Fulham host Wolves as the Cottagers continue fight for survival


Fulham host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday night as two of the Premier League’s worst form teams go head to head.

Despite both sides shortcomings in recent weeks, the three points would mean most to the side from south west London, as a point maximum would see them close the three-point gap that separates themselves and survival.

Whereas for Nuno Espírito Santo’s men, a win would only further secure their mid-table status which is not at all in doubt. Whilst Wolves have no relegation worries, this campaign has been nowhere near as impressive as their last.

Both sides fell to defeat on their return to league action after the international break. For Fulham, a nine-minute capitulation saw them lose 3-1 to Aston Villa after being a goal up until the 78th minute. The disappointment of losing in such a way should certainly have Scott Parker’s side fired up for their match this weekend.

Their west midlands-based opponents forced a late scare upon West Ham United last time out. David Moyes’ Irons propelled into a three-goal lead at Molineux within 38 minutes, but a Leander Dendoncker goal late in the first half set the tone for what was to come in the second.

A dominant second 45 minutes saw Fabio Silva reduce the deficit to just one goal, but for all of Wolves’ industry, they couldn’t find the third to draw level and narrowly missed out.

As the season steadily winds down, matches like this weekend’s become a ‘must win’ for Fulham, beating out-of-form sides is crucial in their bid to stay up in the top tier. Therefore it is a huge boost for the Cottagers that Ademola Lookman’s hamstring injury that saw him forced off against Aston Villa is not as bad as first thought, and he could take part this weekend.

Keeping a player as influential as Lookman fit in a relegation battle is crucial. Parker has admitted that there are no fresh injury concerns from their loss at Villa Park, but Tom Cairney and Marek Rodak remain sidelined.

As for the visitors, Willy Boly will be unavailable at Craven Cottage as he continues his self-isolation following a positive test for COVID-19. Meanwhile, Fernando Marcal, Raul Jimenez and Jonny remain out long term. Nuno will make a late call regarding the fitness of Joao Moutinho; the influential midfielder who missed out on Wolves’ defeat to West Ham is a huge part of the set up when fit.

The two sides met earlier in the season at Molineux, as the hosts ran out 1-0 victors thanks to a second-half Pedro Neto strike. Statistically, it was a fairly even battle, but as often is the case for sides struggling at the bottom of the table, Fulham couldn’t find a finishing touch to convert their chances into a goal.

It was a tendency that Parker’s side seemed to have corrected with their recent victories over Liverpool, Sheffield United and Everton, but the last three defeats have seen them fall into bad old habits.

The poor form of both sides certainly makes this match a difficult one to predict, but Fulham are fighting for their lives and that could see them wanting the three points more than their opponents. But, as the worst Premier League side on home soil, they certainly have massive problems they need to iron out if they are to form a serious push for Premier League safety.

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