Technically, the 2011/12 season is still going strong
The fixture list has been kind to Fulham for the coming season. There is a chance to start the season strongly, which will be vital given that games against Newcastle, Villa, Everton away as well as Arsenal and Liverpool at Craven Cottage are part of the run-in.
June 19th, 2012
The Premier League ended just over one month ago with that incredible finish that saw Manchester City winning the title in the dying minutes against QPR. Euro 2012 is building up steam nicely and the knock-out stages are being filled up with nations qualifying though their groups.
Yet this morning, at 09:00am, attention was turned at once towards next year. The 2012/13 season hasn’t officially started yet. It doesn’t properly get going until the transfer window swings open on Monday 2nd July, but for today, all of the attention is on the upcoming season.
Today saw the release of the Premier League fixtures for the upcoming league season. Club websites will have been inundated with supporters desperate to understand who they’ll be facing at key times in the decision and when they need to prepare themselves for the long journeys to all corners of the country.
For Fulham, the fixtures offer a chance to start the season much, much better than they did last year. Despite the obvious success of qualifying through the early stages of the Europa League, it wasn’t until the seventh league game that Martin Jol’s side registered their first win. Draws with Aston Villa, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers and away to West Brom looked on their own as acceptable results but mixed into a run with defeats at the hands of Wolves and Newcastle, the start could only be described as poor.
Of course, the second match of the coming season away to Manchester United isn’t the easiest of early tests but it is surrounded by a handful of games that Jol will be aiming to win. Fulham, if they hit the ground running, can get off to a very solid start.
Norwich City will be visitors to Craven Cottage on the opening day of the season. It’ll be the Canaries’ first competitive match without Paul Lambert, the man who managed them to consecutive promo, and should mean Fulham start off by earning maximum points.
Fulham’s opening two games, at home to Norwich and then away to Manchester United, are followed by trip across London to take on newly-promoted West Ham United and a home clash with West Bromwich Albion.
The fixtures over the Christmas period include a clash away at Queen Park Rangers on Saturday 15th December and a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Saturday 22nd before Southampton arrive at the Cottage on Boxing Day. Swansea City will be visitors to SW6 three days later, followed by an away day to West Bromwich Albion on New Year’s Day.
The other notable fixtures during the campaign include, Chelsea away on Wednesday 28th November and at home on Saturday 9th March. Tottenham visit Fulham on Saturday 1st December with the reverse fixture scheduled for 16th March. QPR will be guests to Craven Cottage on 30th March.
All of those dates are of course assuming that the television companies don’t start playing around with schedules.
For now, there is much to be done at Fulham. Danny Murphy and Pavel Pogrebnyak are out of contract in 12 days time and have been linked with moves to other Premier League sides. They have both, separately, stated their desire to work out deals with Fulham but could be swayed by interest.
There also remains huge amounts of speculation surrounding the futures of Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele. On an almost daily basis, the pair are linked with a different European club. The attention is obviously due to the splendid seasons that they both had last year, and it’ll be vital that Martin Jol is able to sort them out as quickly as possible. Even if it means that both depart the club, he’ll need as much time as possible to replace them. The Cottagers will need points on the board.
Written by Ryan Keaney