Fulham vs Middlesbrough Predictions, Betting Tips & Preview

Tipsters Review - 20-Jan-2020

Fulham vs Middlesbrough Predictions, Betting Tips & Preview

BODY CONTENT

Promotion contenders Fulham welcome in-form Middlesbrough to West London in front of the TV cameras on Friday night. We preview the action.

Can Fulham be a force?

An all-action terrier for Charlton and West Ham in his playing days, Scott Parker has had a mixed start to life in the managerial hotseat.

His Fulham side kept their automatic promotion hopes intact last weekend, when they returned from a challenging trip to Hull with a 1-0 win as Leeds and West Brom both dropped points.

The Whites had to dig in on Humberside and, with a forward-thinking set of midfielders – Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen often start but Bobby Reid and Josh Onomah did last time out - the return of a disciplined anchor man Kevin McDonald offers the midfield a much-needed defensive balance.

Harry Arter coming back into the equation could make a difference, too and Michael Hector has started solidly since joining permanently from Chelsea.

Because Scott Parker’s side stayed reasonably well organised, they needed one moment of quality from Ivan Cavaleiro to win the game.

It was a delightful curler from Cavaleiro who, without being a constant influence on games, has produced some well-taken finishes that have been vital to keeping the Cottagers in contention.


 

 

 

Middlesbrough making movements

If the Championship season had ended on 7th November, Middlesbrough would be relegated in 22nd.

Had it started on the same date, though Middlesbrough would be sixth and, if it ended now, preparing for a Play-Off Semi-Final with West Brom.

There is often a clamour from fans for a club to change manager when results and performances are not going in line with expectation, but sometimes change can come from within.

Chairman Steve Gibson has given Jonathan Woodgate, who heads the new coaching team on Teesside, unequivocal support during the tough period and it is now paying dividends.

Woodgate, who scored the League Cup Final winner for Tottenham in 2008, should be credited.

A lot of rookie coaches might have questioned themselves too much during the bad times, but the former Leeds defender has thrown himself into challenges without overthinking them.

Woodgate has clearly had a positive effect on the young talent at the club because, when injuries struck, we have seen the likes of Aynsley Pears, Djed Spence, Hayden Coulson and Ste Walker enter the fray with little fear.

The Tactics Board

We can expect Fulham to have a lot of the ball in their own half in this game and the trick will be working out how to create space further up the pitch, without compromising their defensive structure.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, will look to press them high up the pitch with Ashley Fletcher looking better equipped to lead the cavalry, in that central role than Britt Assombalonga.

The Boro will want to get the likes of Patrick Roberts and Marcus Tavernier breaking beyond Fletcher in transition, with Lewis Wing getting forward quickly in support.

Could the hosts deal with quick counter-attacks?

They struggled to in previous home games, like the 3-0 loss to Hull, but McDonald’s presence may help.

 


The xG data

Fulham are favourites, which is understandable: they are at home, they have just come down from the Premier League, they are comfortably in the top six and they possess a star-studded squad.

What is more debateable though, is the merit of their position as odds-on favourites, because the shot data suggests that, in recent weeks, they have been performing worse than their opponents.

Over the last eight matches, Middlesbrough have averaged 1.32 Expected Goals For (xGF) and 0.87 Against (xGA), giving them a Ratio (xGR) of 60.38% - the third-best in the division.

In the same timeframe, Fulham have averaged 1.50 Expected Goals For (xGF) and 1.59 Against (xGA), giving them a Ratio (xGR) of 48.59% - the 13th-best in the division.

It is also worth nothing that the Whites’ xGA is the third worst in the division over those eight games – in other words, they have been conceding a high-volume of high-quality chances to their opponents – while Boro possess the league’s second-best xGA in the given period.

Would an away win be as big a surprise as the odds suggest?

The Betting Angle

Double Chance: Draw/Middlesbrough can be backed at 19/20 with Betway as of 16thJanuary.


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