Leeds United will aim to advance to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup when they make the trip to Craven Cottage to face Championship side Fulham on Tuesday night.

The Carabao Cup returns this midweek, with Championship club Fulham playing hosts to Leeds United on Tuesday in the third round of the competition.

Fulham beat Birmingham City 2-0 in the second round of the Carabao Cup, with Jay Stansfield and Antonee Robinson scoring the goals to seal the progression for the Cottagers. Marco Silva’s side will now be hoping to cause an upset by defeating the Premier League side.

Fulham have made an excellent start to their Championship season, accumulating 16 points from eight games played so far, sitting second in the table, only two points behind table-toppers Bournemouth. However, the Cottagers are coming on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Reading on the weekend and are experiencing a downslide in their form, having won only one of their past three games.

Meanwhile, Leeds secured their place in the third round of the League Cup with a 3-0 home win over Crewe Alexandra, with a goal from Kalvin Phillips and a Jack Harrison brace helping Whites seal a comfortable victory.

The Whites are yet to register their first win in the 2021/22 Premier League campaign, though, losing two while drawing the other three of their first five games, including a 1-1 tie against Newcastle United last Friday. They will be hoping to return to winning ways against Fulham and progress further in the cup competition. And ahead of their meeting on Tuesday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the squads.

Team News & Tactics

Fulham

Fulham boss Marco Silva is facing a plethora of injury concerns with Fabio Carvalho (toe), Terence Kongolo (hamstring), Tom Cairney (knee) and Kenny Tete (physical discomfort) all set to miss the midweek cup tie through respective injuries.

With Fulham’s major focus on getting straight-back to top-flight by gaining automatic promotion, Silva could use this opportunity to unleash players’ rusting on the bench and is likely to make multiple changes to the team that played against Reading on Saturday, with Michael Hector, Alfie Mawson, Marek Rodak, and Neeskens Kebano all pushing for starts against Leeds.

Silva went with a 4-2-3-1 formation against Reading; he may revert to a 3-4-3 system for the Leeds game, along with several personnel changes. A back-three of Hector, Dennis Odoi and Mawson will be guarding second-choice shot-stopper Rodak, who will get a chance in the goal. The wing-backs Anthony Knockaert and Joe Bryan will push forward regularly to create openings and put balls into the box.

Youngsters Tyrese Francois and Adrion Pajaziti will get the keys to Cottagers’ engine room and would be eager to impress the coach to get involved in the league games more often. Bobby Decordova-Reid and Neeskens Kebano will sit behind the striker, making darting runs into the box, taking shots at goal. Jay Stansfield scored in the second round of the competition against Birmingham, and the 18-year-old could be in line for another chance.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3)Rodak; Odoi, Mawson, Hector; Knockaert, Francois, Pajaziti, Bryan; Kebano, Stansfield, Reid

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Leeds United

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Leeds will be without Robin Koch (groin), Diego Llorente (muscle), and Jack Harrison (Covid), while Luke Ayling and Raphinha are doubtful to play after picking up knocks against Newcastle. Pascal Struijk is still serving his three-match ban, but the Whites’ would be helped by the recovery of midfielder Adam Forshaw, who is poised to make a rare start.

Similar to his opponents, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is expected to alter the starting XI that played against Newcastle last Friday night in the Premier League. In the absence of Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas will be the makeshift centre-back partner for captain Liam Cooper to shield Illan Meslier, who will be taking his place between the sticks.

Jamie Shackleton could be handed a start at right-back while Junior Firpo will keep his place on the other flank. The full-backs will have the freedom to bomb forwards and provide wide outlets to create overloads. The duo of Adam Forshaw and Kalvin Phillips will line up in the double pivot in midfield.

Crysencio Summerville could be handed an opportunity to start after coming off the bench to make his Leeds debut against Newcastle. The 19-year-old winger will join Tyler Roberts and Daniel James in a trio just behind the target-man in Rodrigo Moreno.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1)Meslier; Shackleton, Dallas, Cooper, Firpo; Phillips, Forshaw; James, Roberts, Summerville; Rodrigo

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Key Stats

  • Leeds United have the edge in the head-to-head record having won 25 of 59 meetings so far between these sides, while Fulham have won 19 times, with the other 15 ending in draws.
  • The Whites have a solid recent track record versus Fulham, having won all of the last three clashes out of which the previous two were in the Premier League.
  • Fulham and Leeds have met just once before in the Carabao Cup, way back in September 1969.
  • Leeds United have been eliminated at the third round stage of the League Cup on more occasions than any other side in the history of the competition (23 times).
  • When facing a side from a higher division in the League Cup third round, Fulham have been knocked out of the competition on each of the last five such occasions.

Player to Watch

Daniel James

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The summer arrival from Manchester United made his full Premier League debut for Leeds last Friday against Newcastle. He didn’t look much effective, maybe still getting used to Marcelo Bielsa’ system in place at the club. The Carabao Cup would be the perfect opportunity for him to get into his strides and maybe register himself on the scoresheet.

He is quick, dynamic and has lots of pace and acceleration to get past the opposition defenders. He should have a bigger impact in this game, and his directness will make him a goal-threat. He needs to develop his passing skills and produce better end product in front of goal, but under the tutelage of a renowned coach in Bielsa- who is known for improving players, James could be set for stardom at Elland Road.

Prediction

Leeds United 2-0 Fulham

Leeds are yet to pick up their first win in the Premier League. However, the Whites’ looked decent in their second-round Carabao Cup match against Crewe Alexandra but have a much harder task facing a Fulham side doing well in the Championship.

But, the expectation is that Marco Silva will put a much-weaker side compared to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds as it’s not a priority competition for the Cottagers, whose major objective is to seal automatic promotion and with games coming thick and fast in Championship, Silva is unlikely to risk his key men. The Hard Tackle is predicting a 2-0 win for Marcelo Bielsa & co. on Tuesday night.

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