Premier League Betting: Fulham v Sunderland - Fan v Fan Preview



Fulham perspective: Dan Crawford, Hammy End.

Team news

Martin Jol will have a selection dilemma in midfield, with Chris Baird suspended after being booked at Arsenal last week, Kieran Richardson ill and Mahamadou Diarra facing a late fitness test. Should the Malian midfielder be ruled unfit for the second week in sucession, Jol may have to give Greek veteran Giorgos Karagounis his first start alongside Steve Sidwell in the now familiar 4-2-3-1 system.
 
Form

Fulham have lost just one of their last eight fixtures and that reverse came at the hands of the champions, Manchester City, in September. Since Edin Dzeko's late winner, the Whites have embarked on a five-game unbeaten run, which included a 3-3 draw at Arsenal last weekend. For all Fulham's free-scoring and fluent football, though, Jol has voiced his concern at the number of goals his side are conceding this season, especially at set plays.
 
Head-to-head

Our first Premier League win came against Sunderland - 2-0 in August 2001 - and we have a good record against the Black Cats at Craven Cottage. The last home reverse came in April 2003, when a 3-1 defeat seemed to have consigned the Whites to relegation, before Roy Hodgson masterminded a memorable escape act. French forward Louis Saha, who was such a key part of Jean Tigana's Championship-winning side in 2000-01, will return to the Cottage with Sunderland. On the eleven previous ocassions he's lined up against Fulham since leaving for Old Trafford in 2003, Saha hasn't been beaten.
 
Best bets
 
Over 1.5 goals at 1.22. Sunderland might be struggling to score goals, but Fulham's defence has been fairly accomodating for the opposition so far this season. This looks a safe bet given that games involving Fulham seem to be seeing plenty of goalmouth action this season.
 
Draw/Fulham HT/FT at 2.45. Fulham have been a far better second half side this season, often needing to overcome a deficit or raise their game significantly after the break.

Dimitar Berbatov to score first at 5.25. With Fulham's brooding Bulgarian in brilliant form, you'd be foolish not to back him to inflict some more pain on the Black Cats' back four this weekend. Much of the home side's play goes through Berbatov at Craven Cottage.

Score prediction: Fulham 2-1 Sunderland (8.25)

Predicted side


Sunderland perspective: Martyn McFadden, A Love Supreme.

Team news

We're thankful that our captain Lee Cattermole is in contention to be back in the squad after missing last weekend's outing through injury. He's been our best player this season and is starting to show just how useful he really is. Steven Fletcher took a knock last week and will face a late fitness test after withdrawing from the Scotland squad, along with Phil Bardsley. Craig Gardner is suspended, so Carlos Cuellar looks set to fill in at right-back.

Form

We were robbed last time out against Everton. It's the best we've played all season but two scrappy goals courtesy of their direct football and clinical finishers ensured headlines would be 'Everton secure heroic comeback' rather than 'Everton secure lucky win in a game which Sunderland dominated from the word go'. I'm not bitter. Apart from that, however, we've been terrible this season, I'll admit that.

Head-to-head

We never enjoy playing in London. Fulham have a very classy side this season and are scoring goals for fun, something which we can't seem to do. However they do look to have a few defensive issues and with any luck (and by that I mean a miracle) we could try to exploit that. We are quite solid at the back so in theory the two sides could cancel each other out.

Best bets

The draw at 3.75. This is quite optimistic, but I think a draw would be a good bet.

Adam Johnson to score first at 15.00. After getting off the mark last week I think Adam Johnson will be among the goals again. These odds could prove to be an absolute steal.

Lee Cattermole to score at 16.00. Our skipper has uncharacteristically been getting himself up the pitch lately, so maybe he fancies himself a goal? At this price, it's worth a punt every time.

Score prediction: Fulham 1-1 Sunderland (7.25)

Predicted side