In the build-up to this friendly between Fulham and MK Dons at stadium:mk, the Dons’ manager Karl Robinson summed up most people’s perception of Fulham rather succinctly.
“Fulham are a top ten team who I’ve got tremendous respect for,” Robinson said.
“They are a team who, for a Premier League team, don’t spend a great deal of money but consistently retain premier division status year in year out, so we’re looking forward to playing against them. It’s a good club; it’s a nice club; so we’re looking forward to pitting our wits against them.”
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It is difficult to disagree, isn’t it? With the exception of Chelsea fans, it is hard to imagine anyone having a bad word to say against Fulham (give or take chairman Mohamed Al Fayed’s occasionally bizarre behavior and eccentric outbursts) and as the club gear up for their 11th consecutive season in the Premier League, they are an example to all lower league clubs dreaming of not only making it to the holy grail of the Premier League, but staying there.
I tipped MK Dons to avoid defeat when they faced Premier League opposition on Friday in the form of Norwich City, and a 0-0 draw meant the bet copped at 19/20.
The money Al Fayed has pumped in undoubtedly helps, but give or take the odd season of struggle – let’s face it, you’re always going to struggle if you appoint Lawrie Sanchez as manager – Fulham’s stay in the top flight has been a steady one and since Roy Hodgson performed the great escape in the final few weeks of the 2007/08 season, Fulham have gone from strength to strength.
A top seven finish, a Europa League final and four consecutive top half places have been achieved under three different managers (Hodgson, Mark Hughes and now Martin Jol) and Fulham are a shining example to MK Dons, who themselves want to emulate the Cottagers by going from third tier to top flight.
The friendly between the sides on Tuesday has the makings of a good, open football match. Fulham are the 3/5 odds-on favourites with bwin, with the draw at 13/5 and MK Dons the 15/4 outsiders.
Fulham, though obviously the better side, look a bit short at that price so I am once again looking towards a combination of the home win and draw as a decent shout.
I tipped MK Dons to avoid defeat when they faced Premier League opposition on Friday in the form of Norwich City, and a 0-0 draw meant the bet copped at 19/20. Even though Fulham are a better side than the Canaries, I’m going to go with the 21/20 that the Dons once again secure at least a draw in the double chance market.
Fulham have had a fine pre-season, winning three and drawing two of their five games, scoring a very healthy 13 goals in the process. Not all of those games have been against good opposition, though, and I have a real fancy that MK Dons can end their stay in League One by winning promotion this coming season.
With the start of their competitive season coming on Saturday (in whatever the Milk Cup calls itself these days) I think they will be right at it against Fulham.
Fulham’s away record is not great at the best of times – the Cottagers have won just 10 away league games in the last four seasons – and I think the odds-against on MK Dons avoiding defeat is a reasonable shout.
Recommended bet: MK Dons to avoid defeat @ 21/20
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