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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Tom Bassam

Fulham 2-1 Leeds United: Premier League – as it happened

Andreas Pereira smacks the ball home from very close range to double Fulham’s lead against Leeds United.
Andreas Pereira smacks the ball home from very close range to double Fulham’s lead against Leeds. Photograph: Andrew Fosker/Shutterstock

Right, that is it from me. Here is John Brewin’s report from Craven Cottage:

Gracia speaks!

It was not enough. We started the game focused, but after we conceded the first goal it was tough for us.

We were looking for more consistency and security at the back. We didn’t create many chances until the second half when it was too late.

It was our mentality today to press high and be more agressive. We did it, but it wasn’t enough.


Not a classic, but it livened in the second half. Thanks for all your emails, as ever it is the readers that help make these blogs.

Rob Smyth’s Saturday clockwatch MBM is up an running here:

Full-time: Fulham 2-1 Leeds

All over. That has to be the quitest eight minutes of added time I have ever seen from a team trailing 2-1. Leeds lacked ambition all game and never looked like getting a point after Bamford got one back.

90+6 min: Leeds going down with a bit of a whimper here. No urgency or quality.


90+4 min: Little spat between Roca and Manor Soloman over by the byline as the Israeli jinks away from the midfielder and is brought down. This plays into Fulham’s hands. Neeskens Kebano makes a long-awaited return from injury, replacing Willian.

90 min: Eight minutes added on. Surely there is another Leeds chance to come?

88 min: Willian is down injured. Marco Silva’s side are no stranger to the dark arts (see: Brighton 0-1 Fulham, 18 February), but given his earlier tangle with the hoardings I think he can be given the benefit of the doubt. Not much of a Leeds rally yet…

Interesting development in sport on TV land. Manchester City’s Premier League match against Leeds is set to be broadcast on television in the UK despite being moved to 3pm on a Saturday.

The fixture was scheduled for Sunday 7 May but has been brought forward by a day because of City’s Champions League semi-final trip to Real Madrid the following Tuesday. The game will be shown on Sky Sports as planned despite it now being in the Saturday afternoon “blackout” period.

83 min: Meslier makes a big save! The keeper crashes into the post as he gets both hands on Willian’s curling free-kick.

Leeds United's keeper Illan Meslier makes a save after a free kick from Fulham's Willian.
Leeds United's keeper Illan Meslier makes a save after a free kick from Fulham's Willian. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters


82 min: Fulham subs, Harrison Reed and Bobby Decordova-Reid off, Lukic and Vinicius on.

81 min: More Leeds changes Gnonto is on for Harrison and McKennie is taken off to be replaced by Adam Forshaw. Fulham have a free-kick 20 yards out, Pereira gets another chance to shoot…

Goal! Fulham 2-1 Leeds (Bamford 79)

Now then. It’s scrappy, but who cares? Ten minutes left, game on. Bamford gets a meaningful touch and Palhinha cannot clear off the line? Might end up being an own goal once the ‘dubious goals panel’ have their way with it.

Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford (9) scores a goal to make the score 2-1 at Fulham.
Leeds’ Patrick Bamford sticks out a left leg and pulls a goal back for the visitors. Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/Shutterstock
Leeds United’s Patrick Bamford celebrates scoring their first goal at Fulham.
Bamford celebrates as he rushes to get the game back underway. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters


77 min: Why have Leeds taken this long to wake up? Roca stings the palms of Leno from 20 yards after Summerville forced the Fulham keeper to rush off his line. Bamford’s introduction has made a diference.

74 min: Ooooo, that is tight. Bamford gets in behind and tip-toes past Leno, the ball rolls to Harrison, but his shot is blocked. Flag goes up. If Harrison puts that in the VAR might have overturned that.

Goal! Fulham 2-0 Leeds (Pereira 72)

CTRL+C, CTRL+V. Robinson cross from the left, Meslier flaps at it. Pereira slams it into an empty net. I do not think the opener was the Leeds keeper’s fault, but this was poor.

Fulham's Bobby Reid in action with Leeds United's keeper Illan Meslier who diverts the ball to Andreas Pereira who fired into an empty net for Fulham's second goal.
Fulham's Bobby Reid in action with Leeds United's keeper Illan Meslier who diverts the ball to Andreas Pereira who fired into an empty net for Fulham's second goal. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Andreas Pereira of Fulham celebrates with teammate Bobby Reid after scoring the team's second goal during the Premier League match between Fulham and Leeds United.
Pereira (left) celebrates with Reid. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images


67 min: This is getting spicier. Liam Cooper has been booked after lunging in on Palhinha. That could have been a red card, but the Leeds skipper just got in on the ball first which probably saved him.

66 min: Wilian is back on. Leeds have made a couple of changes, Luis Sinisterra and Bamford are on for Aaronsen and Rodrigo.

64 min: Right, stop distracting me with your interesting emails. Pereira has just hit the bar with a free-kick and now Willian (lovely Willian) is down receiving treatment after getting a bump into the hoardings when he was trying to squeeze a cross in as the ball was going out of play near the byline.

