Saturday 30th November
West Ham United vs Fulham
After a miserable couple of performances, this game is huge. I won't say it's a 'must' win, but we certainly can't afford to lose this.
Fulham are a side that have lost their last four Premier League games, conceding 11 goals on the way. The fact is, Fulham will give you opportunities to score against them.
In those last four games, they have conceded a massive 83 shots on their goal. Dutch international goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg has made an average of 3.25 saves per game in those matches, and picked the ball out of his net on a fair few occasions.
If you take a look at the goals Fulham have conceded recently, you'll notice a bit of a pattern.
All of the goals they've conceded in the past four games have been from within the penalty area. This suggests they are allowing their opponents the opportunity to create goal scoring opportunities in the most dangerous areas. Let's hope that, should such opportunities arise on Saturday, that we have the players to take them.
Against Chelsea last weekend, a real issue for West Ham was that we had no time on the ball. Our passing was rushed, and their forwards made life difficult for us - Oscar, for example, attempted 8 tackles, winning 6, displaying just what a hard working performance Chelsea put in against us.
Fulham though, have the opposite problem. Whilst the attacking talents of Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Bent and Bryan Ruiz are widely renowned, their workrate and defensive capabilities often leave a lot to be desired.
Look at Bryan Ruiz's heat map from last weekends defeat to Swansea City.
You can clearly see that he struggled to get involved in the game, floating in off his designated right flank, but providing no real impact. This heat map could easily be Berbatov or Bent's, such was the workrate among the Fulham attack.
But this lack of energy isn't just typical of the forwards. Fulham have one of the oldest squads in the league, and it could be that this has caught up with them a little this season.
The image below shows the whole side's attempted tackles against Swansea. You'll see that there were just four attempted tackles in in the Swans half, suggesting that defenders and deep lying midfielders had the opportunity to pick a pass and take their time on the ball.
But the real area of concern for Martin Jol should be the centre of midfield. I've put a big red circle on the pitch view below, to show the area of worry. Fulham managed to win 0 tackles, and attempted just 2 in the centre of their own half, instead allowing the opposition to play the ball around outside their penalty area, in the most dangerous area of the field.
Should they offer up a similarly lack lustre effort against West Ham, the likes of Mark Noble, Ravel Morrison and Stewart Downing should have a field day.
That said, this Fulham side do possess quality. We've seen over the years just how lethal Darren Bent and Dimitar Berbatov can be given the right service.
The image below displays their goalscoring records. Between them, they've netted 110 Premier League goals since 2009, with a conversion rate of 19%.
However, what is also clear, is that neither player is at the peak of their powers. Berbatov's best conversion rate came three seasons ago, when he made just 5 league starts for Manchester United. Although Bent's best conversion rate has actually been this season, he's attempting significantly less shots on goal per game - this is the first team since 2009 he's been attempted less than one shot per game.
There are worse teams we could come up against at this moment than Fulham though. The Cottagers have had a (marginally) poorer start to the season than us, and Martin Jol is increasingly under the microscope.
Our home form may have been patchy - okay, awful - this season, but we are facing a Fulham side that haven't won a Premier League game at the Boleyn in their last 8 attempts. In fact, their last victory over us on our own turf came in an FA cup game back in February 2004.
We also have a couple of players who have pretty good histories against Fulham. Carlton Cole has scored more goals against Fulham than any other club in his career, and has 6 in his last 5 against them. Kevin Nolan also has five career goals against them, and bagged in both games against Fulham for the Hammers last season.
We may be at a low ebb, but let's think of these positives, and stay optimistic!
