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Fulham v Leeds - Match Preview

last updated Friday 06th December 2002, 7:25 PM
Fulham Manager Jean Tigana Jean Tigana's worst-case injury scenario came true today, leaving him without all four recognised Fulham strikers for tomorrow's Loftus Road showdown with crisis club Leeds.

Facundo Sava has a calf problem and he will be out for up to a fortnight, Steve Marlet is banned and Louis Saha and Barry Hayles are still crocked.

Luis Boa Morte and Andrejs Stolcers are likely to form an emergency partnership.

Other team news

Fulham or Leeds could just as easily lose this clash at Loftus Road going on current form, but both are in need of a victory to lift them clear of the trouble at the bottom of the table.

Both teams have taken four points from their last six Barclaycard Premiership games; Leeds United have won just once in their last 11 whilst Fulham have claimed one win in eight.

Notably that victory came at home against Liverpool, which will have given Jean Tigana some confidence that his side can repeat that performance for the visit of Leeds.

Despite the much publicised failure of Terry Venables' side to perform to expectations this season, their away form has brought them better results than at Elland Road. In contrast, Fulham's limited success so far has come at their new, temporary home.

Both sides will feel equally unfortunate to have lost their last fixtures, with Leeds succumbing to two late goals against Charlton and Fulham falling victim to a bizarre own goal after being denied victory by Blackburn's 'Superkeeper' Brad Friedel.

Fulham Leeds Div
Avg
Games Played 16 16 16
GOAL ATTEMPTS
Goals 21 20 20
Ave Goals Per Game 1.3 1.3 1.3
Shots (excluding blocked shots) 161 179 172
Ave Shots Per Game 10 11 11
% Shots On Target 50% 40% 44%
% Goals To Shots 13% 11% 12%
PASSING
Short Passes 4228 3995 4149
Long Passes 1996 1869 1943
Total Passes 6224 5864 6092
Ave Passes Per Game 389 367 381
% Overall Pass Completion 71% 73% 73%
CROSSING
Total Crosses 342 349 369
Ave Crosses Per Game 21 22 23
Completion 25% 29% 24%
DEFENDING
Goals Conceded 22 24 20
Ave Goals Conceded Per Game 1.4 1.5 1.3
Tackles 543 457 450
Ave Tackles Per Game 34 29 28
Tackles Won % 75% 72% 72%
Blocks, Clearances & Interceptions 709 698 710
Ave Blocks, etc., Per Game 44 44 44
DISCIPLINE
Fouls 242 243 223
Ave Fouls Per Game 15 15 14
Yellow Cards 27 36 26
Fouls per yellow 9 7 9
Red Cards 4 1 2
stats from opta
Leeds Manager

Victory for Leeds on Saturday would take them ahead of the Cottagers in the table and drag Tigana's team into the mire; however, a home win could lift the London side to within touching distance of the top half of the table.

The Leeds boss will be desperate to claim the three points to silence (or at least reduce the volume of) fans' calls for him to go, although he praised supporters on Sunday for backing their team right to the final whistle.

As has often been the case this season, the headlines surrounding the Yorkshire club this week have centred on further unrest, with Aussie duo Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka supposedly falling out, so a victory will be vital for Venables if he is to unite a seemingly ironically named United.

Last season, at Craven Cottage, the two teams played out a less than enthralling goalless draw, whereas the return match at Elland Road saw Fulham run out 1-0 winners, courtesy of a goal from their trusty Steed - Malbranque.

All the signs point towards another close contest this weekend, but don't expect a classic.

Source: 4thegame
MATCH BETTING ODDS
Both Fulham and Leeds are struggling with injuries and struggling even more to get results.

Fulham are definitely without Steve Marlet through suspension, Facundo Sava and Barry Hayles so Jean Tigana will be forced to pick Andrejs Stolcers and Luis Boa Morte up front.

The Cottagers have lost all their early season sparkle and were dumped out of the Worthington Cup in midweek by Wigan.

Leeds' season is in danger of becoming an absolute shambles. Terry Venables has not quite managed to work the oracle yet to put it mildly and their form in the league is even worse than Fulham's. Just one win in their last ten explains why they are languishing in 16th spot. Can they be relegated? Don't bet against it.

In terms of backing a winner it will be necessary to rise above the facts and back on your emotions or pick the draw.

Betting odds Fulham Draw Leeds
Coral 1/1 11/5 11/5
Hills 1/1 23/10 21/10
Ladbrokes 10/11 9/4 12/5
SuperSoccer 10/11 9/4 5/2
Stanley 6/5 2-1 21/10
Betfair 7/5 11/5 12/5
All prices subject to fluctuation(particularly Betfair).
Matchday Referee: Paul Durkin, Portland

Paul Durkin is the grand old man of the Premiership, even though, at 45, he's not technically that old. The Dorset born ref has now turned professional, but previously listed his occupation as 'administrator'.

Durkin has been a Premier League referee since its inception back in 1992. As you'd expect from one of the veterans, Durkin has been refereeing for some time - starting his career back in 1974 and progressing to the Football League in 1987.

(Ed. In his 9 Premiership games so far this season Mr. Durkin has issued 23 yellows 57% to the away side. His last Fulham game was the Premiership clash with the Fulham Broadway crowd. Last season he reffed games with Spurs, Bolton and Aston Villa booking, Goma , Malbranque and Davis

The bad Leeds lads are are Smith 8 yels, Ostenstad 3 yels, Tugay 2 yels and 1 red).

2001/ 2002
stats
Mr. Durkin's score sheet Average Premiership Referee score sheet
Total Match Avg Total Match
Avg
Games 21 16
Fouls 617 29.38 472 29.81
Penalties 5 0.24 3 0.19
Yellow cards 56 2.67 49 3.07
Red Cards 3 0.14 3 0.19
Fouls per Yellow 11 9.7
Fouls per match 29 30

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Fulham midfielder celebrates
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