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Fulham away at Stoke City :- Match Preview

last updated Friday 23rd November 2012, 2:47 PM

Fulham manager Martin Jol
Fulham manager
Martin Jol
Martin Jol
Forty five clubs have played in the Premier League but few have made the very best of their resources like Stoke and Fulham.

If there is such a thing as a comfort zone in the Premier League, Fulham are in it and Stoke on the cusp.

Fulham don't often get noticed or given due credit but this is their 12th successive season in the Premier League and they have averaged a 12th-place finish. When you consider they were lingering near the bottom of the Football League in the mid-1990s, it's very impressive.

Stoke have finished below Fulham in three of the last four seasons since returning to the top flight, but they have seldom looked troubled in lower mid-table.

Despite the similarities - and only three points separate them going into this game - the two sides currently have widely disparate statistical records. Stoke have the division's second meanest defence, while Fulham have scored more goals than any side other than Manchester United.

I don't know what that leads us to expect from this game, except that it's likely to be unpredictable.

Stoke have been saying how the Britannia Stadium has to be a fortress for them. That's been the case to an extent, but a meagre tally of four goals at home shows they're not finding it easy to knock teams over.

Fulham are known for being good at home, but they're unbeaten in their last four away games. Dimitar Berbatov has scored in the last two of those and Fulham really picked up a bargain when they signed him.

The opposing centre forward, Peter Crouch, has gone six games without a goal for Stoke. Nonetheless, I think he could trouble a Fulham defence missing the solidity of the suspended Brede Hangeland.

Stoke need Crouch to emulate Berbatov's goalscoring prowess if they are to improve on an unenviable record of three wins in 23 league games.


  • Fulham have won three of the last four meetings but last season's encounter at the Britannia Stadium ended 2-0 to Stoke, with Jon Walters and Rory Delap scoring in the last 10 minutes.

  • The two clubs have met 72 times in all competitions, with Fulham ahead by 30 wins to Stoke's 27.

  • Stoke City

  • The Potters are enjoying a 12-match unbeaten run at home, with five wins and seven draws since a defeat by Sunderland in February. It's their best sequence in the top flight since a club record 23-match streak in 1973-74.

  • There have only been five Premier League goals scored at the Britannia Stadium this season - Stoke have scored four and conceded just one (against Manchester City).

  • Tony Pulis's side have scored just three second-half goals this season, fewer than any other Premier League club.

  • They have the second best defensive record in the division, behind leaders Manchester City.

  • Stoke's record of seven draws from their opening 12 Premier League games has only been surpassed by two clubs: Leeds, in 1998-99, and Norwich, in 2004-05, drew eight of their initial 12 fixtures.

  • Jon Walters will be making his 350th career league appearance.

  • Fulham

  • Fulham have gone four league matches without victory (D3, L1), their worst run since failing to win any of their opening six games last season.

  • They have dropped a league-high 14 points from winning positions.

  • Martin Jol's side have scored 25 goals, a tally bettered only by Manchester United.

  • Fulham's substitutes have scored an unrivalled seven Premier League goals this season.

  • Dimitar Berbatov has been directly involved in eight goals (five goals, three assists) in only seven league starts for the club. He has scored 23 goals in his last 26 Premier League starts.

Source John Motson at BBCSports
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