Two of the English Premier League’s most disappointing teams will meet each other on Sept. 11th when 16th-place Fulham takes on 19th-place Blackburn at home in London at Craven Cottage. Fulham is still looking for its first win while Blackburn is going after its first point. Blackburn has lost all three league games while Fulham has lost two and drawn once for a solitary point.
The plights of these two teams shouldn’t really be surprising though as neither of them has a very good manager. Fulham, for some inexplicable reason, hired the overrated Martin Jol in the offseason while Blackburn never replaced interim manager Steven Kean during the summer. Somebody’s going to get a win or at least a draw here, but don’t look for Fulham and Blackburn to have successful seasons. They’ll be fighting off relegation come next spring.
Fulham has managed just one goal so far, which was scored by American Clint Dempsey against Newcastle. Dempsey will be counted on against Blackburn as he’s proven to have a knack for scoring against them in the past with three goals in his last four games against them. Fulham’s record at home isn’t too bad as they’ve lost just once in their past 10 games at the Cottage.
Blackburn will be happy with a draw after successive losses to Wolverhampton, Everton, and Aston Villa. If they lose to Fulham, it’ll be the first time they’ve lost four in a row since December of 2008. It’s also the first time they’ve dropped their first three games of a season in the country’s top flight of football since way back in 1947/48.
Fulham signed Costa Rican international striker Bryan Ruiz from Dutch club Twente on transfer deadline day, but it’s not known if Jol will start him. Bobby Zamora could start up front if he’s recovered from injury in time, but Simon Davies will likely miss the game due to a knee injury. John Arne Riise has a groin injury and his brother Bjorn Helge Riise is suffering from a hamstring problem. It’s possible that Zdenek Grygera will get his first start for the team after joining Fulham from Juventus in the offseason.
Blackburn also strengthened their squad in the transfer window by adding defender Scott Dann from Birmingham and striker Yakubu from Everton. Dann should play next to Chris Samba since Ryan Nelsen is still out with an injury. David Dunn and Morten Gamst Pedersen both have hamstring problems, but Simon Vukcevic could be fit enough to play.
Blackburn still has one of the league’s best keepers in Paul Robinson and if he’s in top form it could be a long day for Fulham. Look for this game to end in a draw.
Sportsbook William Hill has the odds of a Fulham win listed at 4/6 with a Blackburn victory at 9/2 and a draw at 13/5.
Author: Marcus Nilsson