Head-To-Head

Friday 31 August 2012 09:17

Fulham travel to West Ham United’s Upton Park on Saturday lunchtime (12.45pm), bidding to bounce back from two successive away defeats.

The London derby follows our disappointing exit from the Capital One Cup at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday during the week; and Martin Jol’s men will be looking to make amends when they face West Ham this weekend.

The two sides last met on Boxing Day 2010 at Craven Cottage, where West Ham left with all three points in a smash and grab 3-1 win.

Fulham’s last visit to the Boleyn Ground saw both teams sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw, with Clint Dempsey putting the Whites in front before Frederic Piquionne equalised for the Hammers.

Our record at Upton Park has been indifferent in recent years but by no means terrible. Since our return to the Premier League, Fulham have recorded one win, four draws and three losses in East London. There has also been an emphatic 3-0 victory in an FA Cup replay in 2004.

The one league victory came in Fulham’s first season back in the top flight – as the popular French duo Sylvain Legwinski and Steed Malbranque both scored to give the Whites a 2-0 win.

But perhaps that isn’t the most memorable Premier League encounter between the sides in recent years.

In January 2007, Fulham and West Ham played out one of the games of the season.

The Whites had seen their early lead cancelled out and despite goals from Tomasz Randzinski and Brian McBride they found themselves trailing 3-2 with seconds to go.

After sustained pressure in the closing stages, the ball bounced to Fulham defender Phillipe Cristanval eight yards out from goal.

He smashed it past Roy Carroll to complete an amazing comeback with virtually the last kick of the game, sending the strong travelling support wild in the process.

Both sides suffered defeats in the league last weekend and will be eager to return to winning ways, though West Ham may feel they have more to prove after being humbled 3-0 at Swansea City.

With that in mind, and the fact that this fixture almost always produces goals - only two out of the last 18 meetings have ended goalless - we look set for a very entertaining game in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

The Hammers look likely to hand a debut to Andy Carroll after the England international secured a season-long loan to Upton Park from Liverpool on Thursday. Matt Jarvis will be looking to supply the crosses to Carroll following his recent switch from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

For Fulham, Jol made five changes to his starting XI at Hillsborough on Tuesday. Bryan Ruiz was withdrawn just before kick-off after suffering a slight hamstring niggle in the warm-up and it remains to be seen if the Costa Rican will recover for Saturday.

John Arne Riise has missed the last two games with a leg injury but is hopeful of returning this weekend. Kerim Frei remains sidelined with a pelvic injury.

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