Can floundering Fulham halt West Ham's momentum?
All of a sudden – and somewhat covertly – West Ham are five points off 6th place. Their awful start to the season has quickly been forgotten, and Manuel Pellegrini has managed to get his highly talented squad playing some very nice football indeed.
Fulham are another football club with plenty of quality at their disposal, and Claudio Ranieri has the sizeable task of getting the best out of them – that starts by tightening them up at the back.
Thus far in the Ranieri era, Fulham have conceded nine in five matches; it’s early days for the new manager, but if he’s to keep the Cottagers in the Premier League, he may have to repeat the heroics of his Leicester predecessor Nigel Pearson.
It does look like the worst possible time to play West Ham, and that’s why I’m backing an away win. The Hammers have now won three league matches in-a-row – scoring three in each – with the likes of Felipe Anderson and Chicharito really starting to click into gear.
Their confidence looks sky high, they are playing with purpose and panache, and they already have away wins against Everton and Newcastle under their belts; Fulham’s time at the bottom of the Premier League will continue.
The injuries to Marko Arnautovic and Andriy Yarmolenko were seen as great losses for West Ham, but Pellegrini has utilised the attacking talent in his squad to maximum effect in order to compensate.
One key beneficiary has been Javier Hernandez, who has started West Ham’s last three matches, justifying his manager’s decision by scoring three goals in that time.
When you look at the goalscoring form the Hammers are in, and couple that with Fulham’s dreadful defence, goals must surely be on the menu.
I’m backing Chicharito to score at any time at a very generous 7/4.