WBA-MAD preview: Albion vs Fulham

13 September 2013 02:16
Joseph Chapman looks forward to Albion's game at Craven Cottage

Until last Saturday, Hartlepool and West Brom were the only two teams in England's top four divisions not to have scored a single league goal so far this season. Then Hartlepool scored.

This leaves Albion bottom of a 92 team table in one respect, and coupled with the fact that they currently sit bottom of the Premier League, reinforcements were on the agenda before the transfer deadline.

They came in the form of Stephane Sessegnon and Victor Anichebe, while unknown quantity Morgan Amalfitano also arrived from Marseille. Added to Matej Vydra, Nicolas Anelka and Scott Sinclair, plus the retention of Shane Long, and they should have enough to repeat the tally produced by Romelu Lukaku last season.

Fulham have had an indifferent start. Already visiting the North East twice, they managed an impressive win on the opening day at Sunderland, while losing late on at Newcastle. These games sandwiched a home defeat to resurgent Arsenal. This completed a difficult opening start to the new campaign for the Cottagers, under extravagantly moustached new owner Shahid Khan.

I spoke to Fulham fan Andrew Beck about the Lilywhites. When asked about Fulham's transfer business, Andrew said: "In a nutshell, the transfer business was good. Taarabt, Bent, Parker, Amorebieta, Boateng, and Stekelenburg are all quality players.  

"The problem is that the team still has some gaping holes (a reliable LB, and a CM who can make plays from deep) and a lot of the transfer business seemed to be adding players who do the same thing. 

"Taarabt, Bryan Ruiz and Berbatov are all players who are most effective playing in the same space."

What about expectations for the season; how content are you with Jol?

"I think about 12th is the highest the club can finish. The new ownership seems unwilling to commit to giving the current regime a lot of funds until they are sure that they want those people sticking around. 

"Until this year I was fairly happy with Jol. But his managing this year seems to have left something to be desired. He doesn't seem to want to use any of the young players, and he doesn't seem to have any idea what his best XI is.

"That would be acceptable if he was still working with another managers' players, but save Riise, I think every player who starts on Saturday was either signed by Jol or had a contract extended while he was here. 

"If you can't figure out how to use the players you've brought in, I think there is a serious problem. I'm a little worried because if 12th truly is the highest you can aim for, you really run the risk of relegation."

Andrew suggests Fulham's line-up will be: Stockdale; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Parker, Boateng, Duff, Taarabt; Berbatov, Bent. He also predicts the score will be 3-1 to the hosts.

Albion will be without Steven Reid and Matej Vydra, while James Morrison is a major doubt. George Thorne and Albion and Fulham favourite Zoltan Gera are a couple of weeks away from making their long awaited returns.

Possible West Brom line-up: Myhill; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Yacob, Mulumbu, Sessegnon, Sinclair; Anelka, Anichebe.

The two sides are expected to be mid-table come the end of the season. The Baggies need a win to get their campaign up and running. A goal would be a start.

Prediction: 1-1

What do you think the score will be tomorrow? Have your say here at Baggies Banter. 

Source: WBA MAD