the winger Saint-Maximin has been crowbarred in as one of those front men.

There is a question if it leaves Newcastle more open. Goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who kept the score down early in the campaign but has looked more fallible of late, could be replaced by Martin Dubravka, who made the most saves last season: in itself, another sign of the side’s struggles.

That only one of their remaining seven home games is against a bottom-eight team indicates that their fate could be decided on the road. They have four remaining trips, including the next three, to potential relegation rivals.

Or it could be determined in the boardroom. Ashley tends to be reluctant to sack managers – after all, it costs money – and should have dispensed with Steve McClaren earlier in the demotion campaign of 2015-16. Bruce was never a popular appointment anyway and opposition to him has mounted, but seemingly not with his employers.

Arguably he confounded his critics last season, with results if not performances. Perhaps that encouraged Newcastle to believe that history would repeat itself.

But the criticism is that they are guilty of complacency, of sleepwalking into trouble. And what looked like a safe slumber could become a nightmare.