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Fulham v West Brom - Match Preview

last updated Tuesday 18th February 2003, 5:39 PM
Fulham Manager Jean Tigana Fulham may not be facing the fixture pile-up that occasionally befalls those sides lucky enough to be playing regularly on the continent, but they are certainly racking up their fair share of unwanted midweek excursions.

Not only do they now face the prospect of a tricky FA Cup replay away to Burnley next week, they also have the matter of this Wednesday’s rearranged clash with struggling West Brom.

The Cottagers last faced the Baggies in London in a league fixture in April 2001 – a match that ended in stalemate despite Fulham’s excellent form throughout that promotion campaign.

Matches on Fulham’s ‘home’ turf have been notoriously tricky for West Brom; their last victory was back in 1967 since when there have been seven such ties. The visitors will be hoping the decampment to Loftus Road does them a few favours this week.

While Fulham having failed to win away in their last 10 outings, their home form is more impressive with consecutive victories against Middlesbrough and Aston Villa preceding this tie.

Prior to their last match on the road the Baggies’ away form was giving their travelling fans no end of sleepless nights, but a 2-1 win at Maine Road has put them right back into survival contention, making them hungrier still for a win in this crucial game in hand.

Source: planetfootball/4thegame



Stats
Latest League Table
Latest Form Table
Latest Squad Stats
Latest disciplinary Stats
Craven Cottage on
Loftus Road -
Premiership 19 Feb 03
Fulham WBA Div
Avg
Games Played 26 26 27
GOAL ATTEMPTS
Goals 28 20 34
Ave Goals Per Game 1.08 0.77 1.26
Shots (excluding blocked shots) 294 263 297
Ave Shots Per Game 11 10 11
Ave Shots on Target Per Game 5 4 5
% Shots On Target 44% 44% 43%
% Goals To Shots 10% 8% 11%
PASSING
Short Passes 7170 5063 6907
Long Passes 3235 2745 3226
Total Passes 10405 7808 10133
Ave Passes Per Game 400 300 375
% Overall Passes Completed 71% 65% 72%
Ave passes completed
per game
284 195 270
CROSSING
Total Crosses 561 499 625
Ave Crosses Per Game 22 19 23
Crosses Completed 27% 24% 25%
Ave cross completion
per game
6 5 6
DEFENDING
Goals Conceded 34 38 34
Ave Goals Conceded Per Game 1.31 1.46 1.26
Tackles 848 749 757
Ave Tackles Per Game 33 29 28
Tackles Won % 73% 70% 72%
Ave tackles completed
per game
24 20 20
Blocks, Clearances & Interceptions 1080 1361 1219
Ave Blocks, etc., Per Game 42 52 45
DISCIPLINE
Fouls 374 386 372
Ave Fouls Per Game 14 15 14
Yellow Cards 41 41 43
Fouls per yellow 9 9 9
Red Cards 5 4 3
stats from opta
 
Cipher's stats extract shows that The Baggies have scored even less goals than Fulham with just 9 goals in their 13 away fixtures. However they are producing a reasonable number of shots on goal and have the same accuracy rate, 44%, as Fulham. So they are able to threaten the opponents goal as Man City found recently when being beaten 2-1 at home by West Brom.

In the middle of the park Fulham should dominate with a higher number of passes and more accuracy. Fulham make more crosses and more tackles and is successful more often then the Baggies

The only area West Brom have a higher activity rate than Fulham is in blocking and intercepting. Surprisingly their foul rate is similar to Fulham's

If Wednesday's game was to be decided by football skill there would be little doubt that the Cottagers would win. However The Baggies like to be physical and press opposition players throughout the game so unless The Cottagers up for the game it is likely to be a bore draw.


Matchday Referee

Uriah Rennie - Sheffield
Ref RennieRennie wasn't the most popular of characters when he made his debut in the Premier League back in the 1999/00 season. His tendency to dish out cards and come up with unlikely decisions had some managers riled to say the least. But now the 42-year-old community liaison manager is back in the fold.

His return brought a swift intake of breath from some managers, but Rennie was regarded to have performed to such a good standard in the Football League in his year out that the Premier League included him in their list.

