Fulham return to home soil on Saturday afternoon (3pm), where they will take on Nottingham Forest. The hosts go in search of a first win in five in all competitions, while the visitors are looking to register back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time this campaign. Who will come out on top at Craven Cottage? This FFC vs NFFC preview aims to find out before deciding on some betting tips.
Fulham’s assault on the top six has slowed slightly in recent weeks. The men from Craven Cottage are now without a win in their last three EPL games and as a result have slipped to ninth position. Fortunately, they remain within touching distance, so if their aim is to make a go of hitting the top six, which when questioned, Marco Silva has denied, the Cottagers have a chance. On Wednesday evening, they overcame a potentially tricky FA Cup replay in the north east, beating Championship side Sunderland 3-2.
Last time out in the Premier League, we saw bits of why this Fulham side has done so well. They are anything but easy to beat, as they showed by keeping a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge. Although they lost against Spurs prior to that, they were once again hard to break down, and it took an excellent strike from Harry Kane to down them. After some tough games against big teams, this is an easier assignment for the hosts.
Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest team resumed winning ways at the weekend, downing Leeds by a goal to nil in front of a home crowd, but they were not exactly impressive in doing so. After scoring inside the opening 15 minutes, thanks to a flush hit from Brennan Johnson, who reacted quickest on the edge of the box, Forest did not really press home their advantage. They had their keeper to thank for keeping them in it before the break.
We did see that Cooper’s men are resilient, and they are not likely to give too many goals away, but they need to produce more offensively, that’s for sure. They have scored more than once in just one of their last five, which doesn’t exactly bode well ahead of a game against a home team that are strong at the back.
Sturdy at home
There is plenty to like about the way the Cottagers have gone about their business at home this term. They have only lost to teams currently inside the top five at Craven Cottage, while they have picked up some very encouraging wins against the likes Chelsea, Brighton and Aston Villa.
What is particularly impressive about Fulham’s home record is the goals scored against non-top-five teams. They have scored two or more in seven of their eight home games against teams that are not currently inside the top five. That is a very good record. Sure, they failed to score when losing narrowly to Spurs when last in action on home soil, but Silva’s men were far from outplayed, creating more than their opponents in terms of xG, while they scored twice in victory against both Chelsea and Southampton prior to that.
In terms of getting positive results, when it has not been against the best teams, Fulham have done well, winning five out of eight against teams not currently in the top 25% of the table. They are also unbeaten at home against such opposition.
NFFC Terrible travellers
Nottingham Forest do not have the worst away record in the division, but Steve Cooper’s men have still been terrible on the road.
They have won just one of their ten road games in the Premier League, losing six of the other nine. Yes, they have avoided defeat in each of their last two on the road, but they have only scored twice in the process, while they weren’t exactly up against the stiffest opposition in Bournemouth and Southampton.
The visitors have been appalling in an offensive sense when playing away from home. They have scored only three goals in ten away games, failing scoring more than once in any of them. That is just not good enough and if they don’t cling onto their spot in this league come the end of the campaign, they’ll be able to cite a sheer lack of forward potency as a big reason for their demise.
Hosts FFC to prove too strong
We know that this Nottingham Forest can dig in, but their lack of forward power is a big worry, so much so that they are backed to come unstuck in this fixture.
The Cottagers are a decent side at home, while the visitors are a poor side on the road. Sometimes, things are that simple, and this is one of those times.
Forest have tended to fold on the road against threatening sides, and based on what Fulham have done at home, they are certainly a threatening side. On five occasions, the Tricky Trees have gone away from home and conceded two or more, conceding three or more in four of those five.
Moreover, the visitors just do not have enough about them offensively. They have scored only three goals on the road this term. They lack a real goal-getter, with Sam Surridge and Taiwo Awoniyi not proving up to scratch. Brennan Johnson offers a threat, but he cannot do it alone. Truthfully, nothing about their recent efforts, even if they have toughened up, points towards offensive improvement.
Home goals on the cards
In addition to backing the home win, punters should consider betting on Fulham to score at least twice too. The hosts have a great record of scoring multiple goals in such fixtures. As mentioned in this preview above, they have scored at least twice in seven out of eight at home against teams not currently in the top five.
What is more, the visitors tend to give up lots on the road. Not only have conceded an average of 2.3 goals per travelling game, but they have surrendered an average of 1.73 expected goals, which tells us that they give up no shortage of scoring opportunities.
So these are the betting tips for this FFC vs NFFC preview:
- Fulham to win @ best odds of 19/20 with Betfred.
- Fulham to score over 1.5 goals @ 21/20 with William Hill.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.