Check out our match preview as Southampton look to make a winning start to this year's Emirates FA Cup competition with a trip to Championship side Fulham.
Fulham vs Southampton
Saturday 6th January 2018, 3:00pm GMT
Emirates FA Cup
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
A momentary break from the current Premier League campaign may well have come at a good time for Saints, who will be looking to bounce back from disappointment against Crystal Palace.
Despite Shane Long's early strike giving them a platform, Saints were undone by a second-half Palace revival, and are now winless in nine games.
But FA Cup success may provide brief reprieve for Mauricio Pellegrino's men, who advanced to the fourth round during last year's competition after a replay against Norwich City.
Unbeaten in their previous four, Saturday's Championship opponents, Fulham are indeed on a profitable run of form, having overturned Ipswich 4-1 last time out. A productive Christmas period has seen Slaviša Jokanović's Londoners jump in to tenth, four points adrift of a coveted play-off spot.
The Cottagers progressed to the FA Cup's fifth round last term, before eventually being knocked out by Tottenham.
Southampton: Right-back Cédric (ankle) and striker Charlie Austin (hamstring) remain sidelined, while Wesley Hoedt (concussion) and Jérémy Pied add to Saints' defensive shortfall. Ryan Bertrand made a return to fitness against Crystal Palace and came through the game unscathed.
Fulham: The hosts have no fresh injury or suspension concerns in the lead up to the tie. Star man Ryan Sessegnon was substituted with three minutes to spare on Saturday and is expected to start after scoring twice in the win over Ipswich.
Southampton’s previous five:
Crystal Palace (h) L 1-2
Manchester United (a) D 0-0
Tottenham (a) L 2-5
Huddersfield (h) D 1-1
Chelsea (a) L 0-1
Fulham's previous five:
Ipswich (h) W 4-1
Hull (a) D 2-2
Cardiff (a) W 2-4
Barnsley (h) W 2-1
Sunderland (a) L 1-0
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Shane Long scored his first Premier League goal since February against Crystal Palace and will be hoping to use as a catalyst for a purple patch of form to help the team improve.
Elsewhere, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s output in the centre of midfield has been a positive - he made more passes and had a higher passing accuracy than any other Saints player during both recent Man Utd and Palace fixtures.
Top scorers: Charlie Austin (6), Steven Davis (3), Manolo Gabbiadini (3), Dušan Tadić (3)
Most assists: Nathan Redmond (3), Ryan Bertrand (3), Dušan Tadić (2)
Amid intense transfer speculation, Ryan Sessegnon has emerged as Fulham's youngest, yet brightest, attacking threat.
The talented full-back, 17, who finished as joint-top scorer at the European Under-19 Championship last June, has been tracked by Man United for some time, while the teenager's recent form is rumoured to have attracted significant interest from Tottenham and Real Madrid.
Top scorers: Ryan Sessegnon (7), Aboubakar Kamara (6), Stefan Johansen (5)
Most assists: Ryan Sessegnon (4), Ryan Fredericks (4)
Previous four meetings:
Feb 2014: Fulham 0-3 Southampton - A Lallana (64'), R Lambert (70'), J Rodriguez (75')
Oct 2013: Southampton 2-0 Fulham - R Lambert (20'), J Rodriguez (42')
Dec 2012: Fulham 1-1 Southampton - R Lambert (85' pen)
Oct 2012: Southampton 2-2 Fulham - J Fonte (4', 90')
DID YOU KNOW?
- Southampton have progressed past lower league opponents in 17 of their last 18 FA Cup ties, although the last two occasions have seen the Saints taken to a replay.
- Each of Southampton’s last six FA Cup third round matches (excl. replays) have seen both teams score, with 25 goals scored in total (4.2 goals per game).
NOT AT THE GAME?
Don’t worry if you can’t make it to Craven Cottage! Relax at home and follow along with our interactive match centre at southamptonfc.com, where we will have all the build-up, as well as in-game updates and free live audio commentary.
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