Fulham v Norwich City prediction: Clint Dempsey’s absence major boost for Canaries

Certain things in football you can take as a given. Opening day games in Factor 15 temperatures is one. City's exits from Craven Cottage with little tangible reward for their efforts should not necessarily be another.

Despite the weight of evidence that suggests the opposite over the past 25 years whenever these two clubs meet by the Thames.

Fulham's quaint home holds ghoulish memories for the Canaries. That hoped for exorcism last season was effectively ended after barely a quarter of an hour when Clint Dempsey and Damien Duff punished a sluggish start from the visitors.

Dempsey's absence as a result of his contract impasse and stated desire to seek pastures new is a major boost for the green and yellow hordes. The American was a major influence in both Norwich games last season on his way to a 23-goal campaign. Nevertheless, Fulham remain a well-drilled, experienced Premier League outfit with an astute manager in Martin Jol.

Chris Hughton spoke during the build up how much he owes his former mentor. City's boss is an innovative thinker in his own right.

Norwich's friendly exercises this summer have been notable, in part, for a degree of innovation. Andrew Surman and Wes Hoolahan were paired for the earlier games; Robert Snodgrass deployed off Grant Holt for the last few outings. Now is the time to produce when it really matters.

Fulham 1, Norwich City 1