A scrappy fixture is expected in Boxing Day's early kick-off as George Pitts previews the first of a busy day's football action.
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Fulham v Wolves (Craven Cottage, 1230 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event)
Two of the promoted sides meet in the early Premier League kick-off on Boxing Day.
One has settled in well as expected, the other is underachieving after spending big in the summer.
The latter, of course, is Fulham, who spent Christmas rock bottom and four points from safety and Claudio Ranieri knows what a big second half of the season he faces. They have won just once since the Italian replaced Slavisa Jokanovic at the helm, drawing twice, and improving their home form is vital to their survival hopes.
They face a resurgent Wolves, who have won three of their last four and sit comfortably in mid-table at the halfway point.
The respective host won 2-0 in both of these fixtures last season and the same scoreline for Ranieri on Wednesday would be an excellent result. This match might not be too exciting on paper, but it could be scrappy and an interesting watch to kick off an exciting day of football.
Score prediction: Fulham 1-2 Wolves (Sky Bet odds: 17/2)
No such luck expected for the Cottagers in the Craven Cottage fixture this time around. They have a must win home game against Huddersfield on Saturday, before facing relegation rivals Burnley, and Brighton all before the end of January and they are the more important games against teams around them. Wolves are out of their slump and can bounce back from their Liverpool defeat by making the most of a dodgy Fulham defence.
Mitrovic & Neves 2+ shots on target each at 14/1
A really eye-catching price considering the role these men play in their teams and it is definitely worth a small play to start your day off in style. Mitrovic averages just under four shots per game this season and he is not afraid of trying his luck when he gets sight of goal. He has 13 strikes for club and country this season and they will be relying on the Serbian to fire them to survival. Neves, on the other hand, is a midfielder who is not afraid of trying his luck. He shoots nearly three times a game and against a leaky Cottagers defence the Portuguese will be keen to grab a goal.
Another eye-catching price is 11/4 for Jean Michael Seri to make three or more tackles. A similar bet paid off for us in backing Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko at the weekend and this looks just as good. Seri could be set for a busy afternoon against a talented and packed Wolves midfield, so small stakes are worth considering with this.
Both two great options with no reliance on the result.
- Fulham have won just one of their last 10 games against Wolves in all competitions (D3 L6), however that did come in the most recent meeting (2-0 in February).
- Wolves have won six of their last eight league games against Fulham (D1 L1), scoring three or more goals on five occasions.
- This will be the first Premier League meeting between Fulham and Wolves since March 2012, when the London side won 5-0 at Craven Cottage under Martin Jol.
- Wolves have never previously won away at Craven Cottage in the Premier League (P4 D2 L2), losing on each of their last two trips.
- Wolves have lost all three of their Premier League games played on Boxing Day, the most games played on the day without earning a single point in the competition.
- This will be Wolves’ 100th league game played on Boxing Day, making them just the second side to play as many on the date (after West Bromwich Albion).
- Fulham’s 0-0 draw against Newcastle last time out ended a run of 21 Premier League games without a clean sheet. They last kept consecutive clean sheets in the competition back in May/August 2013.
- Wolverhampton Wanderers have only lost one of their last seven Premier League games in London (W3 D3), though that was a 0-5 loss at Fulham in March 2012.
- Wolves are looking to win consecutive Premier League away games for the first time since August 2011.
- Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored in each of his previous two league starts against Wolves; once for Newcastle in February 2017 and the other for Fulham in February 2018.
In case you missed it: Fulham and Wolves featured in Day 10 and 13 of our Advent Calendar...
Odds correct at 1210 GMT on 24/12/18