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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Can Fulham complete a fantastic fightback? (and a word on Jimmy Bullard)

Looking forward to tomorrow's last round of Premier League matches the battle at the top between Man Utd and Chelsea is obviously dominating the headlines. But at the bottom if Fulham can go to Portsmouth and win they will complete one of the most amazing great-escapes I can remember.

For a lot of the time this season they looked to have sealed 19th position for themselves - not showing enough ability or fight over 90 minutes to remain in the top league. But three wins in their last four games - including crucial wins over fellow relegation battlers Reading away and Birmingham at home - means that Roy Hodgson's men have control over their own destiny with one match to play.

The other win in their last four matches was a truly amazing victory away to Man City. As an Arsenal fan I revelled in our comeback from two goals down at Bolton last month to keep us fighting in the title race. But Fulham's comeback from two goals down at Man City equals it - and given that defeat would have effectively relegated them probably beats it. Three goals in the last twenty minutes - with the winner coming two minutes into injury time with one of the most skilful goals of the season by Diomansy Kamara- in a must win match is some feat which demonstrates a lot of fighting spirit and character. Please watch this great montage of the match below if you haven't already seen it:

For this comeback alone I hope Fulham stays up. I remember hearing Kamara's winning goal on the TV and applauding in honour of what I was hearing - it was great to hear of a team come back against all expectations and in the process keep their Premier League survival hopes alive.

Finally, I hope to see Jimmy Bullard play a full Premier League season next season. He is a player I really admire because he has a presence and work ethic on the pitch - as well as good ability - that stands him out as a player of great character. A guy like that should be worthy of a place in the England squad that in recent times has had too many character-less players.


Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks T.

I'm afraid that, while I have been admiring Bullard's performance since his comeback from a terrible injury, I have a feeling Fulham will be beaten 2-1 at Pompey to cinsign them to relegation. Certainly Bullard's contribution from set-pieces have been superb to watch and Kamara adds more sting upfront as well as pace and an eye for goal, it has come good for them a little too late.

Brian McBride has made the difference of late and for their spirit from the City game they should stay up. but they should not have sacked Chris Coleman, he embodied a spirit into the side that I fail to see from Hodgson but was slightly emanate from Sanchez.

Reading will draw at Derby 1-1, Birmingham will lose 0-2 to Blackburn, which will also consign Birmingham to relegation. those are my predictions.


5/11/2008 2:17 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete Says....well Redsman I thought it was only Benitez who had foot in mouth problems, but your confident forecasts just edged the award.

T, I totally agree with your praise for Bullard. He was a credit to Wigan and has shown the Cashleys & Flamini's of this world what loyalty is all about.

He is a star and I would pick him for England immediately. In fact he would be on my team sheet ahead of a couple of so called super stars that are permanently picked and nearly always are a big let down. I just wish Arsene had gone for him and not for Diaby etc.

As for Rafa...he makes me laugh, which is good if its meant to be funny. But, I think he is serious with his latest clanger. As others have already pointed out to him...Fabrigas, Flamini, Merida, Clichy, Senderos, Eboue, Toure, Bentner, Traore, Djourou, (muamba & Larsson now at Brum ) All of them cost a total of £5.5 mill. AW sold Larsson & Muamba for about that. That makes all the rest a cost of nothing.

Meantime Rafa paid £8 mill for Pennant who cost AW £2 mill ans was sold for £3 mill.

I think Rafa should either learn to count or to stop believing what he reads in our bent press. One finla point....AW will never spend £26 mill on anyone, even when he has money to burn.

I look forward to the comments.

5/12/2008 6:44 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

No, my forecasts went completely against the grain, though Birmingham nonetheless went down. Considering Fulham were away to Portsmouth prior to the FA Cup, I expected Pompey would give a better performance than at Boro to convince HR of their individual selection. They not only disappointed me, but the manager too and the fans. Fulham were superb, who would have thought they would win, especially with Birmingham and Reading carving up their opponents? But elsewhere things went against the grain, a Richard Dunne professional foul that was harsh according tot he replays and an utter devastation by the 10-men City of profound embarassment.

Its nice to jest when it goes wrong, pity many arent aware or around when it goes right, which it has done on occasion but not a peep from anyone (other than T).

As for Benitez, well if the reference is to Torres its £22m and its money well spent. He was reportedly a target for Arsenal and Man Utd, amongst others, and if Benitez didnt come in with cash, he would have probably gone elsewhere and we wouldnt have the pleasure we have now of his talent in a LFC shirt.

