This weekend’s domestic footballing action kicks off in the Championship at Craven Cottage, as Fulham meet Sunderland.
Fulham know that victory or draw here will move them above Cardiff City and ensure that the race for automatic promotion goes to the final day, regardless of what the Bluebirds do at Hull on Saturday.
Sunderland are already relegated by virtue of fact that Burton Albion meet Bolton Wanderers this weekend to mathematically end their survival hopes.
Fulham are expected to be without Floyd Ayite (hamstring) and Sheyi Ojo (knock) for their final home game of this season.
Lucas Piazon and Ryan Fredericks are both set to replace the injured duo on the wing.
Sunderland boss, Chris Coleman has included three youngsters in his squad for this game.
16 year-old Bali Mumba could make his debut here whilst Elliot Embleton and Luke Molyneux earn recalls to the senior side.
Should he start or come on off the bench, Mumba will become the Mackems’ youngest ever player to make a first team appearance.
Recurring first team midfielder, Ethan Robson will also make the trip to Craven Cottage.
Donald Love (knee) , Lynden Gooch (knee), Jonny Williams (quad) and Joel Asoro (hamstring) are all ruled out for rest of season.
Fulham enter this game on a 22 league match unbeaten run, winning 17 and drawing five.
The Cottagers have netted 49 goals on that run and conceded just 14 in the process.
Sunderland head to Craven Cottage off the back of a controversial home defeat to Burton Albion last time out, confirming their relegation to Sky Bet League One.
Despite that loss, Sunderland had drawn three consecutive games beforehand with Paddy McNair currently in form, finding goal in three of last four games.
- Fulham have avoided defeat in just two of last five meetings across all competitions (W1, D1, L3).
- In their last three meetings at Craven Cottage, Sunderland have won all three by 10-3 on goal aggregate.
- These teams spent much of the 1970s in this division, meeting 16 times with Sunderland the more dominant side, winning eight, drawing six and losing twice.
- Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored in four of Fulham’s last five games.
- Sunderland have picked up 13 yellow cards on the road in 2018, just two less than what they managed last season in Premier League at the same stage with two games left.
Where can game be won or lost?
|Per Game Average||Fulham (home)||Sunderland (away)|
|Shots on Target||4.82||3.18|
|Goals per First Half %||39.5||42.9|
|Goals per Second Half %||60.5||57.1|
Expect Fulham to dominate this game because they are more superior across the pitch and better disciplined.
The only area that I can see being Fulham’s downfall is their lack of goals before half time. If Sunderland can get a goal and hold on till half time before having a quality defensive second display, they might have a chance to win it.
Should that not happen, expect a dominant home display.
The first half will be key for Sunderland but can see a solid home win here for Fulham.
Prediction: Fulham 3-1 Sunderland
Result: Fulham 2-1 Sunderland