The Premier League fixtures are arriving thick and fast as we move on to the 5th game week of the season. Marco Silva’s Fulham who have enjoyed a solid start to the campaign will host an in-form Brighton & Hove Albion side. Craven Cottage has already witnessed two entertaining matches and the fans will hope this game could prove to be the same.
Interestingly, Brighton haven’t won their last four meetings against Fulham with the Cottagers emerging victorious once and the fixture ending in a draw thrice. However, Graham Potter’s side have had their best start to a Premier League season as they sit 4th behind Arsenal, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur. With Fulham proving to be a tough opposition to beat, the Seagulls unquestionably have a challenge on their hands.
When and Where?
Date: 30th August 2022.
Time: 7:30 PM BST.
Venue: Craven Cottage, London.
Referee: Thomas Bramall.
Assistant Referees: Constantine Hatzidakis, Dan Robathan.
Fourth Official: Stuart Atwell.
VAR Official: Paul Tierney.
Assistant VAR: Natalie Aspinall.
Fulham are still active in the transfer market, as they are looking to increase their depth in the forward areas. However, Aleksandar Mitrović is in the form of his life and is undroppable from Marco Silva’s XI. Winger Jay Stansfield started in place of injured Neeskens Kebano against Brentford but dropped to the bench against Arsenal as the 30-year-old returned from a knock.
Silva could opt to start him ahead of Stansfield this time as well. Former Liverpool player Harry Wilson and new singing Manor Solomon, who looked lively on his Premier League debut against Liverpool, are out with injuries at least until the end of September.
Brighton, meanwhile, introduced Pervis Estupinan last week against Leeds United. He made his first start in the blue and white stripes as the Seagulls snatched a 1-0 victory. Robert Sanchez and the defence in front of him have been a key factor in Brighton’s stunning start and will look to continue this impressive form at Craven Cottage on Tuesday.
However, Adam Lallana is still out with a calf injury he suffered in the first game. Following him on the injury table are Jakub Moder (ACL), and youngster Jeremy Sarmiento, who is ruled out with an ankle sprain.
Fulham are currently sitting 11th in the table, but they have provided us with entertaining football, especially at Craven Cottage. Following a 2-2 draw against Liverpool, Mitrovic’s towering header in the last minute of the game sealed a huge victory versus Brentford. They also gave league leaders Arsenal a run for their money, but came out with a defeat.
Silva’s 4-2-3-1 shifts to a 3-2-5 in possession with Palhinha and Reed playing as the pivots. When one fullback looks to overlap, the other stays behind and forms a back 3 to create overloads in the first phase. Nevertheless, Fulham are prepared to go long when needed by using Mitrovic’s ability to hold up the ball and bring others into play.
Crosses from half-spaces have also been a key pattern for the Cottagers this season. Andreas Pereira’s creativity and the central midfielders’ expertise to retain possession have made them a powerful side to compete against.
Brighton, however, are high flying at the moment as they have dominated games. Potter’s style of play has undoubtedly caught the attention of the fans as they have won 3 and drawn 1 in the first 4 games. Estupinan’s addition means that Trossard joins Welbeck and Gross in the forward line.
Gross, particularly, has been an important contributor to the goals (3 goals and 1 assist, 2nd highest xA in the league only behind Kevin De Bruyne). Alexis McAllister and Moses Caicedo hold the fort in midfield with the likes of Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster, and Joel Veltman at the back just conceding once. They will look to continue exerting their authority against Fulham this week.
The Serbian is unquestionably Fulham’s go-to man. With 4 goals in 4 games, he has already overtaken his goal tally from Fulham’s last season in the Premier League. Despite missing a crucial penalty against Wolves, Mitrovic always seems to be in the right place at the right time for this campaign.
Moreover, he is only behind Erling Haaland for xG accumulated so far (3.76). From his ability to hold the ball strongly and bring his teammates into the equation to scoring towering headers in the box, Silva has relied on Mitrovic to supply the goods.
With that being said, Brighton could prove to be a tough test for Fulham and their number 9. However, last season’s championship top scorer has been nothing short of incredible so far, and will hope that his team can create chances for him to penetrate Brighton’s solid defence.
While the likes of Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck have grabbed the headlines, the versatile Leandro Trossard has been Potter’s key addition since he arrived at Brighton. He started the season as a left-wing back against Manchester United and was instrumental, both in terms of attack and defence.
With the addition of Pervis Estupinan to the side, Trossard has been given the freedom to play forward. His assist last time out for Gross is an example of the threat he can cause upfront. In addition, the Belgian’s link-up play with Welbeck is also a crucial part of Potter’s plan.
Trossard was also on the scoresheet against West Ham, completing a team goal with precision. Potter’s plan is certainly starting to click and with Neal Maupay’s departure to Everton, the onus could lie on Trossard to get on the end of the chances.
Fulham predicted XI vs Brighton: Leno; Tete, Tim Ream, Adarabioyo, Robinson; Palhinha, Reed;, Pereira, Decordova-Reid, Kebano; Mitrovic.
Brighton predicted XI vs Fulham: Sanchez; Veltman, Webster, Dunk, Lamptey; March, Mac Allister, Caicedo, Trossard; Gross, Welbeck.