It`s back on the road as we resume our Premier League campaign. The pressure is starting to build as we contemplate having won only one of our last ten games, Couple that with the fact we`ve plunged towards the relegation zone and that our away form is nothing short of cataclysmic and you can see why this fixture, with Wigan being no great shakes, is looking like a crucial one.
Perhaps the reason why we`re perceived to be struggling is our lack of cutting edge.
In his pre-match press conference, Martin Jol has spoken about exactly that, remarking,
‘If you look at the stats we probably have more possession, more final entries, more chances than the opponents [in our matches].”
‘Even defensively we have got good stats, but the only thing is we have to put the ball in the net at the right moments.”
‘We probably need a moment like Bryan Ruiz’s [chip against Everton last week] with that extra quality. We have got those sort of players with that quality.”
‘If you think about it we have Clint Dempsey – who scored 13 goals last season – Andrew Johnson – who scored a hat-trick the week before – and Bobby Zamora.”
‘Everybody knows they can score goals and everybody knows Bryan Ruiz can too so we have offensive qualities to do that, but we have to do that now.”
‘We need to stick to the principles that are good but, as any other manager would do, I will try to add something to this squad [when I can]. “
‘[Most of our gifted players] play up front or in offensive midfield so I feel we should be creative and we try and do that. “
‘That is what we showed against QPR, for example. “
‘[We won 6-0 and] everything came together but you have to try to do that all the time.’
Will it come together tomorrow?
Wigan Team News:
Roberto Martinez will be hoping that two of his stars are able to make a return after hamstring problems.
Franco Di Santo and James McCarthy both missed the 1-0 defeat by Newcastle.
Martinez will be hoping that his Columbian international, Hugo Rodallega, can get on the score sheet. Having been the club`s top scorer the last two campaigns, he`s yet to get off the mark this season. Please, not against us!
Player to watch: James McCarthy
A youngster tipped to go all the way an done that will need paying close attention to.
Fulham Team News:
Martin Jol takes his squad to the DW Stadium eager to collect the three points available. Bu the Dutchman has problems in defensive areas with Aaron Hughes ruled out with a thigh injury and Philippe Senderos also rated as doubtful with a similar problem.
Orlando Sa, who pulled a hamstring out in Krakow some ten days ago, is also out as is Simon Davies who is on the slow road to recovery after overcoming a bad injury.
Moussa Dembele, currently serving a ban in Europe, is available for selection.
Player to watch: Bobby Zamora
After his horrific late miss, last time out against Everton, Bobby will be hoping to get back to scoring ways at a ground where we must surely be looking at taking all three points.
Match Facts & Stats
Somebody has pointed out that goals are at a premium when these two sides meet, apparently only 18 goals have been scored in the 12 meetings in the Premier League.
Wigan enter the fixture on an awful run of 6 consecutive defeats to plant them firmly in the relegation zone.
Fulham`s recent form isn`t much better with only 1 win in the last 10 games.
Come Saturday evening one side will be infinitely more pleased than the other, unless it ends all-square!
It gets harder and harder to predict an away win for Fulham, in the Premier League. Disappointment after disappointment tends to be the trend on the road, so can this trip be any different?
Of course it can, Wigan are there for the taking, six defeats on the trot have seen their moral dented and if we maintain some sort of composure I`m taking us to surprise a few pundits and steal a narrow win!
The Europa League beckons in midweek when we entertain Wisla Krakow, next weekend we have a tasty home encounter with Spurs to look forward to.