Attractive Leeds look to secure three points against struggling Fulham
Leeds to win 2-1
Leeds could quite easily have taken something from their defeat against Liverpool last weekend.
Their attacking players found themselves in behind The Reds’ defence time and again and will be a problem for many sides this season.
On the other hand, Fulham were disappointing against Arsenal, going down 3-0. They were already one of the favourites for relegation this season, and that showing won’t help change that prediction.
The two teams cancelled each other out in the Championship last season – Fulham winning in December before Leeds reversed the result in June.
Despite this, Leeds are expected to pick up more than enough points with their stylish attacking football this season, whereas Scott Parker’s Fulham could be set for a tense battle at the bottom.
Leeds will fancy their chances of getting their first win this weekend.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 13th
Reasons to be cheerful:
Showed they can score plenty of goals this season
Style of play looks well suited to the Premier League
Reasons to be fearful:
Lack of fans may impact their home performance
Fulham will look to bounce back after poor first match
Marcelo Bielsa’s style of football is respected by many of the top managers of the game and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp predicted that it is even more suited to the Premier League than the Championship.
And after a stirring performance in which they ran Liverpool close, Bielsa’s side are tipped to cause problems for plenty of teams this season.
It’s their defence, however, that was their key weapon last season, conceding fewer goals than any other team in the Championship. As much as their attacking football excites, it is built from a strong backbone.
Striker Patrick Bamford started this season by scoring against Liverpool after finishing last year as their top scorer. Leeds do rely on him to score and he is a strong bet for netting plenty of goals this season.
Star Man – Patrick Bamford
Leeds are strong throughout their team, but it is Bamford who their rely on heaviest for his goals.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 20th
Reasons to be cheerful
Recorded a victory against Leeds last season
Won’t play a top-six team until November
Reasons to be fearful
Were poor and uninspiring against Arsenal
Two defeats from two would be a tough start to the season
On a positive note, Fulham’s manager Scott Parker would not have seen their match against Arsenal as one they could likely win. Their performance was poor, but the result was expected.
It is games against teams like Leeds, however, that their fans will be expecting them to challenge more closely. After all, they did beat them in the Championship last December.
The Cottagers will need to improve rapidly, however, if they have any chance of staying in the Premier League.
When they were promoted to the Premier League two seasons ago, they spent over £100m on the wrong types of players and were relegated. This season is almost the opposite, only spending £20m on Knockaert, a player they already had on loan from last year.
Unless they improve with the players they already have, they will be facing a long hard relegation battle this season.
Star Man – Aleksandar Mitrović
Came on against Arsenal, scored in the midweek Carabao Cup game against Ipswich. They’ll need him at his best this season
Leeds will continue their fast, high-press style against Fulham
Fulham must play with more energy than vs. Arsenal
Leeds’ Captain Cooper will return in defence
Leeds’ captain Liam Cooper was vital in their Championship title last season, with Leeds having the best defence in the league. He should return to the side this weekend after injury.
Fulham must avoid conceding early against Leeds if possible, whilst taking any chances that present themselves. Striker Mitrovic will be key to their chances.
If Leeds play at their attacking best, they should pick up their first win of the season here.
Leeds to win 2-1