Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday May 23 2009
Sunday 24th May will go down in the history books as a magnificent day for Fulham, providing we can avoid defeat against Everton. If we do so we`ll be assured of finishing in a very respectable seventh place in the Premier League but we`ll also have qualified for the Europa League. In fact, we could even lose tomorrow and still realise that dream as long as Spurs don`t upset the apple-cart and win at Anfield.
Roy Hodgson, after being a little wary of qualifying for Europe earlier this year, now seems to be embracing the idea head on.
In his pre-match press conference he seemed to positively glow at the thought of it becoming a reality, remarking,
'Luckily we have it in our hands."
"If we win or even draw then we are in an unassailable position in seventh place for the final European spot."
"It will be a wonderful reward to finish off what has been an excellent season.'
Fulham in Europe, who`d have believed that this time last season?
Roy Hodgson, if the rumour mill is correct, will have a full strength squad to choose from. Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora are both fit again after shaking off knocks and the only major decision Roy has surrounds who to select as his front two.
Does he stick with Erik Nevland and Diomansy Kamara, who have served him well in recent games or does he return to the tried and trusted partnership of Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora for this game?
Unfortunately, with the transfer rumours increasing by the day, this could, heaven forbid, be the last time we see Brede Hangeland wearing our coveted shirt.
For the Everton game we expect Roy t go with the following starting eleven:
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hnageland, Konchesky, Gera, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Johnson and Kamara.
Playing against his former club should be motivation in itself to pt in the mother of all performances. Is it too much to wish for AJ to score the winner against his old club?
David Moyes brings his squad south fully aware that they face a repeat trip to London next weekend for the FA Cup Final. The Scot faces a difficult choice, does he rest key players or does he go with the flow and try to keep the momentum going?
Definitely missing from the starting line-up are long term injury victims, Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka.
Moyes will choose his starting eleven form the following squad:
Howard, Hibbert, Lescott, Baines, Osman, Neville, Fellaini, Vaughan, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha, Jo, Rodwell, Nash, Yobo, Castillo, Jacobsen, Gosling, Vaughan.
Is this the same player we watched play so miserably for Manchester City earlier this season? Since his loan move across the north-west, Jo has shown what he can do and with him being cup-tied and unable to play in the FA Cup Final, it`s probably the last chance Everton fans will get to see him in their blue shirt.
The history books give us every hope for the result needed to ensure Europa League qualification.
Everton do remarkably poorly at Craven Cottage, in the Premier League, having lost 7 times to us. In fact 'The Toffees` have never even as much has taken a point back to the north west.
In all League fixtures on West London soil between the two teams, the statistics are not much better for the visitors, Fulham have notched up 13 wins compared to their 3 with 4 draws.
Let`s hope it`s our day (again) on Sunday!
Mike Riley is the man chosen to officiate in our last fixture of the 2008-2009 season.
It`ll be one of those rare games whereby ears will be glued to radios trying to find out how Spurs are doing. Don`t be surprised if a cheer comes up from the Hammersmith End when Liverpool score! Sometimes, circumstances mean your own performance isn`t the be-all and end-all of things but it would be great to cruise to a comfortable win over Everton but David Moyes are not the sort of side to simply lie down, they`ll be competitive and make a real game of it. Hopefully, we`ll escape with at least a point, if not all three, and Liverpool will ensure it was all a bit academic anyway!
That`s all for this season folks!
Date:Saturday May 23 2009
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