Leeds took the Premier League by storm in defeat last week and while that equates to the same amount of points as Fulham’s loss to Arsenal, there’s a stark contrast.
As well-known Fulham fan Jay-Z recently disclosed when speaking about this weekend’s matchup: ‘We’ve got 99 problems. But Leeds? Just one.’
And he’s not wrong, you know. Scott Parker’s dress sense certainly isn’t one of those problems, but his side’s approach to football definitely is, and there’ll need to be a massive improvement to get anything here.
Usually people’s lack of attention to Fulham works in their favour, but such is the level of detail required by Marcelo Bielsa, that his chief opposition scout is actually one of about twelve people watching Fulham specifically.
As far as lineups go, any Leeds player who featured at Anfield from the start would be very unlucky to lose their place and the host of kids that the Argentine wheeled out against Hull midweek is probably a good indication that it will be the same XI.
For Fulham, they can finally slot Kenny Tete into their lineup after he featured in the Carabao Cup with his assist for Aleksandar Mitrovic being a thing of beauty. Here’s three shrewd punts for this vintage-feel 3pm kickoff.
For Leeds, it’s a case of knowing you’re better than Fulham but having to slowly adjust your approach. There was enough technically to prop Leeds up for their performance against Liverpool but their approach here will be very different.
While Liverpool push Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robinson forward at every opportunity, Fulham certainly won’t be doing the same. The primary outball last week was that quick switch to their wingers, but this week, they’ll be tasked with link up play in central areas.
Now, we saw plenty of that in spells too against Liverpool. It’s frightening to say that, on the ball, Leeds may have actually exceeded the champions in terms of composure in midfield, but it’s not a wild remark.
It will take more time to get upto speed with this approach, though – so don’t expect Leeds to blitz Fulham early and we could well see a draw at half time with Leeds prevailing in the second.
He’ll not be this price again if he replicates the form he showed in the opener, and simply because Patrick Bamford is the most inconsistent footballer in the British Isles, I refuse to accept that he’ll be scoring again this week.
Mateusz Klich is 30 years old – something most people are likely to overlook and has played between Germany and the Netherlands for most of his career – meaning he’s already more technically able than most ‘thoroughbred’ English players who spend their careers avoiding relegation in the top tier, and it shows.
When Leeds to look to find the breakthrough in central areas, expect him to be involved in quick one-twos and Mateusz Klich to Score Anytime looks handy.
You can already feel the frustration building in them before a ball is kicked, because they both came out of the same division and therefore should not be this much off their opponents in just the second game of the season – and yet.
There’s enough tempers in that Fulham team to subscribe to this line of thought and because there are a number of contenders, we’re nearly better off with the blanket market and hedging our bets with Fulham to have a Red Card.
There were 13 bookings and a red card in their two meetings in the Championship last year. Expect that ill-sentiment to carry over.
Tips for Leeds v Fulham at 15:00 on Saturday
- Our fab 4-fold EFL acca for Saturday’s 3pm games
- Our Trader’s 5/2 Tasty Treble For Saturday’s Premier League Games
- Paddy’s Sweet 11/1 Same Game Multi For Chelsea V Liverpool On Sunday