Author Topic: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.02.10)  (Read 5951 times)

White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.02.10)
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2010, 06:32:13 AM »

County are caught out by Zamora

Fulham 4 Notts County 0

By Conrad Leach

Monday, 15 February 2010

Don't be fooled. Bar the last 20 minutes, this scoreline, if not the result, flattered Fulham. However, the upshot is that there is no team from the bottom division of the Football League in the FA Cup quarter-finals, something that may have bruised the hearts of football romantics on Valentine's Day.

Still, Notts County left Craven Cottage with their dignity intact, no mean feat given the turmoil that has surrounded the club since last summer. They face the High Court – an even tougher opponent than Fulham – a week on Wednesday over an unpaid tax bill.

Sven Goran Eriksson ended his seven-month affair with County last week and the Swede left with his dignity also intact, if not his wallet, having promised not to pursue what he claims is £2.5m in compensation owed to him. He is, of course, rich enough not to need even that amount of money.

He told caretaker manager Dave Kevan that Fulham could be beaten, which perhaps proves he has spent too much time away from the top flight of English football. It is nice the former England manager is still in touch with Kevan and he is promised a warm reception when he next returns to the black-and-white half of Nottinghamshire. But given Eriksson prefers the warmer climes of Portugal and Italy, that reunion almost certainly won't occur on Wednesday, when County, who occupy the last play-off place in League Two, renew their push for promotion by hosting Grimsby Town.

If Kevan keeps his team where they are, the national stadium, and the play-offs in May, may yet be their destiny. Yet it was the home support, not the impressively vocal 4,500 visiting fans, who were singing "we're going to Wembley" after Bobby Zamora's goal gave Fulham their second goal and an advantage they were never likely to squander. Of course, that song doesn't quite have the ring it used to, given the semi-finals are played at the new stadium, but reaching the last four would still be quite an achievement for Roy Hodgson's men.

Yet the Fulham manager admitted his players would be suffering from Wembley nerves in their quarter-final, where they have managed to avoid Chelsea, but will still have a tough assignment at home against either Tottenham or Bolton. Hodgson said: "It would mean a lot to us. It would be a major step forward in the progression at this club. Come the quarter- final we will be motivated and will badly want the result."

Hodgson had paid County a lot of respect with the team he picked, including Damien Duff and Zamora. At Craven Cottage on Thursday, Fulham will face a daunting opponent in the last 32 of the Europa League – they host Shakhtar Donetsk, the winners of last season's Uefa Cup – so Hodgson must sense this competition represents as good a chance as any for his side to enjoy some success this season.

Not that Fulham started off like a team capable of reaching its first Cup final since 1975. Kevan's side, featuring the experience of Lee Hughes in attack and Jamie Clapham, once of Birmingham and Ipswich, in midfield, stifled their hosts for the first 20 minutes, and even managed the first serious shot on goal. After 17 minutes, Ben Davies tried his luck from 25 yards, forcing Mark Schwarzer to tip over. Davies was a constant threat and Kevan rightly thought his players' efforts deserved to see County leave London with at least one goal.

But after 22 minutes, it was Davies's namesake, Simon, who put Fulham ahead. Danny Murphy passed over the top and the Wales winger steered his shot low past Kaspar Schmeichel. Four minutes before the interval, the hosts were able to relax; David Elm flicked a pass to Zamora and the forward notched his 13th goal of the season.

The second half was more routine for Fulham, despite Ben Davies's best efforts for County. Zamora found Duff and the Irish winger beat Schmeichel at his near post. As the game wore on, County began to unravel, allowing Stefano Okaka, the loan signing from Roma, to beat his marker and pick his spot for his first goal for the club.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Baird, A Hughes, Hangeland, Shorey; Duff (Riise, 75), Etuhu, Murphy (Greening, 70), S Davies; Zamora (Okaka, 75), Elm. Substitutes not used: Zuberbuhler (gk), Nevland, Stoor, Smalling.

