Fulham v Crystal Palace Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
August 07, 2018
Craven Cottage - Premier League
Fulham's first Premier League campaign in five years gets underway on Saturday as the Lilywhites host Crystal Palace in a London derby. Roy Hodgson may not have been residing over Palace during their record-breakingly poor start to last season, although it will certainly be on players minds.
The two clubs last met in the Premier League back in 2014, the sides trading blows for a 2-2 draw, with the game including a Dwight Gayle brace and a 90th minute strike from Chris David.
Slavisa Jokoanovic is likely to include a host of new names in his line-up, with Fabri a shoe-in to start in goal. The manager will be hoping that last season's heroes Ryan Sessegnon and Aleksander Mitrovic can keep their form going into the Premier League, earning their position as the first two names on the team sheet.
Roy Hodgson suffered a torrid spell of injuries in the second half of last season, and will be glad to have the majority of his squad back to fitness. If the Eagles win over Toulouse is anything to go by, the manager will stick with his tried and tested set-up of Christian Benteke supported by Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend.
Fulham v Crystal Palace Preview and Predictions
Despite achieving promotion through the play-offs, Fulham were arguably the best team in the Championship for the second half of the season. Even so, Jokoanovic clearly thought it necessary to invest heavily in the transfer market over the summer, in order to bring his squad up to Premier League standard.
In addition to the aforementioned Fabri, Jean-Michel Serri has arrived for a club transfer record of £27 million, and has been joined by Alfie Mawson from Swansea, and ex-Chelsea winger Andre Schurrle, whilst the club made Mitrovic move permanent for nearly £20 million. This heavy spending has clearly boosted Fulham's overall quality, and represents a bold gamble on the club surviving relegation this year. The extent to which the players are able to integrate, and how this may affect squad cohesion remains to be seen.
Crystal Palace have spent far less in the market, having paid just £10 million million in total, for the services of West Ham's Cheikhou Kouyate, although have pulled off a massive coup in signing Max Meyer from Schalke on a free transfer. The young German attacking midfielder has four caps for his country and, whilst not much of a goalscorer, considered amongst the Bundesliga's hottest prospects last season.
Palace's summer will depend heavily on the future of Wilfred Zaha, with the winger linked heavily with a number of clubs, but unlikely to move by Thursday evening. If the Ivory Coast international does indeed leave Selhurst Park, Hodgson will have limited time to find a player able to replace Zaha's vital contribution to the team.
Both Fulham and Palace may start the season as relegation candidates, however, having both strengthened heavily over the summer, should be able to prove their credentials in the opening few games. The two sides will benefit heavily from having kept their manager's from last season, although for Fulham and Jokoanovic, this season will be a big step up.
Both teams to score at 4/5
Palace struggled defensively last season and Fulham may be surprised at the quality of their opponents front line.
Ryan Sessegnon to score anytime at 21/10
The 18-year-old proved a revelation last season, although his goalscoring dried up towards the end of the season. Can he reignite in the Premier League?