Fulham look to kickstart survival bid at London Stadium


When West Ham United met with Fulham in December they won 2-0. If Fulham are to spark a survival bid, then they must not replicate the result from a couple of months ago

The Hammers have been enduring a frustrating period Manuel Pellegrini, they haven’t won in any of their last five matches, though have drawn twice in as many games – 1-1 against Crystal Palace and Liverpool.

Claudio Ranieri’s men have suffered similar fate having lost all but one of their last six. They have lost 2-1 when playing Tottenham, Burnley and Oldham Athletic – who dumped them out the FA Cup. The other losses were against Crystal Palace and Manchester United. Although before that they beat Brighton & Hove Albion 4-2 after an incredible comeback.

West Ham sit tenth in the Premier League as they look to finish in the top half of the table for the first time since the 2015-2016 season. Fulham are second from bottom, eight points from safety, battling to prevent a return back to the Championship.

Pellegrini refused to overlook the struggling side however. Speaking in his pre match press conference he said:

“I think Friday’s London derby with Fulham is a tricky game. It’s a team that must fight from now until the end of the season not to be relegated,” said the Chilean.

“It’s a team that brought a lot of good players this season and has a good manager.

“So, if we don’t really do a very good game as we did against Liverpool and in the first 45 minutes against Crystal Palace, it will not be easy for our team to win the three points just because we are playing at home, so we need to be concentrated, have good pace from the beginning until the end of the game and try to give a good performance.”

Ranieri knows the importance of their upcoming clash and called for his team to show a fighting spirit:

“We have to fight, every match is important in the fight for survival. It is difficult because they have very good players.

“They are safe and for us it is important to show our strength and I want to see my players make their destiny.

“We need to defend together. In the first match against West Ham we played very well but they scored on the counter attack two times.”

Ryan Fredericks could get the opportunity to feature against his former side, he played 114 matches for the Craven Cottage faithful during a three-year spell. He’d become their first choice right-back before he decided he would leave to join rivals West Ham on a free transfer at the start of this season.

Since joining West Ham, Fredericks has suffered from injury and upon his return to the fold had to battle with veteran Pablo Zabaleta for the first team place. Meaning the full back has been restricted to featuring just nine times for the Irons.

Pellegrini could welcome as many as three important attacking players back into his plans. Most importantly, Marko Arnautovic has been cleared to play after his substitute appearance against Crystal Palace. Both Samir Nasri and Manuel Lanzini are the other two attackers that stand a chance of playing.

Jack Wilshere has been ruled out of this one as he continues his recovery from his ankle injury. Elsewhere Andriy Yarmolenko, Carlos Sanchez, Fabian Balbuena, and Winston Reid are still ruled out.

Ranieri only has one playerout as Alfie Mawson continues with his rehabilitation from his knee injury, the defender has started running but this match is likely to be too early for the Englishman to return.

Felipe Anderson is the Hammers leading goal scorer with nine goals in 30 games for the claret and blue side, his last came when they were knocked out of the FA Cup by League One side AFC Wimbledon losing 4-2.

Winger Snodgrass has been a surprise star this season with his assists and contribution in games leading to a high number of assists,. So far he has seven in 30 matches but considering his future was in doubt before Pellegrini came in he has done wonders to prove is a Premier League star.

Striker Aleksandar Mitrović is the Lilywhites top goal scorer with ten goals in 28 matches for his side The Serbian last hit the back of the net in their 4-2 win over Brighton & Hove Albion. He scored twice in that match.

Youngster Ryan Sessegnon has the most assists for the Cottagers as he has set up five goals in 26 games, proving that the Premier League isn’t too big of a step-up for the 18-year-old.

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News writer for Prost International, I get out to games but mainly cover EFL and women's football. Found here: https://twitter.com/BrandonPrangell

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