Both of these sides were seen as stable top flight outfits just a few months ago, yet expectations have certainly been revised through 2014. Just four points separate the two clubs and with Fulham at the bottom of the league, this encounter cannot be classed as anything other than a relegation six pointer’.
Home side West Brom might carry some confidence into the tie though, with the Baggies approaching the game on the back of a deserved 1-1 draw against league leaders Chelsea. Considering the fact that Pepe Mel’s side also recorded the same scoreline against free-scoring Liverpool, it certainly looks as though the Spaniard is pushing the club in the right direction. In fact, if we look at their home form as a whole, the omens are looking good. They’ve now drawn their last three games at the Hawthorns 1-1, while they are unbeaten there in the league in six matches. However, with just one of those outcomes resulting in three points, it is clear that the Baggies simply must find a cutting edge and start to improve on their current position of 17th. At the moment, just goal difference separates them from the bottom three, so it’s certainly getting to that do-or-die stage.
West Brom may have changed their manager once, but Fulham have just gone one step better. The Cottagers’ hierarchy decided that Rene Meulensteen wasn’t the right man to take them forward after all and promptly brought in former Bayern Munich boss Felix Magath as his replacement this week. Magath certainly arrives with a unique personality, although whether or not it is sufficient to rescue the Craven Cottage outfit remains to be seen. The club now sit four points adrift of safety and having suffered a last minute penalty defeat to Liverpool in their last encounter, it means that they have now gone seven games without a victory.
As for team news, West Brom will be without two players in the form of Nicolas Anelka and Claudio Yacob. Frenchman Anelka has still not recovered fully from a shin problem, while a hamstring injury will prevent the latter from playing. Following their recent change in manager, Fulham are expected to ring the changes. However, Felix Magath already has several absentees, with Maarten Stekelenburg, Fernando Amorebieta, Matthew Briggs and Kostas Mitroglou all on the treatment table and unavailable for selection.
Fulham will firmly be expecting the appointment of Felix Magath to shock their side into some form, although we’re not so sure this is going to be the case. West Brom have proved to be a tidy outfit at home and with the Baggies recording at least some solid results over recent weeks, we think they can climb away from the drop zone with a 2-1 victory this weekend.