Scott Parker has shaken up his Fulham side as they bid to make up lost ground in the relegation battle against Leicester City at Craven Cottage tonight.
Parker is seemingly sticking with his 5-2-3 formation, which he first introduced to great effect at the King Power Stadium earlier this season, with the Whites desperate for a third win of the season. The starting line-up shows two changes from the side who spurned valuable points against relegation rivals West Brom at the weekend. Mario Lemina has been dropped to the bench in favour of Harrison Reed in the deeper midfield role – which isn’t all that surprising as the pair have interchanged as like-for-like replacements for much of this campaign.
The second change is more eye-catching. Parker has left Fulham’s top scorer, Bobby Decordova-Reid, to the bench. The Jamaican international has scored five league goals so far this term, the last of which was the opener in Fulham’s impressive first half at the Hawthorns on Saturday. He has been replaced by Kenny Tete, a natural right back, recently returned from a calf injury.
Perhaps this is a move to exploit Tete’s crossing ability with Mitrovic back in the side as he curled in a fine ball for Mitrovic to head across goal in the home victory over West Brom earlier this season. It might mean Decordova-Reid could be introduced in a more offensive role off the bench and there is always the possibility that the versatile former Bristol City man may need a rest having played in eighteen of Fulham’s twenty league games so far this season.
Fulham’s defence should consist of Tete at right wing back, with Ola Aina alongside Joachim Andersen and Toisin Adarabioyo and Antonee Robinson continuing at left wing-back. Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa will play alongside Reed in central midfield, with Ademola Lookman and Loftus-Cheek operating in the wide areas. Mitrovic, excellent against West Brom, starts up front with the emphasis on improving Fulham’s goal return.
Leicester are somewhat injury-hit, missing six potential starters through injury. Wesley Fofana and Timothy Castagne suffered hamstring problems in the defeat to Leeds, whilst Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi are nursing long-term injury issues. Brendan Rodgers’ men appear to be starting in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with captain and Danish international Kasper Schmeichel in goal, with Evans and Soyuncu starting ahead of him in the central defender roles. At left back is ex-Luton defender James Justin, with Ricardo Pereira back in at right back. Hamza Choudhury replaces Ndidi in the holding role with Youri Tielemans. In the advanced playmaker role, Fulham will face England international James Maddison, with Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez on either side. In the absence of Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho will start in the centre forward position.
What do you think of the line-ups for this evening’s game? Do you think Fulham must take something from this in light of Leicester’s injury crisis?