Fulham are improving under Rene Meulensteen, but with one win from their last nine league games, they need more than just plucky performances.
The west Londoners are traditionally slow starters, but even they have known nothing like this season’s glacial progress, with just three points accrued from the last nine games.
Top of Rene Meulensteen’s Christmas list will be a defender to shore up the league’s leakiest defence. But the transfer window isn’t Fulham’s only hope: they usually enjoy an upturn in fortunes around this time of year, and this season’s festive fixtures couldn’t be much kinder. They face fellow strugglers Hull, West Ham and Sunderland in the coming games – but first they visit Norwich, a team who they’ve never lost to in the Premier League.
Chris Hughton’s side have embarked on a decent run of late, with three wins and two draws from their last seven matches. The in-form Gary Hooper has provided at least a partial solution to their goal-scoring problems, but they remain vulnerable at the back – a weakness that the Cottagers have ruthlessly exploited in previous seasons. The formbook says Norwich; but the history book points to a Boxing Day boost for Fulham.
KICK OFF: Thursday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS
Norwich 0 Fulham 0, Premier League, February 2013
Fulham 5 (Duff, Petric 2, Kacaniklic, Sidwell) Norwich 0, Premier League, August 2012
Fulham 2 (Dempsey, Duff) Norwich 1 (Wilbraham), Premier League, March 2012
Fulham are unbeaten in their last 12 league and cup games against Norwich, winning 9 of those encounters. Norwich have never beaten Fulham in the Premier League.
In their 6 Premier League meetings, Fulham have scored 15 goals, with Norwich netting just 2.
Norwich have been on the receiving end of two of Fulham’s heaviest wins in the Premier League era, losing 6-0 in 2005, and 5-0 last season.
Norwich haven’t beaten Fulham since their 2-1 win at Carrow Road in a Second Division match in 1986.
Fulham have lost 8 of their last 9 outings, the worst form in the Premier League.
Norwich to win: 2
Fulham to win: 3.75
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.25