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Tuesday Fulham Stuff - 19/09/23...

Started by WhiteJC, September 19, 2023, 12:27:53 AM

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#TogetherforMorocco: a message from Abdes Ouaddoh
After the devastating earthquake that damaged his home region in Morocco, we are proud to publish a passionate request for support from former Fulham defender Abdes Ouaddoh, who is co-ordinating fundraising efforts to help his country through the brilliant Beniya foundation.

Dear Fulham family,

Among our injured, widows and orphans, I write those words with unbearable pain to ask my friends from across the world – from within football and elsewhere – to join us in showing solidarity with the citizens of the Moroccan Atlas region and the rest of my homeland, who experienced an unprecedented tragedy. The earthquake caused massive damage and, above all, the loss of so many lives.

The Moroccan authorities are doing wonderful work on the ground but to win this battle with the forces of nature, our fight will be long and we will require resilience and substantial support to rebuild. I know it is a tough financial time for so many people but each donation, however modest, will offer immediate help to those who are in desperate need. Every person rescued will be a victory.

You can help by donating directly through the Beniya association's Moroccan earthquake fundraising page and read more about the organisation on the website. If you can't donate at this time, just sharing information about our efforts on Facebook or other social media platforms would help us to spread the word.

Thank you in advance for any support you can provide for the people of Morocco,

Abdes Ouaddoh


Ranking Premier League clubs by how hard their first 5 games have been
Chelsea could be in serious trouble...

    Newcastle United has had the toughest run of fixtures so far and sits in 11th place with a mixed record of wins and losses.
    Manchester City is currently undefeated, conceding only three goals, and has had a relatively easy set of fixtures.
    Chelsea has had the easiest run of fixtures but finds themselves in 14th place with only one victory so far.

All 20 Premier League sides – bar Burnley and Luton – have played five fixtures of the new season and have all endured various degrees of success. As things stand, Manchester City are yet to lose and have conceded a mere three goals, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Arsenal make up the rest of the top four, while Manchester United and Chelsea are, well in the bottom half of the standings.

A graphic has emerged online to show which teams in the Premier League have had the easiest runs in the first five games since the new campaign got underway. Every team's strength of schedule for the first five games of the 2023/24 Premier League fixtures have been calculated using the average Opta rankings of each team – used to measure fixture difficulty.

So which team has had the easiest run-in so far while – on the other hand – which team has had to compete with some of the Premier League's trickiest customers? Read on to find out!

Newcastle United – 13
Despite having the toughest run in the topflight so far, Newcastle resides in 11th place with five games played. An emphatic 5-1 win over Aston Villa kicked things off, but that result was followed by three consecutive losses against Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton. A Callum Wilson penalty picked up all three points at home against Brentford last time out, however, and they will now look to build on that with a smoother run of games on the horizon.

Bournemouth – 25.2
Bournemouth are yet to win a game, though considering they've had to play West Ham, Liverpool, Tottenham, Brentford and Chelsea, it comes as little surprise. In that sequence, however, they have picked up three draws and sit in 15th place as a result.

Wolverhampton Wanderers – 33.8
Having been unfortunate to lose to Manchester United in their opening 2023/24 fixture, Gary O'Neil's side have picked up just three points following. That came against a winless Everton, while they have endured three losses against Brighton, Liverpool and Crystal Palace. Ouch.

Manchester United – 39.6
If the Old Trafford faithful can take any comfort in their insipid start to 2023/24, it's that they have endured a difficult run. Having to face north London duo Arsenal and Tottenham and Brighton in your first five fixtures is no easy feat and it's seemingly taken its toll on Erik ten Hag and his group of players. Wins against Nottingham Forest and Wolves have come, though some would say the match result against the former – as mentioned – didn't represent the run of the game.

Crystal Palace – 43.8
The capital club have had a real mixed bag of results, having won and lost two games apiece with a 1-1 draw with cross-London rivals Brentford wedged in between. Arsenal and Aston Villa have both put Palace to the sword, but Roy Hodgson has managed to carve wins against Sheffield United and Wolves in his side's opening five fixtures, despite it being fairly tough from Opta's perspective.

Luton Town – 45.8
Life in the Premier League for the Hatters has not been as fruitful as they would have hoped. Brighton and Chelsea both dismissed them with three-goal advantages in the two opening fixtures, while West Ham and Fulham – albeit not as comfortable – have also been victorious. In four games, they have scored just two and conceded 10.

Brighton & Hove Albion – 47.4
West Ham's shock 3-1 win over Roberto De Zerbi's high-flying Brighton outfit is the only lowlight for the Italian thus far. Besides that, results in their favour have been a recurring theme, having waltzed past Luton, Wolves, Newcastle and Manchester United.