The comments, no doubt, will come.


5/12/2008 9:49 pm

Blogger T said...

Redsman, you texted me another prediction on Sunday which I won't repeat but suffice to say it belongs with your other predictions in your comment above! :) Even a great football mind can have an off day!

Very happy to see Fulham stay up. Brian McBride has come back from serious injury with typical strength and Danny Murphy has revelled in the football that Roy Hodgson wants to produce. Good to see you agree with my thoughts on Bullard, GunnerPete. And good on Roy Hodgson - he deserves his revival in Premier League management.

On Torres - what a striker he is! I have not been as impressed by the pure quality of movement and finishing of a Premier League striker since enjoying watching Thierry Henry. If ever you could say £26 million was well spent on a player - you have to say that was the case for Torres. I hope he continues to produce in the summer for Spain because his football is fantastic to watch.

And a word for Theo Walcott. I hope all football fans check out his winning goal against Sunderland. The movement, first touch and finish was sensational and natural. The comparisons with Thierry will come if he contiues this way - it was like watching Thierry at this best. Remember just turned 19 years old - but in last three months has accelerated his development with strength and confidence. The Walcott critics have gone quiet - and that is the best compliment young TW can have. Here's to continued development next season!

Finally, but by no means leaste - well done to Man Utd. The defence has been the bedrock of this team - Ferdinand, Vidic and Brown may not get the headlines of Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez but they have kept things rock solid at the back and therefore transmitted a real confidence across the whole team. Its a well earned title for Alex Ferguson's men and truly fantastic that destiny had the timeless Ryan Giggs score the clinching goal when equaling the Man Utd appearance record.

5/12/2008 10:11 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL@redsman, what a chump! No wonder you scouser lot cant challenge for anything if you cant get the matches right!! Only kidding.

The arse cant talk either dont know what that guy is on about - Wenger hasnt spent like the other top three but what has he got? Champions League yet? No, not since the PL began, cant seem to get that how many times in Europe?? couldnt even beat the scousers with their wonderful footie. Maybe if they spent like the others did they would have something to talk about. Players want to go, like Henry did, look at that and have a think, yeah? The frenchie gone Hleb wants to go and talking of 'togo', old Adebayor wants to shift off himself. This wagon is going to have its wheels come off shortly. Top of the league for how long and still didnt keep it all the way, cry baby captain, call that taking pressure? Should look at your own team mate, no better than the scousers

Good one on Bullard, he's a top player for Fulham and theyre lucky they are still up. Think he go somewhere else like Spurs or Newcastle, who like to score goals off him.

BTW I'm a Chelsea fan, born and bred. Were taking over now and will be challenging for the title proper next season since the Goners cant handle it. Havent won anything since when? Spend some money then instead of having a laugh at those who do and get somewhere right now we are in the CL final with the Mancs none of you lot can say that!

5/13/2008 5:02 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Anon (5.02PM), what the blazes are you on about? In fact, what the blazes are you on?? First season with Rafael Benitez we won the Champions League, runners-up in the League Cup. Next season we won the FA Cup, last season we got to the Champions League final again, twice in three years. This season we reached the semi-final of the Champins League, quarter-final of the League Cup. We finished 5th, 3rd, 3rd, 4th. Not dramatic, quite a balance of hits and misses but the promise and potential is there and we almost gave Chelsea a good run for the Champions League semi, though it was fortune for them this time round. Three times facing each other, as if someone wanted retribution at some point!

I have to remind those that Torres was bought for £20-£22m, not £26m. Unless that was mentioned to cause what they call in cyberspace a 'wind-up'.

As for Chelsea, they were very quiet until Arsenal began to drop too many points and only then did they realise they had a chance to catch up with Man Utd. Otherwise they looked to drift in 3rd without anything.

GP (above) likes to poke at Liverpool and myself so that's nothing new. The answer for anything is on the pitch so I chose to usually say very little. I'm glad for Chelsea in the CHampions League final but consider that Drogba and Terry could be 70-75% by the time Moscow comes round. If they both were to miss the final (Drogba against Bolton certainly was not the Drogba in the semi 2nd leg), I will await to hear if you will cheer and roar from the hilltops of EFT any further.


5/13/2008 5:16 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

Great debate guys spaked by a great article from T. I agree that Fulhams escape from relgation was miraculous - the greatest escape in my 20 years of watching football.

