The Cottagers open their doors to The Gunners

Games come thick and fast at this time of the year and this evening’s match against Fulham follows hot on the heels of Saturday’s one nil win  at home to QPR.

Founded in 1879 Fulham Football Club are the oldest professional team in London.  They have played at their Thames-side home, Craven, Cottage, since 1896.  The ground almost always gets a mention as the crews pass by in the University boat-race and in years gone by the game would be halted as the crowd turned round to watch and cheer the light and dark blues.

Fulham have never won a major honour although in 1975 they lost 2-1 to West Ham in the FA Cup Final and lost, after extra time and by the same score, to Atletico Madrid in The Europa League Final.

Despite their lack of silverware they have featured some illustrious names in the past, such as,  Sir Bobby Robson, Johhny Haynes, George Best and Rodney Marsh.

Sir Bobby Robson

1933-2009

The current owner and Chairman is Mohamed Al Fayed whose “Glorious Tenure” (his own words) began in 1997 and led to their promotion to The Premiership in 2001.  By no means a modest man, the former owner of a Knightsbridge corner shop (Harrods), Al Fayed has presided over probably the most successful  period in the clubs history.

Fulham’s Dutch manager, Martin Jol, has Premiership experience having managed another London club (whose name escapes me) from 2004 to 2007.

Currently lying thirteenth in The Premiership their home record is pretty consistent having won, drawn and lost three each and scored fourteen whilst also conceding the same number.

More injury woes for The Gunners defence, Thomas Vermaelen limped off with a calf strain and will miss two weeks, this was after being wrongfully booked by referee Martin Atkinson who mixed him up with his look-a-like colleague Laurent Koscielny.

It’s likely that Coquelin will come into the backline as a direct replacement for our Belgian star, if this is the case he will need someone more prepared to track back, than Arshavin, in front of him.

 Starting Eleven

 Szczesny

 Djourou    Meretesacker   Koscielny    Coquelin

Ramsey    Song    Arteta

 Walcott    Gervinho

Van Persie

This is another eminently winnable match and although it kicks off just forty-eight hours after Saturday’s final whistle a victory will confirm the Glorious Gunners in fourth place.  After the grisly start to the season what better way to start 2012.

 Final Thought

Is Cottager an acceptable nick-name given it’s less than savoury connotations in Polari slang.  (Google it!)

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