Fulham v Leeds United

6th March 2017

It’s a case of all the ‘Whites’ in a week as Preston North End’s visit to the Cottage is followed up by their similarly attired cousins from Yorkshire.

Leeds sit pretty in fourth place in the Championship, with a relatively poor start to the season being followed up by excellent streaks of form through October, November and December with Garry Monk at the helm.

Their good form has continued into 2017, and an overall record of 20 wins from 35 games means that United are storming towards a play-off place, much to the delight of their fanbase, which hasn’t had it easy over the last ten years or so. Talismanic Kiwi striker Chris Wood now leads the Championship scoring charts with 22, and is again living up to the potential that he displayed at Leicester City.

Whilst the performances have been good, there’s plenty of hope for Fulham in this one. Leeds have only managed to keep a clean sheet away from home in 3 of their 17 away games, and Fulham have only been shut out twice at the Cottage all season, so you’d imagine there’s goals in this one.

That said, Birmingham gave Leeds a good game on Friday night and the Yorkshire side managed to keep the Blues at bay on one hand, and displayed some clinical finishing of their own at the other. With Wood in such scintillating form, Fulham are going to have to be careful to keep chances for the big No9 to a minimum.

That said, Fulham were good against Preston and with 13 points from a possible 15 in the last five games, there is a real sense that Fulham are starting to move towards top gear at a crucial point in the season. A win against Leeds would be a huge statement of intent going into Saturday’s game against league leaders Newcastle.

Their last 5 league results:

  • W: Birmingham City 1-2 Leeds United
  • W: Leeds United 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday
  • D: Ipswich Town 1-1 Leeds United
  • W: Leeds United 2-1 Bristol City
  • L: Leeds United 0-2 Cardiff City

Fulhamish’s Starting Line-Up:

Chris Martin’s return at the weekend was a welcome sight, and his goal showed that the on-loan Derby man still has more to offer in Fulham’s drive for a play-off spot. We’re hoping he retains his spot up front, and with Neeskens Kebano seemingly in the mood for goals, he makes the XI ahead of the potentially returning Ayité, who would be a welcome sight on the bench. Malone may well return to the side ahead of Sessegnon, who was perhaps a little naive for the Preston goal at the weekend, and who looked a little jaded in the last few minutes of the game; although Fulham will miss the quality of the youngster’s corners should that be the case.

Key Battle

Tomas Kalas v Chris Wood

We’re not going to keep going on about Chris Wood’s form because it speaks for itself, but Fulham need to keep him quiet if this game is to go the way we’d like it to. Kalas is undoubtedly the man for the job, but with a few nervy games since the turn of the year, this would be a great moment for the Czech defender to announce himself returning to top form. The winner of this duel, which will no doubt be a physical one, will be a lynchpin in their side’s chances of winning under the Cottage floodlights.

Fulhamish’s Prediction:

Expect tight, nervy, edge-of-the-seat stuff, but if Fulham can dominate possession like they did against Preston and put away their chances, this is winnable, and would be a huge result in the play-off push. We’re going 2-1 to Fulham.

Match reaction:

Don’t forget to listen to Monday’s episode of Fulhamish for all the reaction to this game and Saturday’s trip up to Newcastle. Subscribe to the podcast on any of the following platforms (others are available):

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Jack J Collins

Fulhamish Editor; H4 season ticket holder; persistent optimist. Writing and Social Media for Champions League, Bleacher Report, Sportsmail, and Get West London. Fulhamish's resident Stefan Johansen fanboy. @jackjcollins