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The Numbers Game: Fulham

FULHAM would have had their eyes on an automatic promotion spot when the Sky Bet Championship season resumed earlier this month.

However, back-to-back defeats against promotion rivals Brentford and Leeds United in the last 10 days have dented those hopes of an instant return to the top flight.

Ahead of #QPRFUL, we have taken a look at some of the numbers behind Fulham’s season so far…

The summary

Promotion was the target for Fulham when 2019/20 kicked off in August and they have hovered around the top six for the entire campaign thus far.

Scott Parker’s team dominate the Championship’s possession statistics though, at times, they have been unable to convert that ball-time into goals.

The Whites have completed 17,691 passes so far this season – the most of any team in the league – and they also come out on top for most passes completed in the final third of the pitch; 4,126.

Through that possession, Fulham have created 61 ‘big chances’, the third highest in the Championship, but they are only the ninth highest scorers in the division with 52 goals.

QPR have hit the net on six more occasions than Fulham so far this season and both clubs’ players have contributed 31 assists from open play.

Defensively, Fulham have won 343 tackles this season – 21 less than the R’s – and they sit bottom of the Championship for the number of interceptions made; 309.  

Star man

Captain Tom Cairney has been a vital player for Fulham since joining the club in the summer of 2015.

Cairney has bagged eight goals from midfield in the Championship so far this season, with five of those coming from outside of the penalty area.

Only 10 players have had more touches in the Championship than Cairney’s 2,578 this term and only three players have completed more passes than him (1,853).

Precisely 747 of Cairney’s passes have been made in the final third of the pitch and three of those passes have directly led to goals for his team. The former Hull City and Blackburn Rovers man has also won the ball back 29 times in the attacking third of the pitch, something only six Championship players have bettered.

Last time out

Fulham were beaten 3-0 at Leeds United last time out but the statistics suggest the west Londoners were unfortunate to be beaten by a three-goal scoreline.

Fulham created 10 chances to Leeds’ seven and they also entered their attacking third of pitch 71 times, compared to United’s 58 times.

Parker’s men bossed possession, too, and their ‘successful passes’ total of 376 was considerably higher than Leeds’ 232.

Leeds proved to be more efficient, though, and the Yorkshire club recovered the ball 78 times over the course of the 90 minutes – 11 times more than Fulham – and they also won 14 tackles, which was five more than Fulham.

For all of the Londoners’ ball-time, they failed to create a ‘big chance’, while Leeds managed two and they converted one of those, whilst also scoring two other goals to win the game.

Ranger v White

QPR’s Bright Osayi-Samuel is one of the Championship’s most exciting up-and-coming wingers, while experienced wide-man Anthony Knockaert has built his reputation over the last few years with Leicester City, Brighton & Hove Albion and now Fulham.

Two of Osayi-Samuel’s best attributes are his speed and strength and his 89 completed take-ons this term – the fourth highest in the Championship – prove that.

Using that power, the R’s winger has laid on seven assists for his teammates in the Championship so far this season – three more than Knockaert – while the Fulham has carved out 11 ‘big chances’ this campaign, which is three more than BOS.

All five of Osayi-Samuel’s league goals this season have come from open play – again three more than Knockaert – and the Rangers man’s shooting accuracy of 37.5% just edges Knockaert’s 34.92%.  

The statistics in this article were sourced through Twenty3’s extensive football database.