Fulham 1-2 Leeds
- Goals: Joachim Andersen (£4.5m) | Patrick Bamford (£6.7m), Raphinha (£5.6m)
- Assists: Ademola Lookman (£5.1m) | Jack Harrison (£5.4m), Bamford
- Bonus points: Bamford x3, Harrison x2, Raphinha x1
PAT ON THE BACK
Owners of Patrick Bamford (£6.7m) are waiting for another injury update after his forced withdrawal against Fulham on Friday.
A hip problem sustained the previous week meant the Leeds forward was a doubt during the build-up to Blank Gameweek 29, although he still managed to earn his 29th start of the campaign.
However, Bamford’s Craven Cottage outing was far from uneventful in terms of his fitness as he twice required extensive treatment.
It was on the second occasion that his race was run, perhaps a result of carrying the after-effects of Gameweek 28’s knock to the hip.
Marcelo Bielsa did not give a specific update at full-time although Bamford himself gave a more informal explanation of what happened.
“He made a very big effort. And I saw him play a very valiant game. I saw him play well, generous apart from that. He also helped facilitate his team-mates having chances and I saw him play in a very valiant manner.” – Marcelo Bielsa
“I was struggling a bit. My team-mates had to put more in than they’re used to. It was just a matter of time as to how long I could last. Fortunately, I got 76 minutes before my legs packed in.” – Patrick Bamford
HOME AND AWAY
Bamford continues to save some of his best performances for away matches.
His goal and assist at Fulham took him to 14 attacking returns on the road in 2020/21, the joint-second-most in Fantasy Premier League at the time of writing.
Jamie Vardy (£10.2m) currently ranks level with Bamford in this area while Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m) is this season’s top-performing away-day asset (15 attacking returns).
Bamford’s road-trip returns account for 60.9% of his goal involvements this season which might have some Fantasy managers examining Leeds’ remaining fixtures.
There is an even more drastic favour for road trips with Raphinha (£5.6m), who has three attacking returns at Elland Road this season and nine away from it.
Just four of their matches between now and Gameweek 38 take place on the road, the Whites’ next away trip taking them to Manchester City.
With Sheffield United visiting Elland Road in Gameweek 30, Bamford is a clear hold, providing he can stay fit, but with Manchester City (away), Liverpool (home) and Manchester United (home) their following three opponents, some opportunistic-minded Fantasy managers might begin looking elsewhere, especially those with a Wildcard in their back pocket.
It was set pieces that denied Leeds defensive assets a tenth clean sheet of the campaign in Blank Gameweek 29.
Joachim Andersen (£4.5m) became the latest player to score from a corner against the Whites.
Knowing they are still vulnerable in this area arguably increases the appeal of John Stones (£5.3m), Ruben Dias (£6.1m), Harry Maguire (£5.5m) and Lewis Dunk (£5.0m) who are all set to face Leeds between now and Gameweek 33.
While soon-to-Wildcard managers might be considering what to do with Stuart Dallas (£5.1m), he remains one of just three defenders with more than one double-digit match score since Gameweek 23.
Furthermore, he played in central midfield against Fulham as Mateusz Klich (£5.2m) remains out of the starting line-up. As a result, Dallas came close to adding his sixth Premier League goal of the season in the 80th minute after he was played through by Raphinha.
Meanwhile, Illan Meslier (£4.6m) continues to put in the hard graft for his 6.8% ownership.
He made five saves in Blank Gameweek 29 which means he has earned at least one additional point for stops in each of his last six appearances.
At the time of writing, Meslier now tops the Premier League for total saves (115) and is behind only Emiliano Martínez (£5.4m) for value among goalkeepers, having produced 27.2 points per million spent.
FUL OF IT
Fulham’s recent defensive improvements appear to have hit something of a snag over their last two matches.
Between Gameweeks 20 and 27, Alphonse Areola (£4.6m) was joint-top of the Premier League for clean sheets alongside Edouard Mendy (£5.1m).
However, since then, the Cottagers have conceded five times and face Aston Villa (away), Wolves (home) and Arsenal (away) in their next three.
Meanwhile, any differential interest in Josh Maja (£5.5m) took a hit on Friday night. He was substituted for tactical reasons at half time and is yet to replicate the goal-scoring display of Fulham’s 2-0 win at Everton in Gameweek 24.
“(Asked why Mitrovic replaced Maja at half-time): Set plays were (a likely avenue). We caused them problems. The goal came from that. In terms of the first half, I didn’t feel we got control in the way I wanted us to. I felt Mitrovic was that guy who could give us that platform up-top and get runners off him.” – Scott Parker
Fulham XI (4-3-3): Areola; A Robinson, Adarabioyo, Andersen, Aina (Tete 72′); Lemina, Reed (Loftus-Cheek 63′); Lookman, Anguissa, Cavaleiro; Maja (Mitrović 46′).
Leeds United XI (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Alioski, Struijk, Llorente, Ayling; K Phillips; Harrison, Dallas, Roberts (Koch 90+3′), Raphinha; Bamford (Klich 77′).
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