Jack Stroudley looks ahead to our final game at Craven Cottage this season.
Despite it being our final home game of this incredible campaign, there’s still a decent amount on the line for Fulham. Most notably, the opportunity to break our record Premier League points total (53) against the man who was at the helm when that record was achieved back in 2009. In order to do that, we will need to beat Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace. It was a relatively straightforward affair for Fulham when we met at Selhurst Park on Boxing Day, but how do Fulham go about winning again and breaking that points record?
Crystal Palace’s season has been a pretty mixed bag, Patrick Vieira was sacked back in March after Palace failed to muster a single win in 2023, which consequently left the South London side three points outside the relegation zone. Vieira was replaced by Roy Hodgson and despite a wall of backlash from Crystal Palace fans, he’s more-than comfortably kept the Eagles up, while getting the best out of certain players.
The players that come to mind are Jordan Ayew and Eberechi Eze, who have both shone since Hodgson’s return to management. A big advantage for Fulham will be the missing Wilfred Zaha, who is reportedly out for the remainder of the season.
Since returning to Selhurst Park, Hodgson’s away form has been relatively inconsistent. Two fantastic performances at Elland Road (5-1 win) and St Mary’s (2-0 win) are also met with defeats at Wolves, Spurs and Arsenal. Hodgson looks to have struggled against sides who aren’t in and around the relegation zone, so can Fulham make the most of this?
How do we prepare?
Following a fantastic second-half performance at Southampton last week, here is how I’d line up against Crystal Palace.
Along with everyone, I was very surprised to see Aleksandar Mitrovic benched last Saturday and despite scoring at St Mary’s, I feel that Vinicius’s time in the starting XI is up. Mitrovic came on and was a nuisance to the Southampton defence with his hold-up play and capped a good performance off the bench with a well-taken header.
I wouldn’t go with any other changes to the side that beat Southampton, everyone deserves to keep their place for this game and potentially even at Old Trafford next week.
The final verdict
I think this one will be a really entertaining game of football; two sides that want to end the season on a high and who will both want to play expansive styles. The injury of Zaha is a huge miss for Crystal Palace and I think that could be the difference in the end. I’m going for a 2-1 win.