Two teams seeking automatic promotion places will face-off at Craven Cottage as Fulham host West Bromwich Albion in the Championship. West Brom are on an unbeaten run after six league matches with three wins and draws. Though this will arguably be their toughest test yet despite Fulham being winless in three.
Fulham Will Be West Brom’s Toughest Test
Last Time Out: Fulham
Ten-man Fulham held on for a draw in their Championship visit to Cardiff City. Scott Parker’s side fell behind thanks to a clinical counter-attack. Aden Flint dispossessing Ivan Cavaleiro before playing a cutting ball through to Josh Murphy, who ran clear before finishing into the bottom corner.
The game had sprung into life after a slow start and Cavaleiro soon made up for his part in the opener. His low cross gave Aleksandar Mitrovic a simple tap-in to bring the visitors level just before half-time.
Fulham controlled the ball after the break but they couldn’t get their noses in front. Any hope of a late winner was quashed as Harry Arter saw red.
First, he was booked for a late sliding tackle on Joe Ralls and just two minutes later, the former Bluebirds loanee received his second yellow card for diving.
Last Time Out: West Brom
West Bromwich Albion conceded inside the first minute but recovered to secure a victory over Blackburn Rovers and remain unbeaten. Kyle Bartley‘s under-hit pass lead to Bradley Dack slotting home from just inside the penalty area after just 25 seconds.
The Baggies were level thanks to Matt Phillips, who showed great strength to hold off Greg Cunningham and beat Christian Walton in the Rovers goal. They soon took the lead through Jake Livermore, who placed the ball beyond Walton from Matheus Pereira‘s lay-off after more great work from Phillips on the right.
Albion extended their lead five minutes before the break through Grady Diangana. He beat his man on the left wing before charging down on goal and dinking the ball over the oncoming goalkeeper.
Bradley Johnson was able to scramble one back for Rovers on the stroke of half-time but West Brom saw out the second half and claimed their first home win under Slaven Bilić.
Fulham have Mitrovic in a good scoring form with five goals in his six appearances. The Serbian striker also netted three times for his country over the international break, once against Portugal and twice against Luxembourg.
Along with that, the home advantage will also add to their benefit in the game with the Baggies having not tasted a league victory at Craven Cottage since 1967.
Despite the change of coaching staff there is a distinctly similar trend from the Baggies as last season with all their games seeing goals at both ends. The big difference this season, however, is that Bilić’s side have a resilience that they have called upon more than once. West Brom have gone behind in five of their first six fixtures yet remain undefeated, showing a certain amount of mettle.
This clash is set to be a firecracker as both teams have displayed enough form in the early stages of the season to suggest that they will be in and around the playoffs come May. If Fulham are to have a chance in ending their three-game winless run, they will need to press West Brom from the get-go.
Albion have shown that they are capable of breathtaking quality going forward but are also capable of a defensive error or two. An intriguing tie awaits in Saturday’s early kickoff.
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