Top half challengers – Fulham in danger if manager hunt falters
With Roy Hodsgon gone, the Fulham he created is at risk of slipping if the squad stays small
Whether the loss of Roy Hodgson is seismic or seamless will depend not only on who Fulham get in to replace their former manager, but how quickly they do it.
Fulham were on a upward curve with the 62-year-old at the helm, and remain a short 11/1 to get a top six spot, but with the process to find a new boss lengthening, a 7/1 price for the team to be relegated is not lacking in value either.
Sven-Goran Eriksson is the current 6/4 favourite to be the new Craven Cottage manager after Dave Jones (7/2) today stated his committment to Cardiff City.
Mark Schwarzer has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal and it’s little surprise why – he was a key reason for the team conceding just 46 league goals last term. With Pascal Zuberbuhler also rumoured to be on his way out, 24-year-old David Stockdale could be thrust into an uncomfortable limelight.
Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes formed a formidable partnership in central defence last term, playing 66 league games between them, and contributed to Fulham’s Europa League final run.
Indeed, with no European distractions this year, Fulham’s small squad should be more refreshed for the rigours of the Premier League and could even go on a cup run. They are 33/1 to win the Carling Cup.
Newboy Philippe Senderos gives extra top-flight experience, while John Pantsil will have benefitted from a World Cup with Ghana.
Fulham’s midfield is a strong one with classy players like Damien Duff, Danny Murphy and Simon Davies finding a home and subsequently good form at Craven Cottage.
Clint Dempsey showed just how accomplished a player he is at the World Cup with the USA, and Dickson Etuhu and Jonathan Greening add options.
Bobby Zamora emerged as a towering striker last year, equally capable of scoring with a powerful header or a long-range cracker. He is a 33/1 shot to win the Golden Boot, but only notched eight league goals last season.
The England hopeful formed a superb understanding with Zoltan Gera, who was pushed up as a support striker in Andrew Johnson’s absence.
Johnson’s injury is persisting and with only Diomansy Kamara in support, an attack which scored just 39 league goals last year needs a serious bolster.
Without Hodgson to galvanise and inspire the troops Fulham’s squad looks brittle and short in numbers. They are 15/1 to get the most Premier League points if given a 35-point head start but that seems unlikely.