Friday, August 15, 2008

EPL Previews: Fulhamerica!

With the departures of Keller, Bocanegra, and McBride, Craven Cottage will be decidedly less xenophobic this season.

On the upside, fewer Americans might also mean less of a struggle to avoid the drop.

Or not.

Last season the Cottagers won four of their last five to keep their Premiership afloat. And even then it was just barely as they survived on goal difference alone. But Keller was the keeper during that run, and McBride also returned to the line-up shortly before then, giving the team an emotional (and scoring) lift. So the Americans had a strong hand in keeping Mohamed Al-Fayed's club in the top tier.

See, we don't hate all brown people.

Anyway, Roy Hodgson has made some decent off season moves. Andy Johnson isn't one of them.

Bringing Mark Schwartzer over from Boro and Fredrik Stoor in from Rosenborg should help shore up the defense. Remember, Fulham lost three of their first four by a score of 2-1. In all three of those instances they either held a lead at some point (Ha, ha, Lehmann) or were level at the 75th minute or later. They then drew their next four fixtures after holding late leads in two of them.

In other words, if they hadn't sucked late early, they wouldn't have been worrying so late. The upgrades in back should help them defend leads, assuming of course they get some.

To that end Bobby Zamora is a serviceable striker who should give the Cottagers a little scoring boost. Also allowing Clint Dempsey to play a more comfortable midfield position should help the same. Hell, just having Jimmy Bullard healthy for a full season will be beneficial. Plus, even with the lower Yank quotient, Fulham maintains a soft spot in my heart simply for fielding a player who could be Bob Pollard's body double (and he plays like a guy with bulldog skin).

The Cottagers also benefit by the widening gulf between the Premiership in the Championship. Hull and Stoke are almost locks to finish 19th and 20th. That means that Fulham (and everyone else for that matter) just have to be better than one more team.

And in a league with Stupid Fucking Bolton, that shouldn't be too tough.


The Fan's Attic said...

i just want to know when Fulham will bid for Landon Donovan.

Precious Roy said...

TFA: Normally, you pay for babbysitters. They don't pay for clients.

strong like bull smart like tractor said...

You really think Landycakes is going to leave his SoCal comfort zone? He's happy being a big fish in a puddle.

As for Fulham, they're going to be walking a tightrope again this season. I realize that I'm supposed to despise them as Chelsea's West London "rivals", but I really do hope that they survive, for Dempsey's sake.

The Fan's Attic said...

Landon has issued three come and get me calls to England via the press this summer. Dude doesn't like playing with Beckham all that much and is probably tired of everybody saying he is a fraidy-cat.

Precious Roy said...

TFA: I agree with all three of those things, but he doesn't call the shots here and the English clubs probably see what Americans see: he's dynamite against mediocre (CONCACAF) competition, but when it's time to play against that next level up, he's more easily taken out of the equation.

I actually think he'd be better off in Spain. Get to a mid-table team there. See plenty of pitch time and run with smaller guys in more open play.

The Fan's Attic said...

i bet some english club would be willing to take a shot and have the bonus of maybe increasing exposure over in the states.

i don't think he would do well in spain let alone even consent to playing there. not technical enough. his speed is great and could fit the english game.

he is 26, leads MLS in goals, third in assists...i think somebody will go for him. plus, i think he's motivated this time to show his worth.

Bigus Dickus said...

He could play in the saudi league....Hull 1 Fulham 0