With so many London clubs in the Premier League this season, we won’t have to wait long for our first London Derby of the season to take place when Crystal Place heads 30 minutes north to welcome back Fulham to the Premier League.
Craven Cottage is Fulham’s home stadium and it truly is quite the spectacle. It’s an excellent ground and you can bet that Fulham’s supporters will be raucous in welcoming their lads back into the Premier League. Fulham were previously fixtures in England’s top flight, and after a summer of big signings and spending – it is clear that they are adamant about staying up.
They’ll have a tough start to their campaign however as they will need to do battle with a pesky Crystal Palace side managed by Roy Hodgson. Last year, Palace were firmly in a relegation battle after a brutal start to the season. It cost Frank de Boer his job and in came Roy Hodgson. The former England manager was excellent, getting all of the results Palace needed to secure safety and lead them comfortably out of the drop zone. They players respect Hodgson, and there is a reason the Eagles finished as one of the more in-form sides of the EPL last year. He gets results, and this is a team with legitimate talent.
This is one of the more under-the-radar matches in Gameweek One, but one which will fully grab my attention. The atmosphere will be electric at Craven Cottage, and these two London rivals should produce a very exciting match. Read on below for a further breakdown and official betting prediction for Fulham and Crystal Palace.
Fulham vs. Crystal Palace Betting Odds:
Crystal Palace (+182)
Over 2.5 (-106)
Under 2.5 (-114)
Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Fulham vs. Crystal Palace Pick:
This has all the makings of a very good encounter – and though it’s just Week One of 38, with how close these teams are expected to be in the table, you can bet it’ll be an important one to both managers.
Fulham was quite active in the summer transfer market, bringing in a plethora of new signings to try and stay in the top flight of English soccer permanently. They’ve brought in some legitimate attacking talent and have a reasonable claim on a top-half finish. The talented trio of Aleksandar Mitrovic, Alfie Mawson, and Jean-Michael Seri will all be big additions and help all over the pitch. Fulham also did some savvy work in bringing in Andre Schurrle and Calum Chambers in on loan. This is a talented group and one that only got better this summer – but it might take some time for all of these new faces to mesh into the team concept.
For Palace, after last season’s roller-coaster run, Roy Hodgson will be hoping for a calmer season. They have the talent to contend for a top-12 spot, but the Premier League can be tricky. The Eagles also don’t necessarily have the depth of other squads, but their first eleven do possess all kinds of talent. This summer, Palace went out and brought in West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate to serve as a midfield general. Kouyate will play a key role in ball winning and tackling ability. Secondly, Palace went out and signed Max Meyer from Germany. The young midfielder has a ton of skill and creativity and should be able to replace Yohan Cabaye.
As of now, Fulham seems like the more impressive side on paper – though it will take time for all of their new faces to familiarize themselves with one another. They won just two of eight pre-season contests, and though it’ll be a crazy home atmosphere on Saturday afternoon, Palace are no pushovers. Their front three trio of Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha, and Andros Townsend are all very skilled and possess great pace. They should be able to put pressure on a suspect Fulham back-line and at least break through for one goal.
I think this will be a game filled with chances and both teams will find the back of the net. Though Fulham might control most of the match, I think a 1-1 draw seems to be the best value here – a result both teams will likely be fully content with to kick their season off.