Fulham - Something New, Please
Fulham's away struggles are well documented - a fact often lamented by the fans.
Our only away win versus Pompey in the opening match of the season remains our lone three-pointer away from Craven Cottage.
Nothing to panic about.
Last season - our best season ever - we only managed three away wins.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not dismissing it. It's certainly a cause for concern as it puts far too much pressure on our home form.
Still, we've managed to persevere. Coupled with our poor away form is our seeming inability to take points from newly-promoted clubs. Referencing information from an older forum article, our past frustration is evident:
• 2005/06 - 6 points (Sunderland - 3 points; Wigan Athletic - 3 points; West Ham United - 0 points)
• 2006/07 - 5 points (Reading - 0 points; Sheffield United - 3 points; Watford - 2 points)
• 2007/08 - 7 points (Sunderland - 1 point; Birmingham City - 4 points; Derby County - 2 points)
• 2008/09 - 7 points (West Bromwich Albion - 3 points; Stoke City - 4 points; Hull City - 0 points)
So far this season, we've managed 0 points from our two fixtures versus newly-promoted Wolves and Birmingham.
These two trends come crashing together for our upcoming visit to Turf Moor to take on Burnley. Per the normal run of things, I'm not expecting much from this one.
It's a pity, really. It would be a nice three points to pick up in advance of the upcoming Man United, Spurs and Chelsea fixtures, which will be even more difficult from which to gain points.
Knowing this, however, wouldn't it be worthwhile to roll-the-dice against Burnley and try something new?
Why must we stick with the same line-up and tactics that, while serving us successfully at Craven Cottage, do little to propel us to victory on the road?
Here's my suggestion: Stick with the same back five (Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky and Schwarzer), but let's give Bjorn Helge Riise, Kagisho Dikgacoi and David Elm a run-out.
Deploy Riise on the right, move Duff back to the left, Dikgacoi and Dempsey in the middle, and Elm and Nevland up front.
Instead of playing a flowing passing game with build-up coming through the middle, try playing longer passes up the flanks and attack from the corners.
What harm could it do to try and catch Burnley off-guard with a different style of play?
The worse that could happen is that we lose, but with the likelihood of this happening anyway, it's a worthwhile gamble. Just for the hell of it, let's shake things up!