Southampton head to Fulham on Boxing Day hoping to bounce back from the narrow loss to Manchester City and start another unbeaten run. Get set for the encounter with our Match Pack, in association with eToro.
Fulham vs Southampton
Saturday 26th December, 3pm GMT
Referee: Darren England
Assistants: Mark Scholes, Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Simon Hooper
VAR: Jonathan Moss
Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood
Saints will be in their blue away strip for this match.
HOW TO WATCH
The fixture will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Saints are aiming to bounce back from the 1-0 home loss to Manchester City last time out, in what was only their second defeat in 12 Premier League matches.
Victory could potentially move Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side back into the top four, having slipped a few places in the table following the City clash.
Fulham, with ten points from their opening 14 matches, are battling towards the other end of the table, but with draws in their most recent three matches, against Liverpool, Brighton and Newcastle, they will be hoping for another positive result to move them up the standings.
Fulham: Defender Joachim Andersen is available after his red card in last week's 1-1 draw at Newcastle was overturned. Midfielder Mario Lemina, on loan from Saints, is ineligible to feature against his parent club, although Harrison Reed could play against his former side. Defender Terence Kongolo and winger Ivan Cavaleiro remain sidelined with injury, while right-back Kenny Tete's availability is uncertain following the birth of his child ahead of the game. Fulham boss Scott Parker will also be absent from the touchline, after a member of his household tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he must self-isolate, but he will remain in touch with coaches Stuart Gray and Matt Wells throughout.
Southampton: Ralph Hasenhüttl has injury doubts over Danny Ings, following his hamstring problem sustained against Manchester City, as well as Jannik Vestergaard and Nathan Redmond. The Saints boss is awaiting further updates on the outlook for each player, while he will definitely be without Oriol Romeu, who serves a one-match ban for picking up his fifth booking of the season. Ibrahima Diallo is expected to come into the side in his place.
Scott Parker: "I'm absolutely gutted and disappointed I'm not able to be there. It's a big test for us against a very, very good team. I've been very impressed with what they and the manager have done there. They've done very well this year, they're a dynamic team, high pressing and full of energy, and they've got individuals within the team who can hurt you. It's a tough fixture, but we're feeling good about ourselves and looking forward to it."
Ralph Hasenhüttleven teams like liverpool struggle to win there.
Ralph Hasenhüttl: "They didn't have such a good start and needed a little bit of time to adapt to the Premier League, but then they showed how tough they are to beat. They are well organised against the ball, with the ball they have good quality and are calm on it. They produce good opportunities with quality in front and they don't give a lot of chances away, so even teams like Liverpool struggle to win there."
ONES TO WATCH
Ibrahima Diallo: With Oriol Romeu suspended, Ralph Hasenhüttl has already indicated that summer signing Diallo will likely make his first start. The France Under-21 international, who signed from Stade Brest, has made six appearances off the bench so far this season, but is expected to play alongside captain James Ward-Prowse in the number-six position at Craven Cottage.
Bobby Decordova-Reid: The former Bristol City and Cardiff player has scored five times for the Cottagers this season, making him their top scorer. His most recent strike came in the 1-1 home draw with Liverpool in mid-December, and Saints will need to be wary of his threat in attack.
Inclusive of all competitions
Adams, Ward-Prowse 4
Ings, Ward-Prowse 3
Walcott, Armstrong 2
Anguissa, Mitrović, Lookman, Tete 2
Reed, Cairney, Knockaert, Onomah 1
HEAD TO HEAD
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
August 2019: Fulham 0-1 Saints (Obafemi) EFL Cup
February 2019: Saints 2-0 Fulham (Romeu, Ward-Prowse)
November 2018: Fulham 3-2 Saints (Armstrong 2)
January 2018: Fulham 0-1 Saints (Ward-Prowse) FA Cup
February 2014: Fulham 0-3 Saints (Lallana, Lambert, Rodriguez – watch above)
DID YOU KNOW?
• Saints have won three of their last four Premier League meetings with Fulham, keeping a clean sheet in each victory. That comes after winning just one of their first ten games against Fulham in the competition (D6 L3).
• Fulham haven’t won a home league game on Boxing Day since 2003, drawing three and losing one of their four such games since, although their last victory at home on December 26th was in a Premier League match against Southampton (2-0).
• Saints have won six of their last eight league games on Boxing Day, with their only defeat in that run coming at Tottenham in 2017 (2-5).
• Saints have won each of their last nine games against newly-promoted teams. They have never won ten in a row in the top-flight against newly promoted teams, also winning nine in a row between October 1979 and January 1981.
KEEP UP TO DATE
We’ve got you covered! We’ll bring you all of the action from Craven Cottage, as well as a host of behind-the-scenes access, on our official channels. Check out our interactive match centre at southamptonfc.com, with all of the live in-game updates and free audio commentary of the match, and be sure to follow us on social media for further updates and exclusive content: