Friday, February 26, 2010

My 5 Keys to Victory for Fulham at Sunderland

There is no rest for Fulham this weekend. They will be travelling to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland on Sunday. The kickoff for the match is 3PM UK time and 10AM EST. The game will actually be shown on tape delay on Fox Soccer Soccer Channel in the United States at noon EST. Sunderland currently sit 14th in the League with 26 points. Fulham are currently 9th with 37 points.

Roy Hogdson and Fulham need to figure out a way to get another away win. Sunderland will again be desperate for a win as they want to get as far away from the relegation zone as possible. The question is what kind of shape and lineup will be on display for Fulham on Sunday? Below I will have my "5 keys to victory for Fulham."

1. Bobby Zamora is doubtful for the match so who will step up to take his place at striker. Zamora picked up an Achilles injury in the Europa League match. Who will Roy use at striker. I am hoping David Elm will get a shot at striker. To me he deserves another chance to show his ability. He seems to have a good touch up front. This striker position will be key on Sunday.

2. The return of Nicky Shorey is important for the defense. As I stated prior I think Nicky Shorey has been impressive on defense. Stephen Kelly was very good in the last match. This is nothing against Kelly. Shorey just gives Fulham a defender who can push the ball up better and is more natural at the position.

3. Fulham desperately need to score the first goal. Fulham have struggled so much on the road I think they need to play from ahead the majority of the match. If they can get off to a fast start they can dictate the game to Sunderland. Again, they are playing a desperate side right now. Zoltan Gera has been very good lately. I would not be surprised to see him score a goal early in the match.

4. Hogdson should use some fresh legs in this match. After a grueling match in the Ukraine a key will be how Hogdson uses his lineup. I already stated I think David Elm and Nicky Shorey should start. At some point during the match it might be good to use Jonathan Greening and Bjorn Helge Riise in midfield. Players like Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu might need some rest. They have worked very hard lately. I also would not be against Stephen Kelly coming in to spell someone on defense.

5. It is important to push the ball up to the strikers. Fulham always seem to be at their best when the defenders are pushing the ball up the pitch. Fulham need to dictate the pace of the match. Nicky Shorey has been great so far in moving the ball up. Fulham need to play like they are at Craven Cottage which is more aggressive.

Fulham are coming off of a grueling schedule lately. Sunderland on the road is game they need to win. If they want to move higher up the table Fulham need to win these games on the road. Let's hope our good form continues on Sunday.


  1. Not sure about some of these suggestions.

    The last thing Etuhu needs is rest. He's played a few games but looked a little rusty of late - he's in need of some more action to get him upto Premier League speed. And, of course, Dickson will be right up for playing against his old team on Sunday.

    I wouldn't bring in either Riise or Greening. Perhaps more Gera back to a wider position if we revert to 4-4-2. Kelly shouldn't come in - Baird's been doing well at RB - and Shorey can't be displaced at left back. Defensive continuity has been at the heart of Fulham's success under Hodgson and we shouldn't chop and change at the back right now.

  2. Dan,

    After I wrote that about Etuhu I second guessed myself. He had been struggling so I thought maybe a one game break would help him get his legs back. Maybe the next game after that he would turn the corner. Sometimes by sitting a game it makes you think what you need to do to get back in.

    Greening has been hot and cold. I could see why you wouldn't want him to fil in. Riise however I think needs to play more. I think he needs more of a chance. At times he has sent in some nice passes. I know the majority of it was in the Europa League and the F A Cup. I don't know I think there is something there.

    Dan, I threw in Kelly partially for your comments. I will give him more of chance because he does not have much experience at left back. I thought he played fairly well in the Ukraine.

    I really appreciate your feedback.

    You do a tremendous job at

  3. Ha ha, playing to the audience, eh? You're good at this!

    Personally think Greening's been excellent when called upon after an iffy start but I'd rather not upset the applecart (English expression) if I don't absolutely have to.

    Riise's got promise and I think we'll see more of him as the season winds towards to a close but he's not good enough to displace Davies/Duff at the moment for me. Perhaps as a substitute or in a few less crucial league games at the tail end of the season.

    Cheers for the kind words on Hammyend but it's not just me. It's the other writers, tech guys and commenters who make our site what it is. Speaking of which, I've put up some new Saturday articles so feel free to pop across and give your thoughts once you're up and about!