Tuesday, March 16, 2010

10 Things I think about Fulham Football Club this week March 15th

The past week was a disappointing week for Fulham Football Club. Last Thursday, Fulham lost 3 - 1 against Juventus in the Europa League. Now, Fulham will have to win in convincing fashion this Thursday in the second leg at Craven Cottage. They will probably have to score at least 2 goals and probably hold Juventus scoreless. Fulham also lost on Sunday to Manchester United 3 - 0. They will need to bounce back next Sunday when they take on Manchester City at Craven Cottage. Below are the 10 things I have been thinking about Fulham.

1. I think the 3-1 loss to Juventus could have been a closer scoring difference. There is no question that Juventus dominated in the first 30 minutes. Maybe the Fulham players came out too tentative. They found themselves down 2 -0. Fulham rallied and scored in the first half to make it 2 -1. They also had a great chance to tie the game up in the first half. It took a great save to deny Fulham that second goal. In stoppage time they gave up the third goal. I think the third goal could have been prevented. They need to play better defense at the end of the half. Fulham should not be giving up any goals in stoppage time. Goals late in the half change games. The momentum now was completely with Juventus. If they don't give up that third goal, Fulham's chances on Thursday would be much greater.

2. I think the Juventus fans really don't care about the Europa League. I was shocked to see the small crowd that was at Turin. I could also see that a decent amount of the crowd were Fulham fans. I know Juventus are probably one of the greatest teams in the world. Their fans expect them to be in the Champions League. I get all of that. What I don't get is you only have a limited amount of games to see your team. Why wouldn't you go to this game?
3. I think it is great that Fulham fans sold out the game against Juventus. To me this shows just how important the Europa League means to Fulham and the fans. The Europa League to me is a reward for the hard work the team has put in the last couple of years. Both the team and the fans deserve this game. Hopefully with the crowd behind them Fulham can pull an upset.

4. I think Fulham were a different team against Manchester United with Danny Murphy in the lineup. Last week I wrote that I thought Fulham missed Murphy. I think this point was proven in the Manchester United game. I thought his passing was great and times I thought he controlled the first half of the match. I guess sometimes you don't appreciate a player until he is not there. I certainly appreciate Danny Murphy.

5. I think Roy Hogdson's changes in the starting lineup for the Manchester United game were effective. Stephen Kelly at right back I thought worked for the most part in the first half. Replacing Dickson Etuhu with Chris Baird in midfield seemed to work as well. I also liked having Clint Dempsey up front . Zotlan Gera being in midfield was another change Roy made. It is really good that Roy can move players around and the team can still keep its shape.

6. I think Clint Dempsey being back early is a huge boost. I was shocked to see him come in as a substitute during the Juventus match. I think it will take him a few more games to get back up to speed. I think he brings some added quality and goal scoring potential that the team needs now.

7. I think Fulham definitely have a chance against Juventus of advancing. Juventus have some injuries coming into the match at Craven Cottage. The goalkeeper Alex Manninger will be out. They are also coming off of a 3 - 3 tie against Siena. Fulham have an opportunity to advance. It might be slim, but it is there for the taking. With the injuries and the below average form from Juventus in their last match, hopefully Fulham can capitalize and come out strong. An early goal by Fulham and the game is on.

8. I think Fulham have a very good chance at beating Manchester City. Fulham have played Manchester City very tough lately. If Manchester City play how they played in the first half against Sunderland they will lose. I just don't think this is a team that intimidates Fulham. They have more talent than Fulham, but do they have the better team? I think we will find out this weekend.

9. I think Fulham fans should check out the reserves tonight against Birmingham City. The game is tonight at Motspur Park at 7PM UK Time. I would love the opportunity to see Christopher Buchtmann and see if he is the "real deal". Sine I am in the United States I can only read about it. This is a chance to see up and coming players for the team.

10. I think Fulham have a chance to match their league point total from last year of 53. They currently have 38 points. They need 15 points in the last 9 games. I just looked at the schedule and there are several games which I think they can win. Home games against Wigan, Stoke, Wolves and West Ham are all games the team should win. They can also potentially win at Hull. I know it will be tough, but if they could match that total to me it would be an incredible achievement.

Again, these are just 10 things I think about Fulham Football Club as of this week March 15th. It should be another fun week.

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