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Premier League

  • 11 September 2011
  • • 16:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 24856
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Fulham - Blackburn Preview: Early season strugglers search for first victory of campaign

Fulham - Blackburn Preview: Early season strugglers search for first victory of campaign

Cottagers look to avoid their worst ever start to a Premier League season, while Rovers boss Steve Kean hopes to appease angry fans by ending run of three consecutive defeats


PROBABLE LINEUPS

FULHAM

Schwarzer
Grygera, Hangeland, Hughes, Baird
Duff, Murphy, Sidwell, Dempsey
Dembele, Ruiz

BLACKBURN
 
Robinson
Salgado, Samba, Dann, Olsson
Formica, N'Zonzi, Petrovic, Hoilett
Yakubu, Goodwillie


Fulham boss Martin Jol is likely to hand deadline day signing Bryan Ruiz an immediate debut up front on Sunday with Bobby Zamora not yet ready to return to the starting XI following an ankle knock and Andy Johnson unimpressive so far this term.

In defence, the versatile Chris Baird will likely shift over to left-back to cover for the injured Jon Arne Riise, leaving space for experienced Czech international Zdenek Grygera, a summer arrival from Italian giants Juventus, to make his debut at right-back.

Blackburn will be hoping new boy Scott Dann can slot straight into the centre of defence alongside Christopher Samba and fill the void left by injury to Ryan Nelsen and the departure of Phil Jones to Manchester United over the summer.

Boss Steve Kean is likely to field an attacking lineup in a bid to end his side’s losing start to the season, with Junior Hoilett and Mauro Formica providing attacking threat from the flanks and deadline day signing Yakubu handed his first start alongside David Goodwillie up front.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • If Fulham fail to win on Sunday, they will have suffered their worst ever start to a Premier League season.
  • In losing their opening three league matches, Blackburn have made their worst start to a campaign in 64 years. If they lose on Sunday, it will become their worst ever.
  • Fulham have only beaten Blackburn twice in the last 10 meetings between the sides, but those two victories happened to come on Rovers’ last two visits to Craven Cottage.
  • Recent records suggest there will be goals at Craven Cottage on Sunday; The last goalless meeting between Fulham and Blackburn was in 1983.
  • Blackburn have lost seven of their last 10 Premier League matches away from home. Their only victory in that time was the 3-2 win over Wolves on the final day of last season which preserved their top-flight status.
  • Liverpool are the only team to have beaten Fulham at Craven Cottage in 2011, inflicting a 5-2 defeat on the west Londoners back in May.
  • Blackburn boss Steve Kean (pictured above) has lost 13 out of 27 games since taking charge at Ewood Park last December, and has a win percentage of just 26 per cent.
  • Due to their involvement in the Europa League qualifiers, Sunday’s clash will be Fulham’s 12th game of the season.

Players to watch

B. Ruiz

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Ruiz is just the latest frontman to arrive on these shores from Holland with a big price-tag and even bigger reputation, having scored 35 goals in 61 games for FC Twente. Some, like Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Dennis Bergkamp, proved big successes. Others – Afonso Alves and Mateja Kezman, anyone? – rather less so.

All indications, however, suggest Ruiz will be a hit in the Premier League. Tall and powerful but also fast and skilful, the Costa Rican is an intelligent striker capable of scoring all kinds of goals, and he'll be itching to get off the mark on Sunday.

D. Hoilett

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Hoilett was one of the only positives for Rovers in an otherwise dismal campaign last term, becoming a regular in the starting XI by Christmas and playing a key role as the club eventually preserved their top-flight status at home to Wolves on the final day.

With his searing pace, underrated skill and formidable eye for goal, the 21-year-old Canadian has all the tools to cause defences problems out wide and through the middle. If anyone can prove to be a thorn in the side of the Fulham backline on Sunday, it’s him.

Editor's Prediction

Neither team comes into this match in good form, but with home advantage and a dangerous Ruiz in their ranks, Fulham should overcome a stubborn Blackburn and earn their first league win of the season.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Fulham

Blackburn Rovers

Wins
2
0
3
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
Fulham FC Fulham
Draw
Blackburn Rovers FC BBR
Blackburn Rovers FC Blackburn Rovers
65%
23%

Top 3 Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
2 - 0
Blackburn Rovers FC BBR
Fulham FC FUL
2 - 1
Blackburn Rovers FC BBR
Fulham FC FUL
0 - 2
Blackburn Rovers FC BBR

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