Category Archives: Fulham

The Battle for Premiership Survival!

The fight for Premiership survival has entered the business end of the season, and each game is slowly becoming increasingly more crucial for the teams fighting to avoid the drop.

With just 7 games to go, it looks beyond possible for both Huddersfield and Fulham to escape relegation.

Huddersfield have a mere 14 points and Fulham just 3 more than that. It looks impossible for them to catch up with Burnley who currently sit 17th with 30 points on the board.

Even if Huddersfield and Fulham were to win all of their remaining games, they would still only sit on 35 and 38 points respectively, which even then leaves both teams looking at relegation.

A Burnley win this weekend would bring the Lancashire-based side up to 33 points, virtually dooming the bottom two clubs, Huddersfield and Fulham, to the drop.

Cardiff still have a fighting chance of staying up, but their inconsistency this season means they find themselves in the relegation zone, but the current form table paints a hopeful story for the Welsh team.  Cardiff sit 12th based on recent form, having had 3 wins in their last 6 games.

Talking of 12th, looking at the present standings in the Premiership, that position is occupied by Bournemouth on 38 points, just 2 points away from the safety margin of 40 points.

When you look at the current form, then it makes dodgy reading for the Cherries, because with 1 win in the last 6, they currently sit 3rd bottom, suggesting that although they appear safe, there is still work to do.

In terms of consistency, Burnley find themselves in the same position in the current form guide as they do actual position, but you would back the clarets to find form at the right time, as seems to happen with them most years under Dyche.

Either way, it appears most clubs are entering the infamous ‘squeaky bum time’ of the season, and if you were a betting man, then you would probably get good odds on betting against the current bottom 3 being the ones to make the drop.

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Brexit: How will it affect the Premier League?

It comes without surprise that all 20 of the current Premier League clubs were against Brexit in the first place. With Britain set to leave the EU on March 29th, and a ‘no deal’ Brexit looming closer by the minute, what will happen to The Premier League and English football in the future? 

 

The first likely outcome of Brexit on English football is the restriction on the movement of players from Europe to the UK, and vice versa. Players will most likely have to acquire work permits when transferring from The UK to Europe. It is estimated that only 60% of all players in the top flight are UK nationals, so there is major potential of future issues within the league. The clarity of movements in the transfer market may be completely hindered, with it being harder for Premier League clubs to sign European talent, and harder for players with UK citizenship to move to European clubs. Furthermore, with the Champions League quarter finals set to take place just two weeks after the March deadline, and four out of eight teams being from the UK, how will the final three stages pan out?

 

Another potential issue Brexit may reveal regards the 1995 Bosman ruling. The Bosman ruling has made a vital development to football around Europe, allowing players to act as free agents once their contract with the club has expired. The ruling came after three separate legal cases between Jean-Marc Bosman and UEFA, The Belgian FA and Bosman’s club at the time – Royal Football Club De Liege. Bosman won his case at The European Court of Justice in 1995. With the UK departing European jurisdiction, and it no longer being a requirement to follow EU law, UK players could potentially be at risk from a lack of free movement. 

 

The FA has already made a pre-Brexit statement regarding all teams in the Football Leagues. Back in November, they stated that every roster must consist of a minimum of 12 players from a UK background. This could have a positive and negative effect on the league; forcing managers to train with a more ‘British’ based team, leading to further player development and possibly lead to a stronger English, Welsh and Scottish national teams. However, it could lead to a lack of European talent in Premier League teams. Talented players such as Van Dijk, De Bruyne, Sane and Hazard may aim to look at joining major clubs in Europe, to mitigate against the uncertainty that Brexit may bring. Premier League scouts will most likely put their focus on British talent, and the number of European players brought to the top flight could be dramatically reduced. Furthermore, more pressure may be weighted on football academies, as there is an increased need for young English talent. This would lead to the increased development of young English players, the likes of Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Callum Hodson-Odoi all generated their success through excelling in their respected football academies. Could Brexit result in a breakthrough for unseen flair?

 

The main question on everyone’s mind is “Can Britain beat Brexit?” Although the outcomes still remain indistinct, it is clear that it could be rough. Lets just hope that it doesn’t tarnish our league and restrict the luminous football we are all so familiar with. 

3 potential replacements to succeed Darren Moore

Subsequently a discouraging draw to Ipswich Darren Moore has been sacked. The Englishman was appointed as head coach in May 2018 after a remarkable end to the season despite West Brom’s relegation. The Baggies have played glamorous football at times this season averaging 1.9 goals per game. A considerable amount of West Brom fans have deemed the sacking harsh , however others have argued that their home form has been less than impressive. Here are 3 potential replacements that could succeed Darren Moore.

