Joining news.bwin.com/en/ editor Chris Bryant to shout the odds are Andrew Roach, who will put argue in favour of West Brom, with Francis Brian fighting Fulham’s corner. You can read a full betting preview of the match here.
CB: Neither side has had a great start to the season, so who will get the win?
AR: West Brom may have had a difficult start to the season but write them off at your peril. But the Baggies have beaten Fulham the last two times at the Hawthorns so it’s not a happy hunting ground for the Cottagers. Add in the fact that Fulham haven’t picked up a single point away from home this season and you can see why WBA would be a great choice to back at 5/4 over a draw, which is valued at 11/5.
FB: West Brom have endured their worst ever start in the Premier League, a fact which the Cottagers are primed to take advantage of this weekend. The Baggies’ generosity has recently been cashed in by the otherwise goalless Swansea and Fulham are likely to profit from this abysmal defending by securing a win at 11/5. The continued absence of West Brom defender Gabriel Tamas could be the deciding factor which secures an away victory. The Cottagers are ready to break the jinx which has prevented any visiting team from winning this fixture in ten previous attempts.
CB: Who are you tipping to get on the scoresheet in this one?
AR: The Baggies have two strong strikers in Peter Odemwingie and Shane Long and they can both have an impact. Long is still new to the Premier League this season he’s had a strong start with two goals. Odemwingie netted the winner against Norwich a couple of weeks ago and whilst this may be his only goal of the season so far, the Nigerian hitman scored 15 Premier League goals last season so he is always going to be a dangerous threat. Both strikers are valued at 3/2 to score at any time and I reckon it’s worth backing either of them to do it.
FB: Bobby Zamora is trying desperately to work his way into England’s Euro 2012 plans. The Cottagers’ target man deserves Fabio Capello’s attention, and is at 17/10 to mark another eye-catching display by striking at any time against Roy Hodgson’s strugglers. Clint Dempsey is also worth considering at 7/1 to score first, having recorded more Premier League goals for Fulham than any other player. Fulham are expected to enjoy the lion’s share of attacking play, as skipper Danny Murphy has created the most goalscoring opportunities in the top flight this campaign. In contrast, a goal for West Brom is doubtful, as the Baggies’ have only hit the net with 6% of their shots so far.
CB: Interesting stuff. Anything else which is taking your fancy?
AR: While WBA have the home advantage, they haven’t been the most prolific goalscoring team in the league this season, scoring a maximum of one goal a game. The Baggies have also beaten Fulham by one goal in the last two games played between the two at The Hawthorns so it wouldn’t surprise me to see this carry on. With the odds at 5/4 of one team winning by one goal, I think it would be a safe bet to pick WBA to achieve this feat.
FB: Although Fulham have only netted twice in five Premier League games at The Hawthorns, West Brom are currently vulnerable and haemorrhaging goals. Therefore, Martin Jol will be looking to build on his team’s spirited fight back against Manchester City and impenetrable defensive display at Stamford Bridge in midweek. These positive back-to-back performances versus exceptional opposition make a 1-0 away victory this weekend look tempting at 8/1. However, Fulham are yet to erase all of the mistakes in their back line. These minor lapses in concentration may point towards a tense 2-1 win for Fulham, which is priced at 10/1.
CB: So you both think there will be goals in this one?
FB: Well, let’s face it, West Brom have only managed a single clean sheet in the last 20 Premier League games at The Hawthorns. However, The Cottagers’ precarious league position may encourage them to consolidate a lead if it comes their way. This cautious approach could see Fulham claim the points with an overall goal count less than 2.5, which is available at 7/10.
AR: Yes, there should be goals. I can see this match being an even contest but I think the home advantage should give WBA the edge and they will likely grab a couple of goals, considering the attacking threats of Long and Odemwingie, combined with the creative force of players such as Chris Brunt and Graham Dorrans. As Francis said, WBA have only kept one clean sheet all season so Fulham might sneak a goal but the hosts should just about see them off. A 2-1 win to The Baggies would be my preferred bet at 31/4.
CB: Brilliant. Thank you both very much for your observations.
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