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Leeds v Fulham - Match Preview

last updated Friday 19th April 2002, 9:30 AM
See if Fulham can avoid the drop

Fulham Manager Jean Tigana Fulham Boss Jean Tigana has seen the FA Cup bubble finally burst but he cannot allow his players' heads to drop for too long. The Cottagers have four league games left to secure their top-flight status starting at Elland Road against David O'Leary's underachievers on Saturday.

Once again it was the Londoners' inability to score goals that ultimately cost them the opportunity of a trip to Cardiff. Sure, the build-up play was concise and measured, but the cutting edge up front failed to do the approach play justice.

It was a match that summed up our season. We did not play too badly and had our chances but we did not score. That's been our problem and that's why I'm very frustrated, Tigana asserted after the semi-final defeat.

Steve Marlet looked lively enough and tested Carlo Cudicini in the Chelsea goal with a snapshot, which culminated the best move of the match. But somewhat surprisingly Barry Hayles was left on the bench, despite the fact that he has the best shooting accuracy of any Fulham forward in the Premiership this season.
Elland Road
20th April, 2002
Leeds Fulham Div
Games 35 34 34
Goals scored 51 32 45
Ave goals per game 1.46 0.94 1.32
Shots(ex blocked shots) 414 357 372
Shooting Accuracy 50% 41% 45%
Goals to shots % 12.3% 9.0% 12.1%
Short passes 10483 11602 9880
Long passes 3747 3914 3736
Passes 14320 15516 13616
Pass completion % 74% 76% 74%
Crosses 756 892 846
Crosses completion % 24% 23% 25%
Tackles 1018 1067 935
Tackle success rate % 75% 74% 74%
Clearances 1761 1477 1639
Goals conceded 36 41 45
Ave goals conceded per game 1.03 1.21 1.32
Fouls 583 498 517
Yellow cards 65 48 53
Red cards 5 1 3
stats from opta
Leeds Manager Top scorer Louis Saha was preferred even though he has tested the 'keeper with just 40% of his efforts in 2001-02.

It has been more than two months since the capital representatives last tasted a league victory and with just four points separating them from Ipswich and the drop zone, it is imperative that the Cottagers avoid defeat at the very least.

However, Leeds will not be found in generous mood after maintaining consecutive clean sheets from the previous two outings and boosted by UEFA Cup qualification.

Nigel Martyn is seeking to become England's number one ahead of the World Cup and will therefore be keen to remain resilient for his club: "Being realistic this is probably the last chance for me to play in a major championship, certainly a World Cup, so I want to be in the team from the start", he stated.

Matchday Referee

Rob Styles
Waterlooville, Hants

Rob Styles is currently positioned in the middle of Opta's referees chart and averages fewer than four cards per game. He is perhaps best noted for awarding seven penalties this term, but Leeds and Fulham needn't let this worry them, as they have both conceded just one spot-kick apiece this term.

Mr. Styles has not officiated at a Fulham game this season and only reffed one Fulham game in each of the previous 2 seasons. He was the ref for the Fulham v QPR game in Sept 1999 who sent off Steiner. Mar Poll has had only one busier game this season when he gave 3 cards each to Arsenal and Newcastle and sent off Parlour

Rather unusually Ref Styles seems to enjoy giving more yellow cards to home squads. His busiest game this season was 8 yellows in the Blackburn v Leicester game, 6 cards to Rovers.

  Mr. Styles' score sheet Average Premiership Referee score sheet
  Total Match
Total Match
Games 16   14  
Fouls 44 27.75 433 30.23
Penalties 7 0.44 3 0.19
Yellow cards 61 3.81 44 3.10
Red Cards 1 0.06 3 0.20
Martyn's current total of 16 shut-outs is unrivaled in the Premiership and this record bodes well for the Leeds custodian reaching his personal goal with the international side. Incidentally, he managed to keep Fulham at bay last time the two teams met and contested a 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage.

The visitors would possibly settle for the same scoreline again in order to earn a valuable point away from home. Given that they have not scored more than once in a single league outing in the last five attempts and Leeds have averaged 1.76 strikes per game at home this term, a stalemate might be Fulham's best hope.

According to the High Street Bookies Fulham will return empty handed from Leeds. If you think they have not taken enough account of Leeds having a guaranteed UEFA Cup place and the improved Fulham form in recent games perhaps the 3/1 for the draw, on offer at Coral-Eurobet, could be an interesting bet. If you are totally Fulham mad then Coral-Eurobet are also one of the biggest at 11/2 for a Fulham win.

Betting odds Leeds Draw Fulham
Coral 2/5 3/1 11/2
Hills 8/15 9/4 5/1
Ladbrokes 1/2 12/5 5/1
SuperSoccer 4/9 11/4 11/2
Stanley 4/9 11/4 11/2
Source planetfootball by Mark Willis
Since 1998
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