Fulham, should be a stroll but will it?
BR spends much of the day with his head in the clouds pondering upon imponderables and when I sat to start this post it was the name Fulham which interested me. Why are so many places named …. ham or Ham …..? Obvious really to a Danish speaker, Ham originates from the Anglo-Saxon “hjem” meaning home or homestead. ‘Ful’ (in danish *fugl*-silent g) means bird or fowl, so home of the fowls. If one adds another *m* (hamm) it means water-meadow. As Fulham is on the low lying banks of the Thames shouldn’t it be Fulhamm? I will write to the new owners.
Onto the football. Fulham appear to be in free-fall. Jol couldn’t inspire them and this new fellow is struggling. Will they go down? Much depends upon the form of those around them but with Pulis and Poyet beginning to influence their teams it is highly likely.
Who do you think will be relegated? It is usually a couple of the promoted teams but this season it is almost impossible to predict – at the moment there are just 6 points separating the bottom 11 clubs! My guess – West Ham, Fulham and Palace (I dislike Pulis and Allardyce and less London derbies).
Cone-Man and The Barbarian
What can Meulensteen do to stop the rot? Well, the return of Hangeland to his porous defence will be hugely beneficial, the Norwegian may be ponderous ( 😀 ) but he is experienced and Fulham’s defensive leader. We welcome back an old boy who has made a fine career for himself – Steve Sidwell who will line up alongside the deeply distasteful Scott Parker (watch him kick lumps out of our lads), possibly TMHT’s fellow countryman and national captain, Karagounis and some fellows called Kasami and Degajah (sound like types of sushi) or perhaps the old but good loanee Dempsey can add some guile. Taarabt is also available but despite his undoubted talent he remains erratic.
Upfront. Darren Bent likes a goal against the club he supports (AFC) – a few years back I saw him as the successor to TH14 – how wrong was I! Will Fulham play two strikers with Berbs and Bent? Highly unlikely, my guess is they will pack the midfield, play deep, look for a set-piece goal and pray to escape a hammering. If we score a couple early it could turn nasty for the Cottagers.
I don’t want to put a bok on us but Fulham have never won away at Arsenal.
Arsenal: Still lots of injuries but we continue to put out an excellent team, perhaps Mr Wenger is right when he states this is his best ever squad. Is it? We certainly have depth throughout the squad, particularly if Bendtner improves as cover for Giroud.
Can Cazorla and Podolksi start in the same team given Ozil’s automatic start? It assumes Santi will play centrally with Podolski coming in from the left. Is Podolski clever enough to play the great one touch football Ozil, Jack, Santi and OG play? I believe he is but I also expect him to leave in summer (a topic for another day).
I know ……. no Pod and no Cazorla but given the balance of the frontline we have to play Gnabry out right with a licence to cut inside his fullback.
Or Cazorla plays left and Gnabry rides the pine. Or Podolski plays in place of Tomas and Santi plays alongside him. Who knows, we could see a few minutes from Park ! Any injury to a CB will result in Sagna playing CB and Jenks getting a run. Let’s hope that with TV out we can keep both Kos and BFG fit.
This may seem presumptuous but if we do not take 3 points today then we can forget the title. Why? Because this is probably our easiest game of the season apart from Spurs away.
Let’s finish with a story of pride coming before a fall but with a considerable silver lining.
There was a young player who learned his trade in the Arsenal youth team and was hailed as the next Liam Brady. He scored for AFC before his 19th birthday but after just 9 games he was loaned out to Norwich and Blackburn to “beef up”. Returning to Arsenal he put in a transfer request saying he was being denied a first team place ( as attacking MF’s we had Cesc, Bobby, Freddie, Hleb, Reyes & Diaby). His “reward” was a transfer to Blackburn. Two seasons later and in one of the most bizarre signings of modern times he was sold to a team of North London no-hopers for a massive fee and a 6 year contract worth over ￡50k a week!! His career highlight was to come at THOF in the skinny cock shirt when he scored an outrageous and incredibly lucky goal in a 4-4 draw. He played a total of 44 games for the first team and that was it for him. A number of seasons in the reserves, a couple of loan deals, including one to Championship Birmingham who refused to sign him permanently and finally the spanish archer from Spurs.
So, why do I bring up David Bentley? Because it fascinates me how someone who has totally screwed up his career (he earned 7 full England caps as a 23 y.o) can earn over 15 million quid in the last 6 years AND get a ￡1m loyalty bonus because no-one would sign him – an average wage of ￡360k+ a game for a very average player!! And what now for a man who is still younger than RVP and Mertesacker? I will tell you …. nothing; no team has offered him a contract.
“What sin have I committed to deserve wearing this awful shirt?
The moral of the story: Sign for Spurs and become mega-wealthy whilst sitting in your Essex home playing with yourself (I mean playing computer games you mucky people!)
Another big game for Arsenal and Mr Wenger. The bookies have us as 2/9 favourites and they are seldom wrong.