Fulham review and the importance of keeping on keeping on!

So we face Oldham or Southend in the third round of the FA Cup.

I don’t know which side we would prefer to face, possibly Southend as they would have to make a trip as long as their pier! A home tie against so called “inferior” opposition (all due respect to them) is just what we wanted at this early stage particularly after having to travel to Old Trafford last year. However, as Barnsley and Reading will recall from past experiences over the last three or four years, an FA Cup tie at Anfield isn’t always the foregone conclusion that everyone would think it is?

Anyway the FA Cup is next year (or next month if you prefer) and of more immediate importance is tonight’s game at Craven Cottage. West London has proved a good hunting ground so far this season with two wins at Chelsea and this is a game we also need to win. Playing on a Monday night, when everyone else has done their bit over the weekend, seems weird especially when you’ve gone back to work! However it does give a clear view of where we stand. With the exception of Newcastle everyone around us won over the weekend so we need three points just to keep in touch.

Apparently if we avoid defeat we will equal a record of seven away wins which is something I hadn’t realised we were near, was the Spurs defeat that long ago? A repeat of last years 5-2 win against Fulham, when we were three up after only twenty minutes or so, would be prefect (for match report click here)
However, given the recent injuries, perhaps at this stage getting the result is more important than the manner of the victory? One wonders how Kenny’s team selection will deal with the loss of Lucas for the season? Perhaps we will get more clues as what he will really do to fill the void at our next home game, against QPR next weekend? Tonight however, because it’s away Kenny could play it a number of ways regardless of Lucas’ absence. Last season’s win might tempt him to be more positive however one should also remember that Fulham are fresh from a 1-1 draw at the Emirates and last season’s tie is a long gone. Said Kenny

“We’ve had some good results in London and let’s hope it continues. We won’t rest on our laurels. We played really well at Fulham last year but this is a different game, they have a different manager and there are new players for them and for us.”

I’ve a feeling that we might see five at the back which would presumably mean a recall for Jamie Carragher to partner Agger and Skrtel whilst Enrique and Johnson bomb forward down the flanks. Jay Spearing in the middle to hold things up? I reckon so but who knows?

Prediction? I think we have more than enough to assure ourselves three points. We are in good, form especially away from home and I take us to continue with that and make it twelve games unbeaten 2-0 to us.

Finally, a small word about the Brazilian international Socrates who passed away over the weekend. The first World Cup I remember was Mexico 1970 Pele, Jairzinho and all that however I was young then and perhaps the Brazil sides that I really appreciated those that played in the 1982 and 1986 competitions?

Socrates was in both of them and I guess the reason my friends and I thought he was something else was not just because he was a dam good player but because, he looked a mess, he smoked, he drunk heavily and was a doctor for God’s sake, he could have been us, except for the doctor bit! Not cool to most fans who were probably looking at Maradona or, if you were an England fan, Bryan Robson etc However to us he was bee’s knees because he didn’t conform to the typical stereotype of footballers in those days. Most of us still play football however, we are far from being in peak condition and even now when discussing our fitness, or lack of it, Socrates name would crop up as justification for not being finely tuned athletes we should be! I don’t know what we’ll do now, even if we did decide to stop drinking, smoking and eat pasta it would probably be too late!

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