The Hammers entertain Fulham this weekend in the early Premier League kick-off as each side looks to build on an average start to the campaign.
Fulham will certainly want to earn a good result after suffering a hugely disappointing defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in their midweek fixture in the League Cup, despite fielding a strong side, including the likes of first team regulars Brede Hangeland and Damien Duff.
After their superb opening day 5-0 win over Norwich, the West London club were expected to be brought swiftly back down to earth at Old Trafford last week. However, despite suffering defeat, their efforts and approach to the game were greatly applauded in all quarters. Their goal tally of seven after two games too deserves plaudits, a number only bettered by Chelsea and Swansea.
That they have enjoyed such a good goalscoring start is all the more impressive considering the absenteeism of last season’s top scorer Clint Dempsey, who appears to be on strike as he agitates for a move away from the club. This week has too seen the departure of cultured midfielder Moussa Dembele to Tottenham, who was by far the most talented player of the squad. Both will leave vast holes to fill in the midfield area.
Unlike Fulham, West Ham secured a win in their midweek fixture, as Sam Allardyce made ten changes from the side which were defeated by Swansea last weekend. The game certainly demonstrated the depth the manager has available to him as new signing Modibo Maiga as well as experienced top flight players such as Alou Diarra and Matt Taylor came into the side. Maiga notched his first goal for the club in what was a very competent display from the Kenyan.
Last weekend’s loss was plagued by individual errors – two of which directly led to the opening goals. The side too seemed to lack any inventiveness and conviction in the final third in what was a fair result. The performance of new signing Matt Jarvis was a positive however, and he certainly looked like he will cause trouble for defences throughout this season.
With both sides in indifferent form recently, a draw seems to be the most likely outcome – Bet Victor (get a free £25 bet here) are offering 3.4/1 for such an outcome. The home side seem to be slightly favoured for the win with Blue Square (free £25 bet here) having them at 2.62/1 compared to Bet Victor's 2.9/1.
Damien Duff has opened the scoring in both of Fulham’s fixtures so far and he can be found at 17/1 with 888Sport to score first and complete his hatrick. Kevin Nolan, the home sides most likely source of goals, is at 10/1 with Boylesports to score first.