Fulham - No Favours!
Well, the schedulers did us no favours to begin the 2009-2010 season.
Points in August and September may be difficult to come by. Due to legal issues regarding the publication of the fixture list, I don`t know how much detail I can provide, so I`ll be vague in discussing the August/September fixtures.
First, we begin the season on the road with a trip to the south coast to face one of the few clubs with stadium capacity less than ours. Not the easiest way to begin, but not an awful away fixture, either. The same fixture last season resulted in a 1-1 draw. Our away form, particularly early in the season, is not a source of comfort, but let`s hopes that we can surprise everyone by beginning the season with a victory.
We then return to Craven Cottage to face a 'roving` band from Lancashire. On
paper, this should be three points, but this team defeated us home and away last season. It`s terribly important we take full points from this one as the early season schedule just gets more difficult.
Four of the next five matches are against top-six sides from this past season. Of those four, three are at Craven Cottage, and of those three, two are against 'Big-Four` London-based clubs. The other two are against fellow Europa League competitors. Though three of the four are at home, this will still be a difficult run and failure to produce points may cause us to plummet towards the bottom of the table for a time, though I`ll try to remain optimistic.
The single reprieve during this stretch might be an away fixture against a newly promoted side from the West Midlands, though our recent history against newly promoted clubs is not a source of comfort; nor is our away form. Again, a good result is very important.
Looking past September is pointless as we have no idea what situation we`ll be in at that point. No one foresaw our performance last season, and likewise, 2009-2010 could hold even more surprises; both good and bad. Let`s hope we can avoid the 'here we go again` scenario by taking points from these early fixtures.
Perhaps I`m being too pessimistic. Perhaps we`ll be just as strong as we were last season and this tough beginning will be the solid base that we use to secure our top-ten finish come the end of the season. I certainly hope so. What do you think? Am I being overly pessimistic about our opening fixtures?