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Preview: Fulham vs. Sheffield United - prediction, team news, lineups
20/12/2021 14:48:25

Fulham play host to Sheffield United on Monday evening looking to ensure that they head into the Christmas period with a commanding lead at the top of the Championship standings.

While the Cottagers begin the next batch of fixtures with a two-point lead, their resurgent 13th-placed opponents have recorded three victories in succession.

We say: Fulham 1-1 Sheffield United

Despite the margin which separates them in the table, this feels like a genuine 50-50 game based on current form. With that in mind, we feel inclined to predict a competitive draw, one which both teams may be satisfied with given the circumstances.

Match preview

After putting together a seven-match winning streak in the second tier, Marco Silva would not have expected his Fulham side to draw their next four fixtures.

Nevertheless, such as been Bournemouth's struggles that Fulham have actually extended their lead at the top of the table during that period, albeit with West Bromwich Albion closing the gap to second.

Their goals drying up was completely unforeseen. The West Londoners had netted 25 times in seven games before contributing just three over their most recent quartet of outings.

On the plus side, Fulham have still shipped just five goals in 11 games, and Silva will hope that Aleksandar Mitrovic ending his brief lull in front of goal at Luton Town is the start of another outrageous scoring run for the Serbian.

Fulham are unbeaten in their last seven games at Craven Cottage, but their next opponents have recorded wins in three of their last five encounters on the road.

After the postponement of their last fixture, the start of Paul Heckingbottom's second spell at Bramall Lane has been somewhat of a slow-burner with just two games taking place since his return to the senior dugout on November 25.

However, he can take nothing but positives from that double-header, a 2-0 win over Bristol City being followed by a 3-2 comeback victory at Cardiff City.

Although the Blades benefitted from their hosts being reduced to 10 men in South Wales, they took full advantage, Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee Morgan Gibbs-White the star man yet again with a superb individual strike and two more assists.

A 16-day break has the potential to hurt Sheffield United in the short term, but Heckingbottom will have few complaints with his squad having been given a chance to recharge their batteries ahead of the second half of the season.

Team News

Barring any issues with coronavirus cases, Fulham will head into Monday's fixture with a fully-fit squad.

Antonee Robinson will be considered for a recall at left-back, while Fabio Carvalho is the obvious alternative to Bobby Decordova-Reid behind Mitrovic.

Harrison Reed may have to make do with a spot among the replacements after returning from injury.

The same applies to Sheffield United, and Heckingbottom may feel that he has no reason to change the starting XI from the Cardiff game.

Robin Olsen, Jack O'Connell, Sander Berge and John Fleck are all expected to remain on the sidelines.

Fulham possible starting lineup:

Rodak; Tete, Adarabioyo, Ream, Robinson; Seri, Cairney; Wilson, Carvalho, Kebano; Mitrovic

Sheffield United possible starting lineup:

Foderingham; Basham, Egan, Davies; Bogle, Norwood, Hourihane, Stevens; Gibbs-White, McGoldrick; Sharp

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