Date:Friday May 8 2009
I`ve re-started my previews, and have learnt to love them again, because who knows when the preview will be my last as the non-existent pandemic spreads it`s way through the country.
A bit like the deadly "Flu" word, Aston Villa were tearing through whatever stood in their way to start with, and after a period where everyone was asking "where`ve they gone?" fought back to pick up a much needed win against Hull City.
Our opponents, Fulham have surprised many a folk with their good performances and Roy Hodgson, their previously temporary manager could be set for a high placing in this years "manager of the season" votes.
Off to London? Remember to catch it, bin it, kill it, and get a pint.
It`s Villa, its Fulham, no porkies here, preview!
Oh Arsene, I`d given you a break previously but you came rip-roaring back didn`t you ahead of the Champions League semi-final match.
'They can have regrets because they did not score a second goal,'
I believe we will be on top.'
Meanwhile in the Villa camp, Monny is clearly feeling bullish having finally picked up a much-needed win and on the official website, with a cracking photo that suggests 3 confused pensioners trying to work out what time the next bus is coming, the Villa boss talks of his hopes of a claret & blue victory:
"We played there last season and it was a disappointment. It was a game we should have won.
"We were leading 1-0 with not too long left - and eventually we got beaten in the match. The very least we should have got was a draw.
"This season, Fulham are challenging near the top and they have plenty to play for - like ourselves. It's certainly got the makings of a good game.
"The incentives are certainly there. We finished on 60 points last season and we want to surpass that this time around. We finished sixth and obviously it would be great to finish one place higher than that this season. We have plenty to play for and it's certainly not holiday time yet."
Speedy-gon-lahor meanwhile having struggled to make that much of an impact against Hull City hopes to make it two in a row in the big smoke:
"Fulham beat Manchester United a few weeks ago and they have picked up other great results along the way too. It will definitely be a tough game.
"But we are so glad to get that win under our belts. It was so, so important and it has certainly given us a lift going into this match. Let's make it two wins in two now."
Back on the goal-trail please Mr Agbonlahor!
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was the only man in black & white seemingly making comment regarding the game, so here it comes!
"Villa are fifth in the league which is a remarkable performance.
"They have re-found their form towards the end of the season and we are prepared for a very tough game against a team who are above us in the league.
"We are aware it is not going to be easy for us to get that seventh position. We have some very stiff competition from the teams around us but there's three games to play and we will try and win them."
We`re 5th, we were a bit rubbish, now we`re better, it won`t be easy for them, they will try to win games they play. Simple!
Fulham are sweating on the fitness of strikers Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora who are struggling with knee and hip injuries respectively. Former West Ham defender and Jonathan Fear wannabe (hairstyle wise at least) Paul Konchesky will also face a fitness test as his knee is a wee bit sore too.
It seems that moving away from Middlesbrough was the best thing that the Australian keeper could have done, and probably should have done sooner. The big man between the pipes has been in fine form this season proving that it`s not just Tim Cahill who can be a star man from down under.
Martin O`Neill will be no doubt sharing antiperspirant tips with his opposite number as he also has a number of players to sweat over. Carlos Cuellar has had the flu (RUN FOR IT!) meanwhile both Ashley Young and Sillystan Petrov limped out of the Hull match and will face a late fitness check.
Obviously long term absentees are Wilf Bouma and Martin Laursen, meanwhile loan-exiles Stuart Taylor and Marlon Harewood are available again having had reasonably unspectacular short term stints.
Holte End Hero hopefully happy to harass Hodgson`s henchmen.
According to Wikipedia, Brian May is a resident of Fulham, which gave me the perfect excuse to have this as my random preview music. Queen fans occaisionally argue over this, some say tribute, some say insult. You make your own minds up as I think it`s awesome!
Fulham F.C. was founded in 1879, the very same year that the Anglo-Zulu war began, the first artificial ice rink was created, and Thomas Edison was a busy boy, having tested the first practical light bulb and publically demonstrated incandescent lighting in the latter half of the year.
The Zulu war was won by Michael Cain. [Unconfirmed]
Stamford Bridge, home of CSKA Chelski, is vaguely on the border of Fulham alongside Chelsea.
Finally, on this day (well, at time of writing on the 8th of May) we celebrate 64 years since the official announcement of the end of the war in Europe!
Mark Halsey is the man in black/yellow/green/skins for Saturday`s match. The fun thing about Mr Halsey is that he`s quite calm with the cards (compared to some!) Just 60 yellow and 3 red in his 40 games. I dare say Ashley Young will be relieved if he plays! He even managed 0 yellows in our dismal 0-0 FA Cup draw with Doncaster Rovers!
I believe the somewhat playful Mystic Mug said 983-7, I`m saying it`ll be a 3-1 victory to the good guys with Carew getting a brace and Nicky Shorey (yes I'm serious) scoring the sweetener.
Villa travel to the North-East to dispatch one club from up there to the Championship, before heading back home to say goodbye to Alan Shearer!
Thanks for reading folks, I`m off to spend £200 on a swine flu mask.
Date:Friday May 8 2009
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