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Fulham vs Wolves key battles

Fulham host Wolves at Craven Cottage on Monday night in the Premier League, with both teams trending in very different directions.

The Cottagers have gone four games without a win and dropped to 15th on the table as a result. They were hammered 3-1 at Aston Villa last time out, and Marco Silva will be desperate to arrest his team’s rut at the moment.

On the other hand, Wolves will be aiming to build on their late win over Tottenham before the international break. They have 15 points on the board and sit three points ahead of Fulham heading into this clash.

With an intense clash expected at Craven Cottage, here are the key battles that could have a big say in the game.

#Nelson Semedo vs Willian

Wolves rely heavily on their full-backs to provide momentum to their game. Nelson Semedo and Rayan Ait-Nouri have been instrumental for the Wanderers this season and their ability to provide service along the flanks has been extremely crucial for Gary O’Neil. Semedo, in particular, has shone on the right and will look to deliver the goods against Fulham.

The Portuguese full-back will come up against Willian, who has been the rare bright spark in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Fulham. Despite being 35, the Brazilian is Fulham’s biggest threat going forward. He will be responsible for creating opportunities in the final third for the hosts as well as preventing Semedo from bombing forward and feeding the Wolves forwards.

The match could well be decided by the player who wins this individual duel.

#Raul Jimenez vs Max Kilman

Raul Jimenez will play against his former employers for the first time on Monday. The Mexican striker spent four years at Wolves, playing his best football in the Premier League for the club and becoming a fan favourite. However, after leaving Wolves this summer, things haven’t gone smoothly, as he has only managed to score one goal for Fulham so far this season.

With his ex-club in town, Raul will be itching to haunt them. In Craig Dawson’s injury absence, Max Kilman must take up the responsibility of marshalling Wolves’ troops from the back. He will need to be focused from minute one to thwart the advances of Raul.

Given Fulham’s counter-attacking style of football, Raul will wait for his moments to make runs between the Wolves centre-backs and create chaos. This is something Kilman will be wary of and he will need to be defensively sound to deal with the Mexican.

#Hwang Hee-chan vs Calvin Bassey

Hwang Hee-chan has started the season very well as he has bagged six goals and supplied two assists in 12 Premier League appearances. He has operated in a variety of attacking roles but mainly alongside Matheus Cunha up front, providing Wolves with the flexibility and flair required to stretch teams.

Hwang will thrive if he’s been given ample amount of time and space to run behind the opponents’ backline but that’s only if he is given that time. And that is something Calvin Bassey will not want to give to the South Korean star at Craven Cottage. Bassey has had a tough time adapting to the fast-paced nature of Premier League football following his summer move from Rangers. Yet, Silva has continued to back the Nigerian defender.

On Monday, Bassey will have a task on his hands to keep a close check on Hwang and stop his clever movements in and around the box. If he can nullify the impact of the Wolves’ top scorer, Fulham’s chances of ending their four-game winless run will become higher.

Rohan Sengupta

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