Marco Silva has rotated his squad for the FA Cup games this season against Hull and Sunderland (twice) and I would expect that he will rotate his players again tonight.
It is expected that Mitrovic will play after he missed the past few games with injury, while key defensive midfielder Joao Paulinho will play as he faced a two game ban for reaching 10 yellow cards.
Fulham conceded 17 shots on goal per game home and away to Sunderland in their rotated team. This is higher than what they have conceded in the Premier League this season at 13.35 shots per game. They would have been expected to concede 46 goals from those shots, averaged 1.84 goals per game, but have been substantially overperforming with only 25 conceded, a rate of 1.24. Looking at their goals scored to expected, that is similar.
They have also only conceded five in their last ten Premier League games, and only two against Man City and Man United in the games before that. In fact, they only conceded three goals twice, in a 3-1 loss to West Ham and a 4-1 loss to Newcastle. However, they have been really “riding their luck” in the past few games, particularly against Brighton, and so there can be value in Leeds today to score four and win.
Leeds have a new manager who has only been in place one week, overseeing a 1-0 win over Southampton at the weekend. This will have been a big boost to the confidence of the team and to his new managerial reign. Having an FA Cup game to play will also mean it is less stressful and tense for Leeds compared to the league games where they have recently fallen into the relegation zone. So they likely will play with a bit more energy.
Leeds scored five goals away to Cardiff in the third round and three goals away to Accrington Stanley in the fourth round, so they should be feeling good about this game too.
Gracia is known to like to get defence solid first before working on the attack, but in this game he will have a bit more flexibility to try something with attack and will likely tell his forwards that this is their chance to impress.
Leeds have also been under-performing their xG in the league this season, by 2.5 goals, and have conceded more more than they would be expected too. In some of their bigger games against the top six they have also put in strong performances. This game however doesn’t really fall into that category but it is an important game in the eyes of the manager and he will be keen to win and build confidence in the squad and his methods.
Leeds Score 4 and Win, 30.0, €20
Leeds to win 4-1, 100.0, €4
Leeds to win 2-0 at HT, 22.0, €4
Remaining Bank: €112