Notts County (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Thompson, Edwards, Hunt, Jackson; Clapham (Rodgers, 62); Westcarr (Hawley, 85), Ravenhill, Bishop, B Davies; L Hughes (Hamshaw, 85). Substitutes not used: Hoult (gk), Lee, Fairclough, Akinbiyi.

Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).

Man of the Match: Zamora.

Attendance: 16,132.

White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.02.10)
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2010, 06:40:07 AM »

And Diomansy Kamara, a player well-known to Mowbray from their time together at West Bromwich Albion, and drafted in from Fulham until the end of the season, was equally ill at ease in front of Braafheid. It was a problem area Mowbray failed to address, though the joy he felt as Kamara’s third-minute strike, set-up by Aiden McGeady and Robbie Keane, hit the back of the Aberdeen net, was short-lived. Michael Paton’s retaliation six minutes later flagged-up those Celtic defensive frailties.

White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.02.10)
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2010, 06:42:39 AM »

Fulham overpower Notts County as Roy Hodgson's magic touch continues in cups

Fulham 4 Notts County 0

Matt Hughes, Deputy Football Correspondent

For a man who made no secret at the start of this season of his plan to make survival in the Barclays Premier League his priority to the detriment of attractions elsewhere, Roy Hodgson is doing awfully well in the cups.

Fulham were already looking forward to welcoming Shakhtar Donetsk to Craven Cottage in the Europa League round of 32 on Thursday and can now add an FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham Hotspur or Bolton Wanderers next month to their packed diary. With the prosaic goal of Premier League existence all but secured, this could turn out to be a season of glorious diversion after all.

The financial necessity of staging both semi-finals at the national stadium means that Fulham are 90 minutes away from their first visit to Wembley since the 1975 FA Cup Final defeat by West Ham United, although they have squandered similar opportunities before. In last season’s sixth round, they were thrashed 4-0 at home by Manchester United, but recovered to beat the eventual champions in the Premier League a fortnight later, demonstrating they are not always overawed by big occasions.

Fulham have enjoyed rousing league victories this season over United and Liverpool, although even the manager has been surprised by their ability to compete so strongly in several competitions, particularly given recent injuries to Andrew Johnson and Clint Dempsey, two of their key forwards.

“I thought we’d suffer more from tiredness,” Hodgson said. “The question at the start of the season was, ‘Did we have the experience and the squad to fight on so many fronts?’ That was a very valid question and I didn’t know the answer, so I’ve been more than satisfied.

“It would mean a lot to us to get to Wembley. It would be a major step forward in the progression we’re trying to make at this club. Come the quarter-final we’ll be highly motivated.”

This was a classic cup-tie victory, which was somewhat flattering — Dave Kevan, the Notts County manager, noted — but bodes well for Fulham’s future adventures. In the first half at least, the visiting team competed bravely to give their 4,000 travelling fans reasons to believe, but somehow they were 2-0 down.

Fulham’s only obvious superiority to a side 65 places below them lay in the quality of their finishing. Danny Murphy created the first out of nothing in the 22nd minute, catching the County defence by surprise with an outrageous lob from halfway to Simon Davies. The former Tottenham Hotspur midfield player controlled neatly before beating Kasper Schmeichel at his far post.

Fulham’s second 19 minutes later was even more exquisite, as Nicky Shorey chipped the ball from the left to David Elm, whose first-time flick was chested down by Bobby Zamora and unleashed past Schmeichel on the volley for his thirteenth goal of the season.

Many more finishes of that quality and Hodgson’s claims that he should play for England will be greeted with rather less scorn.

The shell-shocked County were deserving of considerable sympathy because, in keeping with their off-field plight, much promise faded away to nothing. Mark Schwarzer had been by far the busier goalkeeper and was required to make two outstanding saves before the Fulham goals, tipping a drive by Ben Davies over the bar and getting down low to his left to block a powerful shot from Craig Westcarr.

Fulham extended their finishing lesson in the second half, with Damien Duff and Stefano Okaka, a substitute, finding the net six minutes apart, the latter scoring his first goal for the club since sealing his loan deal from Roma.

The burly Lee Hughes toiled away for the visiting team for no reward, even when he was joined by an equally bald but diminutive substitute, Luke Rodgers, who resembled Mini-Me to the former West Bromwich Albion striker’s Dr Evil.

Even megalomaniac villains are no match for Hodgson, a very English hero.

Fulham (4-4-2): M Schwarzer 7 — C Baird 6, B Hangeland 6, A Hughes 6, N Shorey 6 — S Davies 6, D Etuhu 5, D Murphy 7 (sub: J Greening, 70min), D Duff 6 (sub: B H Riise, 76) — D Elm 6, R Zamora 7 (sub: S Okaka, 76). Substitutes not used: P Zuberbühler, E Nevland, F Stoor, C Smalling, J Greening.

Notts County (4-1-4-1): K Schmeichel 5 — J Thompson 5, M Edwards 5, S Hunt 6, J Jackson 5 — J Clapham 5 (sub: L Rodgers, 62 5) — C Westcarr 6 (sub: K Hawley, 85), N Bishop 6, R Ravenhill 5, B Davies 6 — L Hughes 5 (sub: M Hamshaw, 85). Substitutes not used: R Hoult, G Lee, B Fairclough, A Akinbiyi.

Referee: A Wiley. Attendance: 16,132.

White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.02.10)
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2010, 06:47:41 AM »

Fulham 4-0 Notts County: The Daily Mirror match report

Published 18:18 14/02/10

By Martin Lipton

Down at the Hammersmith End, they still talk about Mellor, Moore, Mullery and Mitchell and the boys of ’75.

But perhaps a new, even more glorious chapter in Fulham history could be written by Zamora, Murphy, Schwarzer and Roy Hodgson’s class of 2010.

As County ended up looking as exposed and threadbare on the pitch as their finances are off it, Fulham cruised through to the last eight and a quarter-final date with Bolton or Spurs.

At times it was sketchy and unconvincing, even if there was never really a stage when the world’s oldest professional club looked like they could climb out of the intensive care ward.

But that did not stop the predictive chants of “Wembley“ cascading around the Cottage, as goals from Simon Davies, Bobby Zamora, Damien Duff and Stefano Okaka eased Hodgson’s men through.

It was harsh but, as so often, the difference was not the quality of the football, but the quality of the finishing.

With Sven Goran Eriksson nowhere to be seen - well, come on, it was Valentine’s Day - for long periods you would have been pressed to say where there was a difference of 65 places on the ladder between the sides.

But where County contrived to squander their many opportunities, Fulham took them by displaying the clinical edge top flight teams are supposed to have in their armoury.

All four goals were converted with a minimum of fuss, County switching off at the back and paying the price.

Fulham’s opener was a case in point, when Davies floated in off the left flank, dragging defender John Thompson with him, to get on the end of Danny Murphy’s chip forward.

Thompson half-sold himself, allowing Davies to find the room to angle a right-footer back through the skipper’s legs, leaving Kasper Schmeichel flat-footed as the ball found his bottom right corner.

Schmeichel, watched by his father Peter, had earlier done well to keep out Zamora but for much of that opening spell the action was at the other end.

Where Fulham were deadly, however, County had no punch.

Ben Davies, who adopted a shoot on sight policy all afternoon, was the first to test Mark Schwarzer from distance, Lee Hughes was too close to the keeper after a smart turn,  before the crucial moment six minutes from the break.

The lively Craig Westcarr turned Chris Baird inside-out before unleashing a left-footer destined for the corner of the net before Schwarzer plunged to his right to make a magnificent save.

And when Fulham cleared the resulting corner, they went down the pitch to put away the second - and, effectively, the match.

Nicky Shorey drove forward, David Elm flicked on and Zamora was too quick for Stephen Hunt, chesting the ball into the box before lashing home his 13th of the season.

All over bar the shouting and while County - mainly through the game Davies - kept on coming, the rest was inevitable. Duff made it three, collecting from Zamora’s clever ball out to the right, teasing his way past Johnnie Jackson and drilling between Schmeichel and his near post.

Then on-loan Roma man Okaka, who gave Zamora a breather, cantered past a static County defence before getting off the mark in Engliosh football with a simple finish.

It was enough as County could focus their minds back on their fight for survival against the Tax Man.

“I don’t think we could’ve done much more - except score, of course,” said County boss Dave Kevan, who revealed he had received a good luck call from Eriksson before the game.

“It’s hard to take but I’ve told the players they were fantastic. The goals just came at the wrong time for us.”

White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.02.10)
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2010, 06:51:24 AM »

Fulham ready to open new contract talks with David Elm

Published 23:00 14/02/10

By Alan Nixon
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is ready to open contract talks with Swedish striker David Elm - about penning a new two-year deal at the club.

Elm has been a surprise success in recent weeks, scoring against Burnley in the last game, after his unheralded arrival at Craven Cottage.

Now Elm is looking to sort out his new arrangement. Fulham have a two-year option in his contract but the terms are due to be finalised - and he hopes his performances will earn him a rise.

White Noise

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.02.10)
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2010, 06:55:04 AM »

Premier League plans play-off for last Champions League place

• Team as low as seventh could be given chance to qualify

• Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool object

David Conn,

Sunday 14 February 2010 22.15 GMT

Under the play-off proposal Fulham – who finished seventh in 2009 – would have had a chance of Champions League football. Photograph: Kieran Doherty/Reuters

The Premier League is considering introducing a play-off system to determine the fourth club to qualify for the following season's European Champions League.

Currently the club which finishes fourth goes through but the new proposal would mean a play-off between the clubs finishing fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh. The intention is to inject more competition into a league in which qualification has for years remained in the hands of the same four clubs.

Premier League sources have confirmed that the play-off proposal was presented at the most recent meeting of all clubs, on 4 February, and the league's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, was authorised to return with further details in April.

It is understood that the idea was enthusiastically supported by all clubs – except the so-called big four of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Scudamore, and the league's secretary, Mike Foster, will examine the practicalities of how a play-off system could work: whether it should take the form of a home-and-away knockout system, similar to that in the Football League, or incorporate seeding. They will also look into when matches could be fitted into a crowded fixture calendar before making recommendations.

The idea was presented as part of the Premier League's strategic review of its format and operations and springs from two particular motivations. The first is to crack the problem of England's top league becoming less open and competitive, with the richest clubs, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, having strengthened their hold on the top four places over several years. One league source said it was an odd twist that the idea has been raised now, in a season when Liverpool's claim to the fourth place is being seriously challenged.

The response among clubs outside the top four is understood to have been positive, with some believing that a play-off system would create more competitive matches and give more clubs a prize to challenge for. Most clubs now feel they have no chance of attaining fourth place but almost the whole Premier League could be brought into a competition to finish seventh and make it to the play-offs. The medium-sized clubs, which increasingly aspire to break the cartel, are said to have been enthusiastic, seeing play-offs as a great opportunity.

The big four, who have been qualifying on merit at the end of each season and reaping the footballing and financial rewards of Champions League participation are understood to have been less keen. Self-interest is clearly a factor, with those clubs concerned about protecting their own advantages. However, there is also a feeling that the league should be more sophisticated about addressing its major challenges, particularly the financial ones, rather than incorpor-ating an awkward play-off system for a prize as ostensibly moderate as fourth place.

The other motivation for the play-offs is a waning of the proposal for an international round of matches, dubbed "Game 39", which was widely criticised for lacking coherence and being territorially expansionist. The play-offs would mean extra matches, which would be sold to pay-television and so generate more money for all clubs.

The consistent qualification of the same four clubs, widely seen as stifling competition, is not replicated across Europe. The Premier League largely blames the Uefa Champions League money, distributed to participating clubs, for entrenching the big four's financial power. Uefa, however, points out that Champions League income represents a small part, 8–13%, of Manchester United's, Chelsea's, Arsenal's and Liverpool's total turnover. Most of the big clubs' money is made in this country; Premier League television income is relatively evenly distributed but United, Chelsea and Arsenal in particular make much more than their nearest rivals from commercial activities and match-day revenues in the Premier League.

The Dutch league tried a play-off system for the second Champions League qualification place but abandoned it after the 2007-08 season, when FC Twente Enschede beat Ajax 2-1. The issues in Holland were the risk of crowd trouble at such high-stakes matches and a perception that the play-offs were one-sided.

In the Premier League there is some confidence that neither of those would present major problems. As a means of encouraging competition, opportunities and increasing income, the play-off proposal already seems to have enough support to suggest it could gain the necessary 14-6 majority to be implemented.

Offline Tom

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.02.10)
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2010, 07:12:21 AM »

Fulham ready to open new contract talks with David Elm

Published 23:00 14/02/10

By Alan Nixon
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is ready to open contract talks with Swedish striker David Elm - about penning a new two-year deal at the club.

Elm has been a surprise success in recent weeks, scoring against Burnley in the last game, after his unheralded arrival at Craven Cottage.

Now Elm is looking to sort out his new arrangement. Fulham have a two-year option in his contract but the terms are due to be finalised - and he hopes his performances will earn him a rise.

Wow, just off one game where he scores his first goal. He needs to have more games where he scores to get a rise. If it weren't for injuries, he wouldn't even be playing right now. To me, he has alot more to prove.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 07:14:30 AM by Tom »

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff (15.02.10)
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2010, 08:11:29 AM »,16368,1851_5950470,00.html
Hodgson focus remains on league
The Premier League remains Roy Hodgson's priority this season but the Fulham manager believes his side have a decent opportunity in the FA Cup.

The Cottagers defeated Notts County 4-0 on Sunday, with Simon Davies, Bobby Zamora, Damien Duff and Stefano Okaka netting at Craven Cottage to set up a quarter-final tie against Bolton or Tottenham.

Hodgson's men will be helped by Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool already being knocked out, and a potential clash between Manchester City and Chelsea would eliminate another remaining heavyweight.

"For the teams left, they won't regret three of the traditional top four in the country not being there," Hodgson said.

"We think we have as good chance as the others. It's nice to have the lottery ticket because you cannot win the lottery without one."

Hodgson, despite his team currently 10th in the Premier League, still feels survival is his chief aim and reaching Europe like they have this year would be a bonus.

However, his team are now two matches from the final and could continue their remarkable turnaround in the two years since Hodgson's arrival.

"It would mean a lot to us," Hodgson said.

"It would be another major step forward with the progression at the club.

"We'll be highly motivated and nervous about the quarter-final because we badly want a good result.

"There have been fewer winners of the FA Cup since the inauguration of the Premier League.

"It's wrong to compare the mythical Fulham teams of the 60s and 70s or even the showbiz teams when Rodney Marsh, George Best and Bobby Moore were playing in the same team.

"We have to be more journeyman-like in our approach because staying in the league is so important.

"It's not a case of Rodney Marsh doing a few tricks or George Best beating a man and having a rest for five minutes. That's not possible.

"Success is probably a continued presence in the Premier League, if we could go one step further that would be fantastic."

Notts County caretaker boss Dave Kevan was pleased with his side's performance following a traumatic week when the club was sold for £1 and Sven-Goran Eriksson resigned from his role as director of football.

Kevan is still positive about earning promotion from League Two.

"We're very sorry to see Sven and Tord (Grip) leave, it was a privilege to work with them," Kevan said.

"But there is a lot of football to be played. The aim is to get out of League Two and we can still do it.

"Sven called me and said we could beat them. Hopefully I'll speak to him on the way home."