Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday March 6 2009
After defeating Swansea City, in a replay, Fulham entertain Manchester United in an FA Cup Quarter-Final this Saturday evening. In hindsight we`d have preferred a slightly easier draw but if you want to be the best then you`ve got to beat the best! Bring them on!
Ahead of the vital fixture, Mark Schwarzer, who has been in fine form this season has an inkling that our compact ground could work in our favour commenting,
"The small ground works fantastically well for us.'
'We've made some teams look ordinary, and that's a credit to the way we play at home.'
Is it possible we can make Manchester United look ordinary?
A win on Wednesday night, instead of an injury time defeat, would have propelled Fulham a little nearer to that mythical forty point mark that supposedly guarantees survival. It may also have allowed Roy Hodgson to slightly take his foot of the Premier League pedal and give the FA Cup 100% of his attention. Sadly, with survival always the be all and end all for a club like ours, there`s the prospect that Roy could make a couple of changes.
In midweek he pontificated about the relative smallness of our squad which makes me fearful that Roy could be acutely aware that ay injuries received against Manchester United could herald a free-fall down the Premier League table with a weakened first team. But then again perhaps the wily old fox is ready for one last blast at a trophy he`s never really made his mark on in this country although he has two domestic cups to his name with Malmo!
Fingers crossed it`s the latter, if so, here at Vital Fulham we`ll go for a starting eleven of:-
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Johnson and Zamora.
If, by chance, it`s the former, then I fear for our chances.
The stage is set for our captain to once again score a decisive goal against a side he has a decent record of scoring against, albeit in his Liverpool days.
We`d like to be able to report that the United camp has bee hit by a virulent bug and that several of their big names will not be travelling to London, but it wouldn`t be true. All we can hope for is that Sir Alex decides to be cautious and rest some of his big-names ahead of their forthcoming, and vitally important, Champions League tie against Inter Milan.
If Sir Alex is interested, he could start by giving the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney, Vidic, Berbatov and Ferdinand a rest, But please play Edwin as we`ve always believed he`s liable to make the odd gaff or two as was proven at St James Park the other night.
United from - Van der Sar, Foster, Kuszczak, O`Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Gibson, Fletcher, PARK, Giggs, Anderson, Nani, Rooney, Berbatov, Tevez, Welbeck
If he plays, you`ll be watching one of the best defenders in the world today. If he doesn`t play, we might just have a chance!
It`s not long ago that we were trounced, 3-0, up at Old Trafford. But, as we all know, we`re a different kettle of fish on our own ground, well that`s what we thought until Hull City mugged us off the other night.
These two clubs have faced each other seven times in the FA Cup and history favours Manchester United. Out of those seven games United have progressed into the next round on the last six occasions with Fulham`s only victory coming ay back in 1908, in a fourth round tie.
It`ll be Mike Dean who`s feeling the wrath of Sir Alex if things do not go the way of United!
It`s going to take a brave man to predict a comfortable Fulham win; in fact it`s going to take a brave man to predict any sort of Fulham win, especially after United humbled us in the Premier League only a matter of weeks ago. But, it`s the FA Cup and anything can happen. Hang on to your hats, I`ve just got this feeling Saturday is going to be a special day, remember where you read it first!
Next weekend it`s a return to Premier League football with a fixture against Bolton at the Reebok!
Date:Friday March 6 2009
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