Two of the Championship’s highest scorers in 2016/17 meet at Craven Cottage as Fulham kick off the new campaign at home to Norwich City.
Fulham finished sixth in the Championship last season, missing out on promotion after a Play-Off Semi Final defeat to Reading.
They were equal top scorers, with Norwich and champions Newcastle United, but drew more games than any other team in the top ten and those dropped points ultimately cost them.
Pre-season hasn’t been great, with two wins, two draws, and two defeats from six friendlies. They also suffered an injury set-back, with captain Tom Cairney a major doubt ahead of the season opener.
New signings Ibrahima Cisse and Aboubakar Kamara are in contention to make their debuts, whilst Tomas Kalas should start after re-joining until the end of the season. Northern Ireland international Oliver Norwood has also signed on loan and will be hoping to feature, along with young Brazilian Lucas Piazon.
Norwich scored as many goals as Fulham last season, but only Nottingham Forest and bottom-of-the-table Rotherham United conceded more.
That poor defensive record saw them suffer sixteen league defeats and was the main reason they finished ten points adrift of the Play-Off places.
There has been a major overhaul at the club this summer, with several senior players being released and new manager Daniel Farke bringing in players he thinks can help Norwich mount a promotion challenge.
Norwich have suffered just one pre-season friendly loss, whilst they have won six and drawn two.
They come into this game with doubts over captain Russell Martin, who faces a late fitness test along with Josh Murphy. Timm Klose and Alex Pritchard are injured and Steven Naismith is suspended, but Ivo Pinto has trained and could play a part. Another player who will be in the squad, but may not be fit to play the full 90 minutes is Wes Hoolahan.
Head to Head
Since 1999, these clubs have met 18 times. Fulham have won 12, there have been 5 draws, and Norwich picked up their only victory in May 2015.
The two meetings last season were both full of drama. First, at Craven Cottage, Norwich were awarded two penalties as the game ended 2-2. Then, at Carrow Road, Fulham had a player sent off in first half stoppage time but were given a penalty just three minutes after the break. The spot-kick gave them a 2-0 lead and they went on to win 3-1.
Betting Odds and Predictions
This should be a close game between two teams who feel they have something to prove after failure to challenge for automatic promotion last season. The two teams are evenly matched and that’s reflected in the betting odds.
Ladbrokes have Fulham as a slight favourite with odds of 1/1, whilst Norwich are priced at 5/2. The draw looks good value at odds of 13/5.
Both teams have scored in the last three meetings, with a total of 14 goals scored in those matches. With their attacking qualities well known it may pay to back Both Teams to Score, at odds of 4/7, and Over 2.5 Goals which is priced at 4/6.
An alternative in the Over/Under market is Over 3.5 Goals, priced at 33/20, whilst Over 4.5 is 19/5.
It’s far too difficult to pick a winner in this match, so we recommend punters placing bets in the goal markets and ignoring match result bets.
Top Betting Tip
Our top betting tip for this match is Over 2.5 Goals, which is priced at 4/6 with Ladbrokes.