Ante-post Championship favourites Fulham hope to get back on track this midweek when Swansea arrive at Craven Cottage. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter...
"Fulham have won the xG battle in all nine of their contests under Marco Silva with their four outings at Craven Cottage proving particularly dominant"
Fulham fall short at Ashton Gate
Fulham head coach Marco Silva bemoaned his side's finishing after seeing his side's one-goal lead slip away against Bristol City Ashton Gate on Saturday. Aleksandar Mitrovic's seventh league goal of the season was cancelled out by a Kasey Palmer strike to give the Whites a share of the spoils in an entertaining encounter full of goalscoring chances.
Fulham had a trio of opportunities to pinch a late winner but hit the bar twice, with Mitrovic also sending a shot narrowly wide. And Silva said, "The first thing we must do is score goals to win football matches. We were winning the game. In this moment, we created so many chances, we must score the second and third to kill the game, and we didn't score."
Silva made two changes at half-time following an underwhelming opening 45 minutes with Harrison Reed and Neeskens Kebano replacing Josh Onomah and Nathaniel Chalobah. And further alterations are expected to the Fulham XI on Wednesday night as the Cottagers look to bounce back to form after surrendering their position at the top of the table.
Swansea earn first home success
Swansea claimed their first home Championship win of the campaign thanks to Joel Piroe's first-half goal against Huddersfield on Saturday, with the performance particularly impressing boss Russell Martin. The Swans controlled proceedings for long periods and restricted the Terriers to zero shots on target in Wales in a deserved 1-0 victory.
Speaking post-match, Martin admitted City's improved intensity was key. He said, " I think the first half was outstanding. Some of the play, the intensity we played at, the way we pressed, how many times we won the ball high up the pitch. We've limited a really good team to no shots on target. The players have done that with desire and effort."
Martin admitted those energy levels did drop after the interval and improvements are still required, although Swansea are now four games unbeaten and moving in the right direction. Michael Obafemi, Ryan Bennett and Rhys Williams all missed out to due to minor knocks, although the trio are expected to return to the squad for Wednesday night.
Fulham did the double over Swansea when the duo last crossed swords in league action back in 2019/20. But the Swans have largely enjoyed the upper-hand in skirmishes between the two teams over the past two decades, earning top honours in five of the eight head-to-heads in league football since 1997 (W5-D1-L2).
Fulham 1.434/9 have won the Expected Goals (xG) battle in all nine of their Championship contests under Marco Silva with their four outings at Craven Cottage proving particularly dominant on the underlying metrics. However, the Whites have been wasteful in recent outings and look too short to support at the pre-match prices in the Match Odds market.
Swansea 6.205/1 understandably started slowly after bringing Russell Martin in on the eve of the new season. But since September's international break, the Welsh club have posted W1-D3-L0, including three clean sheets, and sit inside the top-half for most major metrics during those four recent fixtures, suggesting improvements are being made.
Despite Fulham's matches featuring 3.00 goals per-game on average, four of the Cottagers' nine outings have produced Under 2.5 Goals 2.001/1 and the prospect of a lower-scoring encounter can't be ignored with Swansea in town. The visitors like to monopolise possession and enjoy control of proceedings, which can lead to tighter tussles.
Five of Swansea's first nine match-ups have landed the Under 1.5 Goals 4.003/1 bounty with matches averaging only 2.11 goals. However, the hosts' obvious firepower and ability to cut loose cannot be discounted so an alternative option is to support Fulham to win and Under 3.5 Goals at 2.001/1 via the Bet Builder on the Sportsbook.
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