Head to Head
49% Head to Head Win % 29%
63 Won 38
28 Drawn 28
38 Lost 63
232 Goals Scored 180
180 Goals Conceded 232
L D W D L L Last 6 W L L L L L
4 Goals Scored 9
9 Goals Conceded 16
L L W L D L Home/Away Form L L W L L L
6 Goals Scored 7
12 Goals Conceded 14
Form Player (Last 6 League)
Stewart Downing - Scott Parker
6 Appearances 5
540 Minutes Played 439
158 Sum Squawka Performance Score 112
26 Average Squawka Performance Rating 22
205 Passes Attempted 232
166 Completed 207
81% Success Rate 89%
15 Chances Created 3
0 Assists 0
5 Attempts on Goal 2
3 On Target 2
0 Goals 1
14 Take Ons Attempted 6
6 Successful Take Ons 4
43% Success Rate 67%
3 Tackles Made 30
1 Successful Tackles 13
33% Success Rate 43%
4 Interceptions 13
5 Clearances 8
2 Blocks 7
2 Defensive Actions Per Game 6
10 Aerial Duels 3
4 Won 2
40% Success Rate 67%
0 Defensive Errors 0
0 Leading to a Goal 1
17 March 2013
1-0 Dimitar Berbatov 10'
1-1 Kevin Nolan 48'
2-1 Hugo Rodallega 49'
3-1 Own Goal (Joey O'Brien) 91'
4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
Jussi Jääskeläinen - Mark Schwarzer
Guy Demel (67') - Sascha Riether
James Tomkins - Philippe Senderos
Winston Reid - Brede Hangeland
Joey O'Brien - John Arne Riise
Mark Noble - (66') Giorgos Karagounis
Mohamed Diame - Steve Sidwell
Joe Cole (76') - (66') Bryan Ruiz
Kevin Nolan - (76') Dimitar Berbatov
Matt Jarvis - Damien Duff
Marouane Chamakh (56') - Hugo Rodallega
Stephen Henderson - Neil Etheridge
Emanuel Pogatetz - Aaron Hughes
Gary O'Neil - (66') Chris Baird
Matthew Taylor (67') - Simon Davies
Ricardo Vâz Te - (66') Ashkan Dejagah
Andy Carroll (76') - Emmanuel Frimpong
Carlton Cole (56') - (76') Mladen Petrić
West Ham United: Winston Reid, Rǎzvan Raţ, Alou Diarra, Ricardo Vâz Te, Mladen Petrić, Andy Carroll
Fulham: Brede Hangeland, Matthew Briggs, Damien Duff, Hugo Rodallega
West Ham United: n/a
Opposition Last Time Out
vs Swansea City
Goals Scored: 1
Goals Conceded: 2
Starting Formation: 4-3-2-1
Elsad Zverotic Aaron Hughes Fernando Amorebieta Kieran Richardson
Scott Parker (86') Derek Boateng (64') Pajtim Kasami
Bryan Ruiz (77') Dimitar Berbatov
Steve Sidwell (64')
Alexander Kacaniklic (77')
Adel Taarabt (86')
Best Player: Scott Parker
Squawka Rating: 91
Worst Player: Kieran Richardson
Squawka Rating: -18
Top 5's (Min 5 Apps)
Ravel Morrison 3 - 2 Darren Bent
Ricardo Vâz Te 2 - 2 Pajtim Kasami
Joe Cole 1 - 2 Steve Sidwell
Mark Noble 1 - 1 Philippe Senderos
Kevin Nolan 1 - 1 Alexander Kacaniklic
Matt Jarvis 2 - 3 Bryan Ruiz
Kevin Nolan 2 - 2 Sascha Riether
Mohamed Diamé 1 - 1 Philippe Senderos
Ravel Morrison 1 - 1 Kieran Richardson
Mark Noble 1 - 1 Damien Duff
Ravel Morrison 86% - 89% Giorgos Karagounis
Mark Noble 85% - 89% Scott Parker
Joe Cole 83% - 87% Aaron Hughes
Stewart Downing 82% - 86% Philippe Senderos
Kevin Nolan 81% - 85% Sascha Riether
Chances Created per game
Stewart Downing 2 - 1.4 Bryan Ruiz
Mark Noble 1.8 - 0.9 Sascha Riether
Matt Jarvis 1.3 - 0.9 Pajtim Kasami
Rǎzvan Raţ 1 - 0.9 Dimitar Berbatov
Kevin Nolan 0.9 - 0.8 Damien Duff
Successful Dribbles per game
Mohamed Diamé 1.9 - 1.4 Bryan Ruiz
Mark Noble 1.8 - 1.3 Pajtim Kasami
Ravel Morrison 1.5 - 1.1 Adel Taarabt
Guy Demel 1 - 1 Scott Parker
Stewart Downing 0.8 - 0.8 Dimitar Berbatov
Tackles per game
James Collins 2.4 - 3.3 Pajtim Kasami
Mark Noble 2.4 - 2.9 Scott Parker
Guy Demel 2.3 - 2.3 Kieran Richardson
Mohamed Diamé 2.1 - 2.3 Steve Sidwell
Winston Reid 2 - 2 Giorgos Karagounis
Aerial Duels Won per game
Modibo Maïga 6.1 - 2.8 Aaron Hughes
Winston Reid 3.2 - 2.5 Dimitar Berbatov
James Tomkins 3.1 - 2.1 Darren Bent
James Collins 3.1 - 2 Fernando Amorebieta
Guy Demel 1.6 - 1.6 Bryan Ruiz
Sam Allardyce - Martin Jol
41.1% Current Club Win % 33.9%
44 Won 38
29 Drawn 28
34 Lost 46
39.9% Managerial Career Win % 44.9%
338 Won 295
228 Drawn 140
281 Lost 221
2 League Titles 0
0 Cup Wins 2