On April 26th, Hull City travel to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham. This is a crucial game at the bottom of the league. While Hull City are nearly safe from relegation, Fulham are prime candidates to finish in the dreaded bottom three. With only three games left to go Fulham will see this as a must win game. This game may not have the most talented Premier League players, but Fulham will be desperate to get three points from this one.
Fulham will be without record signing, Kostas Mitroglu, and Irish winger Damian Duff who are both missing with knee injuries. Fulham will have to make game time decisions on Sasha Reither, Scott Parker, Kieran Richardson, and Muhammadu Diarra. Hull will be missing Robbie Brady, Joe Dudgeon, Alan McGregor, Sone Aluko, and Paul McShane all through long term injuries. Shane Long is a doubt with a hamstring injury he picked up against Arsenal.
Earlier this season when the two teams met at the KC stadium, Hull ran out 6-0 winners and humiliated Fulham. In the five times the two teams have met in the top division Hull City have won four of the meetings with Fulham grabbing the other. Fulham did come out victorious the last time the two teams met at Craven Cottage. Hull have the second best defensive record outside of the top seven while Fulham have the worst defense in the league.
For Fulham to succeed, Lewis Holtby needs to run the show in midfield for the Cottagers. Holtby came in from Tottenham on loan in January and has been a huge improvement to the Fulham midfield. Holtby has been a great box to box midfielder adding creativity as well as solidity in the midfield. Since his arrival at Fulham, Holtby has created a chance every 40 minutes and has created a clear cut chance every 169 minutes. Holtby’s quality and eye for a pass has helped Fulham get off the bottom of the league and has given them a real chance at staying in the Barclay’s Premier League.
With the injury of Shane Long, Nikica Jelavic will be the main goal threat for Hull City. Jelavic moved to Hull from Everton in January. Since arriving at the KC Stadium, Jelavic has bagged himself three goals. Jelavic has added some quality to Hull and his physical presence is a perfect foil for his normal strike partner, Shane Long. Jelavic struggled at Everton but the move to Hull has done him some good and he had been back among the goals at Hull.
Fulham will need to come out and attack since anything other than a win does them little to no good. Hull will likely look to set up defensively, press Fulham into losing possession, and break quickly. Craven Cottage will be in full voice trying to push their team to victory and to safety from relegation. While they may have the fans behind them, I don’t see Fulham getting the win they need from this game. I see the points being shared in this game.
Prediction: 1-1 draw