Fulham v Leeds United - A goalscoring, goal-creating, free-kick winning menace, a pressing problem and Graham Smyth's prediction

Fulham might be a different animal to the one Leeds United successfully hunted earlier in the season, but they're the side under the most pressure tonight at Craven Cottage.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 11:45 am
STAR MAN - Ademola Lookman is a player who likes to take on and beat defenders. He's a goalscorer and a chance creator for Fulham and one to watch for Leeds United. Pic: Getty
STAR MAN - Ademola Lookman is a player who likes to take on and beat defenders. He's a goalscorer and a chance creator for Fulham and one to watch for Leeds United. Pic: Getty

A defeat would be far more damaging for Parker's men than Marcelo Bielsa's. The relegation zone still has a hold on the Cottagers and while their performances of late, and results, suggest a remarkable escape is well within their capabilities, they know they need points from games like this.

Leeds, on the other hand, are still comfortable in midtable. They do need a win, after a few results haven't gone their way, but know that they're in a far superior position and, on the strength of the table, the better side.

Key man

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Ademola Lookman

A goalscoring, goal-creating, dribbling, free-kick winning dangerman for Leeds to deal with. Lookman is making chances for Scott Parker's Fulham and taking on opponents with relish. He can play either side of a front three, in a three behind a central attacker or as a wide man in midfield. Parker will want him to get on the ball and hurt Leeds, especially if Fulham can win the ball with the Whites out of shape.

Key battle

The press

Leeds, as ever, need to avoid careless possession losses in their own half. Fulham will make this difficult with their press, so Illan Meslier and his defence need to be clever on the ball and choose their passes carefully. As Dominic Matteo said this week, when it has to go, it goes, but with Patrick Bamford expected to play Leeds know they can take the aerial and direct route if necessary. Then it will be down to the midfield, in particular Tyler Roberts, and Marcelo Bielsa's wingers to support their frontman to ensure they win the second ball to set up camp in the Fulham half and the final third.

Graham Smyth's Verdict

London, again. Wouldn't it be nice to banish that record, on the final opportunity of the season, and talk about something else? Fulham are a much different proposition to the one Leeds beat at Elland Road earlier in the campaign, they're a side with so much to play for and plenty of confidence. Leeds' draw with Chelsea should put them in a similar frame of mind, however. If it's a toe-to-toe game then I expect Leeds to come out on top again. I'll say 2-1.