Nice round up in your comment as well. United may have got lucky against Wigan, but they really do deserve the title this year. United have a perfect blend of youth and experience, attack and defence, midfield tenacity and midfield creativity. Great to see the legend that is Ryna Giggs score the decisive goal of the season - will we ever see his like again when he retires?!

Enjoyed the banter between GP and Redsman as always. GP I note your comment that AW will never spend £26m on a player - but I think he needs to to really add a cutting edge to Arsenal's game. If he can spend £13m on Wiltord, he should be prepared to spend at least £20m on David Villa!

5/13/2008 5:57 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"GunnerPete Says....well Redsman I thought it was only Benitez who had foot in mouth problems, but your confident forecasts just edged the award."

"As for Rafa...he makes me laugh, which is good if its meant to be funny. But, I think he is serious with his latest clanger. As others have already pointed out to him...Fabrigas, Flamini, Merida, Clichy, Senderos, Eboue, Toure, Bentner, Traore, Djourou, (muamba & Larsson now at Brum ) All of them cost a total of £5.5 mill. AW sold Larsson & Muamba for about that. That makes all the rest a cost of nothing."

You're an idiot, I have to say. Someone makes a bold guess at how matches will end, gets it wrong and you're all over him. Did you get them right then? Did you know with your crystal ball? Well of course you are better than everyone else because you're a Gooner, This guy is such an idiot all he ever spouts on about is his beloved Arsene Wenger rubbish. Hasnt spent much no and what has he got? No one told old Bellytez anything about Arsenal players, what tosh. So he bought Pennant, at least he wants to look out for English talent, all you have is Walcott thats why you can talk about England players who are not worth it cos you have none in your club!!!

"I think Rafa should either learn to count or to stop believing what he reads in our bent press. One finla point....AW will never spend £26 mill on anyone, even when he has money to burn.

I look forward to the comments."

What a tosser, go and win something or get near and actually hold it properly and then talk like you are all that. Funny how the Arse fans are all quiet!

5/13/2008 8:38 pm

Blogger T said...

I'd like it if anon commentators left their names... (and a mention for Blackjack- he was a quality Chelsea commentator on this site!)

Redsman, what is the source that Torres cost £20-£22 million.. because a look at Wikipedia shows quite a few sources stating the £26 million pound figure? But when it comes to Torres I think it is irrelevant whether he cost £22 or £26 million because he really is a sensational player.

Abdul, we will have to disagree on your opinion that Arsenal's need is for a cutting edge. Eduardo, Adebayor, van Persie, Walcott, Bendtner, Vela - Arsenal have enough quality strikers when all are fit. Give me a centre-back - that's my number one hope.

5/13/2008 8:58 pm

Blogger T said...

By the way, it would be refreshing if commentators could keep name-calling out of their comments on this site.

Disagreement is expected, but try to keep a level of respect when taking a different view...

5/13/2008 9:09 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

T, I have this link from Wikipedia:

"Later that day, Atlético officially confirmed his transfer to Liverpool on their website, receiving around £26 million for Torres. In March 2008, Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez confirmed to The Times that Torres was acquired for around £20 million."

The Times:

The BBC:

Concur on your comments, would be very nice for commentors (my own term) to leave actual names as 'Anon' becomes a tad boring. You really have feeling in what you write, leave something that differentiates you from everyone else.

Dont really want a slanging contest, Fulham have been remarkable of late, shown courage and determination and it has come through for them, T was spot on to show for example the talents of Bullard particularly, good execution from freekicks. This is exemplary given how Steve Bruce has had to pick up Wigan after Bullard's and Lee McCulloch's departure. Think about it, people.


5/13/2008 9:22 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Disagreement is expected, but try to keep a level of respect when taking a different view..."

In other words, if you're a Gooner, you can say what you like, slag off another manager and hold your own on a pedestal like he was God when in fact he has achieved the same as the manager being ridiculed?? At least the scousers knocked out Arsenal, how can you claim to be so magnificent all round yet squander so much when you had it all? I'll tell you, because you think you are more than you actually are. Criticise Bellytez for transfer spending but he doesnt read into his own hype and the scousers have heart. Gooners think they have to turn up and all is laid down for them. Is that civil enough for you?

Oh, and I'm not a scouser, by the way. Just had enough of cocky Gooners like they own the place andthen they see that they dont.

5/13/2008 9:48 pm

Blogger T said...

Okay anon - thank you for leaving name-calling out of your comment and its definitely fair enough if you don't like what you read here.

Next time leave a name - as Redsman says its good to know so that we can differentiate you from the rest in the future.

5/13/2008 10:09 pm


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