Liverpool – 47.8
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool look back at the races, having not dropped points since the opening fixture against Chelsea, one in which they drew 1-1. Four wins on the bounce have followed with two of those being against Newcastle and Aston Villa.

Fulham – 48.4

With two under the belt since the new campaign kicked off, Fulham have had to face Arsenal and Manchester City already. Albeit losing to the latter, a draw against the former would have lifted Craven Cottage spirits. Their two victories came against Everton and Luton.

Nottingham Forest – 48.8
Forest have had to face Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea in their opening four fixtures, though the last two have not exactly been performing at the highest of levels of late. Still, a 1-0 win over Chelsea took their win tally up to two after beating Sheffield United 2-1 earlier in the season.

Aston Villa – 48.8
Both Liverpool and Newcastle enjoyed comfortable wins against Unai Emery and his men, winning 3-0 and 5-1 respectively. Villa, however, have also been doing some comfortable winning of their own against Everton, Burnley and Crystal Palace and now sit in 7th spot after five games.

Everton – 49.2
Oh, Everton. The Toffees are among the exclusive five-club group not to have tasted victory yet this term. The solitary draw against Sheffield United sits between four losses, despite three of them being 1-0, though Aston Villa did manage to ship four past them in a 4-0 rout during gameweek two.

Brentford – 49.4
Alongside Bournemouth, Brentford have amassed the most draws so far this season (3), with those coming against London duo Tottenham and Crystal Palace and also Bournemouth themselves. The sole 3-0 win against Fulham and their latest 1-0 loss to Newcastle – combined with their trio of draws – see them dwell in midtable.

Sheffield United – 50.2
Still yet to win a game, Sheffield United have had a, per Opta, fairly easy run of fixtures upon their return to the Premier League. Forest, Palace, Manchester City and Tottenham have all stolen three points, while the Blades were able to nick one as they drew 2-2 with Everton.

Burnley – 50.6
In Vincent Kompany's first season at the helm in the English topflight, he has the current joint-worst defensive record, having conceded 11 in three games. They had the small matter of Manchester City to deal with on the opening fixture of 2023/24 and have not improved their results since following losses to Villa and Tottenham.

West Ham United – 55.8
The reigning Europa Conference League champions are off to a flyer this campaign, accruing 10 points from five games. They have drawn to Bournemouth and lost to Manchester City, but enjoyed a three-game win streak in between, beating Chelsea and Brighton in the process.

Arsenal – 56.4
The Emirates-based outfit have resumed their fine form from last term, only dropping points in a 2-2 draw with Fulham in gameweek three. Granted they have only played Forest, Palace, Everton and Manchester United, but early positive signs continue to grow for Mikel Arteta amid an all-important season.

Manchester City – 58.4
Flying at the top of the table is Pep Guardiola's imperious Manchester City – imagine our surprise. They have effortlessly breezed past any team in their way and have conceded just three goals so far, but were blessed by playing two of the promoted teams in their first five fixtures: Burnley and Sheffield United.

Tottenham Hotspur – 66.4
Ange Postecoglou has worked miracles in the north London camp by earning 13 points from a possible 15. They dropped points on the opening weekend but have since won four domestic games on the trot, despite them – by Opta's rankings – relatively straightforward.

Chelsea – 69.4
Despite having the easiest run of fixtures so far, Chelsea find themselves sitting in a solemn 14th place. Their only victory of the season came against Luton, though draws and against Liverpool and Bournemouth and losses to West Ham and Forest paint the real picture at Stamford Bridge at the moment.

All 20 Premier League teams - Opta ratings summed up

Team        Opta rating    Record
Newcastle United        13.8    WLLLW
Bournemouth        25.2    LDDLL
Wolverhampton Wanderers        33.8    LLWLL
Manchester United        39.6    WLWLL
Crystal Palace        43.8    WLDWL
Luton Town        45.8    LLLLL
Brighton        47.4    WWLWW
Liverpool        47.8    DWWWW
Fulham        48.4    WLDLW
Nottingham Forest        48.8    LWLLW
Aston Villa        48.8    LWWLW
Everton        49.2    LLLDL
Sheffield United        50.2    LLLDL
Burnley        50.6    LLL
West Ham        55.8    DWWWL
Arsenal        56.4    WWDWW
Manchester City        58.4    WWWWW
Tottenham Hotspur        66.4    WWDWW
Chelsea        69.4    DLWLD


Carlos Vinicius makes his case as Fulham struggle to replace Aleksandar Mitrovic

During Carlos Vinicius's season-long loan at Tottenham in 2021, many observers were left amused when, one cold January night, he cracked out the Kylian Mbappe arms-folded celebration after scoring an FA Cup hat-trick against eighth-tier Marine.

