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After what can only be described as a lackluster display against Arsenal, does Fulham have what it takes to fight their way out of the relegation zone and survive for another year in the Premiership?

Most importantly, Fulham needs more productivity out of their attack.  They will get a huge lift when captain Brian McBride returns from injury in the coming weeks, but this is a team sport, and it will take a team effort to survive.  What I cannot understand is why manager Roy Hodgson continues to play with only one striker.  This is like playing an entire (American) football game in Prevent-Defense, and in the words of John Madden “Prevent-Defense only prevents you from winning”.  It would behoove Hodgson to put a little more time into his attacking tactics and aim to put a few more balls into the back of the net instead of hoping to just prevent your opponent from scoring.

The return of McBride however, would certainly bring the biggest boost to the play of Clint Dempsey.  While Dempsey has spent much of this season as the lone striker and has even found himself as Fulham’s leading goal scorer (if it isn’t his skill then it is most certainly the flashy new Nike Mercurial boot that has boosted his goal scoring potential), but Dempsey is a midfielder and will better serve Fulham as a pacey winger doing battle in the midfield as opposed to combating the giants that lurk along the back line of many Premiership Teams.

Fulham also desperately needs to upgrade their central defense as well.  Carlos Bocanegra and Moritz Volz provide a defensive force on the outsides, but Aaron Hughes and Dejan Stefanovic are perpetually incompetent in the center.  The signing of Norwegian center back Bred Hangeland will be a huge boost to the defense, but Hodgson would do well to invest more money in stiffening up the rest of his defense.

It is a long road ahead for Fulham with the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool coming to town, and away games at Manchester City, Newcastle, and surging Everton.  Roy Hodgson will have to motivate his team to take as many points from home games as they can and assure that they walk away with nothing less than a 1-point tie at away matches.

So with a little luck, some motivation, and good old-fashioned hard work there is no reason that the Cottagers can’t survive for another go in the Premiership.



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