0-0 and 2-0By: Sam | July 9th, 2011
A 0-0 draw against NSI Runavik means another step in the Europa League journey. The next step is in Belfast, against Crusaders, in Seaview, a stadium that is just under a ten minute walk from where I live. Handy enough and means I can say ‘I watched Fulham away in the Europa League qualifying rounds’ – without having to go to somewhere like Amkar Perm, which is a bit more than a ten minute walk for myself.
But back to Fulham playing NSI in the Faroe Islands. I wasn’t able, and I imagine many, many other Fulham fans, to watch the game as it was being played. I scanned through the BBC report of the game afterwards and noticed that AJ missed a few goalscoring opportunities. A point that stands out because of rumours. AJ has been linked with West Brom, West Ham and QPR. Not being able to take chances against a team of part-timers might influence a move away from Fulham. Or the opposite. Other clubs could think: ‘Flip, if he can’t score against those up in the Faroes, who can he score against?’ Besides this point, well done to NSI as they recorded a first draw in Europe, which sounds a bit patronising but is meant with sincerity.
Another game I couldn’t watch live was Fulham’s friendly against AFC Wimbledon. Fulham fielded a mixture of youngsters, fringe players and established players but lost 2-0. Has Martin Jol told the team to just take it very easy in these first couple of games? You would’ve thought Fulham could beat NSI Runavik and Wimbledon by a mountain of goals. Fulham didn’t but realistically neither games didn’t carry much weight or stress and why exert too much effort?
Crusaders this Thursday and I hope, for selfish reasons, that they play a starting XI of established players because they’ll be turning up ten minutes down from my house. And of course so that they progress to the next stage of the Europa League. I heard Crusaders have injury concerns and might not be able to play their regular XI themselves. But Crusaders will put out a great performance nonetheless and, as Europa League 2nd Round qualifers go, is a game I’m very much looking forward to.