The FourFourTwo Preview: Fulham vs Swansea

Premier League | Craven Cottage | Sat 23 Nov | 3pm

Billed as

Rene Meulensteen's first game in charge of Fulham. What's that? Martin Jo…? Ah. Right.

The lowdown

Fulham's woes have been well documented in recent weeks, with periodic reminders here, here and here, and the Londoners currently sit in the drop zone.

FULHAM FORM

  • Liverpool 4-0 Fulham (Prem)
  • Fulham 1-3 Man Utd (Prem)
  • Leicester 4-3 Fulham (LC)
  • Southampton 2-0 Fulham (Prem)
  • Palace 1-4 Fulham (Prem)

SWANSEA FORM

  • Swansea 3-3 Stoke (Prem)
  • Kuban 1-1 Swansea (EL)
  • Cardiff 1-0 Swansea (Prem)
  • Swansea 0-0 West Ham (Prem)
  • Swansea 1-1 Kuban (EL)

Put it this way. If you went on a nice cruise to the Indian Ocean and Dimitar Berbatov, Adel Taarabt and Bryan Ruiz were your on-deck entertainment, there's absolutely no doubt it would be lovely. They would cajole, thrill, entertain. A pleasant trip would be had by all. If, however, the ship hit an iceberg en route and began to sink, would you trust these men to steer you back to safe land?

Swansea have had the sort of topsy-turvy season that comes with the territory when you're in the Europa League, and have only won three of their opening 11 games.

Michael Laudrup's side may lie in 13th but they're still only two points ahead of this weekend's opponents, and there's a sense that the Swans haven't really clicked into gear yet, with constant personnel and formation changes. Laudrup is trying to find the right balance to fight on two fronts, and is struggling.

Encouragingly for the Dane, Swansea have won both of their last two trips to Craven Cottage - three in a row would push them into a more comfortable mid-table position.

Team news

Swansea are without club captain Garry Monk, who had the double misfortune of having his house burgled while undergoing knee surgery, Michu, whose attempts to recover from ankle and knee problems have seen him hop aboard a £70,000 anti-gravity treadmill, and Pablo Hernandez (hip).

Fulham are without injured trio Damien Duff, Hugo Rodallega and Matthew Briggs. Brede Hangeland is struggling for fitness after a leg problem, but may return in time to feature. Sascha Riether is suspended.

Player to watch: Pajtim Kasami (Fulham)

It's only when you really stop to consider that Pajtim Kasami's goal-of-the-season contender against Crystal Palace - an outer-worldly run, control and volley all in one movement - was scored with his weaker foot, that you realise what a potentially brilliant talent Fulham's 21-year old midfielder is. Not even some of the world's greatest players could perform such a stunning effort with their weaker foot, and Kasami's manager  said as much when he claimed it was better than Marco van Basten's famous Euro '88 effort - to many a wry smirk.

Signed in 2011 for around £5 million, the Macedonian-born Swiss international is already showing hugely promising signs that he could develop into an excellent player. Tenacious, skilful and versatile, Kasami has many a string to his bow: he can pass (completing the game's second highest number of attacking third passes against Man United, despite a 3-1 defeat), tackle (currently in the Premier League's top 20 best tacklers, with 3.2 successful tackles per game) and, as we saw at Selhurst Park - and against South Korea in a friendly for Switzerland, where he bagged a fine goal in only his second senior appearance - can shoot with either foot.

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

  • Swans 0-3 Fulham (Prem, May 13)
  • Fulham 1-2 Swans (Prem, Dec 12)
  • Fulham 0-3 Swans (Prem, Mar 12)
  • Swans 2-0 Fulham (Prem, Dec 11)
  • Fulham 2-1 Swans (FAC, Feb 09)

The managers

Martin Jol and Michael Laudrup have squared off twice in the Premier League with one win each, Fulham triumphing 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium in their last meeting in May.

Facts and Figures

Tips and trends

  • Fulham have not drawn at home against a middle-third team at home since Martin Jol took over in 2011/12 (W8, L5).
  • The Cottagers have lost 7 of their last 9 home league fixtures.
  • Swansea’s last 7 trips to bottom six teams have been low-scoring affairs with 6 of them providing under 2.5 goals.
  • City have won 3 of 4 Premier League games against Fulham, including 2 wins at Craven Cottage.
    Find the best odds with Bet Butler

FourFourTwo prediction

Both teams need the points here and both will believe it's a game they can win, which should lend itself to an open, entertaining game. 2-2.

Fulham vs Swansea LIVE ANALYSIS with Stats Zone


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