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Premier League

  • 22 January 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: S. Attwell
  • • Attendance: 23766

Fulham - Stoke City Preview: John Carew set for Potters debut as Andy Johnson battles for starting spot

Fulham - Stoke City Preview: John Carew set for Potters debut as Andy Johnson battles for starting spot



Steve Sidwell could make his home debut for the Cottagers after his arrival from Aston Villa, while Andy Johnson will be hoping for a place in the starting line-up after he scored the equaliser against Wigan Athletic last weekend.

Belgian front-man Moussa Dembele will feature again as he returns to full fitness following eight weeks out with injury.

But manager Mark Hughes continues to be without striker Bobby Zamora who is still recovering from a broken leg, Matthew Briggs and Philippe Senderos (both calf).

Possible starting XI: Stockdale; Paintsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Baird; Davies, Sidwell, Etuhu, Murphy, Duff; Dempsey.

Stoke City

Norwegian striker John Carew could make his debut for Stoke after completing his move from Aston Villa on Friday.

Meanwhile, manager Tony Pulis has no fresh injury concerns after seeing his side beat Cardiff 2-0 in the FA Cup third round replay on Tuesday.

Pulis made 10 changes to the side that beat Bolton last weekend for the clash against the Welsh side in midweek, so the likes of Asmir Begovic, Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross and Kenwyne Jones could return to the starting line-up.

Jonathan Walters could also push for a place in the side, but is most likely have to settle for a seat on the bench despite his goalscoring exploits in midweek.

Pulis remains without Eidur Gudjohnson who has a neck injury, although Mali striker Mamady Sidibe is fit again after a lengthy spell on the sidelines but is short of match fitness.

Possible starting XI: Begovic; Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Collins; Pennant, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington; Fuller, Jones.

Cottagers remain draw specialists

Fulham have been the draw specialists in the Premier League season, with 11 of their 22 matches ending in stalemates, and manager Mark Hughes knows that the Cottagers need to start turning some of the draws into wins if they are going to improve on their current position of 15th in the table.

In the reverse fixture just after Christmas, Fulham managed only three shots on target, but returned to London with the three points, winning by a two goal margin, and by picking up two wins in their last two home games – a 6-2 victory over Peterborough and a 3-0 win over West Brom – Hughes' men will want to turn Craven Cottage into a fortress.

Stoke defying expectations

Stoke City, meanwhile, continue to defy start of season expectations and currently sit in eighth position in the Premier League table. The Potters eased to victory over Bolton last week, and secured another victory days later as they beat Cardiff to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup, so Pulis will be looking for more of the same as they head to London.

Unlike their opponents, Stoke have drawn the joint fewest games in the division - a total of 3 - but do boast a record of scoring almost half of their goals from set-pieces, which remains their strongest weapon.

And it could take just the one goal from a set-piece to secure the win for the Potters as five out of the last eight league meetings between the two sides have ended in 1-0 wins, including the last three meetings at Craven Cottage.

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Editor's Prediction

Both teams have near to fully fit squads so expect each manager to aim for the three points. However, despite Stoke City having picked up two wins within a week, I feel Fulham will have the advantage of the extra rest along with being at home which can lead them to victory. In recent times this fixture has been close and I expect it to remain the same this coming weekend.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head


Stoke City


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
Fulham FC Fulham
Stoke City FC STO
Stoke City FC Stoke City

Top 3 Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
2 - 1
Stoke City FC STO
Fulham FC FUL
1 - 0
Stoke City FC STO
Fulham FC FUL
1 - 1
Stoke City FC STO


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