Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Thursday September 23 2010
After suffering their first defeat of the season, up at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke in the Carling Cup, Fulham will want to get back to winning ways when they entertain Everton this weekend. Everton, despite an array of stars in their line-up, have struggled this season, thus far, and find themselves lurking around the relegation area, something David Moyes wouldn`t have anticipated when the season started. A thriller, at the Cottage, could be in prospect!
A second visit, inside a week, to West London beckons for troubled David Moyes. After a poor start to the season the troubled Everton boss is keen to rally his troops for the visit to Craven Cottage.
After being knocked out of the Carling Cup, at our London neighbours Brentford, Moyes had this to say,
"We had a poor performance on Saturday. And this performance on top of that was not very good."
"I`m always concerned about it. In that position any manager would be concerned,"
"You want to get point on the board and you don`t want to get knocked out of the Cup. We had set up this year to start very strongly."
"We had prepared differently in pre-season and we were expecting a good start. I`ve got a job on now."
"I know I`ll need to manage, to get to work. I`ll take the responsibility."
"I`ll try to get things changed around. But I will be there on the touchline in the next game and people will be able to see me."
I guess with our decent home record Moyes might have wished for an easier away trip to try and stir his team into producing a winning performance.
Mark Hughes, having witnessed the latest of his playing staff in Moussa Dembele get ting injured, is down to his bare striking bones this weekend. With Bobby Zamora sidelined until February, Dimansy Kamara and Andrew Johnson still on the comeback trail, Mark has to decide whether to push Clint Dempsey and Zoltan Gera up front or whether to entrust Eddie Johnson and David Elm to do the job.
David Stockdale, out since injuring his ankle at Bloomfield Road, will hopefully return to the fold, whether he`ll displace Mark Schwarzer or not remains to be seen. Apart form those players mentioned; the only possible change we can envisage is the return of Damien Duff with the Irishman having missed out at Stoke, in midweek.
Fulham could line up as follows:-
Schwarzer (or Stockdale), Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido, Murphy, Etuhu, Davies, Duff, Gera and Dempsey (or Johnson)
With Mikel Arteta on the opposition side, Saturday could see an enthralling midfield battle to determine who is the better passer of the ball, if Fulham are to emerge victorious and take all three points then this is a battle that Danny will have to win.
David Moyes has a squad filled with star names. Howard, Jagielka, Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar, Fellaini, Baines and co should be capable of giving anyone a decent game, but their current league position, allied with a midweek Carling Cup defeat by Brentford, suggests all is not well at the club. In fact Everton have yet to win a game all season only picking up two points from two draws, such is their current predicament.
On the injury front, Moyes is faring a lot better than this time last year, a time whereby his squad was beset with major injury problems to key players. This weekend, one of the most promising youngsters to emerge from the Goodison scene for ages, Jack Rodwell, is amongst those absent through injury.
The Australian has the knack of being in the right place at exactly the right time when lofted balls arrive in the box to score with uncanny frequency with his head. A man who`ll need to be watched!
Fulham enter this fixture unbeaten in the Premier League this season. Our record may only feature the solitary win but our resilience has seen us pick up draws when faced with adversity, typical examples being away to Blackpool and at home to Manchester United whereby late, late goals rescued points for us.
Everton, on the other hand, are still looking for a first win of the season having only mustered two draws this season, one of which, just like us, related to a last gasp rescue mission against Manchester United.
Last time out Everton went out of the Carling Cup at Brentford off all places whilst Fulham exited the same competition up at Stoke.
This will, in our opinion, be a close game. Everton showed, against Manchester United that they can never be written off and it`s something of a mystery as to why they are so far down the table and why their form is so inconsistent. Fulham, on the other hand, are s resilient as ever and will fancy beating anyone on their own pitch. Us Vital Fulham staff, reckon this`ll end up as a Fulham win but by the narrowest of margins, 1-0!
It`s a jaunt across London, to the jolly old East End, for us next when we make the relatively short journey to Upton Park to play West Ham United.
Date:Thursday September 23 2010
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