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Fulham travel to Swansea:- Match Preview

last updated Friday 17th May 2013, 2:41 PM

Fulham manager Martin Jol
Fulham manager
Martin Jol
Martin Jol
Few teams this weekend will have deserved the obligatory lap of honour quite as much as Swansea. If last season's historic, best-ever 11th place finish under Brendan Rodgers was the stuff of dreams, then this season Michael Laudrup has "Jacked" up the bar even higher.

The prize of eighth place, coupled with their League Cup win, and guaranteed Europa League football next season will earn the Swans a raucous, joyous send-off on Sunday.

This was the team that Rodgers built, and Laudrup, using his Spanish league know-how, perfected. His ability to sign players of great technique, if not reputation and price tag, has marked him out as a manager who'll doubtless be linked with many a summer vacancy - and not just in the Premier League.

I notice that Laudrup himself has suggested that, for now, eighth is probably the summit of what is realistically possible for Swansea, effectively winners of the mini-league within the Premier League. Mind you, next season they'll have another target - not only to match what they've done this year, they'll also HAVE to beat Cardiff home and away!

Fulham travel to South Wales in, frankly, dreadful form - over the last six matches the worst in the Premier League, with a run of five successive defeats and no wins in seven. Of course they are now safe from relegation, but back-to-back top-half finishes under Mark Hughes, and last season with Martin Jol already seem an awfully long way off.

Jol's position now seems secure into next season, despite recent speculation suggesting a parting of the ways could be imminent. Either way, Sunday could be a farewell for several of Fulham's players - the Cottagers have an ageing group of players with 10 of the first-team squad out of contract come the season's end and 12 of them aged 30 or over.

These are two clubs with relatively modest budgets by top-flight standards, and so the merit payments for final Premier League placing will perhaps mean more to them than most. Both can, on their day, play football easy on the eye, and of a very high standard - I was at Fulham to see them humiliate Norwich 5-0 in August, and here at the Liberty the following week to see "Swansalona" pass West Ham into submission.

Let's hope both turn up - and turn on the style - to give us an end-of-season cracker


  • Swansea have beaten Fulham in all three of their Premier League meetings, conceding just one goal.

  • Prior to that, the Swans had beaten Fulham just once in 13 meetings in all competitions dating back to 1990.

  • This is the 63rd meeting between the sides. Fulham have won 30 times, Swansea 22 and there have been 10 draws.

  • Swansea

  • Swansea have taken just six points from their last nine games (W1 D3 L5), putting them below the likes of Aston Villa, Sunderland, Norwich and Wigan in the form table.

  • The Swans have not beaten a side in the top half of the table since defeating Arsenal on 1 December. If they beat Fulham on Sunday it will mean that each of their last six league wins have been against clubs now in the bottom half of the table.

  • Swansea are one of only two teams this season yet to win a penalty (alongside Tottenham). Charlton in 2004-05 were the last side to go a whole Premier League season without winning a penalty.

  • Just 11% of Swansea's goals (five of 47) have come from set-pieces this season, which is the lowest ratio in the Premier League.

  • Swansea have scored the highest percentage of goals (70%) in the second half of matches in the league this season.

  • Fulham

  • Fulham have lost five successive Premier League games. They have only lost six in a row once before in the competition - between February and March 2002.

  • Eleven of Dimitar Berbatov's 14 league goals for Fulham have come before half-time. Only Clint Dempsey has scored more goals (17 last season) in a single Premier League season for the club.

  • They have thrown away 23 points from winning positions and gained just five from losing positions this season.

  • Fulham's record of four points from their last eight games puts them 19th in the form table with only relegated QPR below them.

Source Dan O'Hagan at BBCSports
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