Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday December 19 2008
After another 0-0 draw on the road, this time against Stoke, we return to Craven Cottage to entertain Middlesbrough this weekend.
Although Fulham have been linked with a couple of goalkeepers this week there`s no denying that Mark Schwarzer has proven to be a good buy. His performances have been solid and he`s brought some assurance to the back line.
Ahead of the clash with Gareth Southgate`s Middlesbrough, he`s had this to say about the big game,
'It's another must-win home game and that's all that's important."
'It's a home game that we believe we should win and we need to go out there and perform in the way we know that we can. "
'We've played very well at home so far, dominating and putting teams under pressure. Hopefully we'll do that on Saturday.'
Sort of sums it up nicely doesn`t it!
Roy caught us all on the hop last weekend when he changed his starting eleven, although it`s fair to say that it still, thanks to a common denominator of ten, looked very familiar.
The big question this week is that if Bobby Zamora returns who`ll make way? Will it be Clint Dempsey or will it be Zoltan Gera?
Our smart money is on the following starting eleven being selected:-
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Bullard, Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora.
Boro have some tasty forwards and we`ll need Brede to show us the composure and assurance we`ve witnessed many a time this season if we`re take maximum points.
Gareth Southgate must do without Didier Digard who has an injury to his groin but he`s able to welcome back David Wheater from suspension whilst Andrew Taylor and Mido have both recovered from injury and are available for selection.
Southgate will pick from the following squad:-
Turnbull, Jones, McMahon, Taylor, Grounds, Pogatetz, Huth, Wheater, Bates, Hines, Williams, Aliadiere, Arca, Walker, Downing, Johnson, Tuncay, Alves, Mido, Emnes.
A dangerous forward with terrific skills that could sway the game Boro`s way!
Looking at the Premier League table, Middlesbrough sit just behind us and their away form is nothing to write home about. With eight away fixtures played, they`ve lost 4, won 2 and drawn 2 In doing so they`ve scored 8 times but let in 11.
Overall, in fixtures between the two sides in the Premier League, the record stands at Middlesbrough 2 wins, Fulham 5 wins and 2 draws in fixtures played on Fulham territory.
Unfortunately it will not be Mr Controversy himself, Stuart Attwell. The young referee has been dropped from the Premier list for a third time this season. Therefore we`ll have to make do with Keith Stroud.
With a six game unbeaten run under our belts confidence, in the camp, has to be high. With the festive period coming up and games against Spurs (December 26th) and a home clash with Chelsea (December 28th), the games are coming thick and fast. On paper, the clash with Middlesbrough appears to be our best hope of obtaining three points, three points that will cement our position around about the middle of the table. Therefore, taking one game at a time, we`ll simply focus on this one and we believe that with far better sides than Middlesbrough beaten at Craven Cottage this season, there`s no reason why we can`t obtain another, 2-0 to Fulham is our opinion.
Our next match is a Boxing Day clash with Tottenham Hotspur. After beating them at Craven Cottage it`s a chance to get our first Premier League double of the season.
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Date:Friday December 19 2008
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