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Fulham v Ipswich - Match preview

last updated Thursday 18th October 2001, 5:21 PM

Two sides who may be wishing it was 2000-01 at the moment will meet at Craven Cottage this week, looking for three much-needed points to steer themselves away from the wrong end of the table. Fulham’s bright start has been replaced by doom and gloom in south west London, while Ipswich have so far been unable to conjure up the magic that saw them flying high in last season’s Premiership.

Jean Tigana Fulham ManagerDespite the ever-loosening purse strings of Mohammed al Fayed, Fulham’s strike force has certainly failed to live up to its billing this season. Having scored just seven goals to date, Louis Saha, Barry Hayles and Luis Boa Morte have formed an ineffective partnership in rotation, and record signing Steve Marlet has yet to find the back of the net for his new club. Overall, their 36% shooting accuracy is the second lowest in the top flight.

While Ipswich have been more accurate with their attempts on goal, too many have been easily saved by opposing goalkeepers, and as a result they have scored a goal fewer than Fulham. Last season’s surprise package Marcus Stewart has had a tough time of it so far, having netted just twice from his 16 efforts.

One of Town’s main areas of success last season was in their crossing. This term the delivery has been less accomplished, with the Suffolk outfit having hit more wayward passes from wide positions than any other side. However, by sheer persistence they have also managed to maintain the second-highest number of successful crosses, with Martijn Reuser, as last term, particularly keen to try his luck from the wing.

George Burley As the Cottagers demonstrated from the outset this season, they are particularly keen to retain possession for as long as possible, in both halves of the pitch. An impressive 73% of their attempted passes in the opposition half have found their intended target – a ratio that is three percentage points above the Premiership average, but unfortunately just one above that of their opponents this weekend, who have also impressed with their distribution.

The home side have also demonstrated particular eagerness to win the ball back making the third highest number of attempted tackles. Sadly there has been a degree of ‘headless chicken-ness’ about their tackling, given that they have failed in the challenge more times than any other Premiership team, 72 times compared to an average of 57.

Nonetheless, they have at least shown commitment, and they will need it this weekend. Ipswich seem to be waiting to break out of their shell at the moment, and it will be an unfortunate side that comes up against George Burley’s men at their best.

Craven Cottage
21st October, 2001
Fulham
Ipswich

Avg

Games
8
8
8
ATTACKING
Goals scored
7
6
11
Ave goals per game
0.88
0.75
1.33
Shooting Accuracy
36%
44%
43 %
Goals to shots %
8%
5%
11%
PASSING
Passes
3855
3323
3020
Pass completion %
80%
76%
76%
DEFENDING
Tackle success rate %
72%
73%
73%
Goals conceded
10
11
11
Ave goals conceded per game
1.25
1.38
1.33
DISCIPLINE
Fouls
120
141
135
Yellow cards
10
10
14
Red cards
0
1
1.5
stats from opta
Matchday Referee: Mike Riley

FIFA official Mike Riley caused a lot of grief to Bolton last weekend when he dismissed Jussi Jaaskelainen and the Trotters did not have a spare goalkeeper on the bench. Both Fulham and Ipswich will certainly have a competent reserve ready to take their place between the sticks on Saturday.

Ref's score sheet
 
Total
Avg
Games
6
Fouls
163
27.2
Penalties
1
0.2
Yellow Cards
19
3.2
Red Cards
3
0.5
Ave Disc points
60.25
10.0
Source Planetfootball by Chris Green

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