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Blackburn v Fulham - match preview

last updated Friday 10th May 2002, 11:37 AM
Fulham Manager Jean Tigana So to the final game of the season at Ewood Park, and the chance for either Blackburn or Fulham to force their way into the top half of the table should Middlesbrough fail away to Leeds. A 10th-or-above finish for either of these sides may be flattering, given that each was threatened with the prospect of relegation until very recently, but either would of course take it.

Blackburn could indeed have moved into the top half with a win against Liverpool in midweek, but in a thrilling match at Anfield they were eventually edged out by Emile Heskey, who helped his side win by the odd goal in seven.

Graeme Souness was predictably miffed with the outcome of the game: "We feel we should have got something from the game. When you come to Anfield and get three goals and come away with nothing it sticks in your throat. But it sums up our season, we scored some good goals and conceded some silly goals."

Ewood Park
11th May, 2002
Blackburn Fulham Div
Avg
Games 37 37 37
ATTACKING
Goals scored 52 36 48
Ave goals per game 1.41 0.97 1.30
Shots(ex blocked shots) 403 382 399
Shooting Accuracy 43% 41% 45%
Goals to shots % 12.0% 9.0% 12.0%
PASSING
Short passes 10705 12667 10591
Long passes 4197 4290 4026
Passes 14902 16957 14617
Pass completion % 74% 76% 74%
CROSSING
Crosses 996 959 905
Crosses completion % 25% 24% 25%
DEFENDING
Tackles 1015 1148 1005
Tackle success rate % 74% 74% 74%
Clearances 1647 1614 1754
Goals conceded 51 41 48
Ave goals conceded per game 1.38 1.11 1.30
DISCIPLINE
Fouls 592 538 550
Yellow cards 56 55 57
Red cards 4 1 4
stats from opta
Blackburn Manager Overall this term, in fact, Rovers have scored more good goals than shipped silly ones, as their +1 goal difference - the only positive difference outside of the top six - is testament to.

Fulham's last outing proved to be a disappointing end to their home campaign - they and Leicester couldn't manage a goal between them. With no home fans to give a decent summer send-off to, Fulham have so little to play for this weekend it will be a miracle if they can muster the commitment likely to be shown by their opponents.

Although of course if they do manage an assured performance it will be a demonstration of professionalism and no mistake. A points tally of 47 for the season, which the Cottagers
Matchday Referee

CHRIS FOY
St Helens, Merseyside

Chris Foy is a bit of a mystery having only officiated at 4 Premiership games this season. Could it be that someone else has gone on holiday early and Ref Foy has been asked to fill in?

In his 4 games Mr Foy has exhibited a strong dislike for away teams with 70% of his 17 yellows going to visiting players and his only Premiership red card of the season going to Ugo Ehiogu on his visit to West Ham. The last time Mr Foy officiated at a Fulham game was when we played away at Wimbledon on the 11th November 2000. We won 3-0 and he booked 3 HOME players and one of ours.

From the stats he likes to blow his whistle and dish out yellows more than average which should upset Mr Soueey as he usually likes his players to be a slightly physical.

Mr. Foy's score sheet Average Premiership Referee score sheet
Total Match
Avg
Total Match
Avg
Games 4 15
Fouls 152 38.00 458 30.00
Penalties 1 0.25 3 0.19
Yellow cards 17 4.00 48 3.12
Red Cards 1 0.25 3 0.19
would achieve with a win, would put into question the doubt surrounding the future of manager Jean Tigana. For their first season back in the top flight, a comfortably mid-table finish is surely as good as any realistic fan would have expected.

But a far more likely outcome would surely be a home triumph, as Rovers end the campaign on a high and banish the memory of their first defeat in six games on Wednesday night.

MATCH BETTING ODDS
It seems that the odds makers see our season ending in an away defeat. Unfortunately the statistics back then up even if the opponents are Blackburn.

Both sides have little to play for in a competitive sense. If Fulham win they will finish above Blackburn and they could beat their previous best finish in the top flight while making 100% sure of InterToto soccer next season. Blackburn on the other hand have the chance of finishing above Fulham and winning in their last home game of the season.

Of course as Blackburn lost away at Liverpool on Wednesday they could be somewhat low on energy.

Betting odds Leeds Draw Fulham
Coral 1/1 11/5 11/5
Hills 5/6 23/10 13/5
Ladbrokes 4/5 9/4 11/4
SuperSoccer 1/1 12/5 11/5
Stanley 1/1 9/4 9/4
Source Planet football by Chris Green
Since 1998
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