This is one of the few Premiership games involving two clubs with absolutely nothing to play for. With Fulham currently positioned in 9th spot and Sunderland just a couple of places lower in 11th, both managers must surely be preparing for next term as their sides look to replicate this successful 2011/12 campaign.
Considering the fact that Fulham were in a state of turmoil last summer, following Mark Hughes’ departure, the Cottagers have enjoyed a tremendous campaign which could even result in them accumulating their best ever points total in the Premier League. The club currently find themselves sat in 9th position with forty nine points, meaning they require two victories from their final games to surpass the current record of fifty three. Recent form suggests that such a points tally is certainly within their grasp as well, with the Craven Cottage outfit losing just one of their last six games, managing to win four of them in the process. It has to be said that Jol’s men have made Craven Cottage into something of a fortress in recent weeks as well, having experienced just the one defeat in their last ten home encounters.
Sunderland on the other hand will be looking to finish in the top half this term, with the Black Cats sat just one point away from 10th spot at the time of writing. There is no doubt that in comparison to when Martin O’Neill first took over, the Stadium of Light outfit have seen a dip in form over recent months although they are still in a much healthier spot than they were when Steve Bruce was at the helm at the start of the campaign. Their supporters could be quite concerned as the season finale nears though, with the club currently on a winless run of seven games. Admittedly, five of those encounters have concluded in draws, yet that is still not a satisfactory return for a club who have invested heavily in the transfer market over the years.
In terms of team news, Martin Jol is hopeful of overseeing this clash after missing the club’s last two games due to a chest infection. On the playing front, Andy Johnson is set to miss out as a thigh problem continues to hinder the former Everton man. Sunderland in contrast could have several injury concerns, with the likes of John O’Shea, Nicklas Bendtner both doubtful through injury while Titus Bramble is a definite absentee. On a more positive note, Craig Gardner will probably return to the reckoning having completed his suspension.
As for a prediction, we think Fulham will get the points in this clash. The Cottagers have been in superb form over recent weeks, especially at home, while Sunderland don’t know where their next victory is going to come from. With that, we’ll tip a 2-0 win for the home side.