David Wagner

The German-American has previously managed 2 clubs , Bourissia Dortmund II and Huddersfield Town. Wagner , 47 , is most commonly known for the wonders he worked at Huddersfield Town. David Wagner took charge of the Terriers for 154 games across 4 seasons. In 16/17 Wagner miraculously won promotion with Huddersfield via the play offs. Additionally preserving Huddersfields Premier league status the following season. However it could be said that Wagner couldn’t cut it in his second season of premier league football winning just 2 games before he left the club by mutual consent in January. Notwithstanding when David Wangner left Huddersfield he stated that he wanted a break from management.

Slaviša Jokanović

Slaviša Jokanović is reportedly the leading contender for the West Brom job. The Serbian has managed a number of clubs , first managing in 2007 for FK Partizan Belgrade and most recently Fulham , Jokanović has managed a total of 309 games. Jokanović had his contract terminated with Fulham in November 2018 after gaining promotion , likewise via the play offs earlier in 2018. He was recognised for possession and attacking football while in the championship. However Jokanovićs style of play didn’t cut it in the Premier league and his side were found leaking goals. The Serbian has had managerial success in his home country winning the Serbian league twice and additionally the Serbian cup twice.

Carlos Carvalhal

The final and most experienced manager on this shortlist is Carlos Carvalhal , his managerial career has spanned over two decades the majority of which being in Portugal. Carvalhals time in England has seen him manage two clubs , Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea. His time at Sheffield Wednesday saw him manage 131 games , unlike the previous two managers he was incapable of gaining promotion to the Premier league despite being just one game away in 2016 when his side were beaten 1-0 in the Championship play off final. Alike the alternative managers Carvalhal has had experience in the Premier league nonetheless Carlos was only in charge for 25 games before leaving by mutual consent following Swanseas relegation form the Premier League.

Will we see West Brom go for a more experienced defensive manager likeCarlos Carvalhal or alternatively a more attacking style manager with attractive football like Slaviša Jokanović. Its no doubt that the Baggies will look to replace Darren Moore in a swift fashion as they still potentially could be promoted.

Who do you think West Brom will appoint?


American dreams: Top 5 MLS to EPL signings

Not really known for it’s exports, Major League Soccer has been more accustomed to big named stars from European football Gracing their presence in the twilight of their careers, players like Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Thierry Henry and most recently Zlatan Ibrahimovic and our own Wayne Rooney. However with Newcastle United signing Miguel Almiron from one of the MLS’s newest outfits Atlanta United its changed this trend. With the MLS being back underway this weekend we take a look at the top 5 signings to make their way across the Atlantic to these shores.

  1. Clint Dempsey

Signed by Fulham from the New England Revolution in 2007, Dempsey went on to score 50 goals for the Cottagers in his 5 years in West London where he helped guide Fulham to the UEFA Cup final in 2010, which ended in a 2-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid. He still remains the club’s highest Premier League goalscorer ahead of fellow American Brian McBride. In 2012, the Texan was transferred to Tottenham where he scored 7 goals before he returned home to the U.S. the following season with the Seattle Sounders. In 2014 Dempsey returned to Fulham on loan but failed to add to his goal tally in England. With 57 goals in England, Clint Dempsey is the highest scoring American in any of Europe’s top leagues and showed that American players could be relied upon to score goals, something that hadn’t been seen at that time.

2. Brad Friedel

The American moved across the pond after he was signed by Liverpool in 1997 and had a tremendous 18-year stint in the Premier League also playing for Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham, where he collectively racked up 479 appearances. Friedel originally had 3 failed transfers to the Premier League with Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United and Sunderland due to work permit issues. He was finally cleared to move following a successful appeal to play for Liverpool after signing from Columbus Crew. Blackburn’s League Cup victory against Spurs in 2002 was the only trophy Friedel won during his time in England, that same season he made the PFA team of the year. While at Blackburn he also scored a goal in a 3-3 draw with Charlton, which he remains only 1 of 5 keepers to do this in the league. One of Friedel’s greatest attributes was his fitness, the keeper went on to play 310 consecutive games in the Premier League, which is still a record to this day.

3. Tim Howard

Another goalkeeper on this list, something the United States has had great success with over the years. Tim Howard signed for Manchester United from the New York Red Bulls (formally known as the New York/Jersey MetroStars) in 2003, winning the Community Shield and the FA Cup in his first season and adding the League cup in 2006. With the addition of Dutch master Edwin Van Der Sar in 2005, Howard’s chances became limited. This provoked a loan to Everton before he completed a transfer to the Toffees in 2007, where he made 354 total appearances. Like his compatriot Brad Friedel, he also scored a goal in the league, against Bolton Wanderers. Howard ended his career as the highest capped U.S national team goalkeeper of all time.

4. Brian McBride

In the 2000/2001 season, while at Columbus Crew, McBride was sent out on loan to Preston North End, then managed by David Moyes. Moyes took the American born forward with him when he moved from the Second Division club to Premier league Everton where the striker scored 4 goals in 8 appearances. The following season McBride secured a move to Fulham, playing 140 games and scoring 33 goals making him the club’s second highest Premier League goalscorer behind fellow American and Fulham legend Clint Dempsey. The striker’s no-nonsense play and maximum effort made him a fan favourite at craven cottage.

5. Miguel Almiron

The Paraguayan only moved to the Premier League in January, breaking Newcastle United’s transfer record with his move from Atlanta United for £20m, the highest fee paid for an MLS player. With only a small sample size of just 4 games so far it’s premature for Almiron to make this list but the potential the attacking midfielder has is breathtaking, his pace, running quality, passing and eye for goal will delight the Geordie faithful and help the club push on to better things in the future.

Almiron is just one of a host of exciting MLS players developed in the league who could find their way to the Premier League very soon. Can Almiron live up to the hype and reach the potential set by his predecessors?

Wayne Edge @oasis1711

Dilly Ding Dilly Gone

What now for Fulham? Claudio Ranieri has become the second managerial dismissal of the season at Craven Cottage after only three months in charge, following the departure of his predecessor Slavisa Jokanovic in November. The Italian did seem to give the players a lift however the game against fellow strugglers Southampton yesterday seemed to be a make or break for his job. Had they won, they would have been four points off the Saints who sit 17th, one place above the drop zone. Therefore the term ‘six pointer’ really did prove costly for Ranieri as his side were defeated 2-0 at St Mary’s, meaning the former Premier League champion leaves a side now sitting ten points from safety with only ten games remaining. 

Fulham’s Fatality

Out of ten games remaining for Fulham, Craven Cottage is still yet to welcome title challengers Liverpool and Manchester City as well as hosting a London derby this weekend against Chelsea, a team they haven’t beaten since 2006. Given the way they have performed this season, it would be somewhat special if they were to come out with anything from these fixtures, meaning they realistically have seven games from which they must get as many points from as they can. To make matters worse, only three of these seven games are at home and maximum points from these matches would not save them even now – but Fulham have not won away from home all season.

Parker’s chance?

Scott Parker does seem to be favoured by Chairman Shahid Khan for the near future. Included in a statement regarding Ranieri’s dismissal, Khan said “If Scott can answer that challenge, and our players respond to the opportunity, perhaps victories will follow in the months ahead”. 

Given the position Fulham are in and the matches they have left Parker does seem like a sensible choice. Despite only having managerial experience with Tottenham Hotspur’s U18’s, the former midfielder has worked Fulham’s as first team coach all season meaning he knows the players better than anyone. Therefore his relationship with the players may just be the thing that the Fulham faithful can believe will give his players some momentum to at least go down fighting. 

Save Our Season

Bringing in a new manager at this stage is potentially more risky than sticking with Parker, given the limited time they would have to influence the players with their own strategy and style of play. 

Sam Allardyce is probably the most successful SOS manager, having transformed his past teams, guiding the likes of West Ham, Sunderland and Everton to safety. However, ‘Big Sam’ is unlikely to take a job where Fulham are so deep in trouble with so little time to save them.  In reality any permanent manager is going to have to be up for rebuilding this side in the Championship. 

Carlos Carvalhal is another name that has been suggested, either this season or in the summer given his history in both leagues. Although brief, Carvalhal almost saved Swansea having taken charge with the Swans bottom of the league on Boxing Day 2017. This suggests he could have an impact now but given Shahid Khan’s words about Parker’s role, it does seem the ex England international is going to be given the opportunity for the time being. Carvalhal does have experience in the championship with Sheffield Wednesday and so it could be a good chance for him in in the summer, if Parker does not rejuvenate the atmosphere around the club in the next few months.

Great Escape or Condemned to relegation?

The Ranieri revival came to no avail and Fulham chairman Shahid Khan seems to be backing Scott Parker rather than rushing into a permanent replacement. Does this suggest Khan believes the caretaker boss can guide them to an incredible escape? Conversely maybe he has accepted his sides fate, now focusing on the future with the aim to return to the top flight immediately next season with a permanent appointment in the summer… One thing is for sure, they are going to need more than a Danny Murphy winner like in 2008 to keep them up.