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Fulham welcome West Ham -- PL. Match Preview

last updated Tuesday 31st December 2013, 11:21 PM
Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen
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Rene Meulensteen
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This fixture is already a real relegation battle for me, and not just because the two clubs are in the bottom three right now.

Fulham have conceded 41 goals in the Premier League this season, nine more than any other club. Regardless of the 6-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of Hull last weekend, the Whites have been guilty of letting in far too many sloppy goals.

New Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen has beefed up his backroom staff with the appointments of Alan Curbishley as technical director and Ray Wilkins as assistant head coach.

Curbishley slowly built Charlton into a Premier League force and ultimately led them to a seventh-place finish, while Wilkins knows the division inside out.

Both men must work on tightening up that defence and help Meulensteen get to grips with matters at the wrong end of a Premier League table.

Fulham's new management trio will also be looking to get the best out of Dimitar Berbatov, who has missed the last three games, and help Darren Bent rediscover the form that made him one of the division's most lethal strikers. Berbatov and Bent are key to Fulham's survival hopes.

West Ham's goalscoring problems are well documented but just six away goals in nine games explains why they are struggling, and three of those came in one game.

No-one could have foreseen their terrible luck with defensive injuries but with problems now at both ends of the pitch it merely highlights their threadbare squad.

John Heitinga and Asamoah Gyan have been linked in recent days and the Hammers urgently need squad reinforcements.

I'm expecting there to be a lot of tension at Craven Cottage following the 6-0 defeat at Hull, a result even the Fulham players called unacceptable.

I believe it will be close, I don't think there will be many goals and it will be a dog-fight, maybe even right through until the end of the season for both clubs.

    Head-to-head



  • Fulham's 3-1 win over West Ham last January was only their second victory over the Hammers in 12 league and cup meetings at Craven Cottage since 1975 (W2, D3, L7).


  • Fulham did not manage a single shot on target against West Ham in November's reverse fixture at Upton Park, a 3-0 defeat.


  • Thirteen goals have been scored in the last three league fixtures between the two sides at Craven Cottage.



  • Fulham



  • Rene Meulensteen's men, beaten 6-0 at Hull on Saturday, have let in 15 goals in their last four league games.


  • Fulham would be 11th in the table if only results against clubs in the bottom half counted (W5, D1, L3).


  • The west London side have won all three matches when they have kept a clean sheet. However no club has kept fewer clean sheets than the Whites.


  • Fulham have conceded the first goal (14) more often than any other Premier League side this season.



  • West Ham



  • West Ham are winless in their last six league matches. Their only victory in the last 12 games was November's 3-0 victory over Fulham.


  • The Hammers have one point fewer (15) than they did at this stage of the 2010-11 season when they were last relegated from the Premier League.


  • West Ham have kept eight clean sheets this campaign, the joint-highest in the league along with Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham.


  • Carlton Cole has scored seven goals in his last nine league games against Fulham. He also managed to score an own goal in a 3-2 defeat for the Hammers in 2010.
























Source John Motson at BBCSports
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