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Fulham at home to Stoke:- Match Preview

last updated Friday 22nd February 2013, 11:04 AM

Fulham manager Martin Jol
Fulham manager
Martin Jol
Martin Jol
Martin Jol and Tony Pulis share a birthday (16 January) - if not a philosophy on football.

The Fulham manager risked his Stoke counterpart's ire after the teams met in November by going down the Arsene Wenger route of likening the Potters to "a rugby team".

Yes, it was said in frustration at a 1-0 defeat, AND Jol did point out his admiration for Stoke's style, but it prompted Pulis into a curt dismissal of the idea that Fulham had "been bullied" by his side.

A reminder of those exchanges might inspire something better than we're used to seeing from Stoke away from home. Their travelling fans have seen just one win in their last 22 Premier League road trips, with the team often a shadow of the one seen at the Britannia Stadium. Actually 'reflection' might be a better word, with away form of W1 D6 L6 this season being a mirror image of home results.

Results in general haven't been clever for Fulham for a long time, with only three wins from 18 league games since October. They've not been talked about as being one of the teams in trouble, but a gap of six points to the bottom three isn't enough for anyone at Craven Cottage to feel comfortable.

Having failed to score in three of their last four league games, Fulham need Dimitar Berbatov to hit form quickly, starting with this - his 200th Premier League match. The Cottagers are unbeaten in the six games in which he's scored for them, and need to continue that with an improved return before the season's end.

One big (tall, huge, towering) factor for Fulham is Brede Hangeland being available to combat Stoke's set-pieces. He missed the November defeat due to suspension, having been sent off against Sunderland by referee Lee Probert - also in charge of this one. I can't decide whether the word for that is coincidence or irrelevance.


  • This is the 70th league meeting between the clubs. Fulham lead by 28 wins to 26, with 15 draws.

  • Stoke's only win in their last seven visits to Fulham came in May 2010 when Matthew Etherington scored the game's only goal.

  • Fulham

  • Fulham have only earned nine points from their last 10 matches (W2, D3, L5).

  • They have won just three of their last 18 league games.

  • The west London side kept their first clean sheet in 12 league games in their last fixture, a goalless draw against Norwich.

  • Martin Jol's side have surrendered 18 points from winning positions - only Reading (20) and Southampton (24) have fared worse.

  • Dimitar Berbatov is set to become the first Bulgarian to make 200 Premier League appearances. He has scored 83 goals in the division.

  • Stoke

  • Stoke ended a six-game winless run with victory over Reading last time out.

  • The Potters have gone eight league games without a clean sheet, conceding 18 goals. They kept nine clean sheets in their opening 18 league games.

  • Their only victory in the last 22 Premier League away matches was at West Brom in December.

  • They have scored the highest percentage of goals from set pieces in the top flight this season (58%), and the highest proportion from corners (27%).

  • Robert Huth's tally of 13 Premier League goals for Stoke since August 2009 has only been bettered by one defender (Leighton Baines, with 15) during that time.

Source Guy Mowbray at BBCSports
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