Fulham desperately need to end the poor run of results and escape the danger zone, with home fixture against struggling Southampton a perfect opportunity to do so. The Saints appear to be on the downtrend at the moment and they could easily return to the bottom three after this game.
Very important match for Fulham
Fulham’s transition from a defence-minded side to one of the most entertaining teams in the elite division did not go very smoothly as Martin Jol needed to find a new balance in the team following numerous arrivals and departures in the summer. The Cottagers managed to keep the results respectable until mid November, but the busy schedule and numerous selection problems clearly took the wind out of their sails. While the team have only won one of their last ten Premier League fixtures, Fulham remain a force to be reckoned with at Craven Cottage, and a match against one of the worst travelers in the top flight looks an excellent opportunity to kick-start their season. Martin Jol should have several important players back to the side and that could be just the boost the Cottagers need to return to the right track.
Steve Sidwell is back from suspension, but Bryan Ruiz, Mahamadou Diarra and Mladen Petric are all doubtful.
Disappointing showing against Sunderland
Despite possessing a pretty inexperienced squad that largely struggled in the opening exchanges, Southampton did manage to climb out of the relegation zone and proved they can mount a serious survival challenge. Some good showings at their St Mary’s were the main reason for team’s uptrend in fortunes, but the Saints continue to struggle on the road. While beating sorry QPR at Loftus Road, Southampton lost other six away fixtures, thus showing they are unable to replicate their home form on the travels. There is every chance the players will be very low on confidence after losing at home to relegation rivals Sunderland, while the absence of team’s most creative player Adam Lallana is proving to be a major issue. On top of that, the Saints’ lack of experience on full-back positions and in midfield is likely to be a big problem when facing a side like Fulham.
Adam Lallana continues to miss out, but boss Nigel Adkins has no fresh injury worries ahead of the trip to London.
Fulham may be going through a rough patch at the moment, but their quality and experience should help the Cottagers shine in a very important match for them. Southampton are simply awful on the travels and without Adam Lallana they look very ineffective up front. Clear home win for me.
Top pick: Home win 1.91 (10/11) @ BetFred
Alternative pick 1: Fulham to score two or more 1.73 (8/11) @ Stan James
Alternative pick 2: Fulham to win to nil 3.60 (13/5) @ Coral