Fulham play tomorrow against Wolverhampton at Craven Cottage. The game takes place at 3PM UK Time and 10AM EST. The game will be shown on taped delay on Fox Soccer Plus at 4:30 EST in the U.S. Back In September Fulham lost 2 - 1 away to Wolverhampton. Fulham are currently 12th in the league with 42 points. Wolverhampton are 14th with 33 points. Since it is a home game and Wolverhampton has a hard time scoring, this is a game that Fulham can win. Below are"my 5 keys to victory for Fulham against Wolverhampton."
1. Will John Pantsil be starting for Fulham tomorrow? Panstil is coming back from an injury. He has played in a few Reserves matches lately. However, he did not play last night for the Reserves. Is that an indication we will see him tomorrow? If he does play at right back that could give Roy Hogdson the flexibility to possibly use Chris Baird in the midfield. I think if Pantsil can play this just gives Hogdson more lineup choices. Another advantage of Pantsil playing is his ability to push the ball and himself forward. When Panstil got hurt in the Chelsea game he was playing very well. If he can play tomorrow I think this would be a major positive for Fulham.
2. Fulham need to contain Kevin Doyle. In the first matchup, Kevin Doyle scored in the game at Wolverhampton. He currently has 7 goals and is Wolverhampton's main option at striker. Wolverhampton have only scored 28 goals in the league. This amount is tied for last in the league with Portsmouth. If Fulham can control Doyle they should have a great chance at winning the match.
3. Danny Murphy needs to control the midfield. I am big fan of Danny Murphy. He was one of my keys last week as well. Karl Henry is suspended for this match. His replacement will probably be Dave Edwards. Murphy has the opportunity to completely control the match and keep the pressure on Wolverhampton. If he can get some of his great passes to the strikers tomorrow, Fulham could be in great shape.
4. Who will be playing on the left side of the midfield? In last week's game against Liverpool it was Jonathan Greening for the majority of the match. He makes me a little nervous in that position. He got a yellow card and could have gotten another card on a foul. If he did get another card that would have taken him out of the match and left Fulham with 10 players. It is unclear if Simon Davies will be recovered in time from an injury for this match. He would be a great option. Also, it is unclear if Clint Dempsey is ready yet to return from injury. Other options at this position could be Bjorn Helge Riise, or possibly Chris Baird. Who Roy plays at this position definitely to me is a key to the match.
5. If Fulham score early in the first half they can completely control this match.This key can serve two purposes. An early goal for Fulham would really put Wolverhampton at a disadvantage. As I mentioned prior, Wolverhampton do not score many goals. In their last 3 games they have not scored a goal. One goal could be enough for Fulham to win the match. Also, an early goal could give options for Hogdson in the second half to rest a few players with substitutions. Fulham have the Europa League match in Hamburg on Thursday. It might not be a bad thing to give a few players some rest in the second half if the game is in control.
I think it is still important for Fulham to win the matches they have left in the League. At this point they are not going to be relegated. However, it would be nice to end the season strong and show the rest of the League that last year's result was not a fluke. If they could win the rest of their home games which are three, that would bring their point total to 51. I think that point total would be a great accomplishment. I am hoping Fulham can win tomorrow which could give the team nice momentum for the rest of the League season and the Europa League.