Big Match Breakdown: Fulham v Derby
Preview and tips ahead of this huge clash…
Derby County will be looking to seal their place in the play-off final tonight as they meet Fulham at Craven Cottage in the second-leg of the semi-final.
Fulham trail the Rams by a goal after Cameron Jerome powered Gary Rowett’s side into a first-leg lead at Pride Park. However, Slavisa Jokanovic’s side have an immense home record this season and will be hopeful of turning this around.
The Coral News Team go in-depth with another Big Match Breakdown…
The Midlands outfit definitely have the better of recent games. Fulham have won just one of the last seven meetings between the pair.
Derby have managed three wins, with three draws. However, you’d have to go back to 1969 for Derby win at the Cottage in non-cup action.
Overall, it’s relatively tight. The Rams have won 23 to Fulham’s 19, with 20 draws.
Neither side are likely to make too many changes going on how tight the first-leg was.
Jokanovic could opt to give Lucas Piazon a starting place on the flank ahead of Floyd Ayite. The latter missed a guilt-edged chance to level it in the second-half of the previous game and could pay for it.
Elsewhere, the Cottagers have a clean bill of health with on-loan Liverpool youngster Sheyi Ojo back in the fold.
For Derby, Rowett will likely make one change. Andreas Weimann will make way for Ikechi Anya on the left. The ex-Birmingham City boss will continue with a 3-4-2-1 line-up.
Derby did a good job of shutting down Fulham’s slick pass-and-move game with a high tempo pressing game.
The Rams will have to do the same here, especially away from home. Bradley Johnson, in particular, was very effective in the first-leg, snapping away at Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen.
Fulham’s prodigious youngsters failed to fire in the opening leg. Rowett’s formation and tactics stifled the space. It could be more of the same here so patience will be required to break down the opposition down.
Aleksandar Mitrovic was also marked out of it on Friday night with the Rams’ Richard Keogh having a stormer. The Serbia international needs to keep a cool head tonight and be ready for any chances falling his way.
Fulham are 8/13 for the win with Derby outsiders at 17/4. You can back the draw at 14/5.
The West London club will have to shake the tag of play-off bridesmaids. Fulham have, incredibly, never won a post-season game.
Jokanovic’s side have lost five and drawn two of their previous seven play-off games. And Derby will be reinforced by the fact that the last side to fail to make the play-off final having won the first leg was Bolton Wanderers in 1995.
In addition, the Rams have progressed to the play-off final on each of the previous three occasions they have won the semi-final first leg. Derby or Draw on the Double Chance market is 6/5.
If Fulham are to progress, they will be relying on Mitrovic for the goals. The on-loan Newcastle striker has been directly involved in seven of Fulham’s past 12 league goals at home, scoring six and making the other.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing