Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday December 9 2011
It`s off to Wales this weekend and a fixture against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. After beating Liverpool last time out, is this not a great opportunity to rattle off two wins on the bounce?
Swansea, newly promoted via the play-offs, are renowned for playing attractive football but culpable of not picking up enough points so far this season. Managed by Brendan Rodgers, they play football how it should be played and I`d like to think we`d match them on Saturday.
All in all, it promises to be a fascinating encounter.
It`s kind of ironic that having missed so much of his career lately, through injury, that Simon Davies could be about to make his return to the squad, in his native Wales.
After seventy minutes of a midweek reserve match, this is what Martin Jol had to say about his possible inclusion in the squad,
"He gave himself seven out of ten fitness wise. If he`s fine tomorrow, I`ll put him in the squad."
Wouldn`t it be superb if he came on and scored the winner on his comeback game, or odes that sort of thing only happen in dreams?
Brendan Rodgers will rue the fact that his influential midfielder, Joe Allen is suspended. A likely replacement could be the versatile Wayne Routledge.
Likely to return to the side, after missing the defeat up at Ewood Park last season with an Achilles problem is Danny Graham.
After a great season last time out, Scott hasn`t exactly set the Premier League on fire. It`s fair to say that he`s been consistent rather than spectacular. But, his pace is enough to trouble any defence and if we`re foolish enough to concede a spot kick then Scott will put them away with nonchalant ease!
Martin Jol, aside from his long term crocks, will be hoping that Danny Murphy recovers form the ankle knock that saw him limp off in the marvelous victory over Liverpool.
Also, as we`ve already speculated, Simon Davies may return to the squad for the first time in six months.
If Steve Sidwell is unavailable, we expect Dickson Etuhu to continue in midfield.
Bigged up big-time before the match with Martin Jol declaring, when asked about a rumoured move for the Spanish legend, Raul,
"We have our own star in that position. Moussa Dembele is on his way to being a fantastic player."
Let`s hope he delivers this Saturday.
These two clubs have yet to meet in the Premier League but the last meeting between the two, back in the 1996/97 season, in the bottom tier, saw Fulham do the double over the Welsh side, winning 2-1 on both occasions.
Although we`re always harping on about our poor away form, it`s worth taking note that, currently, we are unbeaten in our last three!
Going to the Liberty Stadium will be hard. Swansea play attractive, passing football and if we can`t get to grips with them we could struggle. But we have shown we can live with decent teams away from home. Last time out we were unfortunate not to win at Arsenal. In fact we`ve taken four points from the last two games, a great result when you consider we were playing Arsenal and Liverpool. Can we continue that form in South Wales? Of course we can, Fulham to win 1-0.
It`s back to Europa League action, this Wednesday, with a must win fixture against Odense SK.
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Date:Friday December 9 2011
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