Oh, hi Mark (Hooper). More love for Clinton Morrison:

Another vote for Clinton Morrison. Just so full of love for the game. I bet he’s brilliant company too. During the Forest v Man U game, John Murray revealed he’d stayed in a Nottingham hotel the evening before and he was genuinely put out that Murray hadn’t come round his house for dinner.

Someone start the petition: Jenas out, Morrison in.


60 min: Ironic Fulham cheers as a few Leeds fans think Summerville has found an instant equaliser. Unfortunately for the away team the shot just rippled the side netting.

Goal! Fulham 1-0 Leeds (Wilson 58)

Yes! Action! It is actually a great finish from Harry Wilson, a sweet left-foot strike off the underside of the bar. Antonee Robinson made that with a driving run and cross from the left. Come on Leeds, what have you got now?

Fulham’s Harry Wilson opens the scoring against Leeds United with a fine finish.
Fulham’s Harry Wilson opens the scoring with a fine finish. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters
Harry Wilson of Fulham scores the opening goal and celebrates with Harrison Reed of Fulham (right).
Wilson and Harrison Reed (right) celebrate taking the lead.. Photograph: Andrew Fosker/Shutterstock


I was hoping someone would chime in on this, thanks Dan Osborn:

RE: The ‘potential’ incident of a handled back pass earlier in game. I feel it should be like cricket, in that if there is no appeal from the other team (which there wasn’t in this case) nothing happens. No appeal, no deal. Howzat?

I like it. One of my fixing VAR theories is that managers should have a challenge flag like they do in cricket/the NFL where you get to keep it if you were right. Adds an element of skill to dugout decisions.

53 min: Back to the game, Harrison swings in a dangerous looking free-kick but someone is offside. That is SO classic this game.

I might have ignited a Lawro pile-on here. Samuel Dodson says:

Completely with you on the nadir of football commentary being Lawro at a World Cup. Not just dreary, pessimistic and unenthusiastic but also nonsensical. I recall one game where he described the Japanese manager “looking as though he was walking down the street trying to sell some chairs”

Truly insightful commentary…

In the interest of fairness:

48 min: Jack Harrison is playing? Who knew. For the first time in the game he gets down the left and puts in a delightful ball that Summerville is running on to. Leno rushes out to cut it out and does so but nearly spills it before recovering.

Peeeeep! Peeeeep!

Let us hope the second half is better than the first, we are back underway.

Seems like Alan Green cannot win either way. This is from Tom Stratford:

My all time favourite example of a commentator perhaps overselling it on the basis they had the broadcast rights was Alan Green bellowing into his 5Live mic:

“There are some games that take a little bit of time to get excited about. But not today… Charlton v Middlesbrough is next.”

With apologies to fans of the teams involved.

I am guessing this was when both teams were in the top flight, so 2006-ish? Darren Bent firing them in from all over and Mark Viduka working his magic up top for Boro? I am getting excited just thinking about Chris Perry controlling things at the back.

A complimentary email from Mark Hooper (these are always welcome):

I agree with you on not talking matches down too much - sure, be honest, but witness Alan Green who seems to revel in telling the listener how awful every match is (with its unsaid sense of superiority), which has made me turn off countless games on the radio. The Guardian MBM approach is far more entertaining.

Firstly, thank you. The real king of turn-off talking was late era Mark Lawrenson at a major tournament. I have never hard a man so miserable to be paid for watching the World Cup.

If I may, I would like to heap some praise on Clinton Morrison here. I would listen to the most mundane fixture if Clinton was doing colour on 5Live, he clearly just loves it.

Half-time: Fulham 0-0 Leeds

A merciful whistle.

45 min: Leeds try to break but the ball ricochets off Roca and goes tamely out of play on halfway. The two minutes added feels unnecessary, get these boys back in the dressing room and come out again with a slightly better plan on how to score a goal.

Justin Kavanagh emails in (it is definitely quiet):

I think we’ve just seen the first bad first touch by Willian in all the time I’ve seen him play. He’s such a joy to watch that he’ll be forgiven the odd mistake as he ages.

I was thinking earlier in the half how impressive Willian looked. Incredible comeback after his disastrous spell at Arsenal and even more troubling return to Brazil.


39 min: Whilst pondering the Premier League’s self-appointed status, Weston McKennie was booked and Pereira had a tame shot from distance. Not doing much for my argument.

Andreas Pereira of Fulham has a shot on goal.
Andreas Pereira of Fulham has a shot on goal. Photograph: Andrew Fosker/Shutterstock


Email from Andy Flintoff Andy (not that one):

I wish more commentators and pundits would point out exactly how poor a lot of football is, particularly in the top division. Maybe then it’d stop being hyped as ‘the best league in the world’ (when it patently isn’t a lot of the time).

Not sure I agree with this. Commentators should try and elevate a broadcast, not talk it down. Also, can you be ‘the best league in the world’ some of the time and not others? To me you either are or you are not. Most of the time, I would say, the Premier League is the best league in the world to watch and therefore has the belt until that is not the case.

28 min: Jermaine Jenas is doing a really good job of making this game a good watch on BT. ‘Distinct lack of quality’ is the stuff of PR dreams.

