Fulham vs Burnley | Monday 3rd May 2021, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Time is running out on Fulham’s survival bid with an instant return to the Championship looming for Scott Parker’s side.
The Cottagers need something of a miracle in truth. They’ve only won five times all season and must win their final four games to have any chance of staying up – that includes a trip to Old Trafford.
If they do want to pull off something that looks near impossible, it has to start with a win over Burnley, one of the teams they could catch.
The Clarets sit in 17th but do have a nine-point gap to tonight’s hosts in that final relegation spot, so there is breathing space going into the home stretch.
Sean Dyche wouldn’t have been happy with some of their defending against West Ham last week, especially after taking the lead through Chris Wood’s penalty.
The Hammers looked threatening every time they went forward, so they may have highlighted a few weaknesses in Burnley’s armour for Fulham to exploit.
The betting angles
It’s fair to say that Fulham have tried to be steady and not spectacular in a bid to grind out enough points to survive. It’s all well and good trying to do that but when you create something, you need to put it away.
And that’s something Parker’s side have failed to do with only Sheffield United (18) having scored fewer goals than the Cottagers (25). There’s no prolific goalscorer in this side, and if you shout Aleksandar Mitrović, you could be right, but he’s not been given too much game time when fit.
While Fulham are the second-lowest scorers, Burnley are the joint third-lowest scorers along with West Brom with 31 goals.
Straight away this game paints a picture that makes you feel like it’ll be a battle with very few clear-cut opportunities.
So, there’s a 9/5 play that looks worth lining up, which is backing it to be 0-0 at half-time. This is the most common score at the break in the Premier League, landing in 30% (101) games.
Seven of Fulham’s home games this season have seen a goalless first 45 minutes, while it’s happened in six of Burnley’s away matches.
In fact, nine of Fulham’s last 13 have been deadlocked at the break with Parker’s men focused on remaining in games – best seen in effect before their 3-0 defeat here at the hands of Man City, while also in their 1-1 draw at Arsenal.
If you look specifically at home games, then seven of Fulham’s last 11 have seen a scoreless first half, so on that basis, they’ll try to be hard to break down without having too much guile to beat a usually stubborn Burnley backline.
When these two met in February, it was 0-0 at the break before the game came to life in the second half. So given the two expected set-ups, this could be a bit like a boxing match, where the two teams throw plenty of jabs, trying to suss and grind the other down.
Some of the value seekers might quite like the Bet365 price (8/13) on Chris Wood to record a shot on target – he’s as short as 1/3 and 1/6 elsewhere. While the same firm has Matej Vydra at 11/8 for a shot on target and that nearly drew me in. It might be a case to see if he starts before playing that one.
Away from that, an important area in this game could be down Fulham’s left. 39% of their attacks have been down that flank this season and there’s no reason for that to change with Antonee Robinson and Ademola Lookman playing a key part in those tactics.
Those two both have pace and like to dribble with the ball, so it could mean Burnley’s right-sided players have to get through plenty of work. Matt Lowton is the likely right-back, while Josh Brownhill has been deputising on the right-wing of late.
I did a bit of digging and noticed quite a few opposition players, who line up on the right get through plenty of tackles. Take last weekend as an example, Chelsea’s Reece James made five tackles at right wing-back against Fulham.
Before that, there’s been Héctor Bellerín two, Nélson Semedo made a whopping 10, Jack Harrison five & Ezgjan Alioski four, João Cancelo seven, Neco Williams four, while Palace’s Andros Townsend made four with Joel Wade completing a couple as well.
That’s plenty of tackles made by opposition right-sided players. I’ve requested that Sky Bet price up Brownhill and Lowton tackles in the combined player tackles markets, so that’s something to keep an eye out for.
PokerStars go 11/10 on 3+ Matt Lowton tackles, while quite a few firms are 4/5 that Brownhill makes 2+ tackles.
Brownhill has hit that line 11 times this season, six of those in away games, including Liverpool, Brighton, Wolves, Arsenal and Spurs to name a few.
There are several games where he’s only completed one but has racked up the attempted tackles, so he’s a grafter that’ll put in a shift and give us a run for our money backing that two-plus line.
If you follow that train of thought, it leads to you the cards market. Brownhill has committed the second-most of any Burnley player this season (35), resulting in two cautions – he’s 13/2 for a card.
Referees have taken a dimmer view on Lowton’s fouling, picking up five cautions from 16 fouls. And considering he could be outdone for speed at times in this one, the cynical foul could be seen. He’s 9/2 with Bet365, something I very nearly put up in the below best bets.
For both of those players, it’s worth noting that Lookman is Fulham’s most fouled man (56) and a few more could be added to that tally. If you like a longshot, it’s 40/1 using the Bet365 bet builder that Lowton and Brownhill are both carded.
Fulham vs Burnley – 0-0 half-time score (9/5 Betfair)
Fulham vs Burnley – Josh Brownhill 2+ tackles (4/5 Pokerstars)