Five Facts to Explain Fulham’s Premier League Resurgence

fulham 0708 home kit Five Facts to Explain Fulhams Premier League Resurgence

One year ago, Fulham was arguably the worst team in the Premier League not named Derby.  The club showed little holiday spirit, sacking Lawrie Sanchez just four days before Christmas.  New manager Roy Hodgson needed a great escape, scraping to 36 points and safety on the season’s final day.

This season, however, Hodgson has revolutionized Fulham, currently sitting comfortably mid-table on 26 points with a game in hand.  Here are five facts to explain Fulham’s resurgence this season.

Ferocity at the Back: Americans have a saying, “Offense wins games.  Defense wins championships.”  Fulham are nowhere near title contention, but a vastly improved defense has proved pivotal.  Halfway through the current season, Fulham have allowed just 14 goals in the 19 matches.  That’s fourth best in the Premier League, behind only Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United.  If Fulham maintain that pace, they would allow 28 goals.  They shipped 60 the previous year.  Fulham are far more competitive and have their backline to thank.

Fortress Craven Cottage: Fulham’s 2008-09 model has the requisite fragility away from home.  They’ve failed to win in nine attempts, although they have drawn five.  However, Fulham have been spectacular at home this season, winning six and drawing three of their ten matches.  Only Manchester United and Liverpool have fared better at home this season than Fulham.

Overcoming Squandered Investments: Fulham spent serious moolah over the summer, nearly £20m, to revamp their striking with Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora.  Despite their success, the duo have been largely ineffective, combining for only five goals in 33 combined appearances.  American forward Clint Dempsey has four times as many goals as Bobby Zamora, with barely more than half as many pitch minutes.  Fulham’s success has been despite not because of this substantial investment.

A Steely Run: Fulham, though only winning three, are undefeated in their past nine matches, last losing to 1-0 to Everton on Nov. 1.  This run of matches saw Fulham play top tier sides, such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Aston Villa.  They also played more talented teams, such as Manchester City, Newcastle and Tottenham twice.  Fulham may fade a bit, but those fifteen difficult points could stave off relegation.

Backbone Against the Big Five: These fixtures are often overrated.  For a team out of the title race six-pointers, they matter not more than any other match.  However, Fulham, with a victory against Arsenal and draws with Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa, are undefeated in these matches.  They conceded just two goals in the four matches, both against Chelsea.  Tangibly, Fulham gain six points, but the value of the confidence earned is considerable.

4 Responses to Five Facts to Explain Fulham’s Premier League Resurgence

  1. ls7 says:

    Nice post. For their sake, I hope Fulham can hang on to Bullard and Hangeland through this season.

  2. Simon burke says:

    Surely its been Fulham turfing out all the second rate Americans that has had the biggest effect.

    Just kidding – the defense and the unlikely points against the big boys seem to make sense to me – Bullard will go if anyone comes in – I am surprised Newcastle havent had a bid yet and rumour of Arsenal sniffing about.
    Hangeland has come from nowhere, he's 27 – where was he before? Arsenal were sniffing round him too I believe but that talk has died down a bit. Johnson has begun to find some form too up front.

    They have a good and likable manager – one of the more likable teams in the league inspite of their bizarre chairman.

  3. kevin says:

    I have a feeling Clint is going to give AJ a run for his money for the top scorer this season for the club. I have Clint down for scoring 6 more goals to end up with 10. I figure AJ scores 7/8 more to end up with 11/12. I figure Nevland can score 2 at most if he's kept on as super-sub and i doubt Zamora will score more than 2.

  4. FulhamJules says:

    Your picture sums it up. Players like Quedrue and Rosenior shipped 60 at the back, but Hangeland and Pantsil fight for every ball.

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