Ahead of United’s second Premier League match of the season, we talked to Kyle from Fulham’s Finest about their summer business, early form and the 90 minutes ahead.
Sitting in a slightly artificial second place, how do you expect Fulham to fare at Old Trafford?
I don’t expect us to fare too well, although it definitely will be brighter than the past few times, I do think that. With United losing to Everton to open the season, the LEAST likely result possible would be two straight losses to start the year for Sir Alex Ferguson. That alone causes me to feel great fear.
I’m a very big realist, and as much as our demolition of Norwich was a ton of fun, I believe in taking one game at a time. This is still a side that may struggle at times to score goals against the top sides.
At Old Trafford, after a United loss, knowing Fulham’s away record, all things considered I’m not too optimistic about this fixture alone, but that’s not to say I’m not optimistic about Fulham’s ability to get results throughout the season against top sides.
Fulham have failed to score in their last five trips to Old Trafford, do you think they will fare any better this season?
I don’t believe in the end they’ll fare any better, although they have a better chance this year than in the past, given United’s defensive situation and Fulham’s ability to start the season strong.
Who do you expect to most successfully target our make shift defence?
If anyone’s going to score, it’s going to be Petric, can’t go wrong picking him as he’s been nothing but stellar this year in preseason and the Norwich match. More on him later. Also, don’t sleep on Moussa Dembele to put on a show for one of his biggest fans, Sir Alex.
Where do you expect your top scorer last season, Clint Dempsey, to be when the transfer window closes?
I’ve been saying all along he will be with Fulham and sold in January. I still hold to that. I could absolutely see him sold last-minute in this window, but it will probably go down to the wire if it does. Here’s why: If I’m a club, I want to take advantage of his unrest with Fulham. Here’s the perfect strategy if you’re, say, Liverpool. You know he wants to leave. Bad. So you do the following: with 3 hours left in the window, or as little time as you feel safe to get a deal done, make one bid. That’s it. Fulham have no time to negotiate, no time to make a counter offer. Fulham know they need to offload him if they can. Therefore, they’ll be forced to take your bid or wait until January. Can’t-lose situation.
Have you been pleased by Martin Jol’s purchases this summer?
I am pleased, but it’s an unfinished job. We haven’t spent a pound on transfers yet as they’ve all been free to this point, and Martin Jol has said multiple times he wants 3-5 more players before the window closes, including, according to him, two more strikers and a center mid. However, that aside, the opener against Norwich showed Jol’s shrewd dealing with the three men he has brought in. Petric is a much more complete target man than Pogrebnyak ever was with us, which gives me lots of confidence that he won’t fall off his early season success as sharply as the Pog did. Petric doesn’t rely as much on strength as the big Russian, and his ball skills should help him be a great goalscoring option throughout the season. We haven’t seen much of Rodallega yet, but what we have is promising. He was constrained in his final year at Wigan, and is still young. Finally, Riether was solid, as was the entire back line, in the opener. All-in-all it’s promising, but depth is still an issue, and one match won’t expose that. I’m confident Jol has targets and a plan, but all my anxiety won’t go away until the club officially announces a few more players.
What about Sir Alex’s purchases?
I’m a huge fan of Kagawa’s, and I think he proved that against Everton. Expect more of the same from him this season. I’m not so sure about Buttner, as he was linked with many lesser clubs (like Fulham) before going to United, so I’m interested to know what they see in him. Probably just depth. RVP is RVP, but his age does speak a little. He obviously won’t have the season he did last year just as a by-product of not being “the guy” anymore, and he needs to be up front rather than on the wing. If he accepts a lesser role and SAF puts him in a spot to succeed, he’ll produce, barring injury.
Wayne Rooney has scored 4 in his last 3 against the Cottagers, how afraid of him are you despite his off season bulge?
It’s Wayne Rooney. I’m very afraid of him. All the talk about him being not as good as he used to be is crap, in my opinion. He’ll turn it on, don’t you worry. Hopefully not against us, but yes, I’m afraid.
How will Fulham approach the game?
Fulham will approach it in the way they have in the past and they have to: defensive. A draw is a great result. They always say “fortune favors the bold” but I don’t see that applying here. Fulham need to frustrate United, then take advantage of weaknesses. Coming out all-out attack will do no good.
Predicted Line Up & Score?
Don’t see any reason to change the successful lineup. Lineup: Schwarzer; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Diarra, Dembele; Frei, Ruiz, Duff; Petric. Could see Kacaniklic get another start but he only was in because of Frei’s injury, so expect to see Kerim Frei back in there. Also could see Rodallega get more of a role in this match.