Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday September 13 2013
Our second home game of the new Premier League season, sees us entertain West Bromwich Albion. With memories of our first home game, against Arsenal, ending in a comprehensive defeat, Fulham supporters will be hoping that Martin Jol`s side can take advantage of West Brom`s poor start to the season by grabbing the three valuable points on offer.
This fixture could see the return of Maarten Stekelenburg. The Dutch keeper, who injured a shoulder on his Fulham debut, could be set for a return.
However, the news is not so good with regards to Aaron Hughes and Kieran Richardson. Hughes, who withdrew from international duty with Northern Ireland, is struggling to get fit whilst Richardson, another injured on that first day of the season, is still sidelined.
It`s been a slow start to the season for the Bulgarian, hopefully he`ll explode into life this Saturday and provide the spark Fulham need to get a much needed win.
Steve Clarke, looking to get back to winning ways, could feature two of his new signings with Stephane Sessegnon and Morgan Amalfitano set to start.
But James Morrison, who has been struggling with a groin injury, is likely to miss out.
Another signing Victor Anichebe is also a doubt whilst West Brom`s top-scorer from last season, Romelu Lukaku, has long since returned to his parent club, Chelsea.
Up front, although Lukaku has departed, Steve Clarke has recruited the likes of Scott Sinclair and Nicolas Anelka to boost the Baggies firepower.
Surprisingly, with Romelu Lukaku having returned to Chelsea, West Brom decided that they could also do without the services of Shane Long with a move to Hull City suggested. That move broke down on transfer deadline day and now Steve Clarke has called upon the Irish striker to deliver the goods to prove he`s worth a place in the West Brom starting eleven. Is Long one to watch? Most definitely!
Fulham have a good record, at Craven Cottage, against West Bromwich Albion with or visitors never having won at Craven Cottage in the Premier League. Also, in all Premier League fixtures against West Brom, Fulham are uneaten in the last five, having won 3 and drawn 2. Unfortunately, Fulham enter this fixture on a poor run of Premier League form having lost 7 out of the last 9.
Looking at goals scored, Fulham have only hit the target twice this season but that looks respectable when you consider West Brom, in three games, have yet to hit the net and have had just four shots on target in the first three games.
The nominated officials are - Referee - L. Probert Assistant - G. Beswick Assistant - M. Scholes Fourth Official - L. Collins
Our position in the Premier League table is precarious to say the least. With three games played we`re hovering around the relegation pack. Now whilst accepting it is still very early days, my desire to be in that comfort zone mid-table gives is now paramount. West Brom will arrive believing they can get a result and Steve Clarke will have prepared his side well. But I reckon it`ll be our day, I`m going for 3-1
Our next match is the small matter of a local derby, next Saturday, against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
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Date:Friday September 13 2013
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