24 min: Aaronsen leads a charge upfield after winning the ball in his own half but there is no support from his teammates, forcing the American to go it alone. He is crowded out but retreating Fulham defenders, but Leeds need to do more to get on the front foot. The home side are keeping the visitors at arms length.


20 min: That was weird. Did Fulham just make a backpass? Ream knocked it back to Leno, the Fulham keeper took a touch and then just picked up the ball. No Leeds player said anything and the referee didn’t seem to notice.


17 min: Roca forces Bernd Leno into his first save with a free-kick from 20 yards or so. One of those where would expect the keeper to stop it but it needed saving nontheless.

Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno makes a save against Leeds United from a free-kick.
Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno earns his corn. Photograph: Steven Paston/PA


13 min: Tim Ream comes flying into a challenge on US international colleague Brenden Aaronsen. Maybe worth a booking but the Fulham man gets away with a ticking off for the blue on blue action.

11 min: Nothing from the away side to get their travelling fans excited yet.

7 min: Ooft, that is some save from Meslier. Another set piece, this time a free-kick on the right, is swung in and Tosin Adarabioyo gets his head on it. The Leeds keeper, who has come under the microscope for his form of late, leaps to his right and claws out the ball as it heads for the top corner. Sadly, it will not count towards the Frenchman’s stats though, Adarabioyo was offside.

Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier claws away a header from Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo.
Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier claws away a header from Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo. Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/Shutterstock


6 min: Fulham win a couple of corners and it takes a bit of a last ditch lunge from the Leeds back line to keep out a pullback from Harry Wilson as he gets to the byline. Nothing for Meslier to worry about yet though.

3 min: Nervy start from Fulham. Leeds snapping into tackles and forcing the home side backwards in possession. Being ‘up for it’ is the bare minimum for a side in Leeds’ position, but facing opposition with the little to play for that might be enough.



We are underway at the Cottage.

Teams out. Kick off coming next.

This time of year is peak Craven Cottage. I am slightly envious of those actually at the ground today. Off the train at Putney Bridge, short walk down the Thames Path through Bishops Park with the sun on your face. For me, one of the best places to watch football in the country. Have a day.

Richard Hirst emails in:

Glad you acknowledged Marco Silva’s achievement in ending Fulham’s legendary yo-yo status; he must be one of the managers of the season. Small quibble given the overall picture, but why is Solomon not starting, and if not now, then when will he start?

‘One of’ is doing a lot of heavy lifting for me here, Richard. For me Mikel Arteta, Roberto De Zerbi and Unai Emery are all operating a higher level. As for Manor Solomon, your guess is as good as mine. Given Fulham are now safe, why not throw a bit of caution to the wind?

Gracia’s decision to keep Wilfried Gnonto out of the team is a bold one given the Italian’s popularity with the fans. The Leeds head coach clearly wants to see more from the 19-year-old.

The teams

Fulham starting XI: Leno, Tete, Adarabioyo, Ream, Robinson, Reed, Palhinha, Wilson, Pereira, Willian, De Cordova-Reid.

Subs: Rodak, Duffy, Kebano, Cairney, Solomon, Soares, Lukic, Vinicius, Diop.

One change for Fulham, Bobby Decordova-Reid gets the nod ahead of Carlos Vinicius up front, with James ineligble.

Leeds starting XI: Meslier, Kristensen, Koch, Cooper, Wober, McKennie, Roca, Harrison, Aaronson, Summerville, Rodrigo.

Subs: Robles, Ayling, Firpo, Forshaw, Bamford, Struijk, Sinisterra, Rutter, Gnonto.

Leeds make three changes. Junior Firpo, Pascal Struijk and Luis Sinisterra drop to the bench. In come captain Liam Cooper, Max Wober and Crysencio Summerville. Bamford is only fit enough to make the bench.


If results do not go Leeds’ way today they will be in the bottom three come 5pm. They have shipped 11 goals in their last two matches and Patrick Bamford, a player who offers something different to anyone else in the Leeds squad, is not 100% fit and in goal Illan Meslier is under pressure over his place. The various permutations of a starting XI that Javi Gracia could turn to, suggest a lack of clarity. In short, the sun is not currently shining on the Lilywhites of west Yorkshire.

For the Lilywhites of west London things are far rosier. While a slump in form has all-but ended hopes of European football next season, a win last week means that they will be in the Premier League at the very least – an achievement that should not be overlooked given the preseason predictions of doom. Now, even with the talismanic Aleksandar Mitrović serving a long suspension, Marco Silva appears to have found new ways to win. In the victory at Everton, Daniel James – who I am still convinced actually plays week in, week out for Leeds – was the attacking focal point. With his parent club in town, the Welshman misses out on the chance to back up his performance at Goodison. The battle for Fulham now is the motivation to keep playing with so little on the line. Leeds will be hoping to find their hosts on the preverbial beach.

Fulham v Leeds is not what the marketeers at the ‘Best League in the WorldTM’ would ideally serve as one of the games of the day, but there is more than enough here to make this fixture a nice little amuse-bouche for the rest Saturday’s footballing feast.


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