Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Monday February 23 2009
After brushing aside the challenge of West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, we change competitions to continue our FA Cup campaign with a 5th round replay fixture against Swansea City. After drawing the original tie, 1-1, both teams will be looking to secure a lucrative home televised tie against Manchester Unite din the quarter-finals.
There`s nothing like the magic of the FA Cup to get players dreaming and that`s exactly what Mark Gower, who missed two golden chances against us at the Liberty Stadium seems to be doing when he remarks,
'We can beat Fulham without a shadow of a doubt - and that's not just us saying that'
But there`s more from this shooting from the lip Jack, when he continues,
'Even talking to (Fulham midfielder) Simon Davies after the first game, he was saying how frustrated he was because he hardly had a kick and had to chase shadows for 90 minutes."
'If you can do that to a Premier League team then it says something and we can't help but take confidence from that.'
Let`s hope it`s a case of silence is golden when it comes to after the match as far as Mark Gower is concerned! Please shut him up once and for all lads.
After, quite rightly, making a song and dance about our hectic schedule affecting the possible outcome of future matches; it`ll be interesting to see if Roy makes wholesale changes for the tie. Does he go with his starting eleven from Sunday, a stating eleven that produced a good performance and outplayed West Brom or does he introduce a few fringe players ahead of our weekend fixture. Perhaps, content in the knowledge that we`re only seven points away from the much-heralded safety net of forty points may influence his decision. All are good unanswered and debatable questions.
Personally, we think Roy will make just the one change introducing Stoor ahead of the Arsenal game with Pantsil being banned for that affair and go with the following starting eleven:-
Schwarzer, Stoorl, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey, Zamora, Johnson
On the other hand Roy Hodgson could quire easily rest key players and give starts to Baird, Dacourt, Gray, Nevland and Kamara. It`s one of those games where anything could happen, on and off the pitch.
After ending his barren spell against West Brom it was noticeable that Zamora`s confidence level rose several notches, let`s hope, against Championship opposition, Bobby can get onto a goal scoring run! A nice double please Bobby!
As far as the opposition goes, our friends over at Vital Swansea are implying that our scorer, at the Liberty Stadium, the unfortunate Garry Monk is unlikely to feature as he has a back strain. Therefore we`re informed that Albert Serran will play alongside Ashley Williams.
Joe Allen, who picked up a thigh strain is also doubtful.
Showed his pedigree in the original tie, at the Liberty Stadium, with a great goal. Hughes and Hangeland will have to be aware of his shooting prowess and powerful surges.
This will be the third meeting between the two teams in the FA Cup. The first was a romp for Fulham, the second saw a draw being played out ten days ago so please don`t let the third be a Swansea win!
Fulham at home are a different proposition to Fulham on the road. Swansea will find that our playing style is far better suited to Craven Cottage than it is on the road and the languid performance we gave at the Liberty Stadium isn`t that reflective of our normal play at home. With Swansea playing some attractive football of their own it promises to be a real cracker of a game. There could be goals in this one and we`re taking Fulham to come out on top in a five goal thriller.
It`s off to the Emirates Stadium this weekend to play an Arsenal side who have failed to score in their last four Premier League games. With our record of scraping 0-0 draws on the road you can`t help thinking this one has got 0-0 (hopefully) written all over it.
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Date:Monday February 23 2009
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