Fulham v West Ham
Saturday 06 February, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports Main Event
Fulham revival starting to fade
A couple of months ago, it seemed as though Fulham had got their act together after a shaky start, and were beginning to build momentum. Scott Parker’s side drew with Liverpool and Tottenham, and produced an impressive, deserved win at Leicester. However, the picture now looks a lot more bleak – Fulham are eight points adrift of safety, and they have gone 11 games without a victory. They are 1.364/11 in the Relegation market, and 5.39/2 in the Rock Bottom market.
Goalscoring has been a big issue all season. The Cottagers have netted just 17 goals in 21 top-flight matches, and midfielder Bobby De Cordova-Reid remains their top scorer with five goals.
Aleksandar Mitrovic, so often a hero for the club, has netted just twice. Ademola Lookman has produced some lively displays, but he’s only found the net three times at this level this term. Fulham’s transfer chief Tony Khan did a lot of work on the back door in the summer, and forgot to paint the front of the house. Parker admits his side will never lack effort, but they often fail to show their quality in the rarefied air of the Premier League.
Tom Cairney and Terence Kongolo are sidelined, while Nigerian striker Josh Maja hopes to get a chance to shine after arriving from Bordeaux.
Happy Hammers daring to dream
The smile on the face of Jesse Lingard encapsulated West Ham’s season. Like the East London club this term, Lingard defied expectations by bagging a brace on his debut, a man reminding critics of his quality. Lingard was the star man of a highly impressive 3-1 win at Aston Villa, and improbably, West Ham are still in contention for a Champions League spot. They are 8.88/1 in the Top 4 Finish market and 3.185/40 to finish in the top six.
Oft-derided manager David Moyes has found a way to harness the undoubted quality in his squad. Midfielder Tomas Soucek was always a capable goalscorer from midfield at Slavia Prague, but he has moved up a gear since arriving in England, with eight PL goals this term alone. Former Hull player Jarrod Bowen is getting better all the time, and late bloomer Michail Antonio is a handful for any opposition defence. Far from being the kind of dour and functional team that you might associate with Moyes, West Ham have blossomed as an attacking unit, scoring 13 goals in their last five games.
On-loan Manchester United midfielder Lingard is likely to keep his starting spot after his debut went so well, while left-back Arthur Masuaku is struggling with a knee problem.
Backing visitors is the smart bet
Scott Parker admits Fulham are struggling at both end of the pitch in key moments, and you can’t say that about West Ham right now. Moyes’ men have won five of their last six in the league, and their only failure in that spell was against a Liverpool side that clicked into top gear at the London Stadium. On the road, West Ham have won three in a row, and their opponents Everton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa are all superior to Fulham.
I know the Cottagers have made themselves harder to beat, but they have lost three of the last five, and have lost their last three at home.
I’ll back West Ham to win here at 2.1411/10.
Can Fulham blunt Hammers’ attack?
Fulham will try to dig in and keep the game tight, and it will be fascinating to see if they can. Just two of Fulham’s last 11 Premier League games have featured more than two goals, so you can understand why Under 2.5 Goals is the favourite here at 1.8910/11.
If you think West Ham will win, but there won’t be many goals, you could use the Sportsbook’s Same Game Multi (see offer below) to back West Ham to win and Under 3.5 Goals at 2.71.
Lingard to keep riding the wave?
Having reminded everyone of what he’s capable of, former England international Lingard is worth considering in the To Score market here at 3.55/2, with the ever-dangerous Soucek an even bigger price at 3.8514/5.