By Bulldog Drummond
Nothing too dramatic in the injury news so far: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has recovered from his illness and is available for the game. Of the rest of the injured, there is not much change – just some general progress…
Ainsley Maitland-Niles expects to be back to full training in about a week. Petr Cech however is about three or four weeks away which is much the same for Dinos Macropanos who should be in full training by the end of the month. While Koscielny will be training in November.
So what of Fulham?
They were hyper active in the summer with the transfers galore and virtually no money coming in from sales of players (just one or two players sold – depending on which source you use – for an undisclosed fee).
- Jean Michaël Seri; Midfielder — from Nice. £25m
- Maxime Le Marchand; Defender — from Nice. £7.5m
- Fabri; Goalkeeper — from Besiktas. £5m
- André Schürrle; Forward — from Borussia Dortmund (loan)
- Aleksandar Mitrovic; Forward — from Newcastle United. £22m
- Alfie Mawson; Defender — from Swansea City. £15m
- Calum Chambers; Defender — from Arsenal. Loan
- Sergio Rico; Goalkeeper — from Sevilla. Loan
- Joe Bryan; Defender — from Bristol City. £6m
- Luciano Vietto; Forward — from Atlético Madrid. Loan
- Timothy Fosu-Mensah; Defender — from Manchester United. Loan
- André-Frank Zambo Anguissa; Midfielder — from Marseille. £30m
That’s quite a list. Calum Chambers has made three league starts and come on twice as a sub as far as I can see. As a loanee of course he can’t perform tomorrow. And with just one win in the last five league and league cup games (one in seven if we include the Checkatrade) the incomers don’t seem to be delivering too well.
The extent of this problem can be seen if we take a look at the table in the order of goals conceded. Here’s the bottom of that league
|Lge pos||Goals ag. pos||Club||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||Pts|
|12||16||Brighton and Hove||8||2||2||4||9||13||-4||8|
|15||17||West Ham United||8||2||1||5||8||13||-5||7|
Alternative league tables, arranged by something other than points, don’t coincide exactly with the points total, but interestingly the goals conceded is not too far off, although the surprise is to see just how far Manchester United have tumbled because of their defence.
As for Fulham, yes they have the worst defence in the league, equal to Cardiff and Huddersfield. Their virtue is that they have scored twice as many goals as Cardiff.
So we might expect them to be open at the back because of their attempt to push forward and nick a goal against Arsenal. They are the only team who have not kept a single clean sheet in a league game this season.
But at home they are a much tighter side having scored five and conceded five, so nothing should be taken for granted.
On the other hand they don’t show up too well in all-London games in the Premier League. They have played 120 matches against other teams from the capital, and have won 25 of them – a 20% victory level. Arsenal have won 123 out of 240 games against other London teams while in the PL – a 51% total.
They also struggle to keep clean sheets in London derbies, so again things could look promising given that we have Aubameyang back, and presumably Lacazette and Iwobi as well. Mkhitaryan could also be part of the front line given that he like Auba didn’t travel.
Fulham are known for poor starts to a campaign. In 2005 for example they opened with
|13 Aug 2005||Fulham v Birmingham City||D||0-0||Premier League|
|20 Aug 2005||Blackburn Rovers v Fulham||L||2-1||Premier League|
|24 Aug 2005||Arsenal v Fulham||L||4-1||Premier League|
|27 Aug 2005||Fulham v Everton||W||1-0||Premier League|
|10 Sep 2005||Newcastle United v Fulham||D||1-1||Premier League|
|17 Sep 2005||Fulham v West Ham United||L||1-2||Premier League|
|21 Sep 2005||Fulham v Lincoln City||W||5-4||League Cup|
|26 Sep 2005||Tottenham Hots v Fulham||L||1-0||Premier League|
|01 Oct 2005||Fulham v Manchester Utd||L||2-3||Premier League|
The one great thing about our manager is that with his fanatical interest in detail he does not seem to be a man who could be taken by surprise or accused of a lack of preparation.
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