Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Fulham vs Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 8pm).
Fulham boss Scott Parker said the surprise birthday party thrown for Terence Kongolo was “not acceptable”.
Kongolo, who has been stepping up his recovery from injury, will not feature in Fulham’s upcoming match against Sheffield United, but will play for the U23s this weekend.
Aleksandar Mitrovic remains absent for Fulham after testing positive for Covid-19 this week as does Tom Cairney who has been sidelined since December with a knee injury.
Sheffield United captain John Egan is set for a two-month spell out of action after suffering a dislocated toe during Monday’s 3-0 defeat to West Ham.
John Fleck is also expected to miss out against Fulham due to illness.
Long-term absentees Sander Berge (thigh tendon) and Jack O’Connell are still out.
How to follow
Fulham vs Sheffield United is live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event from 7.45pm; Kick-off 8pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
To coin a horse racing phrase, Fulham are best fresh.
When they have been given eight days or more between matches they have picked up impressive victories at Leicester and Everton. However, results dip when the schedule catches up with them, as seen by their limp showing in the 1-1 draw with Burnley on Wednesday. A third game in six days will be a tough ask and their continued flaky levels can be seized upon by the battling Blades, who have been well found in the market for this one with only 5/2 available on the away win. I thought they would be bigger but I am happy to put faith in them.
A better angle to attack actually lies in the offside markets. Now, certain teams like the Blades are always worth a look in the offside markets when facing Fulham. Only Liverpool have caught more players offside this season than Fulham (61) with Burnley falling foul of their offside trap six times in the 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.
This weekend’s opponents like to work the space in behind defences through their marauding wide players and are not afraid to go long straight into their front men, hence more likely opportunities to be caught offside. Only Manchester United, Burnley, Southampton and West Ham have been caught offside more this season than the Blades (48).
In the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane, Chris Wilder’s team were caught offside five times against Fulham as they gave the Fulham back five a good workout with their clever movement down the channels.
I would expect similar numbers for this weekend’s meeting, especially as both teams will be going for maximum points and there should be plenty of opportunities for the Blades to break. Punters should be pointed towards the very generous 10/11 for three or more offsides. As short prices go, it’s one of the most tempting ones I have seen all season, especially if Billy Sharp keeps his place in attack. He gets caught offside 1.4 times per-game.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1
- Fulham have lost just one of their last eight league games against Sheffield United (W4 D3), going down 0-2 at Bramall Lane in January 2007 in the Premier League.
- Sheffield United have won just one of their last 12 away league games against Fulham (D3 L8) and are winless in their last five visits to Craven Cottage since a 3-2 win in September 1985.
- After a run of 196 consecutive home league matches without a goalless draw, three of Fulham’s last six home Premier League games have ended 0-0. They last had more home goalless draws in a single league season back in 2001-02 (5).
- Sheffield United have only won two of their 27 Premier League games in London (D8 L17), winning at Chelsea in October 1992 (2-1) and Crystal Palace in February 2020 (1-0).
- Fulham have scored just seven goals in 12 home Premier League games this season (W1 D4 L7), fewer than any other club. The only two teams with fewer goals after their opening 12 home Premier League games of a season were Everton in 1998-99 (3) and Huddersfield Town in 2018-19 (5).
- Sheffield United have lost all seven of their Premier League matches played on Saturday this season; the only two teams to lose their first eight Saturday matches in a top-flight season are Man Utd in 1930-31 and Wolves in 1964-65.
- Sheffield United have failed to score in 50% of their 24 Premier League games this season (12 matches) – their highest such share in a single league campaign in their history.
- Fulham are yet to register a single Premier League win on Saturday this season in 10 attempts (D4 L6), playing more games on that day without winning than any other team has on a specific day this season without registering a win.
- Among the 168 managers to take charge of least 10 home Premier League games, only Aidy Boothroyd (3 wins in 19 games with Watford in 2006-07, 15.8%) has a lower home win percentage in the competition than Fulham’s Scott Parker (3 wins in 18, 16.7%).
- Bobby De Cordova-Reid is the only Fulham player with more than one Premier League goal at Craven Cottage this season (3), while the forward is just one goal shy from equalling his home total last term in the Championship (4).