Friday, November 16, 2007

Season Summaries--13. Fulham

13. Fulham (My preseason prediction: 13th)

Even though they've played only 13 games, roughly a third of the season, I'm proud to say that so far my preseason prediction for Fulham has been spot-on. As an American, Fulham are a team I root for with Brian McBride (currently injured), Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, and Kasey Keller all on the roster and playing important roles with the London club, possibly soon to be joined by MLS Defender of the Year Michael Parkhurst.

Lawrie Sanchez is an underrated manager, in my opinion, and I'm not sure that people recognize how good of a job he did with Northern Ireland before he left the post to take charge at Fulham at the end of last season. I know that the national team job is different from managing at the club level, but Sanchez was able to get some pretty good results from a mish-mash roster (some of which he took to Fulham) and if he would've seen it through, I believe Northern Ireland would've qualified for Euro 2008.

As it is, the English-born Sanchez has done a good job at Fulham with pretty much the same type of roster: no stars, just a bunch of hard-working players who sail under the radar as far as name recognition goes, but a pretty solid group as a whole. Dempsey leads the team with 4 goals in the Premiership and when fellow American McBride returns from a dislocated knee, he'll provide the Cottagers with a boost and an aerial threat to complement Dempsey and David Healy. The only major disappointment to this point for Fulham was a 3rd Round Carling Cup defeat at home (in extra time) to Bolton. You can bet that Fulham's games will be close until the end; they've neither scored nor allowed more than 3 goals in any match this year.

No comments: