Fulham V Blackburn Rovers | Preview

Fulham V Blackburn Rovers | Preview

After the tedium of an international break with the season being barely a month old, the proper football is back! Back! Back! And Sky have lined up possibly their lowest wattage Super Sunday line up in their history. If you manage to survive the excitement of Norwich versus West Brom they’re serving up the highlight which is Fulham and Blackburn doing battle at Craven Cottage!

Since all the buzz and, dare I say it, over inflated excitement of transfer deadline day at the end of last month we’ve not had a chance to look at our new signings. Though the break also came in handy, giving Bobby Zamora a period of time to recover from the injury which kept him from featuring in our last couple of games. So with Bobby back and the addition of both Ruiz and Sa to the squad will we look more threatening up front? And will the signing of Grygera help to make the defence look any less shaky?

Head to Head

Blackburn and ourselves both won promotion to the Premier League, along with Bolton, back in 2001. Since then all three of us have maintained our place in the big league (the first time this had happened since the league was formed), so this is our 11th meeting at this level and our record isn’t as hot as it is against some sides. Of the ten previous meetings we have won four and lost four. And in those games there’s been a few high scoring games, including a 3-4 loss back in 2003’04 and a three nil win for ourselves in the 09/10 season.

Expected Formation

Although Jol has suggested that it may take a period of time before the new faces of Ruiz, Sa and Grygera find their feet in the English game, I would expect that at leat one of them to make thier first first start in the game. Since he fist walked through the door at Motspur Park Jol has said that he would like the side to play with some pace and to use wingers, hence the addition of Bryan Ruiz. And with Riise still out injured I would expect the Costa Rican, now the proud holder of a work permit, to start for the Whites.

I’m a fan of Sidwell. He puts himself about a bit and isn’t afraid, as some of our boys are, of having a crack at goal. He came on at halftime in our trip to Wolves a few weeks back and breathed a bit of fight into the side then went on to start at Newcastle. While nobody did too well up at St James I expect the ginger Iniesta has done enough to keep Etuhu out of the side on this occasion. While in defence, Jol seems to have decided that Baird is surplus to requirements. In fact, he’d rather play Hughes at right back than play Baird, whose even been replaced on the bench by Kelly. Quite what Jol fails to see in the Northern Irishman that both Sparky and Hodgson did is anybody’s guess. Just as breaking up the successful central defensive partnership of Hangeland and Hughes is, but you’d expect the Dutchman to know more about this than I do.

Since Bobby last featured we’ve looked limp, toothless and uninspiring at Wolves, Newcastle and away in the Ukraine, so I would expect he’ll be parachuted straight back into the starting XI to try and give the side some ideas in finding the net. Managers seem to like Dempsey, and he runs around a lot and looks more dangerous than AJ (not too difficult) so I’d have a guess that he’ll probably play just behind Zamora. Rovers shot stopper Robinson has the lowest save to shot ratio in the Premier League of just 50%, so hopefully the Fulham fron line will give him further bother today, on what Steve Kean’s worries may be his last game in charge of the former title winners.