​After a three month long absence, ​Premier League football will finally be returning to our lives this week. In what has been an even longer wait, however, lasting just over four years, ​Fulham have finally returned to England's top flight.


Coincidentally, the Cottagers' first game back will be against ​Crystal Palace, with the Eagles being the last team to face off against Fulham before they dropped down a division back in 2014. 


Slaviša Jokanović's side have spent over £70m since their play-off final victory over Aston Villa at Wembley as they bid to avoid a quick return to the ​Championship, whereas Roy Hodgson's side have had to be far more conservative. 


Palace's finances have been tight, restricting them to just three transfers this summer, two of which have been free transfers. Only Cheikhou Kouyate, signed from ​West Ham, has merited a fee, while Max Meyer and Vicente Guaita arrived for nothing. 


Fulham have been very busy, capturing some stellar names such as Jean Michael Seri and Andre Schurrle, while also luring Alfie Mawson to Craven Cottage. 


With their new look squad, and Palace's already impressive starting eleven, this could be one to keep an eye on as the opening weekend draws closer:


Classic Encounter 


Crystal Palace 1-4 Fulham (Monday 21st October 2013)

Crystal Palace v Fulham - Premier League

After a dismal start to life back in the Premier League after their unlikely promotion, Crystal Palace had been tipped for the drop by almost everyone, with a crunch clash against Fulham looking decisive. 


The Eagles had a dream start, with Adrian Mariappa notching the opener in the seventh minute, but from then on, things went sour. Pajtim Kasami's Marco van Basten-esque equaliser out of nothing stunned Ian Holloway's side, before another stunning strike by Steve Sidwell gave Fulham the lead before the break. 


Palace, who came out for the second half still dazed from Sidwell's goal before the break, conceded twice more in just ten minutes to all but end the tie as a contest. 


Many predicted that to mean the Eagles were all but relegated, especially after Holloway's resignation, but Palace survived against all odds under Tony Pulis whilst Fulham suffered the drop instead. 


Key Battle 


Jean Michael Seri vs Luka Milivojevic 

AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Fulham new boy Jean Michael Seri, signed from Nice for around £25m, looks to be a real coup for the newly promoted side. The Ivory Coast international developed a reputation as a  lively box to box midfielder in France, scoring goals and assisting them, as well as maintaining his defensive duties. 


His diminutive frame allows him to carry the ball effectively as he looks to make things tick in midfield. However, Palace's Serbian stalwart Luka Milivojevic will definitely make it hard for the 27-year-old Ivorian on what will be his Premier League debut. 


Milivojevic enjoys dominating the midfield with his aerial ability and composure on the ball, the former of which Seri does not possess. Whoever wins the battle in the middle of the park will surely allow their flair players to do the business up top, which could be decisive on the result. 


Team News 

Crystal Palace v Toulouse - Pre-Season Friendly

The Eagles almost have a fully fit squad to choose from for their opener against Fulham. Only Scott Dann is still in the treatment room as he continues his rehabilitation from a cruciate ligament injury. 


However, the game may come too soon for Meyer. The German, despite keeping up his fitness with personal training, was without a club for the majority of the summer and is therefore lacking match fitness. Kouyate may have to settle for a place on the bench with his fitness also slightly lacking. Guaita is expected to start in goal. 


For Fulham, all of their new signings are match fit and ready to go with the exception of Mawson, as the Englishman continues his recovery from a knee injury. 


Potential Fulham Lineup: Fabri, Christie, Chambers, Ream, Bryan, Seri, Cairney, Sessegnon, Kamara, Schurrle, Mitrovic


Potential Crystal Palace Lineup: Guaita, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt, Milivojevic, McArthur, Townsend, Schlupp, Zaha, Benteke


Prediction

Fulham v Celta Vigo - Pre-Season Friendly

This London derby could well be one of the games of the opening day. Both sides possess a wealth of talent and will be eager to set their stall out at the start of what is predicted to be an exciting season for both clubs. 


Palace are, on paper, the more settled side with just one new face set to be thrust into the starting eleven, whereas a number of Fulham's team should contain players yet to gel with each other fully. 


It should be an exciting affair, but Hodgson will likely nick a result on his return to Craven Cottage. 


Fulham 1-2 Crystal Palace