Crystal Palace v Fulham Cheat Sheet
Crystal Palace v Fulham
Both teams go into the second half of the season likely feeling pretty happy with how the first half of the season went. Crystal Palace had a tough run of early fixtures but now find themselves in 11th position, just 3 points off 6th placed Liverpool. Crystal Palace look to have effectively a fully fit squad coming into this match and won’t have any players needing some time to recover after the World Cup. In fact, Crystal Palace have been busy preparing for their return, they have played 4 friendlies during the World Cup so their players shouldn’t be lacking much match sharpness.
Fulham have had a flying start to the season and sit in 9th going into this match. They are also blessed with the return of a fully fit Aleksandar Mitrovic who will be match sharp after playing for Serbia at the World Cup. Fulham also have effectively a fully fit squad however they have played just one friendly although it was against Premier League opposition in West Ham. Only Manchester City and Spurs games have seen more goals than Fulham matches so don’t be surprised if this is a high scoring match.
Fulham’s attacking approach has been effective this season, especially due to the conversion rate of Aleksandar Mitrovic and with them currently occupying a top half position they will see no need to change this style of play. Fulham matches see the third most goals of any team in the Premier League, but unlike Manchester City and Spurs they are more evenly distributed for both teams. In just 2 of Fulham’s last 11 matches against Premier League opposition have both teams not scored and even in their recent friendly against a usually low-scoring West Ham team, both teams scored. In this match Fulham are the away side, in all of their last 6 away matches both teams have scored.
Crystal Palace are usually involved in much lower scoring matches but they have worked hard during the World Cup break and will expect to get a result in this match. Crystal Palace should be more than good enough to score at home, they have only failed to score at home once this season and that was against Arsenal. With this strength at home for Crystal Palace and Fulham’s open attacking style of play and Mitrovic’s goal scoring, both teams are highly likely to score in this match.
This almost needs no explanation. Most people wouldn’t have believed you at the start of the season if you told them Mitrovic would be 4th highest scorer in the Premier League at the halfway point, but he has continued his incredible Championship form into this season. He has scored in his last 3 matches against opposition not in the top 6 and gained some match sharpness after his injury by playing in the World Cup where he bagged 2 goals.
As seen on the Cheat Sheet, he has averaged 1.5 shots on target per 90 this season and has only failed to have a shot on target in 1 match this season, the game against Newcastle where Fulham received a red card after 8 minutes and Mitrovic was subbed off after just 37 minutes. He is up against Andersen and Guehi at the back for Palace, Guehi is not strong aerially with almost 80% of centre-backs in the Premier League having a better aerial won % than him, with Mitrovic’s strength in the air this is a huge advantage. Therefore, I am backing a shot on target in this match, this should be about the safest bet you can put on this game.
Fulham’s whole team are attacking and their full-backs are a major part of this. Crystal Palace enjoy playing on the counter with the number of pacey players in their squad and this will free up space for players such as Zaha. Wilfred Zaha’s steady improvement with Crystal Palace has matched Crystal Palace’s improvement in form over the season. Zaha tops the Cheat Sheet charts for shooting amongst his Palace cohorts, and has averaged 1.1 shots on target per 90 this season and with a break for winter complete, he could really come into his own in the second half of the season.
Zaha is also Palace’s main penalty taker and is often on free kicks. While friendlies are not always the best marker, Zaha scored twice in their recent friendly against Real Valladolid and also got one in the previous friendly against Napoli. Zaha is Palace’s top scorer with 6 goals this season and has scored in both his previous games against Fulham, he should be a key player in this game.
Andreas Pereira always showed glimpses of what he can do at Manchester United but his move to Fulham has really allowed him to shine. He has scored 2 and assisted 4 in a successful season for him so far and averages 0.51 shots on target per 90. Crystal Palace are defensively strong and will be happy to soak up pressure in this match, which will allow Pereira to get further up the pitch.
With Palace sitting deep he can also get space for a long shot, his average shooting distance is 24.3 yards out from goal, that is further out than 99% of attacking midfielders in Europe’s top 5 leagues over the last year. Pereira, like most of Fulham’s squad, did not go to the world cup so will be fully fit to play the whole match, and he plays an average of 83 minutes anyway, so expect him to play the full match. At his current odds he is great odds for a shot on target.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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