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Schurrle and Mitrovic to start: Strongest 4-3-3 Fulham XI to face Crystal Palace

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Slavisa Jokanovic

Predicted Fulham XI to face Crystal Palace: Who should start for the Cottagers?

Fulham welcome Crystal Palace at Craven Cottage for their opening match of the season, having returned to the English top-flight after four years.

Fulham have had a decent summer. Ahead of the transfer deadline, manager Slavisa Jokanovic has made a number of signings. Jean-Michael Seri and Maxime Le Marchand have joined from Nice. In addition, the Cottagers have also wrapped up deals for Fabri, Andre Schurrle (on loan), Aleksandar Mitrovic, Alfie Mawson and Calum Chambers (on loan).

Fulham have lost three of their six pre-season friendlies, winning just once. Nevertheless, the club must now focus on the Premier League and below is how Fulham could line up against Crystal Palace.

Predicted Fulham XI

Formation: 4-3-3

Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic

Fabri (GK)

After an impressive season in the Championship, Marcus Bettinelli was Fulham’s No.1, heading into the new season. However, the club had to sign Fabri following Bettinelli’s injury in pre-season. Hence, the experienced keeper should find himself between the sticks against Palace.

Cyrus Christie (RB)

Ryan Fredericks’ departure earlier this summer and Denis Odoi’s suspension means January signing Christie should get the nod to start at right-back.

Calum Chambers (CB)

Chambers must work towards establishing himself as Tim Ream’s partner in the Cottagers’ defence, as fellow summer arrival Alfie Mawson is recovering from a knee injury. Mawson may not feature for his new side until September and the England U21 international should grab his chance to impress.

Tim Ream (CB)

Tim Ream

Ream was brilliant for Fulham last season and should certainly start at centre-back against Roy Hodgson’s Palace.

Ryan Sessegnon (LB)

The Fulham wonder kid prefers playing further up the pitch, operating as a winger. Regardless, he might feature at left-back with Schurrle in the picture.

Kevin McDonald (CDM)

Kevin McDonald should continue in his anchor role for Fulham this season. He worked admirably for the Londoners in the previous campaign, providing the back four with adequate cover and support.

Tom Cairney (CM)

Tom Cairney is Fulham’s talisman and captain. He should play in the central midfield area against Palace and grasp his chance to shine in the Premier League.

Jean-Michael Seri (CM)

Seri must replace Stefan Johansen in the midfield for the opening game. The former Nice man is a solid box-to-box midfielder and he must Fulham’s defence to their attack. His vision and passing range should cause a lot of problems for the opposition.

Jean Michael Seri

Aboubakar Kamara (RW)

The Frenchman is one of Fulham’s trusted lieutenants since joining last summer. Kamara could operate out on the right against Palace, with Schurrle holding the left-hand side.

Andre Schurrle (LW)

Schurrle has a lot of experience both in the Premier League and at an international level. He should start on the left but he might swap positions with Kamara during the game, adding a sense of unpredictability to Fulham’s attack.

Read More: Who is this 6ft 4in colossus defender that Fulham are trying to sign? Everything you need to know

Aleksandar Mitrovic (CF)

The 23-year-old should certainly lead the line for Fulham’s opening day this season. Mitrovic’s hold-up play is vital for the way Fulham play and his presence in the opposition box could see him scoring goals.

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Crystal Palace

Southampton must splash more than £15million to sign this highly-rated Crystal Palace target

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Southampton should go all out to land Michail Antonio in January

According to an earlier report from Sky Sports, West Ham were open to selling Michail Antonio in the summer. The Hammers were willing to listen to offers above £15million for the winger. Crystal Palace were among the clubs interested in the 28-year-old but a move to Selhurst Park did not quite materialize.

Antonio joined West Ham from Nottingham Forest back in 2015 for a fee of £7 million and has made a total of 99 appearances for the Hammers across all competitions where he has found the net on 22 occasions. He has the experience of playing for a number of clubs in England across all divisions but hasn’t quite reached the heights that he was destined for due to injuries and inconsistencies.

The 28-year-old wide man was at the verge of earning his international debut for England when Gareth Southgate called him up for some of the World Cup qualifiers but injuries forced him to withdraw.

