Martin O'Neill

Fulham v Sunderland Preview

by Stuart Vose

We look ahead to Craven Cottage clash.

Sunderland will play their seventh away league game of the campaign this weekend when they head to Fulham (Sunday, 4pm).

Seven points seperate the sides in the Barclays Premier League table, with Fulham sitting 7th and Sunderland 16th.

The Cottagers, traditionally strong at home, have lost just once on their own turf this season and only the top three clubs have scored more home goals then Martin Jol's side (12).

Sunderland, meanwhile, have notched a joint league high four away draws, while their record of two away defeats is second-best amongst clubs in the bottom half of the division.

Martin O'Neill's men are looking for their first away league win of the campaign against a Fulham side to whom they lost 2-1 in their final away game of last season.

Sunderland last tasted victory against the London club back in January 2009, when Kenwyne Jones scored the only goal at the Stadium of Light.

Fulham have won three of the six games between the two clubs since, with the other three all ending 0-0.

Indeed, the Black Cats' defeat at Craven Cottage last time out was the first time both clubs had scored in the fixture since April 2008, when Sunderland won 3-1 on the banks of the Thames.

Jones also found the net that day along with Danny Collins and Michael Chopra, with Fulham's David Healy replying against the club he would later go on to join.

Under boss Jol, the Cottagers finished ninth in the Barclays Premier League last season with 52 points, seven points and four places ahead of Sunderland.

They lost just four of a possible 19 home league games, taking 35 of their 52 points at Craven Cottage.

Sunday's game will be only the 57th all-time fixture between the two sides, with Sunderland holding the historical advantage with 22 victories to 17. A further 17 games have ended all square.

Opta Facts

There have been just eight goals scored in the last eight Premier League meetings between Sunderland (2) and Fulham (6), with four of the games ending 0-0.

Louis Saha has scored six Premier League goals against Fulham; only against Chelsea (7) has he been more prolific. Saha has never been on the losing side against his former team, winning 10 of his 11 appearances.

In the last four meetings between Fulham and Sunderland there have only been four red cards (one for the Londoners and three for the Wearsiders).

Fulham have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the Premier League this season (14).

The Whites have been ahead at some point in 10 of their 11 Premier League games this season, more than any other team.

Dimitar Berbatov has been directly involved in eight goals (five goals, three assists) in just seven league appearances for Fulham since his move to Craven Cottage.

Sunderland are the only Premier League side yet to score a headed goal this season.

Fulham have won just one of their last 16 Premier League games in the month of November (D11 L4).