What I’m watching today: Fulham and Clint Dempsey up first
The hands are typing extra quick this morning, because I want to post this post, whip up a short stack of buckwheat pancakes (delicious and nutritious, a Saturday morning tradition at ProSoccerTalk headquarters) with Everton-Sunderland in the background and then settle in for Fulham-Swansea. After that, I’ve got a full day of MLS monitoring – but I’ll worry about that later as I merge into my St. Patrick’s Day edition of soccer:
As for the Fulham’s 11 a.m. (ET) contest from sold-out Craven Cottage, it’s our next chance to see how high Clint Dempsey can climb in his ongoing assault on scoring records. Still hunting that potential big summer move, the high-flying U.S. international has 12 Premiership goals this year. He also has 18 in all competitions; could the man reach a milepost 20 this year? Given his form, and with 10 matches to remaining, I’d assign pretty good odds that he will.
It’s not just Dempsey that gets my soccer shorts going crazy for this one. I like Swansea City! I enjoy seeing the Welsh side play out of the back, their defenders clearly comfortable on the ball. Here’s what Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers recently told the Daily Mail about how he likes to play and possess the ball: “My biggest influence has been Spanish and Dutch football, that Total Football idea,” he said. “The British type of football never suited me as a player. It was very much smash it up the pitch and play the percentages. The only percentage I was interested in was possession.”
Indeed. So if you watch today, check out Swansea’s passing accuracy, consistently ranking highly among EPL sides. The Swans aren’t Barcelona, but points for trying – and in terms of passes completed, they aren’t exactly galaxies away. Like Fulham, they are safely out of the relegation zone, so no need for the cautious approach in this one.
Here’s a little more on the Fulham-Swansea contest, this from another man who appreciates the Dutch approach. It’s Fulham manager Martin Jol, who appreciates Van Gogh and the 4-3-3 and all things Dutch because, well … because he’s Dutch.