Far from being just another routine Europa night against opponents we know little about, a certain Oscar Nunez elevates this tie to a whole new level
Yes, the aptly named Oscar is the disgraceful cheat from Wisla Krakow who got Dembele unjustly sent off two weeks ago in Poland. A crime matched only by the resounding silence on the issue coming out of Uefa's HQ in Nyon. Thursday's game at the Cottage gives Fulham the perfect opportunity to serve up the Mafia's version of retribution. What a pity we can't use the head of feeble Swedish ref Hansson for the purpose.
He will not be visible tonight thank goodness. The man with the whistle is Mr. Ozkaya from Turkey...not the most experienced on the UEFA list, he'd better be up to the task. Jol promises a near full strength side to ensure it's us and Twente who progress from this group. Any slip up tonight and Wisla will fancy sneaking ahead of us in the race for 2nd place. Our next game in this group remember promises to be our toughest - away to Twente.
What's the form guide? The Whites took points off Wigan at the weekend with a remarkable performance. Remarkable for being utterly inept and third-rate against the bottom club. Jol picks the side and he alone must take the blame. It was a massive step back from the Rangers result. Neither Dembele or AJ were playing to their strengths Saturday. Our target man received zero support, the midfield couldn't string two passes together, our left full-back looked like a pub team player. The personnel will change tonight - and for the better.
The rumour mill is gathering speed with the next transfer window less than two months away. Reports tell us Jol is pursuing one, possibly two full-backs, a striker and a winger. Need we mention a replacement for Danny too? That surely must be glaringly obvious, even to the Cottage cat. Gossip on the suggested reinforcements suggest the boss realises he has only half a team at present and one or two of his recruits have been a tad disappointing.
I plumbed the depths of despair both in Poland for the first leg, and last time out at the DW. It cannot surely be so sterile again. Under lights with a fired up crowd - and plenty of Poles around the ground from what I hear - this should be another famous Europa night for FFC - unbeaten at home in all European competition going back to 2002, a run of 21 matches. If any of our big players get whacked or see red the roof will come off, and Wisla might find themselves bushwhacked by fans on the way back to the airport...
Mark and newly crowned USA Player of the Year Clint say the team are well up for this, only a pity we have to commit our best players 4 days ahead of the Spurs derby - a match of far more importance for our season. Maybe Wisla will have their eye on the weekend too. They match up against arch rival Cracovia next, and don't to my eye look like a team that travels well. Small and nimble across the pitch, we never saw the keeper tested in Cracow, but for tonight we have to show some muscle and really get into them.
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I have my ticket for the Hammy End and hope you all enjoy a spirited display from our wonderful club. Get this one wrong Martin and the natives will turn ugly I can promise you! It's live on 5 and ESPN3 in the States so let's show the bigger audience the quality we clearly have in our team. Bobby to score and three points off the Polish cheats will set me up for Sunday. And for heaven's sake Martin, let's see some WIDTH.