Following on from a rare goalless draw against Newcastle at St James Park, the Whites return to the Cottage to take on fellow promoted team Wolverhampton Wanderers. Can Fulham take some confidence from our supposed new defensive confident? Niall Johnson takes a look.
Last Saturday saw the remarkable landmark Fulham fans have been fantasising about for a long time, a clean sheet. The fact that this manifested in a goalless draw against fellow league strugglers Newcastle has perhaps sought to undermine the achievement in the eyes of certain parts of the Fulham faithful, but undoubtedly is a platform from which to build as we enter two hugely important back to back festive fixtures at the Cottage.
- February 2018: Fulham 2 – 0 Wolves
- November 2017: Wolves 2 – 0 Fulham
- March 2017: Fulham 1 – 3 Wolves
- December 2016: Wolves 4 – 4 Fulham
January 2016: Wolves 3 – 2 Fulham
Fulham have had a number of memorable games in recent history. The penalty shootout win following a 3-3 draw at Molineux at the start of 2015 sticks in the mind, only to be bettered by our 4-4 draw in 2016 which involved the iconic Tom Cairney volley from Johansen’s rehearsed free kick.
Our last meeting with Wolves goes down as one of the most impressive and season defining victories of our 23 unbeaten run. Given how dominant eventual winners Wolves were in the Championship, Fulham managed a fairly routine victory with goals in either half. The first a vintage Sessegnon tap in, involving quick reactions from a John Ruddy parry, followed by a wonderful show of solo strength and skill by Mitrovic to ward off two defenders and fire in to the bottom left hand corner from the edge of the box.
Fulham Team News
Ryan Sessegnon makes a timely return to the squad following his two game lay off with a Groin injury. Anguissa remains side-lined until the new year. Major line-up talking points will surround whether Claudio keeps faith with the five at the back formation that worked so well defensively at St James Park. There were obvious drawbacks when Fulham looked to attack, Mitrovic in particular looking very isolated. Perhaps Kamara will be given the nod given his explosive substitute performances in recent times and Schurrle appearing lacklustre by comparison.
Wolves Team News
Wolves only have one absentee, the influential Diogo Jota will miss the fixture with a hamstring injury.
For our first Boxing Day Craven Cottage fixture in six years, I retain a level optimism greater than I should. Having predicted our first clean sheet last week, I’m going to go for a 2-1 victory for the Whites this week with goals for Mitrovic and Kamara. COYW and Merry Christmas everyone.