On 23rd April 2022, the game of the matchday sees the second-placed Bournemouth host the league leaders Fulham in the EFL Championship. The last time these two teams met back in December 2021, Fulham rescued a late 1-1 draw at the Craven Cottage after being a goal down early in the second half. Coming into this fixture, Bournemouth won 3-0 away at Coventry City, and Fulham clinched automatic promotion after a 3-0 home win against Preston.
Bournemouth are coming into this game on the back off a 3-0 away win at Coventry City. In that match, Dominic Solanke netted a brace and Jamal Lowe scored the other goal. This victory leaves Bournemouth with a record of 22 wins, 11 draws, and eight losses. The Cherries have been the best performing team at the back in this EFL Championship season, having conceded only 35 goals. What is even more impressive is that they were expected to ship 43 goals, according to xGA. So, Bournemouth have let in eight goals fewer than expected.
Seen above is the shot map of Bournemouth this season, excluding penalties. For the most part, the Cherries have been accurate in front of the goal, missing fewer big chances with an xG of 0.4 or more than most other teams in this season’s EFL Championship. It is not surprising to see Dominic Solanke lead the scoring charts for Bournemouth this season. However, what is slightly surprising is that no other Cherries player has hit double figures this season. But two players, Philip Billing and Jaidon Anthony, are joint-second, with eight to their name.
Jaidon Anthony is Bournemouth’s leading threat creator this season from both set-pieces as well as open play. Compared to some of the other top players in the league, Jaidon is not creating much. But the finishing ability of Solanke this season means Bournemouth have been very efficient in taking goalscoring chances this campaign.
Fulham come into this match having already sealed automatic promotion after a 3-0 home win against Preston North End. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his 39th and 40th goals of the campaign, and Fabio Carvalho netted the other goal. This victory leaves Fulham with 26 wins, eight draws, and losses each to their name and a goal difference of +61. Mitrovic’s performances this season have seen Fulham outperform their xG output of 89.52 goals by netting 98 times. Fulham can only hope the Serbian can replicate these kinds of performances next season in the Premier League.
Fulham have been the best team in the league by far, being top or near top in every important category, including goals scored per 90, xG per 90, xGA per 90, assists per 90, xA per 90, and key passes per 90, to name a few. While it would be difficult to replicate these in the Premier League next season, Fulham should have more than enough to survive in the division.
Should Fulham win this encounter, they will not only dent the Cherries’ promotion hopes, but they also will clinch the title. Bournemouth, on the other hand, will look to spoil the promotion party of the Cottagers by looking to win this clash.