1) How seriously are Fulham going to take the FA Cup? How seriously should they take it?
We’ve all heard about the magic of the FA Cup. But what is there really to play for? Unless you win the whole thing (which would give Fulham their first major trophy), it just gets you extra fixtures and a distraction from the league. When Fulham were in the Premier League and in no danger of going down, that distraction could be fun. The dream of winning a trophy was nice. However, things are different now. Given the choice would you prefer the FA Cup to making the playoffs? What about the FA Cup to gaining promotion. I think I’d choose the latter in each case. In an ideal world, focusing on the FA Cup wouldn’t hurt your chances in the league; but unfortunately we don’t live in that world. Which brings us to our second question.
2) What kind of lineup do you expect Slavisa to throw out there?
Perhaps our best look into the kind of lineup to expect could be the EFL Cup. In the final EFL Cup game Fulham played, the lineup looked like this:
Malone - Madl - Ream - Tunnicliffe
Adeniran - Johansen
Edun - Piazon - Christensen
At the time, that is basically zero first team players. Sessegnon was the left back at the time, and Johansen hadn’t yet cemented his place in the first team. To complicate matters more; Martin is still on strike, Kebano and Ayite are with their national teams, and neither Kalas nor Madl is fit. That probably means Ream and Sigurdsson have to start in the middle of defense. I’d guess you’ll see Bettinelli in goal. Sessgnon probably gets a go on the left. Denis Odoi could use a run out on the right. Perhaps Parker starts next to Adeniran? With Christensen looking to leave on loan and Woodrow all but gone, could we see Humphrys and De La Torre replace them? Piazon is almost guaranteed to be a starter with the first team while all those players are missing, so I don’t expect to see him playing here. Perhaps Jozabed finally shows his face.
3) Might Cardiff City take this game even less seriously than Fulham?
Cardiff currently are only three points out of the relegation places with a goal differential that says it could be worse. Getting relegated would be a disaster for them. While the advanced metrics say they aren’t that bad, can you really take that chance if you’re them? They need to do everything in their power to make sure they don’t go down. If that means punting the FA cup, so be it.