Fulham vs Saints: Preview

By SFC Media time Fri 31 Jan Club

Saints make the trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday where they take on lowly Fulham in a 3pm kick-off.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men will be hoping to extend their current three match unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League when they take on a team that were swept aside in October at St Mary’s when Saints ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.

Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez were on the scoresheet that day as Saints moved up to third in the table by taking 18 points from their opening nine fixtures.

Some 14 games later, and Fulham are a team very much need of points as they battle it out at the wrong end of the table after taking 19 points from their 23 matches played.

The Cottagers have made a change in the dugout since our last meeting, with René Meulensteen replacing the departed Martin Jol, and the former Manchester United coach has been active in the transfer market this month in a bid to revive Fulham’s fortunes in the second half of the season.

Thursday’s arrival of central midfielder William Kvist from German outfit VfB Stuttgart seemingly paved the way for the departure of Adel Taarabt who looks set to follow Bryan Ruiz out of Craven Cottage.

Fulham arrive into this game with just one win in their last five Premier League matches, with that solitary success a 2-1 victory over West Ham United on New Year’s Day. Since then, defeats to Sunderland, Arsenal, and most recently, Swansea have left Meulensteen’s side just one point off the foot of the table.

They reside in 19th place with three home wins to their name, and have conceded the most goals (50) in the entire division. 

Saints remain in ninth and are chasing a fourth success on the road this season. They came through a third match unbeaten thanks to Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with title chasing Arsenal, a game which 18 year-old forward  Sam Gallagher made his first senior start in.

Gallagher played 70 minutes of the game, and with Rickie Lambert set to return from injury this weekend, Saints will have options to choose from as to who leads the line. 

Adam Lallana scored the second Saints goal on Tuesday, which moves the skipper onto six Premier League strikes for the season as he approaches his 250th appearance for the club – something he will achieve if he plays on Saturday.

Current Saints star Steven Davis ex is a former Fulham player. They were the club he moved to from Aston Villa, before going onto join Glasgow Rangers.

Team News

Saints have no fresh concerns from the weekend, and may welcome both Victor Wanyama and Rickie Lambert into the squad this weekend.

Dejan Lovren and Gaston Ramirez are both sidelined with long-term ankle ligament injuries.

Fulham's new signing William Kvist could be in line for a debut in this game.

Pre-match quotes

Mauricio Pochettino:

“We also need to be aware that Fulham are wanting to get the three points as well off us. It’s going to be a very tough game against Fulham - they’ve made a lot of changes, a lot of signings. They’re going to be very aggressive at their stadium on their pitch and very much wanting to get the three points as well off us.

“Fulham have quality players, but they probably had some problems at the beginning of the season that made things hard on them, but they’ve changed now and made a lot of signings, so they’re going to be a very dangerous side, and as all teams they’re going to be wanting to get three points and it just goes to show you that the Premier League is a very competitive league until the end and nothing is decided yet.”

Previous Meetings

Saints secured a 2-0 win over Fulham at St Mary’s back in October thanks to first half goals from Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez.

Last season Saints hit back late on to take a 2-2 draw in the game at St Mary’s. José Fonte’s brace either side of Fulham’s goals earned the hosts a deserved point.

It was a stalemate in the reverse fixture too, as Rickie Lambert’s second half penalty rescued a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage on Boxing Day.

Prior to then, our previous Premier League meetings with Fulham came in the 2004/05 season with Saints earning a draw on home soil but slipping to a 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage.

It was a similar story a year earlier when Saints were defeated 2-0 away from home, but held Fulham to a goalless draw at St Mary’s.

In fact, that’s the only goalless draw in the last thirteen meetings between the two teams. 

Saturday's game is the 63rd all-time meeting between the two teams. Saints have the upper hand with 23 victories to Fulham’s 18. A further 21 games have ended level.

Match Information

Mike Jones will referee Saturday’s game, and he will be assisted by Mr G Beswick and Mr I Hussin. Mr D Coote is the fourth official.

Online Coverage

As with every First Team game, we'll be providing minute-by-minute coverage throughout the day on our official Twitter feed plus goal updates on our official Facebook page.

You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.

Mauricio Pochettino and Calum Chambers spoke to Saints Player ahead of the game, and you can watch their interviews, as well as the press conferences in full on our video channel.

After the match there will be plenty more content on saintsfc.co.uk and Saints Player, so stay tuned!

And if you’re coming to the game, don’t forget to take your smartphones and join in with #MarchingIn on our social media channels. Tweet us @SouthamptonFC or comment on our official Facebook page and upload images onto Instagram with the #MarchingIn for a chance to appear in a future edition of our Matchday Magazine.

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