Crystal Palace vs Fulham Prediction
Monday 26th December 2022
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Where Can I Watch Crystal Palace vs Fulham?
Amazon Prime Video (UK, NI, CI, IoM); USA – TV channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Crystal Palace vs Fulham Prediction Match Overview
Following a lengthy six-week interlude to accommodate the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, two mid-table sides in Crystal Palace and Fulham contest a London derby at Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace have firmly established themselves in that category of teams during the last two seasons under the leadership of Patrick Vieira. Though they’ve wobbled a little of late, succumbing to a 3-0 defeat away to Everton and a 1-0 defeat away to Nottingham Forest, Palace have still managed to win three of their last five matches, including an impressive 2-1 victory at West Ham. In many respects, the 3-0 reverse at Everton can be considered something of an aberration. Generally speaking, Crystal Palace are one of the tougher mid-table sides to break down and have consistently conceded just over one goal per game throughout Vieira’s tenure.
Fulham have been hugely impressive in how they’ve established themselves as a competitive Premier League team, though this was perhaps always on the cards following their dominant Championship campaign last season. Five of Fulham’s 10 Championship defeats last season came within the last 10 games after they’d all but secured automatic promotion. As cliched as this sounds, they’ve been a breath of fresh air for the Premier League and signalled their intentions immediately in their opening game against Liverpool which finished in a highly creditable 2-2 draw. An unkind pairing of fixtures against both Manchester sides resulted in 2-1 defeats in each game which has somewhat halted their momentum, and they’ll be looking to get back on track here against a Crystal Palace team who don’t lose too often at home – 6 defeats in 26 league matches.
Crystal Palace vs Fulham Team News
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Kurzawa, Mitrovic, Robinson (Fulham)
Will Not Play: Ferguson, Guehi, Johnstone, McArthur (Crystal Palace); Kebano, Solomon (Fulham)
Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Vicente Guaita; Tyrick Mitchell, James Tomkins, Joachim Andersen, Nathaniel Clyne; Cheick Doucoure, Michael Olise, Jeffrey Schlupp; Eberechi Eze, Wilfried Zaha, Odsonne Edouard
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Bernd Leno; Kenny Tete, Tosin Adarabioyo, Issa Diop, Tim Ream; Harrison Reed, Joao Palhinha; Bobby Reid, Andreas Pereira, Willian; Aleksandar Mitrovic
Crystal Palace vs Fulham Prediction Analysis
The Importance of Pressing and Counter-Pressing
Neither of these two sides look to monopolise the ball for the sake of possession, nor are they particularly set up to be ball-dominant. Both sides will look to press defenders high up the pitch and create attacking situations accordingly. In turn, this will stretch this game significantly, and most likely provide the platform for an end-to-end game of football at times. Both sides possess talented attackers, most specifically Wilfried Zaha for Crystal Palace and Aleksandar Mitrovic for Fulham, and therefore we can expect both teams to aggressively counter-press once losing the ball to prevent rapid transitions and finding these danger men in open space. We expect the pattern of play to be rather chaotic at times, and this will be exacerbated by the fact that it’s a London derby. This will be great for the fans but perhaps not so much for their respective coaching staff.
Evidence of this hard-pressing approach from both sides can be found in the yellow card counts for the season. Both teams feature in the top five in this regard, with Fulham in joint-third place on 36 yellow cards and Crystal Palace on 33. Crystal Palace also lead the league as the most dispossessed side ahead of Liverpool in second place, so we can understand why they place such high importance on winning the ball back quickly.
While we understand perfectly why both teams will want to go for it, with both sides viewing this fixture as winnable, the side that emerges victorious will likely be the one which manages to get the defensive balance right. While both teams will understandably look to take advantage of their impressive pressing and counter-pressing abilities, neither will be looking to give their opponents a free run at goal regularly. For Fulham, this balance is largely achieved through their uneven fullback pairings. Tete is considered to be a more defensive fullback and can be usually found providing cover for the other fullback, usually Robinson who will likely be unavailable today so in this case Ream; this ensures that Fulham are never usually completely exposed defensively despite their tendency to attack in numbers. This approach also manifests itself in Fulham’s high yellow card count and their tendency to commit tactical fouls – a controversial tactic but one which usually yields greater rewards than negatives in the modern game.
For Crystal Palace, when they’re at their best they tend to play direct, risky passes which sees them lose the ball a lot, but they’re also highly adept at winning the ball back. This necessitates a high degree of positional discipline and therefore defensive balance. Without it, they can look shapeless and ragged – for reference, see Palace’s 3-0 defeat to Everton. Conversely, they don’t look to be at their best when opting for a more conservative approach in possession. While they enjoyed 68% possession against Nottingham Forest, they achieved that dominant possession at the expense of any real cutting edge. In fact, Crystal Palace registered zero shots on target and slumped to a 1-0 defeat when adopting this approach. They need to be more direct with their attacking play and aggressive when they lose possession – Crystal Palace were criticised for a lethargic performance against Forest, which isn’t typically a characteristic associated with their play under Vieira.
Beat the Bookmaker Crystal Palace vs Fulham Prediction
We predict a free-flowing game which should see both sides create plenty of chances. Both sides will view this game as an opportunity to lay down a marker as outsiders for a European spot, and when we also consider that derby games are rarely cagey affairs, we’re expecting both sides to play with the handbrake off.
Crystal Palace 2-2 Fulham
Beat the Bookmaker Crystal Palace vs Fulham Prediction – Over 2.5 Goals:
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