When I convinced Mrs Chopper that £300 was an absolute bargain for a season ticket and it would actually probably save us money, I may have suggested that I probably wouldn’t go to every game anyway. Of course by using “probably” in the sentence I had already (in my own mind) made it eminently clear that I would “actually” be going to all of them! Or so I thought. It turns out that partially thanks to the vagaries of satellite television planning and (mainly) down to a small hiccough in domestic childcare planning, Mrs Chopper would “actually” be quite pleased if I didn’t go to the football tomorrow but stayed to help out with the four children she has now agreed to look after. “After all” she mentioned “It’s not like it’s one of the really big clubs”.
Not … one … of … the … big … clubs. Well it’s kind of true, but clearly I still really want to go. Manchester City are on fire at the moment, second in the table and seemingly playing some nice football. They’ve made some interesting signings (Corluka, Garrido, Geovanni, Petrov, Elano, & Bianchi are all players I’d like to see) and have also got some exciting young players particularly Micah Richards and Michael Johnson. Before Sven’s late appointment I had been targeting City as a team that might struggle. Even though it looked like they would have the cash to spend I could not see them getting a team to gell that quickly, however, somehow they’ve managed it. Despite the introduction of a number of flare players though, its City’s defence that has seen them do so well in the league. They’ve only conceded 2 goals (away at Arsenal and Blackburn) and have won four games (all 1-0 except for the opening day brace at West Ham) without conceding. On paper our team doesn’t really compare, however, as Sven will be the first to tell you, Lawrie Sanchez knows how to get the best out of the players he’s got.
He spoke during the week about how we had not been outclassed by anyone so far (Spurs apart!) and that if we’d had a few lucky breaks, or been better at killing off games, it could have been us in City’s position. That might be making a rather big leap of imagination but I think what he is basically getting at is there’s not much between the two sides and a Fulham win is well within our capabilities. I think LS also knows that it doesn’t matter how good our performances have been so far we need to get points on the board. I think the Fulham team will be similar to the one that faced Wigan though we might see Seol replace Bouazza on the left wing. Hughes continuing in at centre back should help keep us more focussed defensively and we need to be focussed if we are to keep a first clean sheet this season. My prediction is 1-0 Fulham … I hope I’m there to see it.
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