THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Premier League ~ Martin Jol is a simple man
There were plenty of subplots in Fulham's victory over their west London rivals QPR. It was the first time the visitors had faced Bobby Zamora since he left for Loftus Road in January. Fulham were also playing against a team managed by Mark Hughes, who left Craven Cottage last June as he thought the club lacked ambition. In the build-up, Martin Jol claimed QPR had a long way to go if they were to be considered a bigger club than Fulham. It was his transfer dealings and tactics that earned the victory, though. Pavel Pogrebnyak, the Russian striker signed from Stuttgart as Zamora's replacement, scored his second goal in two games to give Fulham the win.

Jol changed tactics, too, in an attempt to improve his side's away form: "Recently, we have been playing 4-3-3 but we switched back to 4-4-2 because we beat them at our ground using the same system – and I’m a simple man." Simple or not, the result leaves Fulham 12 points ahead of QPR, who are only above the relegation zone on goal difference.

Championship ~ Portsmouth's fans come out to see their team suffer
The saga at Portsmouth took yet another twist last week as the club were put into administration for a second time. The ten-point deduction imposed by the Football League left Pompey in the Championship's relegation zone. Following 30 redundancies at the club, the administrators took the late decision to cut ticket prices for the game against Leeds United, in an attempt to bring more fans into Fratton Park. The result was a crowd of 17,571, Portsmouth's third highest of the season. But the goalless draw has done little to help their chances of survival. They lie five points adrift of safety, with a game in hand over 21st-place Bristol City. With games against Middlesbrough, Reading and Brighton – all of whom are in the promotion race – coming up, Pompey's chances of survival look bleak.

League One ~ Bournemouth's chairman turns the air blue
Eddie Mitchell was cut off by Radio 5 Live presenter Mark Chapman after swearing three times during an interview on Saturday evening. The Bournemouth chairman had been asked onto the show to clarify rumours that the wife of the club's co-owner, Maxim Danim, had given a team-talk at half-time in their match against MK Dons. Mitchell explained: "She's a very passionate person. She's not very football-intelligent but she watched the first half and asked me if she could watch the players come into the tunnel and wish them all the best." Mitchell, who has previously come onto the pitch and argued with fans, swore at Chapman after he asked if it was the chairman, and not the manager, who decided who was allowed in the changing rooms at half time. Whatever was said in the team-talk, it did not have the desired effect. Bournemouth lost the match 1-0 and are now five points off the play-off places.

League Two ~ Port Vale impress amid turmoil off the pitch
Port Vale extended their unbeaten run to five games and moved to within three points of the play-offs following a 2-1 victory against Northampton. This is despite the club fighting to avoid administration after failing to pay a tax bill. As a result of the outstanding payment, the Football League have imposed a transfer embargo on Port Vale, meaning the signing for former LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall could not be completed. The club are also being sued by their shirt sponsor, Harlequin Property, over the repayment of a £125,000 loan. They have also missed a £19,616 instalment on a city council loan and have taken out a £277,000 mortgage on their stadium, Vale Park. Manager Micky Adams has said he will continue to aim for promotion, though the points deduction that comes with administration would all but end those hopes. Tom Hocking

Comments (1)
Comment by geobra 2012-02-27 17:17:58

The match of the weekend was surely Lyon's 4-4 home draw with PSG. An emotional roller-coaster of the sort that is very rare these days. And as Lyon scored three spectacular goes in six minutes to go 3-1 up, perhaps their 7-1 win in Zagreb is not so suspect after all. The game had everything, including a PSG equaliser five seconds from the end after being 4-2 down. Great stuff for those of us who refuse to subscribe to satellite TV and so couldn't watch Milan v Juventus!!

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