Roy Hodgson welcomes a club he guided to within a whisker of winning the Europa League just three years ago to the Hawthorns, looking to pry his current side West Brom from the relegation doldrums. Fulham seem to be a world away from the side which lost to Atletico Madrid and are the only outfit in the league yet to record a win.
The proverbial cow is likely to be sleeping easy come the final whistle as neither of these struggling sides are likely to hit his backside with a banjo any time soon. Indeed, they have amassed a paltry seven goals between them in ten outings. For the game to end goalless is 27/4, but there are positive signs.
The Cottagers may not have recorded a victory yet but recent form presents good omens. A come-from-behind draw against big spenders Manchester City was followed by a narrow loss to Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in the Carling Cup.
With that in mind Fulham could get their season underway and looking to get his name on the scoresheet again is Bobby Zamora, who is 6/1 to break the deadlock.
West Brom, meanwhile, have earned a reputation as the ultimate yo-yo club in recent years and have been going down only to spring back up more often than Cristiano Ronaldo. Impressively the Midlands club are the only side in Premier League history to have been bottom at Christmas and survived the drop. Despite a restrictive budget there is plenty of time to improve and they enjoy home advantage here.
Perhaps tellingly the Baggies are unbeaten in the last five meetings between these clubs at the Hawthorns, so backing top scorer Shane Long to give the Baggies the lead looks tempting at 11/2, especially considering they have only registered in the first half all term.
The hosts perhaps need to learn to pace themselves as they have yet to score after the break since May, so expect Martin Jol’s Fulham to be close until the end. Backing the Lilywhites’ towering Norwegian defender Brede Hangeland to have the final say, just as did the last time these two met, could be the best longshot of the weekend.
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