Fulham aiming to stay above the relegation zone facing The Hammers after picking up their first win
West Ham to win 2-1
A win for Fulham last weekend will have eased some of the immense pressure sitting on manager Scott Parker’s shoulders.
With the league so tightly packed at present, one win can shoot you several places upwards, as The Cottagers enjoyed last weekend. He will be under no illusions, however, that this represents a turnaround just yet.
Winning against West Brom, one of their fellow strugglers down at the bottom, is a positive, but plenty more results against teams around them will be needed to ensure survival this season.
West Ham are themselves without a win in their past three matches, picking up two draws and a defeat since beating Leicester at the start of October.
Their two draws came against Spurs and Manchester City, while they also impressed against Liverpool despite losing 2-1, so David Moyes will not be too disheartened at the moment.
It’s an all-London clash and set to be an interesting affair.
Form Guide (all comps): LWDDL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Said Benrahma is in contention to start his first match
Will take confidence from positive results against top teams
Reasons to be fearful:
Michail Antonio remains injured, as well as Captain Mark Noble
Keeping clean sheets under David Moyes has been problematic
Unfortunately for West Ham, Michail Antonio is such a huge miss for them in front of goal.
The stats show that The Hammers find winning games without Antonio a much harder prospect than when he is fit and firing – only one win from their previous 12 matches without him.
On the positive side, exciting forward Said Benrahma, recently signed from Championship side Brentford, could come into the line-up for his first start. He has all the qualities to star in the Premier League.
The Hammers must learn how to hold onto winning positions better than they have been doing since manager Moyes took charge. They’ve dropped a league-high 16 points from winning positions in that time.
Against Fulham, they should fancy their chances of three points.
Star Man – Said Benrahma
Can become a star in the Premier League. Scored 2 goals in 3 games for Brentford before signing for West Ham
Form Guide (all comps): LLDLW
Reasons to be cheerful
Four points from last three matches shows improvement
Star striker Mitrovic looks in better form recently
Reasons to be fearful
Terrible run of fixtures coming up
No clean sheets in last 15 meetings with West Ham
A return of four points from their last three matches represents improvement from Fulham, who had to wait five matches to get anything on the board in the first place.
They must not get too far ahead of themselves, however. These points have been gained against teams fighting for survival alongside them, Sheffield United and West Brom – two teams in dire form.
West Ham represent their best chance of gaining more points for some time – after this match their next four matches are: Everton, Leicester, Manchester City and Liverpool. They would be hard-pressed to gain anything from those tough fixtures.
Still, by beating West Brom with a clean sheet last weekend, this should at least give them confidence coming into this all-London clash and they may be able to cause The Hammers a problem or two.
Star Man – Aleksandar Mitrovic
Looking to end a run of five games without a goal, though he provided both assists last weekend
West Ham have the quality to bounce back from defeat
Said Benrahma to either score or assist
Mitrovic could finally get on the scoresheet
Despite Fulham’s confidence-boosting win last time around, it’s difficult not to see West Ham picking up all three points here.
Even without the vital Michail Antonio, in Sebastian Haller and new signing Said Benrahma, not to mention a support act with the likes of Fornals, Bowen and Soucek, West Ham have the quality to beat Fulham.
It would not be a surprise to see Mitrovic finally break his goalscoring drought, but it’s unlikely to be enough here.
West Ham to win 2-1