By CandH blogger Allen Cummings
Fulham on Friday and another opportunity to record our first ‘double’ of the season.
We missed out at Selhurst Park when squandering a 1-0 half time lead so hopefully we can get across the line this time after the 2-0 win at Craven Cottage last December.
Expectation levels will be high with Fulham are languishing one place off the bottom of the Premier League, having conceded 58 goals in the campaign so far, the worst goals against record in the top league whilst managing just two points on their travels all season.
We will obviously be looking for a performance to match our last game at the LS when we matched Liverpool all over the park when but for a scandalously ‘offside’ goal we would have taken all three points that night.
Friday needs to be approached with the same intensity, and Fulham afforded the same respect. Too often, as we all know, the opposition have been underestimated – and results haven’t gone the way they should have.
The enforced break has been frustrating sSo Friday can’t come quickly enough, especially as a couple of our big-name absentees could be in line for action.
Word is Manuel Lanzini and Fabian Balbuena will be available to at least play some part in the evening’s proceedings – if required. Will we see them from the start? I think that’s unlikely.
I believe Manuel Pellegrini is more likely to stick with the basis of the teams he put out against Palace and Liverpool, the possible exception being Arnautovic starting up top this time.
We know Arnie loves a stage and an audience. It could be a full house under lights will provide him with exactly the platform on which he loves to perform.
I also think Ryan Fredericks will again be given the nod to face his old side, which would leave Pablo Zabaleta available to make an appearance against his old club Manchester City the following Wednesday.
My starting eleven for Fulham would be: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Anderson, Antonio and Anautovic.
That leaves us an impressive looking bench of: Adrian, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Lanzini, Diangana, Hernandez and Masuaku. How long is it since we looked that strong? Happy days!