Fulham enter today’s match-up against Hull City in impeccable form. The Whites have found themselves winning three out of their last five, with two of those wins coming in the previous two games.
Hull City are a wild-card, as they are still in the honeymoon stage with their new manager, Nigel Adkins. Even though Hull has found themselves underachieving this season, they are still a talented team who just recently fell from the giant that is the Premier League. Hull will want to build on their current momentum, as they drew 0-0 with Derby County last weekend, a game in which they should have come out on top.
Hull City Predicted Lineup
Under Nigel Adkins, Hull City has been tactically sound. They are difficult to break down, having only conceded four in their four matches with him. Having a win and a draw in their last two home games, they have shown quite the improvement.
The Tigers are expected to lineup in a 4-2-3-1 formation. One of the challenges for Hull will be injury concerns in their attack. Polish winger Kamil Grosicki would be the focal point in their attacking build-up, as he has six goals and four assists on the season. However, he is a doubt for this match-up, along with Fraizer Campbell. It will be up to Jarrod Bowen, who seems to be able to go for this match. Bowen has had 10 goals in only 23 appearances.
Although their defense has looked putrid all season, they seem to be more understanding of when and where they should be. Regardless of talent, if a defense is intelligent, they will be a challenge to break down. Adkins seems to have brought that intelligence with him and instilled it within that defense.
Adkins is trying to beat the math with their tactics. Hull sets up defensively, and when they win the ball they are keeping solid possession. What is interesting is the amount of shots they are taking per game. Hull City is averaging 13 shots per game under Nigel Adkins, which is the most in the Championship in that time frame.
Fulham Predicted Lineup
Manager Slavisa Jokanovic got things right last week in both his matches. Starting with Barnsley FC, the score was not a reflection of the game. Winning the game 2-1 Fulham had dominated that match-up from start-to-finish, holding 59% of the possession and five of their seven shots being on target.
Just a few days later, Fulham were able to put up four goals on a Cardiff City side who are statistically one of the best defensive teams in the Championship this season. One reason for this was the interchange between the top three players. It created confusion for the Cardiff defense and they didn’t know who to mark and when.
With these two wins, Fulham are sitting 11th in the Championship table. This is only six points out of a playoff spot, and they will most likely be desperate to continue climbing the table.
Going on the road to Hull, the likelihood Jokanovic puts Sessegnon as a winger is extremely minimal. Additionally, with Aboubakar Kamara returning from illness, he will be able to go back to the 10 and Floyd Ayite to push out to the left wing position. Defensively, the team will look like a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Kamara staying high, pressing their back line and making runs into space. When Fulham transition into the attack, Ayite and Sheyi Ojo will push up, as will the wing backs. Stefan Johansen will move up into an attacking position alongside Tom Cairney. The formation will look closer to a 2-3-2-3 formation.
There is a physicality method that comes with the length of journey to play in a match. Hull is not an easy trip for the Fulham squad, and it may show at the beginning of the game, as they may look a tad sluggish. The team has played a lot of football recently, and that will not help for a team looking to put a string of wins together for a playoff push.
Hull is roaring with more confidence than they have all season, and they have been able to score five more goals than Fulham per game. 13 of their 38 goals this season have also come outside of the 18-yard box, so Fulham will need to be attentive defensively.
This game screams “draw” for many different reasons. However, with the necessity to win, Fulham will likely come out on top.
Hull City 1-2 Fulham