EPL Betting Preview: Fulham vs Southampton – Saturday, Dec 26, 2020

Fulham take on Southampton at their Craven Cottage in the Premier League on Boxing Day 2020, with both sides aiming to boost the festive mood and surprise their supporters in those difficult times.

The Saints could boast a very decent record at Craven Cottage having won three of their last four visits to West London, including their most recent meeting – a 1-0 win in the League Cup on 27 August 2019 – when Michael Obafemi scored the winner.

Fulham Betting Preview

With one of the worst home forms in the League (joint second worst alongside fellow newly-promoted side West Bromwich Albion), Fulham must obviously improve their home form (1-2-4) as they cannot rely on the poor performances of fellow strugglers Brighton and Sheffield United, who are yet to win a home game.

The Cottagers held Newcastle to a 1-1 draw last time out to extend their unbeaten form to three games, albeit drawing all three of them. However, Scott Parker’s men worked to make a vast improvement on the early season form and have lost just one of their last five games (1-3-1), including a prestigious 1-1 home draw against reigning champions Liverpool, in a game where Fulham were able to welcome 2.000 fans at their Craven Cottage and had their own chances to cause a complete upset.

After their home game with Southampton, Scott Parker’s side are set for back-to-back away games at Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley, before they travel to face London rivals QPR in the FA Cup on 9 January.

Scott Parker is self-isolating and will not be leading his squad (not on the touch line at least) on Boxing Day, with Start Gray and Matt Wells taking charge of the team to face Southampton.

Joachim Andersen’s availability is a huge boost as the Danish defender was sent off for a foul on Newcastle centre-forward Callum Wilson, but the decision has now been overturned by England’s Football Association and Andersen will be available for Boxing Day’s Premier League clash against Southampton.

Mario Lemina is not available to face his parent club as the Gabonese had a very solid performance against Newcastle, so Harrison Reed will likely start alongside André Zambo Anguissa in central midfield.

Coming closer to a clean bill of health, defender Terence Kongolo continues his work to return to full fitness and will once again miss out for Fulham, while right-back Kenny Tete and winger Ivan Cavaleiro are both doubts and will be assessed.

Josh Onomah could be in contention for Scott Parker’s side in the foreseeable future as the attacking midfielder started the season but picked up a knee injury and had to spend two months on the sidelines. However, he won’t be eligible to play here and will also miss the upcoming London derby against Spurs on 30 December.

Meanwhile, Aleksandar Mitrovic has been named Fulham Fans’ Footballer of the Year for 2020 and the Serbian striker will be looking to end his long lasting goal drought. His last goal was for Serbia’s 2-2 draw at turkey in the UEFA Nations League in October, while his last goal for the Cottagers remains more than three months ago – when he scored a brace for the 4-3 defeat at Leeds United on 19 September.

Since then, Mitrovic struggled to score but his presence was crucial for Fulham’s 2-0 home win over West Bromwich Albion last month, when the Serb delivered both assists for his side’s first Premier League victory of the season.

Southampton Betting Preview

Seventh in the Premier League table but just two points behind the likes of Manchester United and Everton, which are third and fourth respectively, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men will be keen to return to winning ways after the missed opportunities to win more than they actually did in their matches against Arsenal (1-1 at the Emirates) and Manchester City last week.

Yet, the Saints come off a narrow loss to Pep Guardiola’s Man City side at St Mary’s, but Ralph Hasenhuttl was pleased with everything apart from the final ball.

Furthermore, the Saints also enjoyed a seven-day break (like their opponents) before they travel to West London and “The Alpine Klopp” hopes the break would allow his side enough time to rest and recuperate ahead of the busy festive schedule as Southampton will host both West Ham United (29 December) and Liverpool (4 January), right after their Boxing Day visit of Fulham.

Many were questioning whether Ralph Hasenhüttl was the right man for the Southampton job, particularly after the catastrophic 9-0 home defeat to Leicester City last October, but their form has been one of the best in the league since the turn of the year.

All in all, Southampton have lost just once in their seven Premier League away games this season and their post-lockdown away form has been quite impressive, with Southampton losing only one of their last 12 away games in the English top-flight (6-5-1) – since the back-to-back defeats at Liverpool and West Ham United in February.

The Saints were among the top performing sides during last season’s festive schedule but they head into this one with a serious injury doubt over star goalscorer Danny Ings, who limped out just before the break of the Manchester City game due to a hamstring problem. Given his history with injuries, Ralph Hasenhuttl will take no chances with his condition.

Even though Ings was out of action for around a month, he missed just three games due to the November international break and to be fair, Southampton were far from clueless in these games as they managed to beat Newcastle 2-0 and to earn a 1-1 draw at Wolves, before the dramatic comeback home defeat to Manchester United on 29 November.

Ings returned to action to convert the winning penalty at Brighton earlier this month but he’s yet to score since, and the Saints have already played some decent games without their top goalscorer, so the mission is far from impossible.

Theo Walcott and Nathan Redmond are in contention to start if Ings is not fit, whereas Stuart Armstrong is another player who’ll likely be recalled into Ralph Hasenhüttl’s starting formation.

Che Adams has been one of the progressing players over the course of the 2020-21 campaign as the 24 years old forward started in all 14 Premier League games and already matched his 2019-20 record of 4 goals, yet he could also boast four assists.

Along with Adams, centre-back Jannik Vestergaard, right-back Kyle Walker-Peters, defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu and skipper James Ward-Prowse have all been among Southampton’s standout performers this season.

Oriol Romeu will serve a one-game suspension as a result of his fifth yellow card in the current campaign during Southampton’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City, yet Ibrahima Diallo is in line for his first Premier League start since he joined the south coast side in October and the France U21 international is favored in place of the suspended Spaniard.

Possible Starting Lineups of Fulham and Southampton

Fulham: Alphonse Areola – Ola Aina, Joachim Andersen, Tosin Adarabioyo, Antonee Robinson – Harrison Reed, André Zambo Anguissa – Bobby Reid, Tom Cairney, Ademola Lookman – Aleksandar Mitrovic. (4-2-3-1)

Southampton: Alex McCarthy – Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek, Jannik Vestergaard, Ryan Bertrand – Stuart Armstrong, Ibrahima Diallo, James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond – Che Adams, Theo Walcott. (4-4-2)

Spooky Express Betting Prediction

Southampton have won six of their last eight league matches on Boxing Day and considering their strong away record, as well as their decent away performances at Craven Cottage, we believe that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men could claim another one here so we’re backing Southampton to win.

Meanwhile, if you have a different prediction, Fulham’s chances are rated at +193 while a draw can be backed at +220 with BetOnline.

Spooky Express Free Play: Southampton +140 @ BetOnline for 5/10 Units

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