It has been a lacklustre start to the season for Southampton under Mark Hughes and the Saints currently sit 16th in the standings with 5 points from their first eight games. They have shipped as many as 14 goals and have scored only 6, which leaves them with a goal difference of -8, something that might come back to haunt them if the relegation battle goes down to the wire in the dying stages of the Premier League.

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Mark Hughes managed to bolster his options up front with the signing of Danny Ings on loan from Liverpool and also invested heavily to land Norwegian winger Mohamed Elyounoussi from FC Basel. While Ings has hit the ground running with 3 goals already, Elyounoussi hasn’t managed to get himself on the scoresheet but has provided some impetus to the attack from the flanks.

Pierre Emile Hojbjerg is another midfielder who has looked threatening and has contributed with a couple of goals but none of the other strikers- Shane Long, Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini has managed to find the net even once. The failure of the strikers to fire has been a major cause of concern for Mark Hughes this season.

To be honest, the Saints have lacked that energy and endeavour in the final third and they need someone who can add a bit more pace and vigour to their attack.

Michail Antonio would be an ideal option for the manager if he wants to bolster his attacking options. The 28-year-old is neither the most fluent player on the pitch nor does he have an excellent technique to catch the eye with some aesthetic moves. But few can deny his lively presence in the field.

Antonio is capable of playing in a variety of positions- right-winger, a left-winger, right wing-back, supporting striker and centre-forward. He uses his versatility to good effect down the flanks and not only contributes to the attack with his pace but also tracks back to cut out the attacks with crucial interceptions and blocks.

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The 28-year-old has the ability to ask questions of the opposition’s defense with his lightning pace and is adept at cutting inside from the flanks. A player with a keen eye for a cross, he has the ability to find his teammates inside the box with perfectly weighted crosses. To go with that, he is also very good in the air, which makes him a potent threat from set pieces.

Read More:- Who is this 25-year-old Ghanaian superstar on Southampton’s radar? All you need to know

Although his finishing is not of the highest quality and he often lacks composure at crucial moments, he is a player who can contribute a lot to the team with his versatility. Nevertheless, he has a good scoring record for West Ham, something that might come handy for the Saints.

Things do not look too bright for the Saints currently and they need to add more depth to their squad if they are to stay alive in the Premier League this season. Antonio would be a good addition and they shouldn’t hesitate to offload Gabbiadini or Austin for that purpose. The 28-year-old definitely has that X-factor to propel the Saints to a respectable finish in the Premier League.

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Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace must try their luck at signing this forgotten Watford man to solve goalscoring woes

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Crystal Palace should solve their goalscoring crisis by signing Isaac Success

It has been another dismal start to the season for Crystal Palace and the Eagles find themselves languishing 14th in the Premier League standings with only 7 points from their first 8 games.

Roy Hodgson’s men are yet to register their first win at Selhurst Park with the two wins coming away from home at Fulham and Huddersfield Town. As a matter of fact, the Eagles are yet to score their first goal at home this season.

Although Palace have one of the best defensive records amongst the mid-table teams, having shipped only 9 goals so far, they haven’t been able to rack up the goals to force positive results.

Going by the way how the other teams have performed so far, five goals in eight games is not the sort of scoring record that can propel the Eagles to a top-ten finish and they cannot turn their fortunes around unless they start finding the net on a consistent basis.

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With Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke up front, Palace have one of the most potent attacking forces outside the top six clubs in the Premier League but the trio hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations this season.

While Townsend has struggled for form, Zaha has had to carry the team on his shoulders single-handedly and has done it successfully to some extent but the Eagles haven’t been able to cover for his injury.

Christian Benteke, on the other hand, cut a frustrated figure up front and failed to get his name on the scoresheet even once before being sidelined due to a knee injury. The Belgian has undergone a knee surgery as a part of the treatment process and is likely to miss large quarters of the ongoing season.

Palace brought in Jordan Ayew on loan from Swansea City as a back-up for the regular strikers but the Ghanaian hasn’t delivered the goals either. Hodgson has also tried out Alexander Sorloth as the spearhead of the attack and the youngster has shown glimpses of promise but the end product hasn’t been great.

As things stand, Palace need a striker and they might be reluctant to spend too much for that purpose given that they have Benteke on the sidelines.

