Premier League Preview – Fulham
The Premier League is back after an exciting summer of football but there is nothing quite like a brand new season of club football to get the juices flowing.
Once again, opening day sees the Eagles take on a newly promoted side but this fixture could not have worked out much better. It is the first game back in the top division for fellow Londoners Fulham, who signed off before their absence with a game against Palace at Craven Cottage.
Not only that but Roy Hodgson celebrates extending his current deal with Palace to 2020 by returning to a club where his time managing them is very fondly recalled by many. You only have to read our chat with Richard Osman ‘The Fulham View’ to see the description ‘God bless Uncle Roy’ which says everything about how Fulham fans still have a lot of love for the former England boss.
However, there is little room for sentiment as both teams will be looking to get off the mark at the first opportunity. The hosts who find themselves in the Premier League after a successful season in the Championship culminating in victory in the play offs, were reported to have just sixteen players turning up for pre-season training.
That had a lot to do with their hectic transfer window dealings but what many people have forgotten is that the club had around eight loan players last season which is a loophole that they are unable to exploit in the Premier League. Regardless, they have added plenty of quality to their side which may take a little time to gel.
The visitors make the short trip across London in bouyant mood after a good pre-season and what is deemed by many to be a shrewd transfer window, not least to keep hold of star man Wilfried Zaha as well as addressing a few problem areas.
TEAM NEWS (courtesy of Physio Room)
CRYSTAL PALACE – Jonny Williams and Connor Wickham both have muscular injuries so will miss out. New signing Max Meyer will need a little more time getting up to speed while Scott Dann contnues to recover from his knee injury from last season.
FULHAM – Popular defender Tim Ream will face a late fitness test on a knock while Floyd Ayite (knock) will miss out along with Alfie Mawson (knee).
The last time these sides met in a competitive match was the final game of the 2013/14 season at Craven Cottage. A Dwight Gayle double was not enough to end the season on a high thanks to goals from Cauley Woodrow and Chris David. Unfortunately for the hosts, that signalled the end of a run in the top division until their promotion last season.
Who Scored man of the match – Dwight Gayle (8.3)
Last FIVE meetings between the two sides;
- 30/07/2016 Fulham 3-1 Crystal Palace
- 01/08/2015 Fulham 1-1 Crystal Palace
- 11/05/2014 Fulham 2-2 Crystal Palace
- 21/10/2013 Crystal Palace 1-4 Fulham
- 01/01/2005 Fulham 3-1 Crystal Palace
ONE TO WATCH
KOUASSI RYAN SESSEGNON
Former clubs – none
The youngster has been making headlines since he made his first team debut for Fulham in 2016. After last season’s promotion winning campaign, plenty of clubs have been keeping tabs on the talented left sided player who is well on the way to making a century of appearances for the club. It is only a matter of time until appearances for England at several youth levels will end up with a full international cap.
Final league position – 15th
The Premier League promises to be as competitive as ever outside of the top six and will likely be as tight in the bottom half as it was at some points last season which Stoke, Swansea and West Brom found out to their detriment. Fulham have invested well but with a number of new faces, the new look side may take a little time to get used to each other. There is enough quality to see them finish outside of the drop zone but will need to get up to speed quickly.
- TEB prediction – away win
- Who Scored prediction – draw
BETTING ODDS (courtesy of Paddy Power)
- Home – 6/4
- Draw – 23/10
- Away – 15/8
- Both teams to score – 8/11
Find our what the guys from Fulham Focus told TEB in our series of articles building up to the new season in the View From The Opposition