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Fulham: 2011 Team Preview | EPL Betting Odds

English Premier League – Fulham 2011 Preview

Fulham has already started their regular season games for the 2011-12 season in the UEFA Europa League. These few games have given us insight into the team that new manager Martin Jol will field in the Premier League when it starts this Saturday.

Odds to with the 2011-12 Premiership outright 2500/1

Jol, who takes over for long-time manager Mark Hughes, was a nice hire, but Hughes was successful during his time at Fulham, and many didn’t understand the move away from him. Nonetheless, the Danish boss has inherited a very well-built team, and will be looked upon to take what Hughes built to the next level.

Hughes mostly focused on offense when he was with the team, and the squad improved dramatically during his tenure there.

Jol has continued that with certain transfers this summer, as well as holding on to the offensive core that he had already. He has also alluded that the clubs transfers aren’t close to being finished.

In the front, Andrew Johnson leads the group. Johnson scored just three goals in 27 total league games last year (he was a sub in 12). This year, in just six games in the UEFA, he has already netted that same amount. It looks like the team is ready to move forward, with Johnson as their main option on offense, and it seems to be working out for them so far.

Johnson is backed up by fellow forward Bobby Zamora. Zamora was injured for the majority of last season, but looks to be coming back strong this season. [ad-3678122]

In the midfield, the team has a strong group of players led by American Clint Dempsey. Dempsey is the leader in the engine room, and last season scored 12 goals, having just missed one game all year.

Dempsey also dictates how the team plays, and when he is on fire, the team rides with him. He is, though, known for taking far too many shots for a midfielder, and that didn’t change last year when he took 131 shots, with just 44 on-goal.

As for the defense, the team has a good duo in Chris Baird and Brede Hangeland.

Both are tremendous at getting out in front of opposing strikers and making solid tackles. The team will need an even stronger presence from the two this year, keeper Mark Schwarzer continues to struggle to take his game to the next level.

Schwarzer does an adequate job between the sticks, but doesn’t seem to be ready to take his team further into the Premiership playoffs. In 2010-11, Scwarzer conceded 37 goals in 31 games. The other seven games that he missed, he was replaced by the team’s backup.

Matt’s Fulham Prediction

The Cottagers has pieces in place to make a serious run at a placement finish, and it isn’t a far stretch to say they will finish the season in the upper half of the table. If the team can add another striker, they could even go further than that, and may be able to challenge the upper echelon teams.

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