The impassioned roar he let out on Saturday after scoring Fulham's winner at home to Luton was perhaps more appropriate and definitely more understandable.

It took the 28-year-old just three minutes to score the game's only goal after coming off the bench, sealing Fulham's first home win of the season.

Last season Vinicius scored five Premier League goals, including the winner against rivals Chelsea at Craven Cottage. Saturday was his first appearance of the new season, and he certainly made it count.

Raul Jimenez, a £5million summer signing from Wolves, has started every game but is still yet to score for his new club. Marco Silva was frosty when asked last month whether Jimenez could adequately reproduce Aleksandar Mitrovic's goals.

Jimenez once scored 17 League goals in a season for Wolves and has netted 33 times for Mexico, but has not been the same player since fracturing his skull in a match against Arsenal in November 2020. Against Luton, he was again ineffectual.

The case for giving Vinicius a run-out was already strong before the international break. Following another difficult day for Jimenez and a match-winning cameo from Vinicius, pressure is mounting on Silva to promote the Brazilian to a starting role.

"The dynamic he brought in we needed in that moment", said Silva. "Competition between them is always important."

Harrison Reed was similarly impressed, saying: "Vinny came on and made the impact. I'm delighted for him — a really good character in the dressing room and a popular player. He looked knackered after his celebration!

"I can't speak highly enough of him. He's come in and had to be patient last season with Mitro the main man. When he got his game-time, he was brilliant. This season, the same. Raul has come in and started the first few games, but Vinny has shown off the bench what an impact he can be for us."

If Vinicius was the only goalscorer at Craven Cottage, it was another 28-year-old who produced the most complete performance of the afternoon.

Joao Palhinha, fresh from signing a contract extension until 2028 with an optional further year, was back in the Fulham team and back to his combative best.

He won more tackles, more aerial duels and more overall duels than any other player as home fans purred at the sort of virtuoso display that will surely tempt Bayern Munich back in January following their rejected £56m deadline-day bid.

"Everyone can feel it's a massive boost that we've not only managed to keep hold of Joao in this window but that he's committed his long-term future to the club", his midfield partner Reed explained.

"An enormous boost for the team, the club, and the fans. The future is looking positive."


3 summer targets Ipswich Town should return for in January including Fulham man: Opinion
Ipswich Town have had a strong start to the season after some steady business in the summer transfer window.

Ipswich Town spent quiet heavily to build a squad capable of winning automatic promotion from League One and given their financial backing, many thought they would splash the cash upon their return to the second-tier.

However, having spent more to build a team good enough to win promotion, the current squad didn't need much adding to. Four permanent signings were made while Brandon Williams, Dane Scarlett and Omari Hutchinson signed on loan.

It could be that they do some January business though. With that said, here are three summer targets Ipswich Town should return for in the winter...

Marek Rodak
Vaclav Hladky has assumed the starting spot amid Christian Walton's absence but given the nature of the no.1's injury, plenty of patience will be needed as setbacks could be a possibility.

If that proves to be the case, another 'keeper wouldn't go amiss. That's where summer target Marek Rodak could come in. He's down the pecking order at Fulham and is a very solid goalkeeper at Championship level.

Jesurun Rak-Sakyi
Ipswich were among the sides linked with Crystal Palace starlet Rak-Sakyi all summer long. It looked as though they were in a good position to sign him too, but the Eagles were unable to sign another winger and as a result, Rak-Sakyi stayed.

Chances have been limited for him in the early stages of the season though and a January loan should be in the offing. Even with Hutchinson on board, Rak-Sakyi is someone that Town should return for regardless.

Joe Gelhardt
As it stands, Ipswich aren't in need of another striker. They have four on the books as it stands but with George Hirst and Freddie Ladapo getting the majority of minutes at the top of the pitch, an established pro like Kayden Jackson could start to eye more minutes elsewhere and Spurs could look for a better opportunity for Dane Scarlett if he doesn't get much action.

That's where Gelhardt could be one worth revisiting. He isn't going to get many meaningful minutes with Leeds United now that Joel Piroe is there, so a loan to another Championship club could be his best option.


What Crystal Palace have just said about Roy Hodgson ahead of Fulham fixture
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson missed the 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa after falling ill just hours to the game over the weekend.

