Football

Fulham vs Stoke: Match preview

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Hughes faces another of his old employers on Saturday (©GettyImages)
Hughes faces another of his old employers on Saturday (©GettyImages).

Saturday's afternoon clash at Craven Cottage sees two teams currently struggling at the bottom half of the table, battle it out for much needed points.

Neither Fulham or Stoke have set the world alight in the first six games of the season, with Fulham starting the season with a 1-0 win at Sunderland but never capitalising on their bright start, whereas Stoke started with a loss to Liverpool but then went on a three game unbeaten run where they picked up their whole tally of seven points.

Both teams would be on the list for teams odds on for relegation after their depressing starts to the season so a game between them could be a chance for one team to life themselves back up into the top half, because only three points separates 15th (Stoke) and seventh (Man City).

Mark Hughes has added incentive going into Saturday's game, with the mentality that he will want to get one over on his former employers, whilst Fulham will be desperate to pick up points and should be a lot more lethal than the stats lead you to believe with both Darren Bent and Dimitar Berbatov at their disposal.

Team news

Fulham have quite the list of casualties with Scott Parker, Ashkan Dejagah, Matthew Briggs and Maarten Stekelenburg all certainties to miss the clash and Aaron Hughes looking to be left down to a late fitness test.

Stoke on the other hand only have two major injury doubts, with Jon Walters looking like he could miss his first game for Stoke in two years and Matthew Etherington could be left subject to a late fitness test as he continues to recover from whiplash last week. The good news for Stoke is that Brek Shea could return to first team action.

Stats

Both teams have scored just four goals so far this season.

Fulham and Stoke have met five times at Craven Cottage in the Premier League, and Fulham have come out as victors on four of those occasions, including their last three meetings.

They may have shared five Premier League games at Craven Cottage, but they have played 10 in total, and in all 10 of those games Stoke have only managed to score eight goals against Fulham.

Key Players

Fulham: Berbatov is always one to watch, but it depends which Berbatov turns up on Saturday, it could be his game or he could be defended out of it.

Stoke: Marko Arnautovic continues to impress and was one of the shining light of Sunday's defeat to Norwich, he will be wanting to get on the score sheet and prove he can be a prolific goalscorer.

Prediction: It's not gonna be first on Match of the Day and no one will remember the game at the end of the season, it will be a defensive affair and the winner will do so with a solitary goal.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Mark Hughes
Fulham
Stoke City
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