It’s a return to the London Stadium for David Moyes’ West Ham this weekend, as they host struggling Fulham in the last game before yet another international break.
The Hammers have emerged from a ridiculously tough run of fixture with a credible eight points, earning wins over Wolves and Leicester and largely unexpected points against Tottenham and Manchester City.
Fulham’s return to the Premier League has been anything but enjoyable, but Scott Parker did manage to register his first win as a top flight boss last time out; overcoming the equally hopeless West Brom 2-0 at Craven Cottage.
Here’s 90min‘s preview of the game.
When Is Kick Off? Saturday 7 November
What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? London Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport Box Office (UK)
Referee: Robert Jones
West Ham are again without top scorer Michail Antonio, with his pesky hamstring injury ruling him out of a second consecutive game.
Sebastien Haller was tasked with replacing him against Liverpool, and although the Ivorian turned in an abject performance against the champions, he should get another opportunity. If Moyes goes in another direction, Andriy Yarmolenko could start and Jarrod Bowen could be pushed through the middle.
Said Benrahma is fit and in contention, but Pablo Fornals’ good form – resulting in a Premier League Player of the Month nomination – should see him take up residency on the bench.
Fulham’s only doubt is Mario Lemina, with Parker acknowledging in his pre-match press conference that it’s ‘touch and go’ whether the former Southampton midfielder will be available.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is short of match fitness and may have to settle for a place on the bench, but Harrison Reed could reclaim a starting berth.
West Ham: Fabianski, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Coufal, Masuaku, Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Fornals, Haller
Fulham: Areola, Aina, Adarabioyo, Andersen, Robinson; Zambo Anguissa, Reed, Cairney; Decordova-Reid, Mitrovic, Lookman.
West Ham’s opening day defeat against Newcastle does feel like an awfully long time ago, and not just because it took place in mid-September.
The Hammers have come on leaps and bounds after changing shape to accommodate three central defenders, with a new found sturdiness and stability helping fashion some impressive results.
Defeat against Liverpool last time out was harsh, but creditable points have been taken at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as well as at home to Manchester City – who usually crush the Hammers if given the opportunity.
Scott Parker’s side have been keen to stick to their footballing identity, despite the step up in class, and they’ve often paid the price for being too open.
Fulham have haemorrhaged 14 goals in their seven Premier League games, but did keep a clean sheet against West Brom last weekend. They’ve only scored six times and are yet to win this season, however, so perhaps don’t read too much into that.
Here’s how they’ve both performed in their last five.
With West Ham’s tough run of results out of the way, the hosts may feel like this is a game they can attack with a bit of verve and intent.
Likewise, Fulham may feel this is a game that can yield some hard-to-come-by points on the road, and Aleksandar Mitrovic will fancy his chances of disrupting West Ham’s occasionally flaky backline.
Despite Antonio’s absence up front, West Ham should have enough about them to get three points, cutting open a Cottagers defence who struggle to keep things tight at the back.
p data-id=”_1aqhw7nof”>Prediction: West Ham 3-1 Fulham
Send your news and stories to us firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and WhatsApp: +447747873668.
Before you go...
Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.