Palace v Fulham: Cottagers to ease pressure on Jol with crucial win

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Martin Jol takes his Fulham side to Selhurst Park for the first time in eight years to face one of only three sides that sit below them in the table, Crystal Palace.

Such are the contrasting expectations of both sides that the pressure of the sack appears to be hovering over the head of the Fulham boss rather than his adversary Ian Holloway.

The Cottagers are only outside of the bottom three because of their marginally better goal difference compared to Norwich, while Palace have won just once all season, a 3-1 victory over Sunderland.

Despite tasting six defeats already, there appears to be little appetite to call for change at the top at Selhurst, with Ian Holloway being offered the time to turn it round.

Jol is being offered no such luxury, with some reports even suggesting that defeat on Monday could spell the end of his two-year reign. Their crucial win over Stoke last time round eased some of the pressure, but Jol will know that there remains an uncomfortable number of Fulham fans still unsure on the former Spurs, Ajax and Hamburg coach.

With Palace on the back of four straight defeats, Jol will be targeting a first away win since the opening day of the season, when a Pajtim Kasami header sealed all three points at Sunderland.

Times of crisis are often when managers turn to old heads to guide them out of trouble, and in Scott Parker – back after a calf injury – Jol will know that there are few Premier League players more up for the fight.

Fulham will be further boosted by the return of defender Aaron Hughes, while Dutch international keeper Maarten Stekelenburg could also play only his second match for Fulham after recovering from a shoulder injury sustained on his debut in Wearside.

Both sides have struggled for goals, with just ten between them all season, but while Fulham have proven tighter at the back to compensate, Palace’s defending has been particularly generous at times, with 13 goals conceded in totla and nine in their last four games alone, with only one scored in return.

So while Jol may be the man facing the axe, it appears that Holloway is the man with more to do. Unlike the Fulham gaffer, he doesn’t have the sort of guaranteed Premier League goalscorers his counterpart can call on, with the likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent surely capable of firing the Cottagers out of any trouble.

Bent has scored two of Fulham’s five goals and should start alongside the Bulgarian, and they are priced 11/2 and 6/1 respectively to score the first goal.

Fulham are 13/8 to win at Palace, but those looking for bulkier odds might be tempted by the price of 17/4 for Fulham to win and under 2.5 goals to be scored in the match.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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