The Carling Cup beckons and the draw wasn`t; in all honesty, that kind to us. A trip to play cash-rich Manchester City definitely isn`t what this doctor ordered. Although a die-hard fan our recent form gives me reason to suspect that our involvement in the Carling Cup this season may well be a fleeting one!
It would seem that Roy Hodgson was as upset as the rest of us when it came ot the lackluster performance on Sunday, commenting,
“The Wolves game was a performance that for 60 minutes was very unusual. I have not seen us give the ball away quite so easily in a very long time, and I hope that it was a one-off.”
So do we Roy but we make it three off looking back at Chelsea and Villa!
Manchester City Team News:
Mark Hughes, having been on a spending spree this summer, has a rich squad to pick from. With no European football to muddy his season there`s every chance that Fulham could be facing a strong City side. But, we suspect, Adebayor will play no part following his recent moments of madness and Robinho may be out through injury. Santa Cruz is another casualty who will not be available.
Player to watch: Wayne Bridge
Spent some time at Craven Cottage whilst regaining his match fitness after picking up a dreadful injury, playing for Chelsea, at St James Park. Signed by City last year as they started to spend the oil linked millions, many of us have fond memories of the period Wayne spent with us.
Fulham Team News:
With the club being involved in the Europa League, is the Carling Cup seen as a distraction or will Roy want to give it his best shot? My feelings are that it is the latter! I very much doubt whether Roy will go with his normal starting eleven, I suspect those weary legs will be left to contemplate taking on Arsenal this weekend. Therefore I reckon the starting eleven could me more like that which earned a draw in Sofia but whether that`ll be good enough to test City remains one of my big fears!
As a total shot in the dark, I`ll go for:-
Stockdale, Pantsil, Smalling, Baird, Kelly, Greening, Riise, Etuhu, Dempsey, Nevland, Kamara
But it could just as well be closer to:-
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Duff, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff, Zamora, Johnson
If we`re serious about this competition.
Player to watch: Diomansy Kamara
Fond memories of visiting City, think back to our dramatic relegation escape and those two strikes that turned the game around.
Match Facts & Stats
Although, following our recent poor performances against Chelsea, Aston Villa and Wolves there is an air of impending doom about this match preview, we shouldn`t forget that the City of Manchester Stadium, or Eastlands, has fond memories for us. It`s the venue whereby our miracle escape from the jaws of relegation finally got kick started the season before last. Trailing 2-0 we looked Championship bound but a thrilling fight back, and two goals from Diomansy Kamara, saw us win 3-2 and the rest, as they say, is history!
Also, the only other meeting between the teams in this competition, back in 1967, saw Fulham emerge 3-2 victors!
I`ll not beat about the bush, getting a result up at the City of Manchester Stadium doesn`t look easy when you consider their home form and the recent poor performances we`ve been turning out. Much though will depend on how seriously the two managers view participation in the Carling Cup. I suspect, with a lack of European football that Manchester City will be keen to continue their participation and Wednesday could be one of them nights you just wish will hurry up and pass. I hope I`m wrong but I reckon we`re going to lose this one and it could be by tow or three clear goals, sorry folks if my honesty upsets you!
After taking on one of the top four, Manchester City, in the Carling Cup, our Premier League programme resumes with a home fixture against the side they`re seeking to replace in the so-called big four, Arsenal. Talk about having it easy!