Fulham vs. Southampton
Venue: Craven Cottage
Kick off: 4PM
Fulham will be aiming to stretch their unbeaten run in the Premier League to four matches when they welcome Southampton to Craven Cottage for Boxing Day’s encounter.
The hosts played out a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United last time out, whereas Southampton suffered a narrow defeat to Manchester City on the South Coast.
A controversially-awarded Callum Wilson penalty prevented Fulham taking all three points at Newcastle United last Saturday, with the Magpies striker converting from 12 yards after Matt Ritchie’s own goal opened the scoring just before half time.
While Fulham were cruelly prevented from picking up just their second away win of the campaign, Scott Parker’s men have now gone their last three games unbeaten following draws with Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion, but the Cottagers are still winless in December.
Boxing Day’s visit of Southampton represents Fulham’s best chance to get another three points on the board before the end of the year, with the Cottagers facing a trip to Tottenham Hotspur next Wednesday, but a clash with the Saints will not be an easy ride either.
Should Parker’s men manage to take the spoils against Southampton – which would be just their third league win of the campaign – Fulham will temporarily lift themselves out of the relegation zone into 16th before Brighton and Burnley take to the pitch on Sunday.
Furthermore, West Bromwich Albion – who are three points behind – would need a nine-goal swing and results to go in their favour to leapfrog Fulham this weekend, and Parker’s men have certainly been looking more solid in recent weeks.
Attempting to get one over Manchester City was a step too far for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s effervescent Southampton, who succumbed to an early Raheem Sterling winner at St Mary’s in gameweek 14.
The Saints would have undoubtedly felt frustrated to only take one point from their clash with a 10-man Arsenal last week as well, but the fact that Southampton are going toe-to-toe with clubs of that calibre speaks volumes about their impressive start to the season.
Hasenhuttl’s men have lost some ground on the European-chasing pack with that defeat to City, but Southampton are still just two points off third-placed Manchester United – who do have a game in hand – and a win would see the Saints at least overtake Tottenham Hotspur before their clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.
The visitors go into this game in terrific form on the road, with Southampton stringing together a six-game unbeaten run away from home in the league since September’s defeat to Crystal Palace – no mean feat considering that Hasenhuttl’s men have travelled to Chelsea, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Wolves already this season.
In addition, Southampton have come out on top in five of their last six clashes with Fulham in all competitions, although the Cottagers did win this fixture 3-2 back in the 2018-19 Premier League season.
Fulham possible XI: Areola, Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Robinson, Reed, Anguissa, Reid, Loftus-Cheek, Lookman, Mitrovic.
Southampton possible XI: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Djenepo, Diallo, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Adams, Walcott.