YEP Jury: Leeds United v Fulham – big match predictions

Our fans’ panel look ahead to Leeds United’s first home game since the season resumption – against promotion rivals Fulham tomorrow.

Friday, 26th June 2020, 3:25 pm

ANDY RHODES

After Sunday’s disappointment, Leeds United now have arguably their biggest chance of pulling away from the chasing pack.

A tight and scrappy game against Cardiff was never going to suit Marcelo Bielsa’s fast-paced brand of football, but a game against a fellow attack-minded team might.

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Fulham danger man Aleksandar Mitrovic holds off Ethan Pinnock of Brentford during last weekend's Championship encounter. Picture: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images.

Before the restart, Leeds played better against sides that looked to attack, leaving space in behind.

Pablo Hernandez is key to this style and was clearly missed last weekend. The extra week has given him the chance to regain fitness. The last few days might have also given the squad time to regain its sharpness. Too many passes went astray in the final third on Sunday.

If United cut out their mistakes from last week then they have every chance. Let’s hope it was just rustiness.

The Whites will need to win or risk losing their nerve. Lose the game and sharks will begin to circle. As far as six-pointers go, they don’t get any bigger than this.

Leeds United forward Tyler Roberts is foiled by Alex Smithies at Cardiff City. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImages.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Fulham 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

We need to put the anti-climax and disappointment of Sunday’s defeat to Cardiff behind us and get ourselves up for a real six-pointer tomorrow afternoon.

Leeds fans will no doubt consider this a must-win game but, if it’s must-win for us then what does it mean for Fulham?

Leeds United head coach on the sidelines at Cardiff City. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImages.

A United win would put 10 points between them and us and, if the roles were reversed, then you know everybody would have written us off already.

A couple of uncharacteristic defensive mistakes were our undoing on Sunday but the crucial difference tomorrow will be how United perform in attack. We need to create more chances and need to bury more of the chances we create. It’s that simple.

We know we’ve got the players to do it but they seemed rusty and uncertain in the first game back.

It’s really a fool’s game trying to predict what might happen but I’ve not been impressed with Fulham overall, and especially not in our meeting with them last December.

Leeds United's Jack Harrison rues a missed chance at Cardiff. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImages.

I think it’d be unlikely for us to be so ineffective two games in a row so a tentative Leeds win is my call.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Fulham 1.

DAVID WATKINS

Defeat at Cardiff City was a reality check; most expected a super fit Leeds to roll everybody over!

For me, the performance wasn’t much different to most of our games this season but, as we have learned, we are capable of an error or two and we don’t convert enough chances. When the two come together, we usually lose.

And so to the Fulham game and it’s hard to know what to expect.

Pablo Hernandez. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images.

I think there is little doubt that, if we can avoid gifting goals to them and manage to put away at least one of our chances, then the three points should be ours, but there are so many things that can go wrong.

Saturday’s referee, Tony Harrington has overseen two of our most recent home failures; the three-goal comeback by Cardiff and the home defeat to Wigan, not that either was his fault!

Fulham will want to bounce back after defeat to Brentford but I’m going to suggest we will be error free for once and take a big step towards promotion.

We do need to keep Aleksandar Mitrovic quiet though!

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Fulham 0.

KEITH INGHAM

Back in March this fixture was the one that Leeds needed not to lose, due to the fact that Fulham were their nearest challengers, seven points behind.

Three months later the only thing that has changed is that it’s three months later and will be played out with only the people necessary for the game to be played and a few to report on it. Sky TV will obviously screen it too.

There will be over 15,000 smiling faces in the Lower East Stand as the club has offered fans the chance to have a ‘selfy’ present for the last five games as part of the refund package to season ticket holders and also to other fans who fancied parting with £25 for the privilege. I got one as a present from my siblings for Fathers’ Day.

Both teams lost their first games 2-0. Fulham were beaten by Brentford at Craven Cottage whilst a day later Leeds suffered an away defeat in Cardiff.

Marcelo Bielsa is pragmatic so expect Patrick Bamford to lead the line once again and if Pablo Hernandez is again absent Tyler Roberts will probably continue in his absence. I’m not expecting any changes as Leeds hope to extend their gap over their nearest challengers.

Home advantage seems to have gone so it’s who performs the best will probably get the three points. If Leeds, for once, take their chances they could win but if they give Fulham’s leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrović a sniff of a chance the points could be heading south. I’ll sit on the fence a go for a draw.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Fulham 1.

JACOB STARR

A possible automatic promotion decider. If Leeds beat Fulham tomorrow they will be merited with a 10-point gap, although if the Cottagers come away with all three points then only four points will separate the sides going into the final seven games.

If this scenario does arise, then the Whites may feel that a repeat of last campaign’s end-of-season capitulation is in the process of happening yet again. Two games in and we could all be wishing for the PPG outcome to return.

I have faith that United will bounce back from the defeat at Cardiff, though. They certainly played a lot better than Fulham did against Brentford, and with more than 15,000 ‘crowdies’ ready to cheer on the lads at Elland Road, I am backing the players to silence the large number of critics following Sunday’s opener.

The majority of this criticism was directed towards Patrick Bamford who inadvertently blocked a certain Leeds equaliser, but he will be out to put things right and this would be the perfect time to do it.

Elsewhere, Brentford host table toppers West Brom on Friday so at least two of the top four will be dropping points. Let’s just hope Leeds are not one of them.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Fulham 1.

MIKE GILL

After the disappointing defeat at Cardiff City, it comes as no surprise that the ‘doom and gloom’ brigade are all out in force again.

‘If they don’t go up I’m not going any more’ and ‘if Bielsa goes we are doomed’.

These are just two examples of the guff floating around on social media.

Tomorrow, we go into battle again in arguably the toughest challenge of the remaining eight games.

Like Leeds, the Cottagers faltered in their first game against Brentford.

These were really tough fixtures for both of tomorrow’s protagonists and so there are no clues from their performance either.

Even a draw would stand United in good stead for the ‘super seven’ and this outcome would probably be the choice of many pundits.

Hopefully, our players will be ready for a return to form and it would be good to see Scott Parker’s men on the receiving end of an angry backlash.

I’m going for the draw though.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Fulham 1.

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