Rennie is now also a recognised FIFA official, and his biggest match to date came in 2001 when he took charge of the Division One play-off final between Bolton and Preston.

2002/2003
Ref Rennie has not reffed a Fulham game so far this season

2001/2002
English Premier Arsenal 4-1 Fulham 23-02-2002 1 0
Bookings: Goma (Fulham)

2000/2001
English Division 1 Fulham 2-1 Blackburn 15-10-2000 4 0
Bookings: Melville (Fulham) Berg , Hignett , Short (Blackburn)

2002/ 2003
stats
Mr. Rennie's score sheet Average Premiership Referee score sheet
Total Match Avg Total Match
Avg
Games 11 11
Fouls 336 30.55 312 27.95
Penalties 1 0.09 3 0.24
Yellows 23 2.09 35 3.18
Reds 3 0.27 2 0.19
Fouls per Yellow 14.61 8.8


Ref Rennie whistling less than last season but still more than average A potential problem is that he is dishing out 20% less cards this season and with Megson's tactics the game could boil up if the Ref does not have a firm hand on it.

Neil Clement(D), Andy Johnson(M) and Danny Dichio(A) all have 4 yellows and a close to a suspension while Sean Gregan(M) has 7 yellow cards.

Bjarne Goldbaek in fighting spirit


Baggies Boss Gary Megson believes three points in Albion's "vital" relegation clash with Fulham could prove to be the catalyst for their push for survival.

Megson's men currently sit third-from-bottom in the Premiership - four points behind Bolton - and victory over Jean Tigana's men will narrow that to just one and a further two behind Birmingham who are now fifth-bottom.

And Megson believes that three points, in what he describes as a vital game, could well give his side the needed incentive to be able to push on for survival.

"I have been saying for some time that every game is massive for us but this one is vital," said Megson. "Obviously a win would do us a power of good and lift everyone for our remaining fixtures."

Defeat against Fulham - who are four points ahead of Birmingham - would leave the Baggies deep in the relegation mire and without a game in hand so the importance of the fixture has not been lost on anyone at the club.

MATCH BETTING ODDS
Wednesday night's Premiership action comes from Loftus Road as Fulham entertain strugglers West Brom in an all important relegation clash. The Baggies are priced at 4/1 to win and close the gap on Bolton to one point, whilst the hosts are as short as 4/5 to claim the three points and move above Middlesborough in the league.

Fulham come into this game with rumours rife surrounding the future of their manager Jean Tigana. It`s been reported that the Frenchman is unhappy about the state of the clubs future, and this may force him to leave in the summer. However the former Monaco boss will be aware of the importance of this tie, and is likely to have his players well focused on the game.

The Londoners currently lay fifteenth in the table, but their home form this season has been relatively good. Tigana`s men have won seven at home in the league, and with midfielder Steve Malbranque in such fine form, the Cottagers will be confident of making that eight. The Frenchman has scored seven in his last five games.

Despite taking four points form their last two games, West Brom remain third bottom and go into this game knowing that a victory is paramount to their chances of survival. However, Gary Megsons side have only won two away from home all season and the leagues lowest scorers must face Fulham without leading marksman Jason Roberts, who serves the first of a three-match ban.

From a betting perspective there seems little value to be had in this game. West Brom look impossible to support at 4/1, whilst 4/5 offered about an inconsistent Fulham side that could only draw 1-1 with Burnley at the weekend, does not stand out either. The best option then seems to be a small wager on Malbranque to net first at 9/1. The influential midfielder can`t stop scoring and he also takes penalty kicks.

Source: Readabet

Best High Street price for a Fulham win is 4/5 with Corals while 83/100 is available at the Betfair exchange.
Betting odds Man City Draw Fulham
Coral 4/5 11/5 3/1
Hills 8/13 23/10 4/1
Ladbrokes 4/6 9/4 7/2
SuperSoccer 8/11 9/4 10/3
Stanley 8/11 9/4 10/3
Betfair 83/100 53/20 43/10
All prices subject to fluctuation(particularly Betfair).
 
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