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Match Preview - Leicester v Fulham

last updated Friday 09th April 2004, 9:28 PM
Fulham Manager Chris Coleman

Fulham manager Chris Coleman realises victory over Leicester on Saturday would nudge Micky Adams' men closer to relegation - but still has no sympathy for the Barclaycard Premiership strugglers.

Coleman was given five games to steer Fulham to safety last season following the exit of Jean Tigana and the rookie boss succeeded with something to spare as the Cottagers landed 10 points from a possible 15.

And even though the emotions which surround a Premiership survival bid are still be fresh in his memory, Coleman refuses to empathise with Adams, a former Cottagers boss.

"I've got no sympathy for Leicester's position. We'll be looking to go up there and turn them over, just like like any other team," he said.

"My main concern is Fulham and we have to concentrate on finishing as high up the table as possible this season.

"If that means beating Leicester then so be it. My problem is not Leicester, it's Fulham."

The Cottagers follow their appointment at the Walkers Stadium with a home clash against Blackburn - and Coleman wants maximum points to keep his side in the hunt for a UEFA Cup spot.

"This is a big weekend for us - if we can get two good results against Leicester and Blackburn then it will put us back in the middle of that little chasing pack," he said.

"If we don't we're on the slide which at this stage of the season we don't want to be.

"Leicester are in a desperate situation which will become even worse if we do beat them, so it's a big weekend for them as well.

"All games in the Premiership are hard but at this stage of the season it becomes even more difficult as you face teams who are trying to avoid relegation or are looking for European football. That adds an edge."

Defender Alain Goma believes the Easter period will go a long to way to determining whether Fulham can record their highest finish in the Premiership.

One win in eight league games has seen the Cottagers slip to 10th in the table, although European qualification is still possible.

Following Saturday's clash with Leicester Fulham have an Easter Monday showing with free-falling Blackburn at Loftus Road, and Goma said: "They are winnable games. They are both going to be playing for their lives so they are going to be very tough.

"We let two points go against Birmingham so we will be determined to make up for that against Leicester and Blackburn. I think we are still on course for a very good finish - if we can keep this same spirit then that will be possible."

Fulham will hope for a repeat of when these two sides met back in October. Luis Boa Morte stepped up his flying start to the season with both goals as the Cottagers powered to a 2-0 triumph against Leicester at Loftus Road.

Leicester City ManagerLeicester welcome Fulham to the Walkers Stadium this weekend and the Midlands club will be absolutely desperate for three points.

Micky Adams will be in a determined mood after a disappointing trip to Elland Road this week. He believes Leicester's 3-2 Barclaycard Premiership defeat at Leeds on Monday night was "self-inflicted" but insists his side can still survive.

For former Leeds player Adams, it was an odd night as his side first seemed set for defeat, then threatened a glorious comeback before succumbing to a late goal by Alan Smith.

The win for Leeds keeps it tight at the bottom as the Whites now join Leicester on 28 points, albeit with a vastly inferior goal difference, with 17th-placed Portsmouth just two points further ahead.

"I think that was the A-Z of emotions," Adams said after Monday night's five-goal thriller. "The first half wasn't good enough, Leeds wanted it more than us and certainly they came out with more steel and determination.

"Both keepers played well and at 2-2 I thought we were going to win it, but they've scored from our corner. Smith and [Mark] Viduka played well all night but I think the defeat was self-inflicted."

Adams refuses to countenance relegation as a foregone conclusion, and he knows three points on Saturday will give the Foxes a real chance of getting out the danger zone.

"Are we down? No. Credit to Leeds, that win has put them back in the frame but we are not talking about being relegated," he said.

Meanwhile Leicester are sweating over the fitness of key duo Les Ferdinand and Paul Dickov. The strike pair both sustained knee injuries during Monday's defeat to fellow strugglers Leeds. Dickov has the best chance of recovering in time to face Fulham, but Foxes boss Adams is keen to have the duo available as they look to climb to safety at the wrong end of the table.

"Les and Paul are both struggling but I'm just hoping that by the weekend one of them will be fit enough to face Fulham," said Adams. "I would say that Dickov has the best chance out of the two of making it although it is a bit too early to judge things."

Adams still believes there is a lot to be decided in the relegation battle despite only seven games being left in the season: "I think there are a few more twists and turns to come yet. More than the bottom four clubs could yet be involved in the fight to stay up," added the Leicester chief.

"The good thing is that at least we are still in there battling and with a chance. Two years ago we were as good as relegated by this stage of the season."

source: 4thegame/sporting life
Stats from Premiership games
The Walkers Stadium
In Leicester
Premiership 32
10 Apr 04
Pos Leic' Fulham Pos Div
Games Played 18 31 31 10 31
Goals Scored 9 41 42 7 41
Ave Goals Per Game   1.32 1.36   1.32
Shots 16 303 332 9 332
% Goals To Shots 5 14% 13% 7 12%
Shots On Target 11 141 159 4 145
% Shots On Target 3 47% 48% 2 44%
Ave Shots Per Game   10 11   11
Ave Shots On Target Per Game   5 5   5
Total Passes 20 8913 11171 9 11243
Ave Passes Per Game   288 360   363
Total Crosses Made 11 750 597 19 738
Ave Crosses Per Game   24 19   24
Goals Conceded 18 55 40 11 41
Ave Goals Conceded Per Game   1.77 1.29   1.32
Tackles 17 822 1063 1 874
Tackles Won 17 594 791 1 638
% Tackles Won 8 72% 74% 3 73%
Ave Tackles Won Per Game   19 26   21
Clean Sheets 11 9 7 11 11
Fouls 4 482 463 7 438
Average fouls per game   16 15   14
Yellow Cards 19 68 57 16 52
Fouls per Yellows 18 7.1 8.1 11 8.5
Red Cards 20 6 3 11 3
Figures in the Pos columns indicate position in League
Cipher stat flash
Fulham visit The Walker Stadium on Saturday to play Micky Adams' Leicester City who are in deep relegation trouble.
  • Leicester are performing quite well in the attacking aspect of the game scoring just one less goal than The Cottagers. Although the Foxes have a below average performance in terms of attempted shots there is nothing wrong with their goals to shots ration and shots on target percentage. Over the last six games Leicester are performing better than Fulham in all aspects of attempting and actually scoring goals
  • In the middle of the park Fulham have been twice as busy as Leicester in the past and even though the margin has decreased in recent games Fulham are still stringing together more passes. Although Fulham are putting in more crosses these days they are still second best to The Foxes who are the third busiest crossers in the Premiership in recent games.
  • Defensively Fulham are still the top tackling team in the top flight and leave Leicester trailing in their wake. Even during Fulham's recent dip in form they are still tackling more than Leicester. Micky Adams seems to be adding some steel into the Leicester squad in recent games with just one defeat in the last 6 games with three clean sheets, on par with Fulham. However The Foxes just leak goals with just two other squads letting in more goals since the start of the season.
On recent performances Fulham will have their work cut out to achieve anything more than a draw up at Leicester.

* The Cottagers have picked up just one win in eight, and have sunk from fourth place on Boxing Day to just inside the top half on goal difference.
* They head for the east Midlands having notched back to back goalless draws against Manchester City away, and Birmingham at home.
* The Cottagers have scored only one more goal in Premiership games home and away than their relegation threatened opponents, and have conceded 24 goals in 15 games on their Premiership travels, while Leicester have shipped 24 in their 16 at home.
* Fulham maintained their impressive start to the season by powering to a first victory over Leicester since 1979 in the reverse fixture in October, thanks to Luis Boa Morte's brace. It puts the Cottagers on target for a first Premiership 'double' over the Foxes.
* The current tally of 41 points after 31 games is three points better than managed to this identical stage in either of the two previous Premiership campaigns.
* Scored in 24 of their 31 top flight engagements.
* Won two of nine Premiership games since the departure of Louis Saha.
* Gone nine Premiership games since losing by more than a single goal (3-1 at Newcastle on 19 January).
* If involved, Sean DAVIS will be making his 150th career League appearance - all for Fulham.
* If on the field at kick off, Steed MALBRANQUE will be making his 100th Premiership start for the Cottagers. Leicester City
* The Foxes find themselves in the relegation zone, two points behind fourth bottom Portsmouth, and on an unwanted club record run of ten winless home League games. That's the worst such sequence by any Premiership club this season, and ominously for the Foxes, the club holding that record at the close of the campaign has gone down in five of the last seven Premier League seasons.
* Leicester had been staging a revival. They took a six match unbeaten run to Elland Road on Monday night and lost by the odd score in a five goal thriller.
*City lost the reverse fixture 2-0 in October. It was the first time in six League meetings between the pair that Leicester had conceded, although the Foxes now have not scored in three League encounters with Fulham. The last time they planted the ball in the Fulham net in a League clash was the 0-1 victory at Craven Cottage in the old Second Division on 23 April 1983.
* Won only one of the last 19 League and Cup games.
* Dropped 65 top flight points so far. Only Wolves (69) have dropped more.
* Won five times in the top tier - fewer than any other club barring Wolves.
* Drawn more top division matches than any other club (13).
* Conceded 55 League goals. Only Wolves (66) and Leeds (62) have shipped more in the highest division.
* Won fewer home games in the Premiership than any other club (two).
* Failed to score in six home League games this season.
* Holding the worst disciplinary record in the top tier (six red cards, 51 yellow).
source: bbcsport
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