You'll have to forgive me if I'm a little all over the place tonight, I've just worked an 11 hour day, some of you might have even spotted me doddering around with a microphone tonight not knowing what the hell I was doing...I'll say no more!
As I alluded to earlier, our record at Craven Cottage is err...crap! I think I'd be right in saying we've never beaten them whilst we've been in the Premier League.
Our closest when we had a 1-0 lead until Abdoulaye Faye decided it would be a good idea to try and catch the ball in the last minute.
Our home record was quite good until recently, one of my favourite memories is of Nobby(Nolan) scoring and perfectly nutmegging the Fulham keeper in the process.
One of the worst memories, being torn apart 3-1 by a Fulham side who at the time couldn't buy an away win! Clattenburg seeing as a mythical push by Kevin Davies last season doesn't rank too highly on my favourite refereeing decisions either. Maybe we're due a bit of karma...I won't hold my breath.
Phil (the Fulham correspondent) compares Bobby Zamora to Zat Knight in his blog, Zamora on the eve of his first England cap, Zat Knight amazingly being the last Fulham player to win an England cap. P.S. Best of luck to Gary Cahill- hopefully tomorrow he can finally make his debut. Wilshere too. It speaks volumes that we've taken two players out of reserve teams and put them into the England squad.
I do agree with Phil's assessment of Zat. He isn't all that dominate in the air, and for his size, that is somewhat suprising. You can definitely see a top defender in him though, and you can understand why he has a couple of England caps to his name. When Cahill picked up an injury, Zat stepped up and showed what he is all about. If we can only get Cahill and Zat to blend as a partnership then we can forget top 10, I'd be aiming for a top 8! Clean sheets were the one thing we really lacked last season.
I do disagree with Phil's assessment of the Bolton squad, I do not think we are light years behind Fulham, nor do I think we are in for a season of struggle. I think both squads have their strengths and weaknesses, I'd love us to have a player like Zoltan Gera- or even Danny Murphy a couple of years ago- I'm sure Fulham wouldn't mind having GC lining up alongside Hangeland.
Whilst I'm not usually a fan of London clubs (yes Hammers, I'm talking to you guys) I don't mind Fulham- along with Blackburn, we all came up together, and since we have all remained in the Premier League, all grown as clubs, and all had spells in Europe. Fantastic achievements given the relative size of our clubs.
I go into the game with a mixture of optimism, excitement and just a tinge of worry.
We have a good team, and I am especially looking forward to seeing Martin Petrov line up down the left but they do have a new manager- and a good manager- and there is always that worry of new manager syndrome striking. And given our September fixtures- it is imperative that we get off to a good start and pick up 6-9pts in our first three fixtures.
I know the players are confident of a good finish this season, and hopefully they can deliver, and we can be well away from relegation.
Expected line up:
Robbo will get the nod over Alonso till the defender settles. The game may come too early for Klasnic to start- although I would expect him to appear off the bench. Hopefully Elmander can continue to find the goals after a decent pre-season.
Prediction: 2-1 Elmander and Kevin Davies with goals.
And best of luck to Fulham...after Saturday.
COME ON YOU WHITEMEN!!!