Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday January 17 2009
Fulham make the relatively short journey across London tomorrow to face West Ham United. It`s an intriguing fixture with Fulham keen to capitalise on the off-pitch disharmony currently affecting the East London club. Whilst West Ham, on the field are doing okay, behind the scenes they appear to be a troubled club. Could Upton Park become the scene of our first Premier League away win this season?
If Fulham are going to achieve that first Premier League away win of the season then they`ll need to reverse a trend that has seen them lose their last three games against the East London side.
Therefore, in those circumstances, perhaps Roy Hodgson is right when he remarks that a 0-0 draw might be perceived as a good result when he comments,
'We'd take a goalless draw again (after drawing our last four away from home 0-0)."
'West Ham are doing well and we've lost our last three games against them, but in each of them we've been on a par with them, or even slightly better."
'Hopefully this time the gods will be kinder on us when it comes to refereeing decisions.'
Nice little dig at the end there Roy!
According to the tabloids this morning, one player who will not be facing us is Craig Bellamy with the Welshman, reportedly, having gone on some kind of strike.
Elsewhere in the squad, Gianfranco Zola has no further injury worries with the possibility that the much missed Kieron Dyer could continue his return to match fitness by occupying one of the places on the bench.
Zola will choose from the following squad -
Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble, Collison, Cole, Di Michele, Stech, Faubert, Tristan, Tomkins, Mullins, Dyer, Bellamy, Boa Morte.
The midfield is sure to be a competitive area and Scott Parker will be looking to make his mark especially with Manchester City, and all their money, lurking on the horizon.
Roy Hodgson takes his side to Upton Park without the midfield talents of Jimmy Bullard. Our influential midfield player is struggling to shake off a hip injury and has only just returned to training. Otherwise, Roy has a full squad to choose from and we seem no reason to suggest he`ll veer away from his favoured, in recent weeks, starting eleven of:-
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Bullard, Etuhu, Dempsey, Johnson and Zamora.
The game will, off course, see the return to Upton Park of ex-Hammers players, John Pantsil, Bobby Zamora and Paul Konchesky.
Bobby has suffered from a bit if a goal drought in recent weeks and what better place to kick-start your scoring prowess than in front of your former crowd.
Encounters between the two teams, at Upton Park, in the Premier League, currently stand at West Ham - 2 wins, Fulham 1 win and Draws 2. A win would make the figures kind of symmetrical wouldn`t it?
But, if we look at the figures in al League fixtures between the two sides we trail dramatically with West Ham having 20 wins, Fulham having 8 wins and 8 games having been drawn.
Phil Dowd will be the man in the middle.
For one thing it`ll be an entertaining game. Both clubs like to pass the ball around and the watching armchair spectators, on Sky Sports, could be in for an early afternoon treat. We`re not sure it`ll be a goal feast but we have this feeling that the least we`ll come away from Upton Park with is another draw. Let`s hope though, for the sake of the watching public, it`s not a fifth 0-0 draw on the trot away from home in the Premier League.
Our next fixture in the Premier League, in ten days time, sees us make the long midweek trip to Sunderland. Before then we visit Rockingham Road, next Saturday, to face Kettering Town in the 4th round of the FA Cup.
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Date:Saturday January 17 2009
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