Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Thursday September 27 2007
With the local derby against Chelsea fast approaching, we took time out to have a brief chat with one of the original Vital editorial staff, merlin.
How`s life down the other end of the Fulham Road?
Let`s just say that it`s not quite how we envisaged it just over a week ago. It`s not quite turmoil but then again it`s not all peace and harmony.
Did Mourinho`s departure leave you gob-smacked?
It certainly did. We hadn`t started the season particularly well but there was a genuine belief that it would sort itself out. We had injuries to key players, most notably Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba and the team were struggling to keep clean sheets. Our once solid defence looked a little rocky without the defensive pairing of Terry and Carvalho. Waking up lat Wednesday to find the 'Special One` had gone was almost the perfect hangover cure. As for the real reason`s why, your guess is probably as good as mine.
Is it a good time for Fulham to be playing you then?
Unfortunately, yes. Despite our 4-0 win at Hull City on Wednesday night, the team isn`t functioning as a unit. Too many players seem out of sorts, almost as if they`re still shell-shocked by Mourinho`s departure and we lack a cutting edge. There`s no change of pace and goals, without Lampard and Drogba, are proving hard to come by. As for our defence, just don`t bombard us with crosses.
Were you surprised by the number of signings we made in the close season?
I thought you`d gone mad. Every time I looked at the sports news there was another new face at Fulham. Sanchez obviously decided your squad needed re-vamping and went about it big time.
What do you make of his signings?
He seems to have gone for players who he knows, players who will work their socks off for the cause rather than those with individual flair. However, watching from afar, I have to say that Bouazza and Kamara seem capable of the odd bit of skill. As for Healy, he could be described as an enigma. At Leeds he couldn`t hit a barn door but when playing for Northern Ireland he was sensational. Hopefully, he`s now realised that he can score at the top level although hopefully not against us on Saturday. One player who does intrigue me though is Lee Cook. Two of our youngsters, Mancienne and Smith, were on loan at Queens Park Rangers last season and both spoke highly of him. Once he`s fit he could make a real name for himself in the Premier League.
How do you think our season will pan out?
In all honesty it`ll depend on how quickly your new signings gel. With so many new faces there is the danger you could have a lot of ground to make up. You might even get caught in the bottom three at Christmas syndrome. A lot will depend on how quickly Jimmy Bullard can return to full fitness. I`ve always rated him, he`s a right old character and his personality endears him to the supporters and his fellow professionals. Hopefully, despite all my postings suggesting you`re doomed I sincerely hope you stay up, I`d kind of miss playing you!
Which of our players will trouble you the most on Saturday?
I`m wary of Bouazza. His pace down the flanks could cause us trouble and if he can get in his crosses we`re likely to show our susceptibility to crosses, our Achilles heel.
Finally, how about a prediction for Saturday?
The way things are currently going, I`d hesitate to put any money on a definitive result. However, saying that, it would gut me if it were to be your lot that ended our fantastic sixty-six game unbeaten home run in the Premier League, we`d never here the last of it. Therefore, I`m going to keep the faith and suggest we`ll emerge victors 2-1
Our thanks go to the Vital Chelsea editor, merlin, for his precious time in taking the opportunity to talk to us.
Date:Thursday September 27 2007
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