Fulham host Cardiff City at Craven Cottage on Saturday, as the Bluebirds look for a vital three points in their fight for Premier League survival.
The Cottagers' fate was sealed at the beginning of April but have since won back-to-back matches for the first time this season, which could still have a huge impact on the league table with the visit of Cardiff this weekend.
Neil Warnock's team are embroiled in an enthralling battle with Brighton to avoid the drop to the Championship, as just three points separate the sides with three games remaining. A win over Fulham would put huge pressure on the Seagulls, who don't play until Saturday evening against Newcastle United, but a defeat could all but condemn the Welsh club to relegation.
There has been a small rivalry growing between Fulham and Cardiff over last two seasons, due to their contrasting styles and financial differences, which may give Scott Parker's side some incentive to spoil the Bluebirds' survival hopes.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 27 April|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:00 BST|
|Where Is It Played?||Craven Cottage|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Soccer Saturday/BT Sport Score|
Fulham captain Tom Cairney should return to the starting lineup after missing the victory over Bournemouth for the birth of his son last Saturday.
Cardiff's visit is likely to come too soon for centre-back Alfie Mawson, who has missed all of 2019's fixtures with a knee injury, but the former Swansea man could return to the the squad next weekend.
He had a slow start to the season, but Joe Ralls has been exceptional the last few weeks, and deserves more credit.— The Canton Corner (@TheCantonCorner) April 22, 2019
He could be a big loss for the last three games... pic.twitter.com/rwT9X4Uv4R
Cardiff's Joe Ralls pulled up with a hamstring injury during last Sunday's defeat to Liverpool, which could rule him out of the Bluebirds' survival fight.
Neil Warnock has been without Harry Arter for two matches after the midfielder picked up a calf injury against Burnley and it remains to be seen whether he will return against Fulham, which could hand a rare start to Leandro Bacuna.
|Fulham||Rico; Odoi, Ream, Le Marchand, Bryan; Anguissa, Cairney; Babel, Seri, Sessegnon; Mitrovic|
|Cardiff||Etheridge; Peltier, Manga, Morrison, Bennett; Gunnarsson, Bacuna, Camarasa; Hoilett, Zohore, Mendez-Laing|
Head to Head Record
The head to head record is evenly matched with the hosts edging the fixture 26 wins to 25, but it's Cardiff who historically get the better of Fulham in the top flight.
The clubs have met three times in the Premier League, with the Bluebirds taking nine points from nine. This season's reverse fixture was a goal fest at the Cardiff City Stadium, as the hosts ran out 4-2 winners in October.
Fulham fans may be slightly frustrated at the improvement in performances and results after their relegation to the Championship was already confirmed, impressively beating Everton and Bournemouth, but ending the season on a high could be crucial for Scott Parker's candidacy for the permanent manager's job next season.
Fulham now essentially the loose horse at the Grand National, ruining everyone elses season.— stabilo (@stabiloFFC) April 20, 2019
Cardiff have two wins from six - a respectable return from a run of fixtures including Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. However, at this stage of the season with so much at stake, the form book tends to go out the window.
Here's how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:
|Bournemouth 0-1 Fulham (20/4)||Cardiff 0-2 Liverpool (21/4)|
|Fulham 2-0 Everton (13/4)||Brighton 0-2 Cardiff (16/4)|
|Watford 4-1 Fulham (2/4)||Burnley 2-0 Cardiff (13/4)|
|Fulham 0-2 Man City (30/3)||Man City 2-0 Cardiff (3/4)|
|Fulham 1-2 Liverpool (17/3)||Cardiff 1-2 Chelsea (31/3)|
As two of the Premier League new boys and following Fulham's significant summer expenditure, the Cottagers pride took a hit in October's defeat and they will surely be out for revenge.
Cardiff simply have to win and they will throw the kitchen sink at Fulham. Their 'never say die' mentality has been admirable this season and if they can continue that on Saturday, the Bluebirds might just edge this one.
Prediction: Fulham 1-2 Cardiff