Fulham VS Sheffield United, fancy home side to edge a tight contest

Match Time:2/21/2021 04:00 Sunday  (GMT+8)

English Premier League --  Fulham   VS   Sheffield United

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Two teams in desperate need of a win as they battle to stay in the Premier League will lock horns at Craven Cottage on Saturday night as Fulham welcome Sheffield United.  

 

Fulham are currently 18th in the table, six points from the safety of 17th position, while Sheffield United are bottom of the division, 14 points behind the Magpies with 14 games left to play in 2020-21.  

 

Match preview  

Fulham have only lost one of their last six in the Premier League during a strong run of form, and they recorded an impressive 2-0 victory at Everton on Sunday courtesy of a double from January arrival Josh Maja.  

 

Scott Parker's side would have been looking to make it back-to-back wins on Wednesday night when they travelled to Burnley, and the capital side actually took the lead ion the 49th minute of the clash at Turf Moor, with Ola Aina finding the back of the net.  

 

Burnley answered back through Ashley Barnes, though, and it finished 1-1 as Fulham moved onto 19 points, leaving them six points behind 17th-placed Newcastle on the same number of matches.  

 

The Cottagers have actually only lost 11 of their 24 league games this season, which is far from disastrous considering their position in the table, but they have found it difficult to pick up wins, having triumphed on just three occasions in England's top flight, while 10 draws have also arrived.  

 

Fulham will view Saturday's clash with the Blades as a must-win contest, particularly as they will face Liverpool and Manchester City in two of their last three after this game, and the capital side have been victorious in three of their last four fixtures with Sheffield United in all competitions.   

 

While Fulham have a genuine chance of avoiding the drop, only a miracle will keep Sheffield United in the division. Chris Wilder's side are not mathematically down, but they are 14 points from the safety of 17th position, having only picked up 11 points from their 24 games this term.  

 

There is no question that the Blades have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, but an incredibly poor start to the campaign has left them with a mountain to climb.  Sheffield United recorded a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion at the start of February, but they have lost their last two in the league, including a 3-0 defeat at West Ham United on Monday evening.  

 

Wilder's side are still in the FA Cup - facing Chelsea in the quarter-finals next month - but the strugglers cannot afford to switch their focus from the league as they attempt to pull off what still seems an impossible escape.  

 

The former Championship club, who finished ninth in the Premier League last season, actually have the worst away record in the top flight this term, picking up just four points from 12 matches, but they recorded a shock 2-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford at the end of January.  

 

Fulham Premier League form: DDLDWD  

Sheffield United Premier League form: LWLWLL 

Sheffield United form (all competitions): WLWLWL    

 

Team News  

Fulham will again be without the services of Tom Cairney this weekend through injury, while Aleksandar Mitrovic is unavailable for selection, having recently tested positive for coronavirus.  

 

Parker is expected to stick with the same side that started against Burnley on Wednesday evening, meaning that Maja should again lead the line with support from Ademola Lookman and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the wide areas.  

 

Ivan Cavaleiro and Andre-Frank Anguissa are options for change in a midfield position, but Parker is likely to resist the temptation to shuffle his pack for what is another key clash for the Cottagers.  

 

As for Sheffield United, Sander Berge, Jack Robinson, John Egan and Jack O'Connell are all out, while John Fleck is expected to miss out once again through illness.  

 

Egan's absence could see Phil Jagielka earn a spot in the XI, while George Baldock is likely to be handed a starting role, having been on the bench against West Ham last time out.  

 

Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie are both options for change in the final third of the field, but Wilder could ultimately decide to stick with Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick as a front two.  

 

Fulham possible starting lineup: 

Areola; Tete, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Aina; Lemina, Reed; Loftus-Cheek, Reid, Lookman; Maja  

 

Sheffield United possible starting lineup: 

Ramsdale; Basham, Jagielka, Ampadu; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Osborn, Stevens; Sharp, McGoldrick    

 

Fulham 1-0 Sheffield United

 

Fulham VS Sheffield United, fancy home side to edge a tight contest

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