Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Are Fulham still full of Premier league stars?

The visit of Fulham on Boxing Day is one game that I bet many AFCB supporters have been looking forward to since the fixtures were announced. I am sure that Harry Arter will have particularly marked it on his calender as a big match day with the hope of playing against his brother-in-law Scott Parker. Scott had not been in the Fulham team since the Watford game when they lost 0-5, but made his return last weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. Hopefully Scott plays, but what other names are we likely to see who were in the Premier League only last season?
Arter looks likely to line up against brother-in-law Scott Parker Boxing Day.
The big man up front of course is Hugo Rodallega who has fired his way up to nine goals now and is starting to show that he is one of the top acts in the Championship, especially when he wins games with the all important strike, as he did against Leeds United. Fulham also have Moussa Dembele and Costa Rican star Bryan Ruiz, so don't expect Fulham not to have some big name strikers to choose from if they fit. Championship top scorer last season, Ross McCormack seems to have gotten the vote though to partner Rodallega and while the large transfer fee that Fulham paid for him had many fans shocked over the summer, the former Leeds man is always a striker that can make a goal from nothing. Even last season he smashed one in against AFCB that I still remember clearly with a great strike from outside the box.

Move down the squad though to the midfield and defence and it becomes harder to recognise players stick in the mind as star players. However, one player that is getting talked about is Lasse Vugen Christensen who has been a key midfield player, especially when Scott Parker has been absent. That is perhaps some of the challenge that Symons has to rebuild this side at the back and in midfield. The keeper position is intriguing as Symons has usually gone for Marcus Bettinilli, a 22-year-old who was at Conference side Dartford on loan only a couple of years ago and gained a fair amount of experience at Accrington Stanley in the last two seasons, but he has made 15 starts in the Championship now. Mark Steklenberg is still at Fulham on loan, but has not played this season. 

Konstantinos Stafylidid, 21, has been a regular starter wearing the number 3 and is the Greek player is on loan from Bayer Leverkusen. Right back Tim Hoogland also came from the Bundesliga in the summer. Bulgarian Nikolay Bodurov is a central defender that also signed last summer.

It's the same story in midfield with young players being knitted together to replace the former Premier league high earners that were at the club. Mark Fotheringham was a summer signing and Lasse Vigen Christensen only made his Fulham debut in the FA Cup third round last season, while Emerson Hyndman only made his debut against Ipswich in August and Frenchman Seko Fofana has only been at Fulham a month and has been getting high praise for his midfield performances.

Considering such an influx of new and young players, and I have only picked out a few hear that have played their part in the Fulham squad this season, you can see that it is understandable that Fulham made a slow start, although I expect Fulham fans also point towards Magath, who did not exactly win many games in the Premier League or the Championship. But this is a team that is learning fast as it has had to and their upward march to mid-table proves that they are becoming a good side and with the striking power they have Fulham can be one of the teams of the second half of this season.

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