Fulham keeps firing as Leeds fightback falls short at booing Elland Road
Fulham continued its habit of feasting on teams under stress, coming back from an early deficit to beat Leeds United 3-2 at Elland Road on Sunday.
Jesse Marsch’s hosts went in front through Rodrigo but Fulham responded through Aleksandar Mitrovic before Bobby Decordova-Reid’s clever header joined a sliding Willian finish to uncork a two-goal lead.
Crysencio Summerville scored in the first minute of stoppage time to bring Leeds within one and provide for an ultra-dramatic couple of minutes.
Leeds had arguably been performing just as well as Fulham but cannot get finish from its forwards, as Patrick Bamford came off the bench and had a breakaway stopped by Bernd Leno.
Sunday’s hosts finish the match in the bottom three with nine points while Fulham surges into seventh with 18 points.
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What we learned from Leeds vs Fulham
Finishing continues to betray Marsch as Elland Road at a boil: Jesse Marsch has not done what he needs to do to inspire confidence out of Patrick Bamford, it seems, as Leeds’ center forward continues to get himself into position for goals but do anything other than put the ball over the line. Bamford had terrific chances in the 1-0 loss to Arsenal and the 2-0 loss to Leicester City, and he missed a prime chance to put Leeds ahead after coming on for scorer Rodrigo. Bamford was 1v1 with Bernd Leno and was denied by the Fulham keeper, and he later just missed reaching a cross from the right that could’ve given Leeds a late life line.
Fulham’s defense a strength this time around: Remember when Fulham came and went from the Premier League a couple of years ago and got a slow start due to some lapses at the back? Tosin has grown from that time and Tim Ream is a steady force next to him. While the late Summerville goal makes this point look goofy to those who didn’t watch the game, the fight from this bunch is solid and competition certainly helps: Kevin Mbabu, Shane Duffy, and Issa Diop were on the bench to start the match.
Fulham’s front three were a problem for Leeds back four, which looks unequipped to deal with this level. Robin Koch struggled and so, too, did Liam Cooper as Leeds keeper Illan Meslier saved an early breakaway that could’ve had the ugliness starting early. Andreas Pereira cued up so many moves for Willian, Mitrovic, and Harry Wilson, the first two names producing plenty.
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Stars of the show
Jesse Marsch reaction
“We are unified here, from the board to the staff and the players. We are hurting, it’s painful. We feel we’re doing little things that aren’t getting a reward.
“I understand the fans, their ire should be directed at me. I’ve got to find ways for us to get wins and points. But I’m focused on helping this team to get better and improve.”
Here’s more from Marsch on the fans (video below):
“I understand their frustration. We’re all in that boat. I’m responsible for making this team better and I’m going to work tirelessly to try to help them gain their confidence, to find solutions, to show belief in them and stay strong and keep pushing.”
“I’m here, I’ve said from the beginning, for the long term. I love this club and I’m investing everything I have to try and make things better. We always knew the league was incredibly difficult. We never took anything for granted, even staying up last year. We’re going to use that mentality, we never give up til the end even today, and we’ll figure out ways to get better.”
Fulham hosts Everton at 12:30pm ET Saturday, while Leeds heads to Liverpool two hours at 15 minutes later.
Rodrigo goal video: Leeds goes in front
Aleksandar Mitrovic goal video: Because of course Mitro scored
How to watch Leeds vs Fulham live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 9am ET, SundayTV Channel: CNBCOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Patrick Bamford simply has to start finishing his chances. The Leeds center forward has an expected goals total of 3.84 this season but has zero goals on his account. Leeds was led by Rodrigo early in the season but he’s gone cold, too. Brenden Aaronson and Jack Harrison have been bright, but brightness without finish is an optical illusion and could cost American boss Jesse Marsch big time.
Only Harry Kane and Erling Haaland have scored more goals than Aleksandar Mitrovic, whose penalty Thursday leaves him tied with Ivan Toney for third in the Premier League for goals. Fulham’s fullbacks and wide men have certainly played their part, while Bernd Leno was wonderful early against Villa.
OUT: Leo Fuhr Hjelde (appendectomy), Adam Forshaw (ankle), Stuart Dallas (thigh), Archie Gray (toe), Tyler Adams (undisclosed)
Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Daniel James (parent club), Layvin Kurzawa (calf), Manor Solomon (knee), Kenny Tete (fitness)