Crystal Palace assistant manager Paddy McCarthy says he's been in touch with manager Roy Hodgson and described his situation as 'feeling better' after their game against Aston Villa over the weekend.

The Eagles had to announce on their socials that their manager would not be with the team after he fell ill hours before the game at Villa Park. Odsoone Edouard gave the south London side the lead before two goals from the host turned the game on its head.

The players could be forgiven to be thinking about their manager who according to sources prepared the game before his sudden ill health, but Paddy McCarthy who stood in for him says he's been in touch and signs are good.

He is quoted by South London Press: "He's feeling better. We're all hopeful that he will continue to feel better and he will be back with us sooner rather than later. All the preparations were done with Roy. In between breakfast and the pre-match meal, he felt a bit unwell – that's when we found out.

"We just had to continue as we prepared. There is a lot of stuff going on when the game is going on. Just before the game, we had contact [with Hodgson] and we'll speak to him now after the game as well."

The Eagles finished midtable last season and despite losing Wilfried Zaha and the injury to Michael Olise, they have still had a decent start to the season with seven points from five games that have seen them win against Sheffield United and Wolves.


Fulham away - sold out
Tickets for our game against Fulham have now sold out.

Eligible supporters who have not managed to purchase a ticket can now enter our ballot for a chance to purchase tickets.

    The ballot is only online and can be applied for by clicking here.
    The ballot will be open online until 5pm on Wednesday 20th September.
    The ticket office will contact successful applicants in due course.
    Click here for full ballot details.

All refunds and ticket amendments must be made by 5pm on Thursday 5th October.

We have been allocated 2,701 tickets.

This match is ALL TICKET for Blades Supporters.


Fulham's João Palhinha opens up on failed Bayern Munich move
Is there salt or not?

    Bayern Munich's mission to get João Palhinha from Fulham FC has gotten harder after he signed a new contract with the London club. The 28-year-old Portuguese midfielder has no release clause, however, which means Fulham can ask for any amount they wish. Palhinha then spoke out for the first time:

    I won't lie, it's been a weird couple of weeks for me and my family. But I want to forget about that now and focus on helping Fulham.

    – BBC's Chris Wise as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia

Bayern are stretched thin in midfield, with Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka as the main midfielders; Konrad Laimer has seen more time at right-back than in midfield. Although the Bavarians can push up Matthijs de Ligt, Noussair Mazraoui, or Rapahël Guerreiro in midfield, coach Thomas Tuchel would prefer a proper CDM to play. That player has not been granted yet.


Reed: 'Fulham's future is very positive'
Harrison Reed heaped praise on Saturday's matchwinner Carlos Vinicius after the Brazilian grabbed the only goal of the game against Luton Town and believes Fulham's future looks 'very positive'.

The hardworking midfielder, who committed his future to the club by extending his Craven Cottage contract on Friday, hailed the immediate impact of Vinicius, who scored within three minutes of replacing Raul Jimenez in his first appearance of the new season. Reed told the Evening Standard:

"Vini came on and made the impact. I'm delighted for him — a really good character in the dressing room and a popular player. He looked knackered after his celebration! I can't speak highly enough of him. He's come in and had to be patient last season with Mitro the main man. When he got his game-time, he was brilliant. This season, the same. Raul has come in and started the first few games, but Vinny has shown off the bench what an impact he can be for us."

Reed also waxed lyrical about his central midfield partner Joao Palhinha, who also extended his contract on Friday having come close to leaving Fulham for Bayern Munich last month.

"Everyone can feel it's a massive boost that we've not only managed to keep hold of Joao in this window but that he's committed his long-term future to the club. An enormous boost for the team, the club, and the fans. The future is looking positive."


Fulham: Update emerges on Joao Palhinha's future
The midfielder was very close close to joining Bayern Munich in the summer.

Fulham have now been provided with an update on the future of midfielder Joao Palhinha by transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.

Does Joao Palhinha want to leave Fulham?
Palhinha was set to join Bayern Munich at the end of the summer transfer window, with a £60m deal being agreed, however the move collapsed at the final stages, as Fulham were unable to bring in a replacement before the deadline.

The midfielder has expressed his disappointment about the move not going through, saying: "I can't lie, in football, we all have dreams and those are to play in the Champions League and for the best clubs in the world.

"People need to see and understand that as well but I also want to say I have all respect and I am really happy to be here as well.

"The move didn't happen and now I am just focused on Fulham again. I will focus on my work and give everything I can like I have done in the past."

Since then, the 28-year-old has put pen to paper on a new contract, which runs until 2028, with the option for an additional year, and no release clause has been included, meaning the Cottagers hold the bargaining power in any future transfer windows.

