West Ham United travel across London to Craven Cottage this Saturday evening to face Fulham, with Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers looking to win their fourth league game in a row. That run has taken the east London outfit to the brink of climbing into their top half of the Premier League table, with the Hammers now in 11th place, just a point behind Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The optimistic Hammers contrast with Fulham, though, who sit at the very bottom of the league table. Since Claudio Ranieri took over as manager in November, though, the Cottagers have managed to take four points from four games, which is an improvement on what went before. They will need to improve further, though, if they are to have any chance at all of avoiding relegation. Fulham have conceded 40 goals in their 16 Premier League games this season, more than any other team, so their defence looks set to be under some pressure.
Fulham vs West Ham Prediction: Fulham 1-1 West Ham
Our prediction for this game is that it will end in a 1-1 draw, which will probably frustrate Hammers gaffer Manuel Pellegrini. The Ranieri effect has improved the home side in recent weeks and they look like a team that is much harder to beat now. They still lack confidence, though, and it is unlikely that they will be able to beat West Ham, even though they are at home. We have a feeling that Fulham may go into an early lead, before the Hammers pull them back in the second half. Fulham may be hanging on for a point by the end.
Our recommended tip: 1-1
Our recommended betting tip for this game comes courtesy of William Hill. There, you can find odds of 5/1 for our prediction that the game will end in a 1-1 draw. Fulham have been improving under Ranieri, but probably lack the cutting edge to defeat the Hammers this weekend. We suspect that the home side will open the scoring in the first half of the game, and then concede and equaliser after half-time, possibly very late in the game. The odds of 5/1 look pretty tempting too.
The Cottagers have just completed a four-season spell outside of the top flight, so these teams have not met in the league for a while. In total, they have faced each other 20 times in the Premier League. The Cottagers have won four of those games, the Hammers 11, and there have been five draws. Fulham have won three of their last four Premier League matches against the Hammers at Craven Cottage. West Ham have won six times in the Premier League at Craven Cottage. The last meeting at Craven Cottage was in January 2014, and was won 2-1 by Fulham.
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Players to watch: Tom Cairney & Robert Snodgrass
Fulham captain Tom Cairney has not hit the heights yet this season. The Scotland midfielder was a key man in last season’s promotion campaign, and certainly has the potential to be a very fine Premier League player. His stats show his somewhat limited contributions so far this season, with the midfielder creating just two big chances in 2018/19, and providing just one assist. Saturday’s game could be when his season finally catches alight.
Another Scotland international who could be key to the outcome of Saturday’s game is West Ham attacking midfielder Robert Snodgrass. He netted his first goal of the season in last week’s 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace, and could become an important contributor to the Hammers’ campaign over the busy Christmas period. As well as his goal, he has also weighed in with three assists this season, and has created three big chances.