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Chris of Jokes

Fulham face Southampton -- PL. Match Preview

last updated Friday 25th October 2013, 2:40 PM


Fulham manager Martin Jol
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Martin Jol
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Martin Jol
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Amid this week's heated discussions about commissions, autobiographies and international eligibility criteria, Southampton and Fulham reminded us of what most people actually love about football.

Peripheral distractions like scandals and fall-outs will always tease and titillate. Concepts like "singing sections" and "whether someone is a "top player" or even a "top, top player" generally amuse or frustrate.

However, it is moments like Pajtim Kasami's goal against Crystal Palace that makes youngsters swoon and old men feel young again.

The pace, technique and audacity shown are what this game is all about. Kids don't grow up dreaming of sitting on commissions or writing controversial autobiographies - they dream of scoring a goal like that.

Or perhaps a goal like Adam Lallana's at Old Trafford. It might not have had the aesthetic marvel of Kasami's effort, but the context - a last-minute equaliser at Manchester United - was right out of the pages of a comic book.

Overall, it's not been a bad week to be a supporter of either of these clubs.

Southampton won a point at Old Trafford with the kind of resilient performance that Sir Alex Ferguson would have been proud of in his heyday.

It was no flash in the pan for Mauricio Pochettino's team. Lallana's strike was already the fourth time this season that Southampton found the net in the last 10 minutes of a Premier League game.

Fulham scored four times against Palace and anyone who was at Selhurst Park on Monday will be telling their grandkids they were present when Kasami conjured up his wonder volley. Steve Sidwell's wasn't bad either.

We will always have gossip and sideshow in football. However, even in the cut-throat world of the modern game, a week like Southampton and Fulham have enjoyed reminds us where the sport's true excitement comes from.

    Head-to-head



  • This match could end 0-0 judging by the pattern of recent encounters. The last meeting finished 1-1, and was preceded by 2-2 and 3-3 draws.


  • Saturday will mark 78 years to the day since Fulham's only previous league win at Southampton. That was a 2-1 victory in a Division Two game on 26 October 1935.



  • Southampton



  • Seven of Saints' eight league goals this season have been scored in the second half, with four netted in the final 10 minutes of matches.


  • They have only lost three of their last 20 games in all competitions.


  • Their tally of three goals conceded is the lowest in the Premier League. At this stage last season they had let in 24 league goals.


  • Serie A leaders Roma (one goal conceded) are the only side in one of the top five European leagues with a better defensive record than Saints.


  • Southampton's haul of 15 points from their opening eight games represents their best start to a top-flight campaign since 1983-84, when they had 17 points at this stage. That season they ended in second place behind Liverpool.



  • Fulham



  • Victory would give Fulham three successive league wins for the first time since February-March 2012, when they beat Stoke, QPR and then Wolves.


  • Only Arsenal and Tottenham (three) have won more Premier League away games than Fulham (two) this season.


  • Dimitar Berbatov had 79 touches against Crystal Palace on Monday, more than any other Fulham player. In contrast, strike partner Darren Bent touched the ball only 13 times.
























Source Conor McNamara at BBCSports
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