The fact the Portugal international has committed to a new deal suggests he is happy at Craven Cottage, but Bayern remain undeterred, and Romano has now indicated the Bundesliga club could make a fresh approach in the next transfer window.

As relayed by CaughtOffside, the transfer expert said: "Joao Palhinha – Fulham are stronger on their position after contract extension, but the new deal was also done to give Joao a better salary until 2024.

"Then we will see in January or June, it will depend on bids and more. Bayern are still interested after coming close to getting the deal done in the summer, but obviously they're not working on it yet."

How much did Fulham pay for Joao Palhinha?
The Cottagers signed the former Sporting Lisbon man for just £20m back in the summer of 2022, and they were in line to make a huge profit by selling him to Bayern Munich for £60m in the summer, but fans will undoubtedly be happy he stayed.

The central midfielder was voted Fulham's Player of the Season for 2022-23, with more than half of Whites supporters voting for him, off the back of a fantastic campaign, in which he made 47 more tackles than any other player in the Premier League.

Lauded as "superb" by The Athletic reporter Peter Rutzler, Palhinha had a very promising first season at Craven Cottage, and Marco Silva will now be hoping he can kick on in the ongoing campaign, having put pen to paper on a new long-term deal.

However, if Bayern do come back with a fresh bid in the January transfer window, Fulham will be in an even stronger negotiating position than they were in the summer, indicating they could hold out for a larger fee.


Joao Palhinha: Fulham to demand bigger fee as Bayern Munich plot new move - sources
Joao Palhinha's new Fulham contract is set to complicate Bayern Munich's pursuit of the midfielder, sources have told Football Insider.

Bayern saw a deadline-day move for the 28-year-old fall through after the Cottagers were unable to secure a replacement.

Palhinha has since signed a new contract with Fulham running until 2028, with the option to extend his stay for a further 12 months.

It is believed Bayern's interest in the Portugal international remains ahead of the January transfer window, but the London club are now set to ask for a bigger fee to sell him.

A well-placed source has told Football Insider that there is no release clause as part of the new deal – meaning there is no set fee Bayern can pay to land Palhinha.

Football Insider revealed on 4 September that Man United were also very keen to land the Fulham midfielder in the summer window.

But Erik ten Hag's side could not meet the Cottagers' asking price and instead chose to sign Sofyan Amrabat on a loan-to-buy basis.

Ex-Sporting CP star Palhinha played 40 games across all competitions as Marco Silva's side secured a 10th-placed finish in the Premier League last season.

He has already made four appearances in the new season and scored as Fulham drew 2-2 away at Arsenal last month.

Fulham paid a reported fee of just £20million to bring Palhinha to the club in 2022.

The Craven Cottage outfit lost one key man in the summer window – with Aleksandar Mitrovic leaving in a mega-money move to Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Hilal.


Bayern Munich turn their sights to Manchester United star as a transfer contingency
Bayern Munich eyeing Manchester United star Scott McTominay as an alternative for Joao Palhinha

According to a report from the Mirror, Bayern Munich, the Bundesliga powerhouse, are once again setting their sights on Manchester United midfielder, Scott McTominay, as a potential alternative to Fulham's Joao Palhinha. This comes after a failed attempt to secure the Portuguese star during the summer transfer window.

During the previous transfer window, Bayern Munich came tantalizingly close to landing Palhinha. In fact, the Portuguese midfielder had already undergone his medical in Germany before the deal fell apart, leading to his return to Fulham. However, Palhinha's heart seems to be set on playing for a prestigious club like Bayern Munich, which might encourage Die Roten to renew their efforts in upcoming transfer windows.

Bayern Munich seem determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past summer and are preparing contingency plans. Interestingly, Fulham has been eyeing Scott McTominay as a potential replacement for Palhinha, setting the stage for an intriguing sequence of events if this saga reignites in January.

Scott McTominay has seen his role at Old Trafford diminish, making him a viable option for a transfer if the right offer comes along. Thomas Tuchel is keen on bolstering his midfield options, and although McTominay may not match Palhinha's quality, he can certainly fill a crucial role as a defensive midfielder.

The Bayern Munich squad currently lacks a specialist defensive midfielder, and the departure of Ryan Gravenberch without a replacement on deadline day has left them with another gap to fill. As Bayern prepares for a demanding season across multiple competitions, it is essential that they plug in these gaping holes.

McTominay is known for his no-nonsense style of play, unafraid to make crucial tackles and do the gritty work in the middle of the park. While he may not possess the same technical prowess as Palhinha, his contributions could provide valuable support to the likes of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka further up the field.