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Southampton v Fulham - Match Preview

last updated Friday 25th October 2002, 11:25 AM
Fulham Manager Jean Tigana The Cottagers go into this game coming off the end of a disappointing home defeat, going down to Paolo Di Canio's 88th miinute penalty winner on Wednesday night that ended their eight game unbeaten run.

The Saints' dogged determination and impressive work rate will be a concern for Tigana on Sunday. The Frenchman admitted his side's marathon Intertoto Cup campaign could be leaving his players exhausted after the 1-0 defeat to West Ham.

"Some of my team looked very tired, although we had fresh players so we can't use that as an excuse. It's possible that we'll pay the penalty of so many games, so we need a bigger, strong squad."

If the Cottagers are to take any points at St Mary's they will have to put their off-field problems behind them, and overcome any fatigue they are suffering. If the London outfit are not 100% committed to the cause, Strachan's Southampton will make sure they are punished.

Fulham are unbeaten at Southampton in their last three visits having won 1 and drawn the other 2. Historically Fulham have won just twice away at Southampton since 1922 both by the odd goal in 1998 and 1935.

Southampton are unbeaten at home this season with 3 draws, 2 wins and 4 clean sheets.
  Soton Fulham Div
Games Played 10 10 10
Goals 7 14 12
Ave Goals Per Game 0.7 1.4 1.2
Shots (excluding blocked shots) 111



Ave Shots Per Game 11.1 11.4 10.5
% Shots On Target 42% 44% 43%
% Goals To Shots 5% 12% 11%
Short Passes 2238 2483 2608
Long Passes 1087 1220 1173
Total Passes 3325 3703 3781
Ave Passes Per Game 333 370 230
% Overall Pass Completion 69% 72% 73%
Total Crosses 259 201 230
Ave Crosses Per Game 25.9 20.1 23.0
Completion 19% 30% 26%
Goals Conceded 8 10 12
Ave Goals Conceded Per Game 0.8 1.0 1.2
Tackles 254 315 281
Ave Tackles Per Game 25 32 28
Tackles Won % 72% 74% 72%
Blocks, Clearances & Interceptions 437 385 418
Ave Blocks, etc., Per Game 44 39 42
Fouls 157 131 139
Ave Fouls Per Game 16 13 14
Yellow Cards 12 18 16
Fouls per yellow 13.1 7.3 8.7
Red Cards 3 1 1
stats from opta

Southampton Manager Gordon Strachan's Southampton will be confident they can continue their great form of late to turn over Jean Tigana's Fulham. The Saints have not lost in four Premiership games, winning their last two.

Despite Southampton's good run of form the Saints boss has challenged his team to keep improving after celebrating his first year in charge with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa.

James Beattie's penalty was enough to seal the points at Villa Park, and Strachan said: "Our form of late has been decent and we are happy with the win but we must improve.

Strachan is a great motivator, and his desire to win is intense. His emotions run high on the sidelines, and this week he was "warned as to his future conduct" by the Football Association after his dismissal by the referee Steve Bennett during the Saints' 1-0 win over Everton on September 11.
It seems that when we are favourites we don't do so well so with Southampton being tipped to win Fulham will do well!

Looking at the stats and the various injuries the above comment is about the most positive bit of information available to Fulham fans. More seriously with Sean Davis out our midfield tends to evaporate and the defence, without Alain Goma, has no backup when it gets confused. However Martin Djetou The Enforcer had a useful debut and may be a more than adequate replacement for Sean.

If anyone is still keen to back Fulham to win then they should quickly take the 6/4 on offer at Betfair or if you want to stick to the old fashioned approach, the 2/1 on offer at Stanley.

Betting odds Soton Draw Fulham
Coral 5/4 11/5 7/4
Hills 13/10 21/10 7/4
Ladbrokes 5/4 11/5 7/4
SuperSoccer 6/5 9/4 9/5
Stanley 5/4 2/1 2/1
Betfair 6/4 11/5 12/5
All prices subject to fluctuation(particularly Betfair).

Matchday Referee: Mark Halsey - Welwyn Garden City

Mark HalseyMark Halsey enjoyed a fairly meteoric rise to the Premier League referees list having only taken up the profession in the 1988/89 season. The 41-year-old self-employed driver - or white van man - caught the refereeing bug in the Hertfordshire County League, before joining the football league as a linesman in 1993.

Halsey came into the Premiership with a reputation as a lover of injury time. He was in charge of the 1998/99 Division Two play-off final in which Manchester City scored in the 95th minute to equalise with Gillingham, before winning the match on penalties.

His first season in the top flight was relatively controversy free, averaging 3.1 bookings per game in the 16 matches he took charge of. Since then, Halsey has become one of the league's most respected referees and took charge of over 20 matches last season.

(Ed. In his 5 games so far this season Mr. Halsey is issuing yellows at a slower rate than last season. His last Fulham game was the 3-2 home win over Spurs in September when he tried his hardest to avoid giving us a penalty. Last season he reffed Fulham at home against Spurs, Blackburn and West Ham booking Finnan, Malbranque, and Marlet and Melville, the last three all in the Blackburn game.)

Mr. Halsey's score sheet Average Premiership Referee score sheet
Total Match
Total Match
Games 21 16
Fouls 612 29.14 472 29.81
Penalties 5 0.24 3 0.19
Yellow cards 64 3.05 49 3.07
Red Cards 4 0.19 3 0.19
Fouls per Yellow 9.6   9.7  

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