Verdict: Over 1.5 goals
Best Odds: 4/11
Facing what could be a crucial showdown on Saturday afternoon, Bournemouth will welcome Fulham to the Vitality.
Starting with the hosts, while Bournemouth might have claimed a famous 1-0 victory at home against Liverpool on March 11th, that could have just been a minor boost for Gary O’Neil’s men. Making an immediate return to losing ways before heading into the international break as they slumped to a 3-0 drumming away at Aston Villa, the Cherries find themselves at the heart of yet another Premier League relegation scrap. Marking their return from the fortnight interval this weekend sat one point adrift of safety, Bournemouth have now lost three of their last four top-flight appearances. With that run highlighted by a 4-1 drumming at home against defending champions Manchester City on February 25th, O’Neil’s side will know that they face a must-win showdown on Saturday afternoon. Showing some rather glaring defensive issues this season and already shipping a staggering 54 Premier League strikes, the Cherries will be desperate to claim a major boost at the Vitality.
Bournemouth will mark their return from the international break without long-term absentees Junior Stanislas and Illia Zabarnyi. Suffering a hamstring injury back on February 18th, O’Neil is hopeful that Marcus Tavernier could play some part this weekend.
Making an emotional cameo appearance in Bournemouth’s 3-0 loss away at Villa Park last time out, David Brooks could be handed a first start of the season.
As for the visitors, while Fulham might have gained a string of plaudits when making their Premier League return this season, the Cottagers struggled to find much stability when heading into the international break. Last seen crashing out of the FA Cup following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United on March 19th, Marco Silva’s side have now lost each of their last three meetings against Premier League opposition. With almost everyone around Craven Cottage accepting that a genuine European charge is off the table, Fulham will be hoping to prove their March wobble was nothing more than a minor blip. With the ex-Everton boss making it clear that he wants to secure a shock top-half finish in 2023, Saturday’s guests will also be hoping to find some much-needed stability at the back. With their recent issues highlighted by an action-packed 3-2 defeat away at west London rivals Brentford on March 6th, it should be noted that the Cottagers have shipped a trio of strikes in each of their last three appearances.
Both shown their own respective red cards at Old Trafford prior to the international break, Fulham will be without both Aleksandar Mitrovic and ex-Chelsea star Willian when they travel to the south coast on Saturday afternoon.
Racking up five goals in his last seven meetings against Premier League opposition, Manor Soloman should be handed a full recall here. One-time Tottenham striker Carlos Vinicius should replace Mitrovic in leading Fulham’s charge.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides met for their reverse meeting on October 15th, Bournemouth and Fulham played out a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.
- In fact, each of the last three meetings between Saturday’s opponents have finished with a stalemate.
- Fulham have lost each of their last three meetings against Premier League opposition across all formats – a run that has seen them ship nine goals.
- Last seen getting hit with a 3-0 defeat away at Aston Villa on March 18th, Bournemouth have lost three of their last four Premier League appearances.
- Seven of the last eight meetings between Bournemouth and Fulham have finished with over 1.5 goals.
Last seen heading into the international break with a routine 3-0 drumming away at Aston Villa, Bournemouth will know that they face a real six-pointer here. However, while the Cherries might have continued to show some rather glaring defensive struggles this season, Fulham had been enduring their own rather public wobble prior to the fortnight interval. Losing each of their last three meetings against Premier League opposition and shipping nine goals in doing so, neutrals will be hoping for an enjoyable showdown from the Vitality this weekend. It should be noted, with seven of the last eight meetings between Saturday’s opponents finishing with over 1.5 goals, we are expecting a similar outcome here.
Verdict: Over 1.5 goals
Best Odds: 4/11
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