Watching football on television is not Bobby Zamora's idea ofa relaxing night at home. "Football is 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it's not something I want to do," the Fulham striker said.
Which is probably just as well, as he will have missed extensive recent coverage of Manchester City, Fulham's opponents at Craven Cottage today. There is little point in scaring yourself needlessly before facing a team who have already presented their title credentials in London with a 5-1 beating of Tottenham Hotspur.
Brede Hangeland, the Norway defender, doesn't need to watch footage of City as he has had several close-ups of their main dangermen. He kept Sergio Aguero off the scoresheet in the Europa League final against Atletico Madrid in 2010, made sure Edin Dzeko did not score in an earlier round against Wolfsburg, but has been less successful against Carlos Tevez in the Premier League.
"I've played against all three of them, and they're all world-class players, which is why they're at City. I'm not sure I have any one that I prefer to play against. Whoever we come up against we haveto put in a really good performance, make sure we're organised and not make any mistakes. We can't really do much about their line-up, we'll just focus on our own game."
Their game was not good enough to prevent City winning 4-1 at Craven Cottage last season – Tevez scoring twice – and the new manager, Martin Jol, has made few changes so far. "Last season is one I've forgotten!" joked Hangeland. "No, we know that on a good day we can get results against most teams, especially at the Cottage,we've proved that many times. Obviously there are small differences with any manager, but I think we're still recognisable from the last two seasons."
But Fulham have not had too many good days in the League this season, taking only two points from a possible 12. Both teams played European ties in midweek, and if Fulham took any comfort from City drawing at home to Napoli, their own 1-1 Europa League draw at home to FC Twente on Thursday showed their own shortcomings.
Hangeland refuses to blame the European workload for League results. "We learned two years ago that you can easily combine the two if you approach them the right way. When you have a lot of games it's a sign you have done well in the past so you shouldn't be worried about it.
"I know City will have world-class players in every position, but it's one you look forward to. That's one of the things about this league, you get to play against some of the best players in the world. If you look at their squad, of course they will be title contenders, along with a few other teams, so it will be an exciting one to watch." Bobby Zamora, take note.Reuse content