Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday March 25 2006
1) So, much like Villa, Fulham are languishing near the bottom of the league. What caused Fulham to go into free fall?
I feel the big problem with Fulham this season has been the lack of consistency in the midfield. Injuries to Malbranque, Elliot (who only arrived in January) and particularly Pembridge have highlighted our weaknesses and exposed us at the back. Too often the defence has let us down this season. There is no link between the defence and midfield. When you look at the fact that only Sunderland have conceded more goals than us this season, despite some fantastic performances, it more or less tells the story. Coleman likes to attack, his defence is good but not great, and for that reason when they are left exposed they simply can't cope.
2) Where would you expect Fulham to be in the table and what are the realistic expectations for the future?
Fulham realistically should have been pushing at the very least to finish in the top 10, top 8 is not unrealistic. It is disappointing that we have never got to grips with our away form this season. It has cost us a lot of points.
3) Earlier in the season the two sides fought out a 3-3 draw, what do you expect from your visit to Villa Park?
I can see a 2-2 draw. Maybe even Fulham to win 2-1. Villa don't seem to score many goals, (the away win at Middlesbrough aside) while as Fulham tend to wherever they are. If the defence and the team lead by Pembridge can hold together like it did against Chelsea, I see no reason why we shouldn't walk away from Villa park with all 3 points.
4) Is Chris Coleman the right man to take your team forward?
Chris Coleman is a young manager left with a hard task. He is given the money and the responsibility but he was not left with a special nucleus to build around when he took over, unlike David O'Leary or Arsene Wenger. He had to build and remould the team. He is ambitious and likes to play good football. Considering that he played his entire career in defence it surprises me greatly that he is so unaware of the obvious problems we have at the back. Zat Knight for all his loyalty I think is a sub at best. We simply don't have a rock in the heart of the defence, I am hoping that will be sorted out over the summer. If he is looking to sign players as talented as Wayne Bridge (even though he is only on-loan), then the team can certainly move forward.
5) What is your opinion of Aston Villa? Big club, sleeping giant, or a has been?
Aston Villa are a big club with a big history. But unfortunately you have a chairman that lives in the past. It has held you back for years, and until you do have someone takeover the reigns who has more ambition, I am afraid you will not progress too much further in your present state.
6) Will Fulham survive this season? Who are your tips for relegation?
After the win over Chelsea, I can't see us going down. It is not mathematically impossible, and even at this late stage you can get a few surprises, but the teams below us will need to sprout some of the biggest in Premiership history. I think we are safe. As for Portsmouth, I predicted Harry (Houdini) Redknapp might do the business for them, he still could. I don't see West Brom with that same incredible drive and determination that carried them on their miracle run in the second half of last season. But yet they are at the moment above the others. I think Portsmouth will pip them, and West Brom and Birmingham will join Sunderland
7) What is your match prediction for tomorrows game?
As I said before, if both defences do what I expect them to do, it will be 2-2. If Fulham play to their strengths, then I see 2-1 Fulham. I can't see Aston Villa winning, then again, you never can tell!!! Good luck for tomorrow, I will be behind the other team though.
For my interview on the Villa site: Click Here
Date:Saturday March 25 2006
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