Fight For The Playoff Place – Fulham Vs Leeds United
The Championship promotion race is reaching a fantastic climax and it is now 4 from 5 in for the play-off places. Fulham currently occupy the final spot with Leeds having slipped to 7th, 3 points off 6th, after a run of 4 defeats in 6 games. They can count themselves fortunate to have snatched a point at Newcastle as they would have been in an even worse position.
Fulham have spent most of the season outside the play-off places but are peaking at just the right time. The West Londoners easily boast the best goal difference of those outside of the top 2 and have won each of their last 4 games, scoring 13 goals in the process.
Because of that goal difference, Leeds essentially need to gain 4 points over Fulham in the remaining two games of the season. Winning their own games feels like a minimum requirement now, though their fixtures aren’t too daunting on paper. That said, Norwich City have found their form under Alan Irvine, albeit too late to enter the promotion race and represent a real threat, though their home advantage in their next outing could prove to be crucial for Leeds.
Having beaten Reading by a 7-1 margin, Norwich have also added a 3-1 win at Preston and a 2-0 win over Brighton to their record. For their part though Leeds cannot be intimidated and must keep their eyes on the prize. They finish the season at Wigan Athletic, who may well be relegated by then and they will therefore fancy their chances of finishing the season on a high.
At the moment, however, it is in Fulham’s hands. Victory over Brentford next time out would effectively guarantee their finish above Leeds, who would then be reliant on Sheffield Wednesday losing their remaining games, one of which is against Fulham at home.
Fulham’s goal scoring exploits have been brilliant this season, regularly finding the net 3 or more times in games and not having drawn a blank in any of their last 15 league games. It’s hard to imagine them not scoring against Brentford at home and as such, they will be very strong favourites to win the game at Craven Cottage. Should they manage that, they can arrive at Hillsborough for the final game of the season with a play-off place safely secured.
The need for just one win makes it much more likely that the final place will go to Fulham and this represents a huge disappointment for Leeds United. With players likely to leave at the end of the season, there could be a huge rebuilding job needed at Elland Road over the summer.