Fulham v Norwich City - Paddy’s prediction
Fulham left Old Trafford in midweek with a hard luck story, but no points for the third consecutive Premier League match. Swansea's recent 3-0 win at Craven Cottage hardly aids Norwich's cause to emulate their promoted rivals.
Both clubs are separated by just three points and well clear of the carnage at the bottom. Whether that equates to a pressure-free afternoon in west London only time will tell. It certainly looks one for the purists, with Norwich very comfortable in possession against Wolves last weekend, allied to a tweak in their formation which harnessed the midfield creativity of David Fox, Wes Hoolahan and Jonny Howson in the same line up. Fulham showed at Carrow Road they can play that game as well as any in the league with Danny Murphy and Moussa Dembele a perfect counterpoint to the muscular thrusts of Clint Dempsey.
Martin Jol also looks to have found a striker in Pavel Pogrebnyak who is every bit as much a handful as the likes of Grant Holt and Steve Morison.
Holt's one match suspension throws up an intriguing dilemma for Paul Lambert. Keep the same system that worked so well against Wolves and Morison would be the favourite to reprise Holt's role. Simeon Jackson's all-round game at the moment lacks one vital ingredient. A first goal since the FA Cup win at West Brom would be a welcome boost for the Canadian and the rest of his team mates.
City's front players must retain the ball, otherwise it matters little which personnel Lambert packs his midfield with. If Fulham dominate that area of the pitch, City's defensive shape will be tested to the full. Fulham, away, is one of the less daunting grounds for a visiting side. Recent history has been less than kind to the Canaries. But Craven Cottage should hold no fears.
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