Fulham face Leeds United under the lights at Craven Cottage tonight in the first of three games that offer an opportunity for Scott Parker’s men to pick up some vital points before facing Arsenal and Chelsea.
Parker has made two changes from the side that lost to Manchester City 3-0 last weekend, with Kenny Tete dropped to the bench having just earned a recall to the Dutch national side. American international Antoneee Robinson takes his place in the starting eleven, with Ola Aina set to switch to right back in order to accommodate him. Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek also finds himself starting on the bench underneath the ongoing Riverside development, with Josh Maja regaining his spot up front.
Here is the Fulham line-up:
That line-up suggests that Fulham will play a 4-3-3 as they look to battle Leeds for possession and control of the game. Fulham start with the almost ever-constant goalkeeper and centre-back combination of Alphonse Areola and Joachim Andersen, who have both also been called-up to his national side, alongside Tosin Adarabioyo. With Aina and Robinson at full back, Fulham will look to exploit Leeds’ high pressing system with explosive, overlapping full-backs.
Parker has picked a midfield trio of Anguissa, Lemina and Reed. This is a hard-working combination designed to take on Leeds’ lauded pressing exploits whilst also trying to cut off the passing triangles for which Marcelo Bielsa is famed. Parker has once again rotated his front three, with Lookman on the left wing, Cavaleiro on the right wing and Maja in the centre. Despite lacking Bobby Decordova-Reid, Fulham’s top scorer with seven goals, these attackers should offer pace and power and pose a threat to the visitors’ high defensive line.
Bielsa has named an unchanged side from the eleven that started in Leeds’ 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Saturday. The Argentinian has successfully implemented his high-octane, furious pressing and passing style into the top flight and it won’t come as too much of a surprise to Fulham, having been regular opponents of Bielsa in the Championship.
Here is the Leeds United line-up:
Leeds are without several key names – with Liam Cooper, Pablo Hernandez and summer signing Rodrigo all missing – so there’s very little rotation in the line-up. They should start with the same 4-1-4-1 formation as last weekend, as hot prospect Meslier starts between the posts, with Llorente and Struijk starting ahead of him in central defence. Alioski will start at left back with the dependable with Luke Ayling on the right and the pair will have instructions to try and push forward from the off – aiming to pin Fulham’s own offensive full back deep into their own half.
Kalvin Phillips starts in a deep-lying midfielder role, with Stuart Dallas playing as a playmaker ahead of ahead of him, whilst Tyler Roberts will likely become a second striker, running onto balls that Patrick Bamford, who has shaken off fitness concerns to start, may knock down to him. Bamford, the former Chelsea man who was very unlucky to not make Gareth Southgate’s England squad given fine form on his return to the top flight, will be flanked by Harrison on his left and Raphinha on his right.
This promises to be an exciting game and history suggests they might be plenty of goals, but what do you think of the line-ups? And, what do you think the score will be?