West meets East in a battle of London sides Fulham and Palace
Crystal Palace to win 1-0
When Roy Hodgson was manager of Fulham, they were more concerned with European football than relegation battles, however this is the unfortunate position the club currently finds itself in.
Current manager Scott Parker has done a fine job in achieving promotion to the Premier League, however his squad looks desperately short of the quality needed to remain for longer than a year.
They finally grabbed their first point of the season last weekend, albeit against 19th place Sheffield United, and looked marginally better than in their previous games.
Crystal Palace sit slightly prettier in the table after their five matches, with seven points to their name. They themselves, however, are in growing need of a victory after only a point from their last three games.
A Fulham win could help kickstart their revival, whilst Palace want to put as much distance between themselves and the bottom three.
Form Guide (all comps): WLLLD
Reasons to be cheerful:
Will take confidence from their point last weekend
New signing Lookman looked sharp on debut
Reasons to be fearful:
Palace’s pace up front will trouble them
Striker Mitrovic is enduring a tough time
Fulham could have taken all three points from their match against Sheffield United last weekend, and if it were not for an 85th minute penalty against them, they’d have risen out of the relegation zone.
Unfortunately, some teams just cannot get lucky and Fulham will have to live with two points dropped.
More concerning is the lack of form for key striker Mitrovic who has failed to light up the Premier League since his return this season. He missed a penalty of his own at the weekend, as well as giving away the one scored by Sheffield United. He’ll be looking for better luck this weekend.
Also worryingly, Fulham have lost their previous 11 successive London derbies coming into this match.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is likely to start again in midfield, and he will add some drive and quality the more he plays this season.
Palace are tough to play against in top form, however their attack has not been at their best recently. A good time for Fulham to play them?
Star Man – Ademola Lookman
Scored a great solo goal on debut, he’ll be looking to kick and have more goals to his name.
Form Guide (all comps): LWLLD
Reasons to be cheerful
Unbeaten against Fulham since 2013
Gary Cahill could be fit to return
Reasons to be fearful
Attackers have not been at their best lately
Injury concerns remain
Manager Roy Hodgson will be hoping that their fantastic 3-1 win over Manchester United in September was not a one-off blip, but rather a statement of intent.
Unfortunately, they have followed up from that encouraging win with two defeats and a draw from their next two games, with their fast and dangerous attackers looking a little blunt of late.
In fact, scoring goals has been a problem for them so far this season, with that win over United the only time they’ve scored more than one goal in a match.
Only three players have scored for Palace this season: Zaha, Townsend and Kouyate. Indeed, Wilf Zaha has been their one consistent performer and has four goals in five matches, but others will be needed to improve.
If they can find some form in front of goal this weekend, they should be able to take all three points from Craven Cottage.
Star Man – Wilf Zaha
His teammates are struggling to score, but Zaha is continuing to prove his worth in front of goal
Fulham are more desperate for victory and should play positively
Loftus-Cheek and Lookman should add quality for them
Zaha will be heavily relied upon by Palace
It’s true that both sides are in need of a win here, however Fulham are certainly the more desperate having not tasted victory yet this season.
Palace are not in great form themselves and the goals have dried up for Roy Hodgson’s men. If their attack can find their feet, then they could come away with three points.
It’s hard to see where goals will come from for Fulham, with top striker Mitrovic struggling. This one could easily be a draw, but Palace could steal it.
Crystal Palace to win 1-0