31st August 2012
With both West Ham and Fulham enjoying a promising start to the Premier League campaign and this being a local derby, the match at Boleyn Ground was always going to deliver us premium excitement, but the transfer deadline dealings by the two clubs have added an extra twist to the plot.
Boosted by the heavy summer recruitment, West Ham enjoyed a good start to the Premiership campaign, beating struggling Aston Villa at home, but the Hammers then succumbed to a very disappointing defeat at Liberty Stadium. Even if not too many people expected the Hammers to beat Swansea away from home, Sam Allardyce was given a great excuse for some hairdryer treatment after Jussi Jaaskelainen and James Collins gifted their opponents the first two goals. The fact the mistakes have come from the most experienced players in the side is definitely a reason to worry, and Big Sam can only hope these will prove to be one off incidents. The Hammers did receive some good news this week as England international Andy Carroll agreed to join the club on a season-long loan, and the towering striker could slot straight into the starting line-up for this match. Mark Noble and Carlton Cole will start if they don’t leave the club on transfer deadline day, but Jack Collison remains sidelined.
Fulham started the season with a bang, having recorded a 5-0 home win over Norwich, with new signing Mladen Petric scoring a brace on his debut. The Cottagers then produced a decent showing at Old Trafford against Manchester United, but had to settle for a 3-2 defeat despite taking the lead through Damien Duff. While some of the fans must have been pretty disappointed by the Capital One Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday that ensued, the club chiefs did well to improve their spirits having beaten the likes of Fiorentina and Juventus to the signature of Dimitar Berbatov. Boss Martin Jol was quick to point out that the Bulgarian was without a doubt the best signing in club’s long history, so I guess that means the former Manchester United striker will start against West Ham. Meanwhile, Moussa Dembele has moved to Tottenham, leaving the side desperately short of creative midfielders. Clint Dempsey again looks set to miss out, while Kerim Frei and Philippe Senderos are both sidelined through injury.
Late signings Matt Jarvis and Andy Carroll are expected to improve West Ham’s attacking department, while Fulham should look much better with Dimitar Berbatov and Mladen Petric up front. With both sides boasting pretty shaky defences, over 2.5 goals looks like a good choice here.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 1/1