Fulham vs West Ham – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 8th April 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at West Ham’s visit to Craven Cottage. Surprisingly, West Ham have more points (12) in their last 10 PL games than Fulham (11). Do they have a chance? Read on with our Fulham vs West Ham prediction.
Fulham vs West Ham Match Preview
Following Fulham’s blank midweek and West Ham’s destruction by Newcastle, the two London clubs meet at Craven Cottage this Saturday afternoon. Fulham come into the game in as poor form as they have been all season. Indeed, the Cottagers have only picked up one point in twelve in their last four games (losing the previous three). Man Utd also defeated them at Old Trafford in that controversial FA Cup tie. They were the better side but had a moment of madness that cost them a penalty, and coach Marco Silva, Mitrovic, and Willian through sendings off. As a result, Fulham are experiencing their most testing period this season.
Fulham’s previous match was a 2-1 loss away at Bournemouth. They took the lead through Pereira in the 16th minute. However, second-half goals by Tavernier and Solanke got the Cherries a much-needed victory. Fulham will be disappointed by relinquishing this lead – but they are still in a good position in the league. Indeed, they are tenth with 39 points from 28 games and, therefore, safe. As one of the surprise packages this season (alongside Brighton and Brentford), Fulham would have taken this total for the end of the season, never mind now. However, they will not rest on their laurels and will try to attain as many points as possible between now and the end of the season.
West Ham make a short trip to West London with massive problems. Coach David Moyes is under fire as they have 27 points after 28 games – an average of less than one point per game. This is unacceptable, and with the squad he has to work with, Moyes could be doing better. Whether the players have downed tools remains to be seen. However, the 5-1 home destruction by Newcastle in midweek – where at least four goals were handed to the Magpies by the home side – does not bode well for confidence or Moyes’s job.
Indeed, West Ham’s problems are compounded by having only won three of their last 16 league games. Away from home, they have been awful, collecting only six points – joint-bottom of the away table with Nottingham Forest. They might be somewhat buoyed by the fact that only one team (Southampton) have conceded more goals at home than the twenty Fulham have this season. They are also undefeated in their previous eight games with Fulham. However, West Ham cannot rely on the weight of history to get a result here – they must work hard and add as much quality to their game as possible. If not, the likelihood of them being relegated increases.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Mitrovic, Duffy, Kebano, Kurzawa
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Scamacca
Fulham vs West Ham Lineups (Predicted)
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Leno; Robinson, Ream, Diop, Tete; Palhinha, Reed; Solomon, Pereira, Decordova-Reid; Vinicius
West Ham (4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3): Fabianski; Emerson, Aguerd, Zouma, Kehrer; Rice, Soucek; Benrahma, Paqueta, Bowen; Ings
Fulham vs West Ham Analysis
As stated, Fulham have lost their last three games. They have had a fantastic season and are safe from relegation. However, coach Marco Silva hopes they can get back on track against fellow London opposition. Predicting the game’s flow is tricky – neither of these sides are high possession or passing outfits. Indeed, both are in the bottom eight for possession stats, with Fulham having 47 per cent on average and West Ham at 43.5 per cent. Furthermore, Fulham are 14th for passes completed, and West Ham are 17th. Therefore, we anticipate a match where neither team has a monopoly in controlling the ball.
For Fulham, this means that Palhinha and Reed must get through their usual industry in midfield, working hard to close down Rice and Soucek. Indeed, the midfield battle should be interesting – these four players, plus Pereira and Paqueta (who will drop deep), are busy players who get through much graft and are good on the ball too. Both sides will try to make the play from midfield sometimes – though, as we stated, both prefer to be without the ball so they can launch their counter-attacks.
Generally, Fulham will likely take the game to West Ham more often as the home team. They must try to build from the back through Ream and Diop and work the ball through the centre of midfield and up the sides by getting it out to Robinson and Tete. Rice and Soucek were poor against Newcastle, and the under-pressure Moyes will be expecting a response from them. Whichever side takes more care of the ball in midfield could be vital in deciding this match, as might the pressing game – energy and the ability to get around the pitch and win the ball will play a big part in unleashing the forwards.
In attacking areas, both teams have some talent. Of course, Fulham have been dealt a blow with Mitrovic’s eight-game suspension for pushing the referee in the FA Cup tie at Old Trafford. This suspension is a problem for the Cottagers because the Serbian has been so central to how they play. His ability to hold the ball up, bring others into play and lead the line must be replicated by Vinicius, as must the ability to attack crosses in the box. Vinicius is a tall player good in the air and with his feet. Fulham deliver many crosses (ranked fourth this season with 559), so they’ll be hoping that Solomon, Decordova-Reid, Willian, Wilson and James can use their pace, trickery and passing ability to get the ball in the box.
These Fulham wingers are also technically gifted and will try to attack the West Ham full-backs when possible. They’re good at cutting inside and getting shots off. Solomon is a particular threat to West Ham with his unpredictability. West Ham have their own dangers with Bowen, Benrahama, Lanzini, Fornals and Cornet. They’ll hope these players can attack Robinson and Tete and cut inside to shoot on goal or deliver crosses for Ings or Antonio to attack.
Indeed, West Ham are the league’s top crossers, so balls being delivered from wide areas and set pieces will be a prevalent weapon for both teams in this match. We see a scrappy, intense, honest game here, with both teams playing directly and using their pace on the break and the athleticism of their full-backs to create attacks and win free kicks high up the pitch (or corners). This game may be agricultural, but both sides have enough creativity in attacking positions to win it from a moment of magic. The goalkeepers, Leno and Fabianski, must be on their toes for the entire match.
West Ham have had a tough season and are clearly relegation candidates. Please make no mistake; this match is a must-win for them. If they lose, then Moyes will likely be sacked. A few weeks ago, we would have been confidently predicting Fulham. However, they have entered their own minor slump, and this game is more challenging to call now. Much will depend on if Fulham can find their form from several weeks ago.
Indeed, Fulham’s last victory was a 1-0 win at Brighton in February. Hence, we are certainly not that confident in predicting them. Yet, at the same time, West Ham are in a dreadful state and under much strain and pressure. Moyes is simply not getting the best out of his players, and they are on a downward trajectory. In our estimation, Silva is a better tactician than Moyes and better at responding to in-game situations.
Therefore, we are going to predict a narrow Fulham win. Despite Fulham’s recent struggles and head-to-heads favouring West Ham, Fulham have enough credit in the bank this season for us to back them at home against a struggling team with only 27 points. They have fresher legs, too. However, we add the caveat that a draw would not surprise us.
Fulham 2-1 West Ham
Fulham vs West Ham Betting Tip – Fulham Odds:
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