Fulham - Sunderland Preview: Cottagers chase top-eight finish as Black Cats aim to end six-game winless streak
Martin Jol will be hoping that his players can build on their 1-0 win at Liverpool by beating Martin O’Neill's men, who struggle to take maximum points from the Stadium of Light
By Shane Farrington
Hughes, Hangeland, Kelly, J-A Riise
Frei, Murphy, Dembele, Duff
Bardsley, O'Shea, Turner, Bridge
McClean, Cattermole, Colback, Sessegnon
Fulham boss Martin Jol is unlikely to make too many changes from the side which delivered the Cottagers their first-ever victory at Anfield in midweek. The only change could be to bring Kerim Frei into the line-up in place of their other promising youngster, Alex Kacaniklic.
Pavel Pogrebnyak is again expected to lead the line with Clint Dempsey playing just off of the Russian forward. As for injuries, Zdenek Grygera (knee), Steve Sidwell (groin) and Bryan Ruiz (metatarsal) have all been ruled out of action until next season.
Martin O’Neill could hand on-loan Wayne Bridge a place in his starting line-up, meaning a reshuffle at the back, with John O’Shea moving into a centre-back position and Matthew Kilgallon dropping to the bench.
Titus Bramble is close to a return to action following a spell out with an Achilles injury and could make the bench. Wes Brown (knee), Connor Wickham (ankle), Sebastian Larsson and Kieran Richardson (both groin) all remain sidelined.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Fulham sit third in the current Premier League form table, having won four, drawn one and lost one of their last six matches.
- Clint Dempsey (pictured right) is the Cottagers' top scorer this season with 16 league goals so far. Dempsey can be backed at 5.50 with 188Bet to score the first goal in this match.
- The reverse fixture earlier in the season at the Stadium of Light finished goalless, although the Black Cats hit the woodwork twice in the match.
- The last seven matches between the two teams have only produced five goals in total; this run of games has included four goalless draws.
- Sunderland have only been leading on one occasion in their last 13 league matches - against QPR.
- The Black Cats' midfielder Lee Cattermole is one of three Premier League players to have received 10 yellow cards this season. The other two are Arsenal’s Alex Song and Blackburn’s Jason Lowe.
- Martin O'Neill has lost just six of his 22 matches in charge of Sunderland but, having started his reign with a run of five wins in six games, he has now seen his team win just twice in their last 12 matches.
- Sunderland currently sit 11th in the table and are targeting a top-10 finish; O'Neill has only ever finished in the bottom half of the table once in his eight seasons as a Premier League manager.
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Top 3 Predictions
Fulham 7-8 Sunderland
- 16.39 %
Fulham 2-1 Sunderland
- 12.02 %
Fulham 2-0 Sunderland
- 11.48 %
|Premier League (EPL)||17 Aug 2013||Sunderland 0 - Fulham 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||2 Mar 2013||Sunderland 2 - Fulham 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||18 Nov 2012||Fulham 1 - Sunderland 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||6 May 2012||Fulham 2 - Sunderland 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||19 Nov 2011||Sunderland 0 - Fulham 0|
|8 Dec 2013||Fulham 2 - Aston Villa 0||EPL|
|4 Dec 2013||Fulham 1 - Tottenham 2||EPL|
|30 Nov 2013||West Ham 3 - Fulham 0||EPL|
|23 Nov 2013||Fulham 1 - Swansea City 2||EPL|
|9 Nov 2013||Liverpool 4 - Fulham 0||EPL|
|3||John Arne Riise||Defender|
|27||Ahmed El Mohamady||Midfielder|
The Belgium international has developed into an impressive midfielder after initially joining Fulham as a forward. His recent performances have seen him linked with a move to a number of the Cottagers' Premier League rivals, although the home side will be desperate to keep hold of him. With just one league goal to his name this season he probably needs to get himself on the score sheet more often to take his game onto the next level.
The 27-year-old has been one of Sunderland’s stand-out players of the season. The former PSG man has netted seven times in 34 league appearances for the club this season, just one less than the club’s leading scorer Nicklas Bendtner. He possesses the ability to create something out of nothing and his clever movement and tricky dribbling make him a handful for opposition defences. The visitors will be hoping he can produce some magic to end their recent winless run.
Fulham go into the game looking to build on their midweek win over Liverpool by grabbing another victory to boost their hopes of a top-eight finish. Sunderland sit comfortably in mid-table despite failing to win any of their last six league matches and this run could well extend by at least another match. Fulham to grab a narrow win.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed