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I know I’ve said this before but that first international break really does annoy me. Just when you’re right back into your club football it’s break time...madness! Never mind, only another two of those before Christmas!
Having now secured their qualification, England will no doubt be clear favourites to win the World Cup as all the newspapers go OTT...and the build up will start now, at least nine months away from the opening game! Do you think we might just be a little tired of it all by the time June 11 comes around in South Africa?
Anyway, back to more important matters and domestic football. I’m looking forward to our trip down to Fulham on Sunday. We’ll be arriving there in somewhat different circumstances to our last visit. Last season’s final game of the campaign saw us pretty much in party mood, having already secured our European qualification and looking ahead to the following week’s FA Cup final.
This time we’re looking for our first away win of the season, not our ninth, as it was back in May. I’m confident we can achieve it, I feel Fulham are certainly beatable and won’t be as decent as they were last season. I think seventh place for them last time around was quite an achievement and I think they’ll do well to secure a top half finish this season. Their home form is fairly consistent but having laid the bogey last May I’m sure we’re capable of repeating the victory this weekend.
Reasons for my confidence are primarily embedded in our new acquisitions and the fact that a number of our players are returning to fitness after long lay-offs. We’ll obviously be much stronger with the return of Yakubu and Arteta in due course, and with Bilyaletdinov, Distin and Heitinga added to the ranks it now gives the manager much needed options. Suddenly the squad’s looking a lot healthier and at last we’ll be able to talk of competition for places. For too long now the team has virtually picked itself.
Obviously we don’t know at this stage if all three of the new boys will start on Sunday, but certainly Distin will. He gave a very good account of himself on his debut against Wigan. The other two have been away on international duty but thankfully for Moyes (and us!) neither figured on Wednesday evening. Both were unused substitutes so we’ll have no talk of tiredness etc!
Our new fresh faces and our experienced ones returning to fitness will be very much needed over the course of the next four weeks. We’ve a lot of games to fit in between now and yet another dreaded international break coming your way on October 10th. Enjoy the domestic bliss while you can!
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