Southampton - Fulham Preview: Cottagers looking to keep up unbeaten run against Saints
Martin Jol will be trying to arrest his side's poor away form against a shaky home defence, but faces a big challenge without Dimitar Berbatov pulling the strings
By Tom J Doyle
Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Fox
Puncheon, Ramirez, Ward-Prowse, Lallana
Riether, Hughes, Hangelaand, Riise
Ruiz, Baird, Sidwell, Duff
Home side Southampton have a clean bill of health except for youngster Jack Cork, who will be out for a minimum of five weeks after sustaining a knee injury during last week's League Cup tie.
They have no suspended players either, so Nigel Adkins will be able to work with a near-full squad of players, which will be heartening given the Saints' poor start to the 2012-13 campaign.
Morgan Schneiderlin should be back for the hosts to screen Fulham's attacks in front of the defence, while Ricky Lambert and Jose Fonte returned during last week's 3-1 defeat at Everton.
The visitors have more to worry about in terms of injuries, with striker Dimitar Berbatov (thigh) out until at least October 20.
Kerim Frei (groin) has returned to training and is in contention for his first Fulham appearance of the season, and Phillippe Senderos (foot) could be back to bolster the back line.
Simon Davies (neck) has no return date as of yet, while Mahamadou Diarra (knee) is out until at least November.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Southampton have lost five of their last six matches in the Premier League.
- The Saints have dropped nine points from winning positions this season.
- A massive 83% of Southampton's matches have had over two goals scored in total.
- Southampton have conceded at least two goals in five of their last six matches in the Premier League.
- There have been over two goals scored in Fulham's last six games in the Premier League
- Fulham are undefeated in their last five matches against Southampton in all competitions.
- A total of 78% of Fulham's conceded goals were conceded away from home.
- Southampton have played Fulham six times at home, with each side winning three games.
- Fulham's Giorgos Karagounis (pictured) is one goal away from 50 strikes in league football, in a decorated career that has seen him play in the Greek Super League, Serie A and Portuguese Liga.
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Top 3 Predictions
Southampton 1-2 Fulham
- 15.43 %
Southampton 1-1 Fulham
- 9.65 %
Southampton 2-1 Fulham
- 7.72 %
|Premier League (EPL)||1 Feb 2014||Fulham 0 - Southampton 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Oct 2013||Southampton 2 - Fulham 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Dec 2012||Fulham 1 - Southampton 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||7 Oct 2012||Southampton 2 - Fulham 2|
|12 Apr 2014||Southampton 0 - Cardiff City 1||EPL|
|5 Apr 2014||Manchester City 4 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|29 Mar 2014||Southampton 4 - Newcastle United 0||EPL|
|23 Mar 2014||Tottenham 3 - Southampton 2||EPL|
|15 Mar 2014||Southampton 4 - Norwich City 2||EPL|
|6||Jose Rocha Fonte||Defender|
|21||Guilherme Do Prado||Midfielder|
|3||John Arne Riise||Defender|
The £12 million Bologna signing faded badly against Everton after a bright start, but the attacking midfielder was inspirational when Southampton blew away Aston Villa with four second-half goals two weeks ago. It looks as if he enjoys playing in front of the Saints crowd, and Nigel Adkins will be looking for the Uruguayan to improve and create chances for his team mates. He is at times exceptional on the ball and can make telling passes through the defence, and could be the difference between the sides on Sunday.
With Berbatov out for the visitors, it will be up to the likes of Duff to compensate for the loss of creativity and goals the Bulgarian usually brings. With that being said, the Irishman has three league goals and an assist this term, and has been in fine form for Fulham, evoking his Chelsea years with some fine performances. He may not be as fast as he was, but he has become a cleverer player, and the Saints back line will have to be on guard at all times to track his cute runs and powerful shooting ability.
Southampton have a clean bill of health and Nigel Adkins will be feeling confident of victory against an injury-hit Fulham side that does not tend to travel well. The Saints started well last week against Everton but crumbled under the aerial bombardment against the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic, although the Cottagers are missing their main man Dimitar Berbatov. The visitors will still be dangerous on the breaks with the likes of Hugo Rodallega and an in-form Damien Duff, but a home victory is on the cards here.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed