Fulham v Leeds: Whites can deal relegation blow to Cottagers
Fulham have been on a good run but defeat against Manchester City exposed some old flaws and Leeds can beat them in Friday night's Premier League game, says Dave Tindall...
Lack of home goals a big problem for Fulham
Friday and Saturday are two big days in the battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
Fulham, who occupy the final relegation slot, get us underway and 24 hours later it's 16th plays 17th when Brighton host Newcastle.
The Cottagers have played a game more than the two teams above them so the clock is ticking for Scott Parker's men. They have nine matches remaining and will need to take their current tally of 26 probably into the high 30s to stay up.
But the current market suggests they may just pull it off. Fulham are 2.64 to go down, around half a point bigger than Newcastle at 2.06. Brighton are 12.5.
Fulham have certainly rallied in recent months, with three wins in the last seven giving them a fighting chance. That run includes victories at Everton and Liverpool although some previous defensive weaknessess popped up again last time when they lost 3-0 at home to Manchester City.
Conceding three wasn't ideal but that game highlighted another big problem: Fulham simply cannot score goals at Craven Cottage.
Their tally of just eight home goals is the fewest in the top-flight and that's from 15 games.
What's more, there seem no obvious signs of solving the puzzle as Fulham have scored just one home Premier League goal in their last five attempts and that was against basement dwellers Sheffield United.
Leeds boom or bust on the road
Leeds remain a highly-entertaining watch - even when they draw 0-0.
That was the unlikely scoreline in their last game although it was a good point given that the opposition were Chelsea.
Sitting in 12th is a mighty fine effort although the points are rather starting to dry up. Leeds have lost four and drawn one of their last six, their only victory coming against struggling Southampton.
However, this game and their next Elland Road assignment - home to Sheffield United - gives them the chance to take their points tally into the 40s (they currently have 36).
One thing stands out from Leeds' away results: the lack of draws. It's been either boom or bust for Marcelo Bielsa's men, their record showing six wins and eight defeats from 14 road trips.
Friday's clash certainly has plenty to live up to if judging on the first meeting between the two this season. In that one, Leeds raced into a 4-1 lead after just 50 minutes before Fulham scored twice. A nervy finish ensured before the hosts banked the 4-3 win.
Patrick Bamford scored in that game but limped off in the draw with Chelsea. But Bielsa said on Wednesday: "We think that, yes, he will play on Friday. He has a knock on his hip that is painful but we don't think that is going to make him miss the game."
Leeds worth a punt on win market
The last time this game was staged at Craven Cottage, it was in the Championship. Fulham ran out 2-1 winners before Leeds gained revenge later in the season with a 3-0 success at Elland Road.
Fulham are 2.64 favourites to get the win and, for the time being at least, jump over Newcastle.
Leeds are 2.9 to bag their seventh away victory of the campaign while it's 3.55 for The Draw. That, as mentioned, would be Leeds' first stalemate on the road if it happens.
I think that the market is slightly overrating Fulham here, perhaps leaning too much on the obvious angle that they have more motivation.
Leeds have the same number of away wins (six) as champions Liverpool and high-flying West Ham so getting them at virtually 2/1 against a side in the relegation zone seems pretty decent.
Unders looks better goals option
Craven Cottage isn't the place for goals and that's saying something.
The average count is under two, never mind three, after just 29 combined goals in their 15 home games.
That suggests Under 2.5 is worth a look at 1.9. It may even be worth considering Under 1.5 at 3.55. For the record there have been fewer than two goals in four of Fulham's last five matches.
As for Both Teams to Score, 'No' has the numbers behind it. Both Fulham and Leeds are on a five-match streak of BTTS failing to land.
'No' is a clear underdog at 2.14 so that looks a must play.
Dallas and Raphina offer value in Same Game Multi
I'm expecting the blanks to be fired by Fulham so it's Leeds players I'll look at on the Same Game Multi.
There are three that stand out.
Patrick Bamford is the obvious one but the goals have dried up a little for the striker.
An interesting option could be Stuart Dallas to score in a Leeds win. The full-back has netted in four of his last 16 games and gets forward plenty. That bet on the SGM is just under 14/1.
The middle-ground option is Raphinha to score in a Leeds win at just shy of 7/1. He's scored five times since joining the club in October and has plenty of efforts on goal.
Leeds have won all three of their PL matches against sides in the bottom three this season by an aggregate score of 10-3.
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