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Isaac Success joined Watford from Spanish Segunda side Granada back in 2016 but has failed to establish himself in the first-team. He has made a total of 27 appearances for the Hornets in the Premier League, out of which only two have been starts. It has been the same story for the young Nigerian this season where he has played a total of 103 minutes in the Premier League across 8 substitute appearances.

Quite clearly, he hasn’t had a chance to make a significant impact, being used as a late substitute in most of the games and his statistics are anything but flattering.

However, he scored twice in the League Cup against Reading and Spurs where he started the game on both occasions.

To put things into perspective, Isaac Success might be a good buy for the Eagles given that he is a striker with a lot of raw talent and Roy Hodgson definitely has the experience and the managerial acumen to bring the best out of the 22-year-old Nigerian.

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Read More:- Signing this Swiss goalscoring machine could ease Crystal Palace’s attacking woes

And it shouldn’t be a difficult job to prise him away from Vicarage Road given that he hasn’t had enough playtime since he joined the club.

A fast, agile and opportunistic striker, Success has the ability to play on either side of the attack or through the centre as the main striker. He has a good technique and combines his pace and strength with his silky dribbling skills to take on the defenders. He is not great with his positioning inside the box which causes him to miss out on opportunities but he will be expected to pick those things up under the tutelage of Roy Hodgson.

That said, Palace should try their luck and sign the youngster in January to solve their goalscoring crisis.

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Signing this Swiss goalscoring machine could ease Crystal Palace’s attacking woes

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Crystal Palace should go all out to sign Haris Seferovic in January

According to Manchester Evening News, a number of scouts from some of the top clubs across Europe – including Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Crystal Palace – have been keeping a close eye on Swiss centre-forward Haris Seferovic.

Seferovic began his senior career with Swiss club Grasshopper and played for Fiorentina and Real Sociedad, before moving to the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt. He rose to prominence with his goalscoring prowess and joined Portuguese giants Benfica in 2017. 

With 6 goals from 25 appearances in the league so far, the 26-year-old has enjoyed decent success at the international arena as well, scoring 13 goals from 55 appearances for Switzerland.

As things stand, Crystal Palace are in need of an out-and-out centre-forward to solve their goalscoring woes. To be honest, the Eagles have performed far below expectations and Roy Hodgson’s men have only scored 5 goals from their first 8 games in the Premier League. They currently sit 14th in the standings and must improve significantly to finish in the top ten.

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The Eagles have found goals hard to come by and have one of the poorest scoring records in the Premier League. Much of their woes this season have been down to the failures of Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend.

With the kind of experience they have, they should have worked wonders spearheading the attack alongside Wilfried Zaha. However, they haven’t stepped their game up to the desired level.

In fact, Benteke has been horrible in front of the goal. He has looked too frustrated at times and has smashed the ball high and wide from promising positions. 

Jordan Ayew has put in the hard yards but hasn’t been able to spark that moment of magic in the final third while Alexander Sorloth, who has come on as a substitute on seven occasions, hasn’t looked too bright either.

Suffice to say, Crystal Palace need a proper No.9 to act as cover and provide competition for the likes of Christian Benteke and Jordan Ayew. And Benfica’s Haris Seferovic would be an ideal choice for that purpose.

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The 26-year-old Swiss international is physical enough to outmuscle the opposition with his strength. At the same time, he also has the ability to shield the ball from the opposition with his towering 6ft 1in frame. His presence of mind allows him to get in behind the defenders with subtle runs and he has the knack of getting into good scoring positions inside the box.

He often uses his instincts to get on the end of crosses and is quite adept at finishing with his head. To go with his strength, awareness and positioning, Seferovic also has a good left foot and uses it to fire powerful long-range efforts.

Read More:- Forget it Hodgson – Crystal Palace can’t afford to let this £130,000-a-week superstar exit the club

He is also great at dropping deep and carrying the ball forward with pace to initiate counter-attacks and excels with his hold-up play in the final third.

Seferovic isn’t particularly agile or quick with his feet and does have too many tricks up his sleeve. However, his assets should outweigh his liabilities as a defender. That said, Crystal Palace should make a bid for him in January as he is likely to help them achieve a better goalscoring record in the coming days.  

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