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We are all Fulham fans – At least for the next 12 hours or so…

1 month ago
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Yes, we all need to be Fulham fans, at least for today.

I am writing this on Wednesday morning, so hopefully it will make the cut on The Mag and go up sometime today, ahead of the match tonight.

Fulham fans with a massive match tonight, only trailing 2-1 to Liverpool from the first leg, the West London side with every chance of getting to Wembley.

Marco Silva:

“They [Fulham fans] are going to be crucial, they are going to play a big part.

“We need them behind us. Some moments we are going to be playing well; other moments probably Liverpool will make us suffer.

“We need them always behind the team to make Craven Cottage really difficult for Liverpool.

“In these types of games, the crowd can make a big impact.”

Well, here’s hoping the Fulham fans can make the difference tonight, although they are conspicuous by their absence so far when it comes to Saturday’s game. Three days to go until the FA Cup match against Newcastle United and only around 11,000 tickets so far sold in the home sections (including no doubt many Newcastle fans taking advantage of the fact home fans not buying many), with still some 9,000+ unsold seats.

I think this is a very positive situation for Newcastle United and I’m not just talking about how few Fulham fans will be there on Saturday.

Whilst Eddie Howe and his players have had a clear two weeks to rest and then prepare for the FA Cup match, you know that whatever else Marco Silva might claim, for sure they are throwing everything at this Liverpool game tonight. Why wouldn’t you??

They could be only 90 minutes from Wembley and Fulham’s players and manager will be giving it the proverbial 110 per cent, without a thought for Newcastle on Saturday.

I would naturally want Fulham to win anyway (well, Liverpool lose…) but I think it would then be a massive extra shot in the arm if indeed, Fulham do get through tonight. Any way they do it would be great but I wouldn’t mind extra-time and penalties as well, just to knacker them even more physically and mentally.

I really doubt just how much interest there even is at Fulham from manager / club / players when it comes to trying to win on Saturday against Newcastle United and probably that explains why so few Fulham fans have bought tickets for the FA Cup game.

If Silva’s team did go through, then the League Cup final against Chelsea would be played on Sunday 25 February, with the FA Cup fifth round games the following midweek. If Fulham did get through to that final, I just don’t see why they would be fancying an FA Cup game a few days later.

As well as the League Cup semi-final tonight and Newcastle on Saturday in the FA Cup, Fulham on Tuesday have a big Premier League game. Everton are fourth bottom and if they won, they would go only two points behind Fulham.

So I think with these three games over a six day stretch, I reckon in order of importance to Fulham, it is Liverpool easily the most important, then Everton in the Premier League, Newcastle in the FA Cup a very distant third.

I don’t think it would take a genius to guess that Marco Silva may very well play pretty much the entire same team against both Liverpool and Everton, but ‘rotate’ (rest!) a majority of that side when facing Newcastle United.

If Newcastle United can get past Fulham in the FA Cup fourth round, it could open up a real opportunity, with what be only two more wins needed to get to Wembley (for the semi-final).

A number of Premier League clubs exited in the third round – Arsenal, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brentford and Burnley.

At most, there will be nine other Premier League clubs (as well as Newcastle) in the fifth round, as there are six fourth round ties between clubs outside the top tier.

Chelsea or Villa will go out and either Tottenham or Man City.

With Wolves away at local rivals West Brom and Forest away at Bristol City (who beat West Ham in the third round), it would be no surprise that if Newcastle did beat Fulham, the other 15 clubs in the fifth round could have a split of seven Premier League and eight from the lower leagues.

Eddie Howe went full first (available!) eleven against the Mackems and I have no doubt he will do the same in this fourth round match, whilst as I mentioned above, Fulham have that Carabao Cup semi-final competing for their attentions only three days earlier.

It would of course have been preferable to get drawn at home in this FA Cup fourth round but all things considered, the way the draw has fallen overall, we can have no complaints as getting past Fulham would really open up some exciting possibilities.

With the final third round replays completed on Wednesday night, we can now see the final FA Cup fourth round ties all confirmed:

Watford v Southampton

Blackburn Rovers v Wrexham

Bournemouth v Swansea City

West Brom v Wolves

Bristol City v Nottingham Forest

Leicester City v Birmingham City

Sheffield Wednesday v Coventry City

Chelsea v Aston Villa

Ipswich Town v Maidstone United

Liverpool v Norwich City

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City

Leeds United v Plymouth Argyle

Everton v Luton Town

Newport County v Manchester United

Sheffield United v Brighton

Fulham v Newcastle United

All 2023-24 FA Cup Round Dates

Extra Preliminary Round – Saturday 5 August 2023
Preliminary Round – Saturday 19 August 2023
First Round Qualifying – Saturday 2 September 2023
Second Round Qualifying – Saturday 16 September 2023
Third Round Qualifying – Saturday 30 September 2023
Fourth Round Qualifying – Saturday 14 October 2023
First Round Proper – Saturday 4 November 2023
Second Round Proper – Saturday 2 December 2023
Third Round Proper – Saturday 6 January 2024
Fourth Round Proper – Saturday 27 January 2024
Fifth Round Proper – Wednesday 28 February 2024
Quarter-final – Saturday 16 March 2024
Semi-final – Saturday 20 April 2024
The Final – Saturday 25 May 2024

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