Leeds United travel to Craven Cottage on Friday to face Fulham for their next Premier League fixture. The Whites enter the game after holding back Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in a tightly-contested 0-0 draw at Elland Road last Sunday. Fulham would like to regroup after succumbing to a 3-0 loss against league leaders Manchester City.
Here’s our preview of Friday’s game between Leeds United and Fulham:
Leeds were dominant on Sunday in the match against the Blues, although the match ended in a goalless draw. This was just the third instance when a match involving Leeds ended in a draw, a testimony to the attacking style of play that has excited fans and critics alike. The Whites have failed to find the net in their last three matches – a surprising fact considering the attacking style of play Marcelo Bielsa has brought to the Premier League.
Bielsa’s men have lost their last three away matches, making them drop into the 12th spot with 36 points from 28 fixtures. Leeds would also like to break their London curse at Craven Cottage – they have not won a single game under Marcelo Bielsa in London stadiums.
Patrick Bamford’s injury in the match against Chelsea will be a headache for Marcelo Bielsa – it is doubtful if the club’s leading scorer will be fit in time for the match. Midfielders Adam Forshaw and Pablo Hernandez are yet to recover and will remain on the sidelines.
The Cottagers are in a do-or-die situation heading into the last few weeks of Premier League action. Scott Parker’s side are currently in the 18th spot with just 26 points from their 29 fixtures, winning just five matches including their spectacular win against Liverpool earlier this month. They have failed to score in seven of their last nine fixtures at Craven Cottage – a stat unlikely to help them when they face Bielsa’s attacking squad. But Scott Parker’s men have turned around their performances since the start of the year – they have lost just two of their last eight matches.
The recent upturn in form has been built on consistent team selections – goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and centre-backs Joachim Andersen and Tosin Adarabioyo form the backbone of the side. Marek Rodak, attacker Bobby Decordova-Reid and Tom Cairney are all nursing injuries and would be unavailable for Friday’s fixture. Ivan Cavaleiro, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ademola Lookman are likely to start for Fulham against Leeds.
The head-to-head between both the teams is perfectly even – Leeds and Fulham have both won three each and drawn five of their 11 fixtures in the Premier League so far. Leeds hold an upper hand when fixtures across competitions are concerned – the Whites have won 24 out of 58 encounters with 15 draws. The reverse fixture between both the teams in September led to a goal-fest, with Marcelo Bielsa’s men defeating the Cottagers 4-3 at Elland Road.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Fulham need this win much more than Leeds – they are just two points behind out-of-form Newcastle and would be desperate to move out of the relegation zone. Leeds are having a dry patch with goals, but the Whites are expected to turn it around soon and prevail over the Cottagers.
Leeds Predicted XI: Illan Meslier, Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling, Pascal Struijk, Ezgjan Alioski, Jamie Shackleton, Mateusz Klich, Rodrigo Moreno, Raphinha, Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford.
Fulham Predicted XI: Alphonse Areola, Kenny Tete, Joachim Andersen, Tosin Adarabioyo, Antonee Robinson, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Harrison Reed, Mario Lemina, Ademola Lookman, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Josh Maja.
When: Saturday, 20 March 2021, 1:30 AM IST
Where: Craven Cottage, Fulham.
Where to Watch: All Premier League fixtures are streamed live on Disney+ Hotstar. Select matches will be streamed on Star Sports and Star Sports Select channels.
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