Admittedly the Premier League losses are not a big deal to me. A European finish was not going to be in the cards as it stood and on the opposite end of things, relegation is not going to happen either. Outside of the money a team earns for its' finishing position in the Premier League table, the Cottagers have very little to play for in the league. That's not to say the matches have no importance, but I would say at this point the priority of the team rests in the Europa League.
The main reason priorities have changed in the past week is not just the league table, but because Fulham was knocked out of the FA Cup. Like many others, I was really hoping and thinking this was going to be the year that the Cottagers got back to an FA Cup final for the first time since their last and only final appearance at Wembley in 1975.
Unfortunately, after an early 1-0 Fulham lead, the wheels fell off at White Hart Lane and Tottenham took the Cottagers to the cleaners and ended any hope of a 1975 repeat for Fulham fans. A win over Spurs would have set up a very winnable semifinal date with lowly Portsmouth at Wembley. As it stands, Spurs will take on Pompey and the Cottagers will be left to focus on the Europa League.
With three matches over the previous seven days, it was nice to see Roy Hodgson rest some of his regulars in this past Saturday's match with Hull City. This came at a cost as Hull City defeated the Cottagers 2-0. However, as mentioned earlier, there is little to play for in the Premier League at this point in the season and a priority on resting players in preparation for the defending German champions Wolfsburg to me is wise move by Hodgson and it will give his side its' best chance at winning at Craven Cottage on Thursday.
Wolfsburg is having a disappointing season in the German Bundesliga. After winning the title last season the club has slumped to 9th place in the league. This past weekend they were 2-0 winners over Mainz but the previous weekend Wolfsburg was buried 5-1 against Hertha Berlin. Perhaps Wolfsburg was resting regulars after their Europa League tie the week before the Hertha match, but regardless, a 5-1 defeat at home is not good for any club no matter what players are on the pitch.
Expect a well rested Fulham team on Thursday and with the first leg being played at home, it is important that the Cottagers get the upper hand in this tie before heading to Germany a week later to try and finish off Wolfsburg. Almost as important as winning on Thursday will be not allowing the German champions to score and get the all important away goal. If the Cottagers can keep the Germans off the scoresheet on Thursday it will be a job well done by Roy Hodgson's side.
Needless to say, Thursday is going to be a great day for Fulham Football Club. The team's run in the Europa League has been nothing short of sensational and exciting and I expect more of the same later this week. A semifinal birth is at stake and with Roy Hodgson in charge of our side I am sure the team will be prepared and ready to play. I do like our chances in this tie. After the miracle comeback against Juve in the last round, anything is possible.
Do you think Fulham will win on Thursday against Wolfsburg? Are you disappointed in the team's play over the last week? Did you agree with Roy's decision to rest some of the regulars against Hull City on Saturday? I would like to read what you have to say.
Thursday will be fun against Wolfsburg. I can't wait.