Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My 5 Keys to Victory for Fulham at Shakhtar Donetsk

The day of reckoning is tomorrow. Fulham play at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Final 32 of the Europa League. The game is at 6PM UK Time and 1PM EST. Fulham hold on to a slim lead in the competition. There are several questions going into this match. What starting lineup will Roy Hogdson go with? Will they play defensive and protect the slim lead? How will the referees effect this match? Which style of football will dominate? All of these questions and more will be answered after the game. Below are my 5 keys to victory for Fulham.

1. Stephen Kelly has to be at this best in this match on defense. I have been hard on him. However, he has looked out of place in several matches. Was he beat on the Luiz Adriano goal in the first match? With the attacking style of Shakhtar Donetsk, for Fulham to win he is going to have to be at his best. I will be watching Stephen Kelly.

2. Fulham can't afford to sit on the lead. Fulham hold a narrow 2 -1 lead going into the match. They cannot afford to sit back and let this team attack the entire game. It is imperative that the ball is pushed up to Bobby Zamora and Zoltan Gera. They need to attack and score. If they do decide to sit back I believe this is a recipe for disaster. Shakhtar have too much talent.

3. Fulham need to dictate their style of football on Shakhtar Donetsk. Shakhtar play a more wide open attacking football. Some could call it a "beautiful style" of football. Fulham need to play their physical brand of football. They need to force their will on Shakhtar. Players like Bobby Zamora and Dickson Etuhu can set that tone.

4. Fulham need to be aware of how the referees are calling the match. Unfortunately, the referees I believe will play a major part in this match. Fulham need to play how the match is being called. If the officials are letting them be physical they need to take that physicality as far as they can. If they are calling it close they need to be careful with their physical play. Physical players like Dickson Etuhu and Bobby Zamora have to be careful. Fulham don't need anymore red cards that effected the last Roma match.

5. Mark Schwarzer needs to have an exceptional game in net. I think he will be under constant pressure. He is a great goalkeeper. I have faith that he will be on his game.

I am sure there are other keys for the match but these 5 stand out to me. Shakhtar Donetsk are a very impressive team. This game will be a tough challenge for Roy Hogdson. If Fulham can control the game they have a chance. Let's hope for the best.


  1. Everyone who's been criticising Kelly needs to remember that he's been playing at left back for most of the season, something he had no experience of before coming to Fulham. He made a brilliant goal for Zoltan Gera in Basel and to blame him for the Shakhtar goal would be incredibly harsh. Don't be too hard on the guy.

  2. Dan,

    He is someone believe it or not I want to see succeed. I know he is "kind of learning" on the go. It is tough. The mistakes he is making is part of a learning process. The goal by Adriano I watched a few times. I was actually asking the question did he get beat? If he did, again it is not from the lack of trying.
    Trust me I want to write positive things about this guy. When I see him improving I will. You have to admit though you can tell the difference when Shorey is in there. It is about experience.

    He is in a tough spot tomorrow. I will be pulling for him.

    The next time I write about him I will take more into consideration his lack of experience at the postion.