All eyes will be on Craven Cottage when Fulham and West Brom lock horns on Saturday afternoon.
The clash is a particularly interesting one as both teams’ have displayed enough form in the early stages of the season to suggest that they will be vying for the playoffs come May.
Whether the season climaxes that way is anyone’s guess. You can read ours in our 2019/20 Championship season preview.
Yet here’s where the differences end.
While the Wanderers are looking to put an end to a three-game winless run, Slaven Bilic’s side recent performances provide more reason for optimism.
So much so, that our Fulham vs West Brom predictions are edging towards a win for the Baggies.
Yes, it’ll be a scrappy and physical affair, as this fixture has provided down the years. But all evidence points towards another three points to the travelling team…
Fulham vs West Brom Predictions
Both teams come into the clash having already been tested early on in the Championship season.
For Scott Parker and co, Fulham’s clash against Cardiff City which saw brother-in-law Harry Arter sent off for a controversial dive call saw the points shared between the Wanderers and the Bluebirds.
It was a game that exposed Fulham’s slight defensive frailties. The new boys, in particular, Ivan Cavaleiro, did the damage in the first-half when his lapse in possession led to Josh Murphy’s opener.
Yet the Portuguese made amends for his error just before half-time. His low cross gave Aleksandr Mitrovic a simple tap-in to bring the visitors level.
We’re it not for Arter’s dismissal and Fulham’s subsequent vulnerability to the counter, the Wanderers would have staked much more than a point. But the defensive ineptitude they did display means that our Fulham vs West Brom predictions see Bilic’s men snapping up all three points.
Throughout the early stages of the season, the Baggies have impressed enough to suggest that they’ll be tough to beat (which you can read more about in our 2019/20 Championship season preview). A dominant performance against Millwall, coupled by their result against a stubborn Luton Town makes them early contenders for promotion.
Yet last weekend’s hard-fought victory over Blackburn Rover’s exposed the side of West Brom that echoes shades of their relegation days in the Premier League.
Indeed, Rovers stunned the home fans early on by coming out of the tracks at the Hawthorne’s quickly. In the opening 30 seconds of the match, they were already 1-0 up, courtesy of Lewis Travis.
Bilic’s men got the kick in the boots they needed and levelled through Matt Phillips, and then took the lead via Jake Livermore. The Baggies then extended their lead just before half-time through Grady Diangana’s sublime finish. Although Rovers were able to snap one back, West Brom were able to see the game out for their first home win of the season.
The win was a deserved one but proves that the travelling side can be pegged back. If Fulham are to have a chance in ending their winless run, they will need to take a leaf out of Tony Mowbray’s book and press from the get-go.
Fulham vs West Brom Head To Head
Four of the last five games in this tie have been scrappy, low-scoring affairs – three of them draws, which certainly fuels our Fulham vs West Brom predictions.
Yet the most recent clash between the two dates back to February 2014. It was a time where both teams were locking horns regularly in the Premier League, and sharing the points became the norm.
However, this weekend’s result carries more weight. Both teams will be vying for promotion spots and early bragging rights will be key.
As physical and tough as it may be, the Wanderers edging through with the three points seems entirely plausible.
Fulham Team News
The Wanderers will only have Arter’s replacement to manage.
Having picked up two yellow cards in the space of two minutes against Cardiff last weekend, the 29-year-old will have to watch his side take on Bilic’s men from the sidelines.
In Arter’s absence, the likes of Mitrovic, Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert will have to step up and do the Englishman’s job for him. Pressing, breaking up possession, and the vision to play cutting passes is what Fulham will be missing out on – albeit in exchange for a calmer and more level-headed midfield.
Yet, even without Arter, our Fulham vs West Brom predictions expect Parker’s men to be scintillating on the attack.
West Brom Team News
Bilic doesn’t have the rub of the green coming into this weekend’s clash.
The Croatian will have to make do without stalwart Gareth Barry, Ahmed El-Hagazi, Conor Townsend and Kieran Gibbs.
Barry and Hegazi both had to undergo surgery in the opening stages of the Championship. While that may have entailed sacrificing being a part of the squad, it means that the duo should be fitter in a few weeks’ time.
Meanwhile, Townsend and Gibbs both sustained more recent injuries. The former picked up a knock during training last week, whereas the latter is still trying to rehabilitate a strained calf.
Fulham vs West Brom Betting Tips
The Wanderers don’t fare any better in the betting markets, with the tipsters swaying in the favour of our Fulham vs West Brom predictions.
Indeed, Parker’s men are priced up as 51/50 outsiders, while the Baggies weigh in as a 5/2 pick. The odds may be short either way, but the formbook, and the markets all tip the travelling team.
Meanwhile, the chances about a draw register as a 27/10 pick in our Fulham vs West Brom match bets
providing more than enough evidence to suggest that the visitors will be coming away from Craven Cottage will all three points.