Saturday, 20 March 2010

Fulham preview

Well I'm less relaxed about this than I was this morning. I was presuming that Spurs, traditionally almost as soft-centred as we are, would fail to win at Stoke City. Had they drawn or lost, a point at the Cottage tomorrow would have been acceptable. But goals from Eiður Guðjohnsen and Niko Kranjčar won them the game. And now I think we need to win too. Which will be tough, if precedent and form are reliable guides.

Our recent record against Fulham is atrocious: three points from our last five league meetings. Hilariously, we led in all five of those games. There was the thrilling 3-3 at the Cottage in that dreamy autumn of 2007, the stomach-punch 2-3 defeat which cost Sven his job while saving Fulham from the drop, a dry 1-1, an upsetting reversal from 1-0 to 1-3 and then another blown lead this autumn - 2-0 up and 2-2 at full-time. Three points from five winning positions is pretty funny when you think about it. What's more, Fulham are coming off the back of one of the best results in their history - a 4-1 thumping of Juventus at home, turning a 1-4 aggregate into 5-4. Yes, they will be tired from that game. But they'll also be buoyed. So I'm sure it will be a net positive factor for them.

We go into the game with four points from our last two away games, the famous win at Chelsea and then last week's dramatic 1-1 in Sunderland. I'm starting to think that we're turning into an effective on the road unit. We can keep it tight in defence, put up a robust midfield shield and still have enough pace on the break to create our own opportunities. I'm sure we'll stick with the 4-3-3, with Adam Johnson just edging out SWP to partner Craig Bellamy and Carlos Tévez. Patrick Vieira may well replace Pablo Zabaleta in midfield, and Javi Garrido should come in at left back.

Will it be enough? I'm not sure. It's not clear to me that counter-attacking will be half as effective as it was on our last trip to SW6 three weeks ago. If there's one thing Fulham can do it's organisation, and so I don't imagine they will be complacent enough to leave us the cavernous spaces to attack into we got at Chelsea. We will have to show Athertonian patience for our chance to come, while the defence will have a difficult afternoon courtesy of Bobby Zamora. If we can eliminate basic errors we will have a chance, but I can't predict anything better than another even 1-1.


wizzballs said...

I thought spurs would get no more than a draw today, but they are still just about the outsiders in the race for fourth.

they still have to play arsenal, chelsea and utd, and the fact is they have a terrible record against the 'top 4' teams.

and then there is the little matter of their visit to COMS!

Danny said...

Although Tottenham have impressed me with the way they are picking wins up, wizzballs is right in that their record against the top sides is horrific.

Whenever they have needed to win in games against say a Chelsea or an Arsenal they have invariably come up short.

hello-biscuit said...

I like the phrase 'Athertonian patience'.

Andy said...

I thought Tevez & Barry are suspended for picking up their 5th booking at Sunderland?

tony said...

Andy, I might be wrong but isn't the "slate" wiped clean at a certain date.

Andy said...

looks like you were correct Tony...... :)