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Leeds United at Fulham FC preview: Whites try to keep Cottagers outside the top six

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Tuesday’s trip to Craven Cottage won’t be easy, as Fulham FC are even better than Leeds United at home in 2016/17.

Fulham v Hull City - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
A dangerous side, on the rise. Can Leeds take valuable points at Craven Cottage?
Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

The dust has barely settled on Friday night’s Birmingham victory, and we are off to the big smoke for another tricky and challenging affair at Craven Cottage, home of Fulham FC.

Despite big spends, Fulham have been a little off the pace in recent seasons but now find themselves back in the hunt at 7th place in the league. However, they’re still a notable 9 points behind Leeds United, now in 4th.

The two teams are both coming off the back of 3-1 victories; the Cottagers dented Preston’s play-off hopes whilst Leeds United defeated Birmingham at St Andrew’s. Also like Leeds, their manager Slaviša Jokanović, set a top 6 target for this season and they are certainly finishing strongly.

Johnny Wakefield interviewed a Fulham blogger yesterday in our latest Leeds Against The World segment, but let’s take a deeper look at tomorrow’s game today in our match preview.

What we know about Slaviša Jokanović

The former Yugoslavian International, as a player, had stints with Deportivo and Chelsea and managed Partizan Belgrade, Watford and Maccabai Tel Aviv. He took control of Fulham in December 2015, helping them to narrowly avoid relegation to League One. His most notable honour as a player is winning La Liga with Deportivo in 2000. As manager, he took Watford to the Premier League.

Hovering

Fulham have hovered around the top ten most of the season but have undergone a recent resurgence and have accumulated the 3rd best goal difference in the Championship at +19. Again, like Leeds, they have only lost 4 home games all season.

They have overhauled the entire team shipping out an incredible 25 players either loaned or transferred, including Ross McCormack and Matt Smith to Aston Villa (now loaned to Nottingham) and QPR respectively. In turn they have transferred in 11 players and loaned in 6.

Perhaps their most infamous arrival is Ragnar Sigurðsson, the Iceland International Centre Back who helped knock England out of Euro 2016 with this goal…

Sorry about that reminder.

Other Top 6 Tuesday Fixtures

Reading (5th, 63 points) vs. Newcastle (1st, 76 points)

Brighton (2nd, 71 points) vs. Rotherham (24th, 17 points)

Huddersfield Town (3rd, 65 points) vs. Aston Villa (13th, 45 points)

Sheffield Wednesday (6th, 61 points) vs. Burton Albion (19th, 37 points)

Leeds United player to watch

Since joining on deadline day from Villarreal, Alfonso Pedroza has featured in only 3 games as he gets adjusted to life in the Championship. However, his cameo role, against Birmingham City, provided us with a glimpse of what’s to come as he scored his first goal for the club. As games come thick and fast he is sure to feature at some stage on Tuesday evening. More of the same please, Alfonso.

Fulham FC player to watch

On loan Scottish International Chris Martin is Fulham’s leading marksman with 11 goals to date from 22 appearances. That equals a ratio of a goal every other game and as he scored in his last appearance against Preston, let’s hope that ratio stays for Tuesday night at least.

Head-to-Head

At Fulham there have been 25 meetings between the two clubs, with Fulham winning 11, Leeds 9 and 5 drawn.

Form

Leeds have won 3, lost 1, and drawn 1 in their last five.

Fulham are now unbeaten in 5 games, with 4 wins and 1 draw.


WHAT

Fulham FC vs. Leeds United

EFL Championship fixture

WHERE

Craven Cottage, Fulham

LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds, International Listings

WHEN

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

11:45am PT / 2:45pm ET / 7:45pm BT

WHO

Leeds United’s predicted starting XI

Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, O’Kane, Bridcutt, Sacko, Hernandez, Doukara, Wood

Fulham FC’s predicted starting XI

Button, Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Sessegnon, Cairney, McDonald, Johansen, Aluko, Martin, Kebano

ODDS

Leeds 3/1

Draw 11/4

Fulham 17/20

PREDICTION

1-1 draw. Leeds United have been lauded for their home form this season losing only 4 and keeping clean sheets. However, Fulham have only been defeated the same amount of times at home and have conceded 1 less goal than Leeds. This one could be low-scoring, I’m predicting a draw. MOT.