Premier League

Fulham-Crystal Palace Preview

Roy Hodgson has praised the work of Scott Parker and is expecting a completely different test on Sunday compared to the last time Crystal Palace faced Fulham.

Palace were deserved 2-1 winners in the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage in October - a result that left Fulham bottom of the division with one point from six matches.

Parker's side took time to get going following promotion from the Championship but eight points from their last four matches has given them hope of dodging the drop.

Fulham are three points adrift of safety heading into this weekend's clash at Selhurst Park and Hodgson acknowledged Palace, still without star man Wilfried Zaha, are in for a tough contest against their London rivals.

"The coaching staff and the manager have obviously done a really good job in improving the side from the team that we met at the start of the season," Hodgson said. "I'd go as far as to say there is little comparison from that side.

"If you look at the form table over the last couple of months I would think they would be right up at the top rather than at the bottom, but of course they're playing catch-up. We're looking forward to another very difficult game."

Palace were 2-1 smash-and-grab winners away at Brighton and Hove Albion last time out, while Fulham saw off bottom side Sheffield United 1-0 in their most recent match.

The visitors are unbeaten in their last six Premier League away games, albeit five of those finishing all square, and Parker simply wants to maintain the pressure on the likes of Newcastle United, Brighton and Burnley.

"We've come out of a busy schedule last week where we got some points on the board and did very, very well, and that's the main aim going forward," Parker said. "With 13 games left, I know if we win games, we'll stay up. That's the main focus, otherwise it's a rollercoaster of emotions every weekend.

"I want us to worry about us, and that's what we've done this year very, very well, and we'll continue to do that."

Crystal Palace - Christian Benteke

Palace had three shots against Brighton compared to 25 for their opponents, yet they still came away from the Amex Stadium with all three points thanks to Benteke's late strike.

That was the Belgium international's fourth Premier League goal of the campaign, which is already more than he managed in his previous two seasons in the competition combined (three).

Fulham - Ivan Cavaleiro

Josh Maja has made a huge difference for Fulham since arriving in the January window, while Ademola Lookman has also proved a good signing, but Fulham now need others - such as Cavaleiro - to step up.

Cavaleiro has scored three Premier League goals in all this campaign, each of those away from home, making him Fulham's top scorer in away matches. Those three goals have either been the winner (once) or the equaliser (twice).

- Palace have won each of their last three Premier League games against Fulham; only versus Burnley (January 2018 to November 2019), Leicester City (December 2017 to February 2019) and Stoke City (March 2015 to September 2016) have they ever won four consecutive meetings in the competition.

- Fulham have never previously lost four consecutive league meetings with Palace; they last avoided defeat to the Eagles in the Premier League in May 2014 (1-1), and last beat them in the competition in October 2013 (4-1).

- Only against Wimbledon have Palace ever won four or more consecutive top-flight London derby meetings, beating them five times in a row from September 1989 to August 1991 under Steve Coppell.

- No team has conceded more goals from outside the box than Palace in the Premier League this season (nine). Indeed, it is more than double the amount they shipped from outside the box last term (four), with only four sides conceding fewer such goals in 2019-20.

- Jean-Philippe Mateta became the 12th different player to score for Palace in the Premier League this season against Brighton last time out. The Eagles last had more different goalscorers in a single campaign in 2015-16 (14).

Updated February 26, 2021

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