Wednesday 3 October 2012 10:35

Show of Support

Over 2,000 Fulham fans will travel to the South Coast on Sunday to watch Martin Jol’s Team compete against Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium.

Despite last weekend’s painful late defeat to Manchester City at Craven Cottage, Jol’s side remain in a strong position (ninth) in the league thanks to wins in September against West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic.

Unfortunately Sunday’s match may come too soon for striker Dimitar Berbatov (hip injury), but Jol’s hand will be strengthened after Bryan Ruiz and Mladen Petrić came through last weekend’s game unscathed following recent injuries.

Jol’s pre-match press conference is scheduled for Friday afternoon so keep an eye on fulhamfc.com towards the end of the week for the Manager’s video preview and all the latest Team news.

The Opposition

Team: Southampton
League Position: 17th
Form: P6/W1/D0/L5
GF: 10 GA: 18  GD: -8

Whilst the stats show five defeats in six Barclays Premier League fixtures for Southampton this season, a more detailed analysis of their campaign to date tells a very different story. The Saints are far from struggling performance-wise on their return to the top table after a seven-year absence.

On the opening day of the season, Nigel Adkins’ side took champions Manchester City to the wire in a five-goal thriller at the Etihad Stadium. A disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Wigan followed, before Robin van Persie broke Southampton hearts at the beginning of September, with two late goals at St Mary’s to secure a 3-2 win for Manchester United. 

A heavy defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates has been the only real blemish on Southampton’s season so far, with six goals fired past Kelvin Davis on 15th September.

However, Adkins’ side bounced back in style a week later, recording a morale-boosting 4-1 victory over Aston Villa to earn their first points of the season.

Last weekend the Saints failed to stop high-flying Everton as three first-half goals for the Toffees effectively ended the game before the break at Goodison Park. The fixture list has been far from kind to Adkins’ newly-promoted side, but his team’s performances against last season’s front runners and Aston Villa provide plenty of optimism and hope for the coming season. 

Ones to Watch

Rickie Lambert:

After notching in Southampton’s inaugural Premier League game against Manchester City, Rickie Lambert joined a select group of players to have scored in all four league divisions.

The 2011 Championship Player of the Year has scored four goals in six Premier League matches this season.

Southampton’s 30-year-old goal-machine has now scored 91 times in 157 appearances (all competitions), including 31 goals last term to earn him Southampton Fans' Player of the Season award for the second time in three years.

Fulham will definitely not want to give away a penalty this weekend – Lambert has a 100% conversion rate from 12 yards, scoring 26 times from the spot. 

Adam Lallana:

Southampton’s 24-year-old captain, Adam Lallana, is a true success story of the Saints’ prolific Academy and featured in the Club’s 2005 FA Youth Cup runners-up team alongside Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Leon Best and Nathan Dyer.

Named in the Championship Team of the Year last season alongside his teammates Rickie Lambert and Kelvin Davies, Lallana has amassed 190 appearances, scoring an impressive 44 times from midfield (all competitions).

Having represented England at Under-18 and Under -21 level, Lallana has caught the eye of former Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, earning a first call-up to the senior England squad for the 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Ukraine at Wembley.

Lallana not only has a keen eye for goal, with more strikes than any other Southampton player this season (12), but he is also providing ammunition from midfield, with three assists to his name.  

Gaston Ramirez:

Uruguayan international Gaston Ramirez joined Southampton from Serie A outfit Bologna in July 2012 for a reported club record £12m fee.

Ramirez was reportedly chased by a host of European teams before signing a four-year deal with Southampton on transfer deadline day.

The versatile attacking South American is both a creator and scorer of goals and was outstanding in the Saints’ recent 4-1 win over Aston Villa. Ramirez scored his first goal for Southampton during last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.

Last Time They Met

Southampton 3-3 Fulham (05/01/2005)

Fulham’s last Premier League meeting with Southampton at St Mary’s took place more than seven years ago.

Back in January 2005, Papa Bouba Diop, Steed Malbranque and Tomasz Radzinski were all on the scoresheet for Fulham, before Liam Rosenior’s unfortunate own-goal in the 71st minute handed struggling Southampton a point against Chris Coleman’s side.

Relegation followed for Harry Redknapp’s team but after a seven-year absence from the top flight, competitive action between the two sides will resume on Sunday.

Historically, Southampton has the upper hand from the four Premier League meetings on the South Coast, claiming the sole victory in 2002/03, whilst the three other fixtures ended in draws.

Teams (05/01/2005)

Southampton: Niemi, Telfer, Lundekvam,Davenport (Jakobsson 84), Higginbotham, Anders Svensson, Delap,Redknapp, Fernandes (McCann 44), Phillips, Crouch. Subs (not used): Smith, Cranie, Ormerod.

Booked: Redknapp, Phillips

Goals: Phillips 21, 29, Rosenior 71 og

Fulham: Van der Sar, Rosenior (Fontaine 90), Rehman, Knight,Bocanegra, Malbranque, Diop, Pembridge, Boa Morte, Cole (McBride 90), Radzinski (John 61). Subs Not Used: Clark, Crossley

Booked: Rehman, Cole

Goals: Diop 20, Malbranque 43, Radzinski 50

Att: 27,343

Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire)