West Ham V Fulham - Opta Preview

West HamUpton Park Saturday 3rd November Fulham 10Games10  ATTACKING 12Goals scored10 1.20Ave goals per game1.00 36%Shooting Accuracy35% 10%Goals to shots %9%  PASSING 3485Passes4,688 74%Pass completion %79%  DEFENDING 72%Tackle success rate %72% 19%Goals conceded12 1.90Ave goals conceded per game1.20  DISCIPLINE 185Fouls154 20Yellow cards12 2Red cards1 8,631 Opta Index Score9,686
West Ham v Fulham

Oh the joys of being a Premiership manager. A mere two weeks ago the papers declared that Glenn Roeder's job was under severe threat following West Ham's consecutive away canings at the hands of Everton and Blackburn. And yet now, following three consecutive triumphs, our fickle friends in the media have declared that the club are back on the 'right Roed'.

Yet their excellent trio of results - including a fan-pleasing 2-1 home win over Chelsea - should not be allowed to paper over the cracks. Roeder himself will concede that there is still a long way for West Ham to go before they can be considered a quality outfit once again, although he was keen to praise his players after their excellent 3-2 win over Ipswich last weekend: "I was interested to see how the players reacted today at 1-1 as that was a test of character, but we came through it with flying colours."

Fulham may well have other matters on their mind this weekend - at least the backroom staff. The club have confirmed that, along with QPR's Loftus Road, Upton Park is one of two grounds they are considering sharing next season while their own Craven Cottage undergoes a much-needed revamp.

The players of course will be more keen to get to the task of putting the Hammers to the sword. The Cottagers' last visit to the Boleyn Ground saw the visitors pick up a 3-2 win, although with a current shooting accuracy of just 35% it will be something of a surprise if they force Shaka Hislop to pull the ball out of the back of his net three times this weekend.

In fact this match looks more likely to be settled by a single strike, if at all, as West Ham's own standard of accuracy has been just a single percentage point better than their guests'.

One of these two teams has managed to maintain a better-than-average pass completion rate so far this term. No prizes for guessing that Fulham are that team, as their 79% distribution success rate beats that of their East London rivals by a full five percentage points.

The midfield is almost certainly where this match will be won or lost. With West Ham's Don Hutchison on top form at the moment he is sure to be pulling most of the Hammers' strings in the centre, but he will face an in-form opponent this weekend in Steed Malbranque. The Frenchman put away both Fulham's goals in their 2-1 win over Southampton, and picked up Opta's award for the performance of the weekend.

This is a very tricky game to predict - whether West Ham can maintain their current form is a matter of some debate, while Fulham's inconsistency has had pundits across the land scratching their heads. Online bookmakers Hammers Bet are offering 11/2 on a 1-1 draw at Upton Park.

Chris Green Match referee: G. Barber

FIFA official Graham Barber recently took charge of a Champions League fixture in Moscow, so the raw wind swirling around the new East stand at Upton Park on Saturday should be not be a problem for Barber. He has awarded four penalties this season - more than any other this season.

Referee's Name  FoulsPenaltiesYellow CardsRed CardsAve Disc pointsG. Barber 218 4 24 3 45.71

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Match Result West HamevensDraw9/4Fulham9/4Correct Score West Ham 1-06/1West Ham 2-015/2West Ham 2-17/1West Ham 3-014/1West Ham 3-114/1West Ham 3-225/1West Ham 4-040/1West Ham 4-133/1West Ham 4-250/1West Ham 5-0100/1West Ham 5-1100/1Draw 0-08/1Draw 1-111/2Draw 2-214/1Draw 3-350/1Fulham 1-08/1Fulham 2-012/1Fulham 2-111/1Fulham 3-033/1Fulham 3-128/1Fulham 3-228/1Fulham 4-0100/1Fulham 4-1100/1Fulham 4-2100/1Fulham 5-0100/1Double Result West Ham/West Ham12/5West Ham/Draw16/1West Ham/Fulham33/1Draw/West Ham4/1Draw/Draw7/2Draw/Fulham6/1Fulham/West Ham25/1Fulham/Draw16/1Fulham/Fulham5/1

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