Premier League
Scoreboard | Match Schedule | Standings | Clubs | Transfers | Player Leaders | Home

Sunderland-Fulham Preview

(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Fulham will be looking to continue their superb home form when they welcome Sunderland to Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon.

Martin Jol's team have lost just twice in 15 home matches in 2012, winning ten of those games and out-scoring their opponents 34-16, and midfielder Steve Sidwell is hoping that the club keep that run going.

"Even before I joined, the home record of this football club has always been immense so that's great," said Sidwell. "It's always been the away record that's let the teams down.

"This year we've done well away from home though so far, but we've got to make sure we keep winning at home to maintain our record at the Cottage. If we do that, and keep picking up the odd points away from home then obviously we'll be in for a good finish."

The Cottagers have scored eight goals in their last three games in the league, but have drawn all three - including a stunning 3-3 draw with Arsenal last weekend. The club's prolific form in front of goal hasn't gone unnoticed by the manager of this weekend's opposition, Martin O'Neill.

"They're a good side and have been for some time now," said the Sunderland boss. "They have a settled team. A settled nucleus of the team so the loss of Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele is something they've been able to absorb and then the addition of Dimitar Berbatov obviously enhances things.

"Berbatov has been a superb player who looks reinvigorated by the move away from Old Trafford. As a side, they're in very fine form but I know that it is time to convert our defeats into draws and draws into victories, and the sooner the better."

O'Neill's side have struggled this season despite spending in the summer transfer market, and go into the game at Craven Cottage without a win in five and on the back of consecutive defeats.

Sidwell was managed by O'Neill at Aston Villa, and knows that despite the poor form, any team led by the Irishman will be a tough test.

"I've played under Martin O'Neill so I know what he expects from his team and they're going to come down on Sunday looking to get the three points and nothing else so we've got to be fully aware and make sure we concentrate from the first whistle," said the midfielder. "If we do that and play the way we've been playing recently then we should get a result."

The omens for Fulham are good, as they are unbeaten in six against Sunderland and have conceded just one goal in those six games. The Black Cats have just one win in eight games at Craven Cottage in the Premier League era - back in April 2008.

Kieran Richardson and Mahamadou Diarra are unlikely to feature for Fulham, while Simon Davies remains out. Sunderland have concerns over Steven Fletcher, Lee Cattermole, Phil Bardsley and Wes Brown.

Sunderland's form is disappointing. They have just one win in their last 18 Premier League games - a run that stretches back to March - and have managed just 13 goals in that time. Adam Johnson's goal against Everton last weekend was the first scored by a Sunderland player other than Fletcher this season. If you take away Fletcher's statistics, the Black Cats have managed just 11 shots on target all season. Fletcher alone has managed seven. In contrast, six different Fulham players have already scored more than once this season.

Away from home it's no better for O'Neill's team. They are without a win in 13 and have scored just nine goals in that run.

Fulham took four points off the Black Cats last season, drawing 0-0 away and winning 2-1 at the Cottage. However, both of the scorers on that day have since left the club, with both Dempsey and Dembele now at Tottenham.

Updated November 16, 2012

w4 © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

ADVERTISEMENT
SI.com
TM & © 2013 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved. SI.com is part of CNN Digital Network, which is part of the Turner Digital Network. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines, your California privacy rights, and ad choices.