Fixture News

Albion Analytics preview: Fulham

A full statistical analysis ahead of tonight's match against the Cottagers.

By Liam Tharme • 16 December 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Solly March statistically delivers higher performances in December than in any other month.

Albion Analytics' Liam Tharme gives us the stats rundown ahead of tonight's game against Fulham.

For more Albion related statistics, check out @AlbionAnalytics on Twitter.

Brighton travel to Craven Cottage seeking their first ever Premier League win on a Wednesday, having drawn four and lost four of their eight previous games on this day.

It bodes well that Graham Potter is faced with a fixture that Brighton have lost just once since the turn of the Millennium. Across the Albion's last four trips to Fulham, they have come away with maximum points on all bar one occasion.

Including home games, the Seagulls are unbeaten in six of their last seven games against the Whites, having won five consecutive fixtures when both sides were in the Championship.

Lewis Dunk's header earned Albion all three points at Craven Cottage in January 2017.

Two goals in 72 second-half seconds saw the Seagulls run out winners back in January 2017, the last time they won this very fixture. That turn-around was a repeat of the pattern that season, with Brighton recovering 14 points from losing situations in total.

Last season Albion recovered over a quarter of their points – 12/41 – from losing positions, with Graham Potter's men salvaging a point against Crystal Palace and at home to Liverpool through injury-time goals this season.

But Albion were on the wrong end of a comeback the last time this fixture played. Fulham ran out winners in January 2019 despite Brighton scoring twice in the opening 17 minutes. Pascal Gross assisted Glenn Murray for Brighton's second that night, with the German recording four shot-creating actions, 30 pressures and four blocks in the 76 minutes he featured. Under Potter, seven of the midfielder's eight assists have come away from home.

Collectively, Brighton have found greater success on the road, winning 18 of their 28 points in 2020 in away games. Sunday's loss at Leicester was the first time Brighton had failed to score in nine away matches, since they drew 0-0 at the King Power in the second game after the season resumed in June.  

Such strong away form bodes well for Wednesday, given Fulham have conceded the most home goals of any side in the division (12), kept just one clean sheet and have lost four of their six games at the Cottage. Goals do seem to be guaranteed in this fixture, with Brighton netting at least twice in their last seven consecutive games against Wednesday's hosts.

That said, just 2.58 goals are averaged in a Premier League Wednesday night game, the lowest goals-per-game average for any day of the week. Fulham were an impressive midweek team last season too. They were unbeaten in 12 of the 14 fixtures played on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and won four of their five home midweek matches.

Lewis Dunk has been an outstanding performer this campaign for Albion.

Lewis Dunk headed in the winner last time Albion won at Fulham, with the captain victorious against the Whites on four occasions, his most wins against any current Premier League side except Leeds. Seven of Dunk's 11 Premier League goal involvements have come against London-based opponents including Watford. So far this season, Dunk averages per match 53.6 completed passes, 9.3 of which are long passes, 3.7 clearances and 12 ball recoveries. No Brighton player betters Dunk in any of those metrics.

Dan Burn started alongside Dunk at Leicester, the first time the two have played together since the trip to Crystal Palace in October. Burn played 69 times for Fulham after joining from Darlington, including nine appearances in the Premier League.

Ranked against all Brighton players last season, Burn won the most aerial duels (137), completed the most passes under pressure (344), successfully pressed the second most (164 times) and won the second most tackles in the defensive third (34).

Such defensive diligence may be important for Brighton on Wednesday, considering the threat Aleksander Mitrovic poses. He has netted three times and assisted once in two Premier League appearances against Brighton. An aerially dominant striker, in Fulham's last full Premier League campaign (2018/19) he ranked joint-top for headed goals (6).

The Serbian has enjoyed no such scoring form so far this season. He has scored just one non-penalty goal and has not scored for his club since September.

Ademola Lookman has recorded the joint-most goal involvements (4) of any Fulham player this season, alongside Mitrovic and Bobby Reid, with Reid scoring in his last 3 games at the Cottage – the first Fulham player to do so since Dimitar Berbatov in 2013.

Lookman's 30 shot-creating actions, 51 successful pressures, 36 touches in the opposition box and 30 completed dribbles are outputs which sit among the top two for Fulham players in each metric. His four nutmegs are a total only two players in the league have managed to better.

The 23-year-old came off the bench for Everton in their 3-1 Goodison Park victory over Albion back in 2018, and the Wandsworth-born winger has netted against Brighton before. He opened the scoring for Charlton at the Amex in December 2015, when three second-half Albion goals enough to secure a memorable 3-2 comeback win.

Solly March has been a creative outlet for Albion this season.

Solly March seems to particularly enjoy December, recording four goal involvements in this month during his time at the Albion – more than in any other month. March has scored at the Cottage before, sliding home late on to seal a 2-0 victory in December 2014.

On his last trip to Fulham in January 2019, March attempted eight crosses and completed all three of the dribbles he attempted, a feat he did not manage in any other game that season. This season the 26-year-old ranks top among Brighton players for crosses attempted per game (3.9) while his three dribbles leading to shots is a figure no Albion player has bettered.

Danny Welbeck has recorded five consecutive Premier League wins against the Whites and the 30-year-old has already been directly involved in 22 shots during his time in the blue and white, involved in the creation of 12 and shooting on 10 occasions.

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