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Jon Riley 17th Nov 2012 - 16:10

Can Berba extend the Black Cat's bad luck?

Fulham v Sunderland
Sunday 16:00 - live on Sky Sports 1

The fortunes of Fulham and Sunderland will be under the spotlight as the two teams meet in Sunday's live Sky Sports offering.

The hosts currently occupy ninth pace in the Premier League, relishing their newly found reputation as purveyors of free-flowing, free-scoring football, whilst at the same time conceding with alarming regularity. Only Manchester United have found the back of the net more often than Fulham but conversely only Southampton and QPR have let in more.

Martin Jol filled the void left by Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele with Dimitar Berbatov (4/1 first goal, EVS anytime) and Alex Kacaniklic (11/1 first goal) and the front two have formed an excellent partnership, notching seven league goals between them so far.

Berbatov scored twice in last week's dramatic 3-3 draw (66/1 Correct Score) with Arsenal where Mark Schwarzer's last minute penalty save earned his team a point. Fulham's season was encapsulated in 90 minutes at the Emirates where irresistible play was let down by awful defending.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill will hope that playing in front of the Sky cameras will have an uplifting effect on his struggling squad. Despite playing some encouraging football at times, they are still yet to really kick on this season, winning just once and that was their only win since March.

The Black Cats were leading at Goodison Park last Saturday but were undone by a resurgent Everton team and ended up losing 2-1. That defeat saw them drop to 16th place in the table and looking worryingly over their shoulders at the teams beneath.
On the injury front, Fulham's Kieran Richardson misses out on facing his former club as he is suffering from a hamstring injury. Martin Jol will also be without the suspended Chris Baird, Simon Davies is recovering from a hip operation and Mahamadou Diarra remains a doubt.
Sunderland top scorer Steven Fletcher (calf) is one of several fitness concerns for manager Martin O'Neill. Lee Cattermole (knee), Phil Bardsley (hamstring) and Keiren Westwood (thigh) are also doubtful.

The match betting for this clash sees Fulham installed as 7/10 favourites while the visitors can be backed at 9/2. The hosts have won five of their last eight Premier League fixtures against the men from the Stadium Of Light and are unbeaten in six against them. With Sunderland only winning one of their last 18 league games it is easy to see why Fulham are such heavy favourites.

The draw though must be seriously considered. Fulham have drawn four of their last five league games so the 5/2 on offer for a Craven Cottage stalemate should be an option, while 0-0 (11/1), 1-1 (7/1) and 2-2 (16/1) all offer more favourable odds.

The William Hill Headline offers for this game focus on goal scorers Dimitar Berbatov and Steven Fletcher. For Berbatov to score in a home win William Hill have enhanced the price to 2/1 while a Fletcher goal in a Sunderland victory has been pushed out to 7/1.


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