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Fulham visit Stoke -- PL Match Preview

last updated Friday 02nd May 2014, 2:45 PM


Fulham manager Felix Magath
Fulham manager
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Fulham joined the elite of English football in 2001. Of the current roll-call of top-flight clubs only seven can boast a longer continuous run of seasons in the Premier League - Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham.

However, the Cottagers will bow out after 13 campaigns at the top table if they lose this game and either Norwich or Sunderland win over the weekend. Such is their plight that even if Fulham win this weekend whilst Cardiff, Norwich, Sunderland and Villa all lose, they could then go on to beat Crystal Palace on the final day and yet still be relegated.

The only upsides are that manager Felix Magath, who seems open to the idea of staying even if the club are relegated, has sparked some definite improvement, and that the club's youngsters are highly regarded and currently hold a first leg advantage over Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup final, with the second leg to be played on Monday.

But it's been a chaotic season down by the Thames - a new owner, three managers and 42 different first-team players have been unable to halt a gradual and seemingly inexorable slide. That's at least one too many managers and far, far too many players.

Stoke may not appear to have a lot to play for, but unfortunately for Fulham, they come up against Mark Hughes. He has never been known to allow a throw-in to go uncontested, let alone three points.

Hughes, a former Fulham manager, also has the lure of surpassing Tony Pulis' best ever league campaign as Stoke boss. Four points from their remaining two games should ensure that both the club's Premier League points record (47) and their highest Premier League finish (11th) are beaten.

That would be satisfying but ultimately not much more than a footnote on Hughes' CV.

But relegation for Fulham would leave the club at a crossroads and with an inexperienced owner wondering which route to take.

    Head-to-head

  • There has not been a league draw between these sides in their last 10 meetings, and only two in the last 15.


  • The last three Premier League matches featuring these two teams have ended in a 1-0 win to the hosts. The home side has won the last six times the teams have played in the league.


  • Stoke City


  • Only the Premier League's top five have taken more points at home than Stoke this season - along with Tottenham they have collected 33 points from 18 games.


  • Stoke last finished in the top half of the top-flight table in 1980-81 (11th place).


  • However they have failed to win in all five of their league matches against the current bottom three this season, with three draws and two defeats.


  • They received their fifth red card of the season in Saturday's defeat to Tottenham - only Sunderland (seven) have been shown more.


  • The Spurs defeat was only their second in their last 15 matches at home (won eight, drawn five).


  • The Potters have conceded 299 goals in Premier League history.


  • Fulham


  • Fulham have won just 38 of their 246 Premier League away games, a win percentage of just 15%.


  • They have conceded nine goals in their last five league games, and have not kept a clean sheet away from home since the opening day of the season.


  • However, their form in April was much improved, with two wins in four matches.


  • Felix Magath's men have lost every game following a draw this season - they drew with Hull in their last fixture.


  • Fulham have conceded 31 goals from set-pieces, more than any other side. Stoke are second in this regard on 20.


  • The Cottagers have used 38 different players this league campaign, more than any other Premier League club.
























Source Steve Wilson at BBCSports
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