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Fulham visit Cardiff -- PL Match Preview

last updated Friday 07th March 2014, 2:42 PM


Fulham manager Felix Magath
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We are all occasionally guilty of exaggerating the importance of a match, but in this case there's no danger of that - it is absolutely crucial. Some have the bottom two written off already, but both sides will be aware that when facing a relegation rival at this stage, a win is a must to ignite a great escape bid.

This match features two managers who were only appointed this year, who are both in charge in the Premier League for the first time and in desperate need of a lift.

For Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it is Cardiff's first home game since the 4-0 defeat by Hull, which prompted him to cancel the club's warm weather training plans in the Middle East.

That's one of six defeats in his eight league games in charge so far. If there is to be a recovery they have to do better at the Cardiff City Stadium where they still have to face Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Stoke and Chelsea.

The real concern is their goal tally, 19, which is the joint lowest in the league. Worryingly, they have not found the back of the net in 11 of their last 16 matches. They are crying out for a natural finisher in the mould of their manager in his prime.

You sense if Cardiff's attack doesn't fire against the division's leakiest defence, which has now conceded 62 goals, then it never will.

Fulham have been bottom since the beginning of last month but know a win would take them above Cardiff. It's only Felix Magath's third match, but the team has now lost 15 of their last 20 league games. It is a mentality that is incredibly difficult to change overnight.

The two clubs have only 11 league wins between them all season. It will be full of tension and nerves but a rare three points for either might just give them a much-needed Premier League lifeline.

    Head-to-head



  • Cardiff are chasing a third successive league win against Fulham.


  • Victory would see the Bluebirds do the double over a top-flight opponent for the first time since September 1961. That month they beat Chelsea home and away in the space of a fortnight.


  • The last goalless draw in this fixture came at Ninian Park on 11 December 1974.



  • Cardiff



  • The Welsh side have only won one of their last 12 league games (D2, L9).


  • They have failed to score in their last four Premier League games, and in seven of the previous nine.


  • In total, they have failed to score in 16 league games this season - the highest total in the division.


  • Only Fulham (181) have allowed their opponents more shots on target against them than Cardiff this season (165) in the Premier League.


  • Cardiff have conceded more headed goals than any other team in the top flight (10).



  • Fulham



  • Fulham have failed to win their last eight league games (D2, L6). That is currently the longest winless run in the top flight.


  • The Londoners' tally of three clean sheets is the lowest in the Premier League.


  • They won two of their opening four away league games this season, but have taken just five points from a possible 30 since then.


  • Fulham have conceded 68% of their goals in the second half of this season - the highest proportion in the Premier League.
























Source Steve Bower at BBCSports
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