Monday, December 29, 2008

Clint Dempsey's Brace and Scolari's Reaction

Fulham garnered two wins over the weekend, with a 0-0 draw against Tottentham at White Hart Lane and leveling against Chelsea 2-2 at Craven Cottage. Clint Dempsey scored a brace and a yellow card for his shirtless celebration on Sunday. The two draws mean that Fulham have extended their streak to nine games without a loss, granted, there is an awful lot of draws in those nine games, six draws.

While I am happy that Dempsey netted twice for the Cottagers, I have to be honest and say that he is the lucky recipient of horrendous marking on set pieces by Chelsea. Here is Dempsey's second goal, on a solid header, and the reaction of Chelsea manager Luis Felipe Scolari.

Fulham has been playing with superb organization in the back. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and the defense anchored usually by Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes, have put together eight clean sheets this season. Yes, they looked good at times on Sunday, but Chelsea should really have won that game.

Roy Hodgson has done superbly this getting the Fulham back line organized and disciplined. The midfield is working well, with Clint Dempsey learning to play well on the wing on either side and hitting a good streak of form of late, Simon Davies playing on the opposite wing. Until a recent injury, Jimmy Bullard and Danny Murphy have been solid in the central midfield. My only beef right now for Fulham is the scoring. Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson work very hard harassing the opposing back lines, but they are not working well at doing their primary job, i.e. scoring goals. Hodgson seems happy with his 4-4-2, and it certainly is getting results for the Whites, but good grief, we need some more goals.

But Fulham's recent run is good news. They are six points clear of the relegation zone in a very tight table. Coming up are a series of fixtures against teams in the bottom half of the table, with games against Blackburn Rovers(19th place-18 points), West Ham United (10th Place-25 points), Sunderland(15th place-22 points), and Portsmouth(12th place-23 points) in January. If Fulham can grab 6 to 7 points in four games, Fulham will be clearly on the verge of a top half of the table finish and and certainly shouldn't find themselves in a relegation dogfight at the end of the season.

Next up for Fulham is Sheffield Wednsday this weekend in FA Cup Third Round action.

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