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Premier League

  • 1 January 2013
  • • 12:45
  • • The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 25436
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FT
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West Brom - Fulham Preview: Strong hosts Baggies aim to prolong Cottagers' away day blues

Steve Clarke's men have lost just twice at home all season, and, with a place in Europe in their sights, will hope that run continues against Martin Jol's struggling travellers

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

WEST  BROMWICH ALBION

Foster
Jones, Tamas, McAuley, Ridgewell
Thorne, Brunt
Dorrans, Gera, Odemwingie
Long
FULHAM

Schwarzer
Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise
Dejagah, Sidwell, Baird, Kacaniklic
Ruiz
Berbatov

Steve Clarke has rotated his squad so far over the festive period and could make more changes ahead of Tuesday's visit of Fulham as he deals with several injuries.

Claudio Yacob (hamstring) could return but George Thorne is set to continue if this match comes to soon for the Argentine midfielder.

Goran Popov, Youssuf Mulumbu (both hamstring), Steven Reid (calf/shin) and Jonas Olsson (groin/pelvis) remain doubtful, however, having all missed the defeat against Manchester United.

Mark Schwarzer (neck) is expected to come straight back into Martin Jol's starting XI after injury, with David Stockdale's error-prone performance against Swansea City doing nothing to enhance the his chances of holding onto the No.1 jersey.

Damien Duff (calf) is again expected to miss out through injury, but Simon Davies could make his long-awaited return, with the Welshman yet to make an appearance this season due to a hip problem.

After coming through his first start since mid-November unscathed, Bryan Ruiz is again expected to partner Dimitar Berbatov in attack.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • West Brom have kept clean sheets in just two of their last 48 Premier League games.
  • The Baggies have won just two of their last 20 matches that referee Mike Dean has taken charge of.
  • Steve Clarke's men have won seven of their ten home league games so far this season.
  • Zoltan Gera is currently enjoying his second spell at the Hawthorns after three years at Fulham. The Hungarian scored 17 times in 120 appearances for the Cottagers, and played an integral role as Fulham reached the Europa League final in 2010, scoring two in Fulham's famous 4-1 over Italian giants Juventus and the winner in the club's semi-final victory over Hamburg.
  • Fulham have only won one of their last 12 Premier League matches.
  • Eight of Fulham's 30 goals this season have been scored by substitutes, the highest proportion in the Premier League.
  • Martin Jol's side have won just once away all season.
  • Current Cottager Kieran Richardson (pictured right) spent the end of the 2004-05 season on loan at West Brom. He scored three times in 12 appearances as the Baggies pulled off a remarkable escape from relegation, including one in the club's must-win final match of the season against Portsmouth, with his good form earning him a call-up to the senior England squad.
  • In Premier League history the away side has never returned home from this fixture victorious.
  • Mike Dean has taken charge of this match once before, back in September 2004. The game at the Hawthorns ended in a 1-1 draw, as Dean handed out seven yellow cards and three reds!

Players to watch

Z. Gera

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Injury disrupted Zoltan Gera's first season back at the Hawthorns in 2011-12 after three years away, as the Hungarian was restricted to just three appearances, with the last of those coming back in November. However, after scoring a wonder goal in the Baggies' impressive 3-0 opening day victory over Liverpool, Gera hasn't looked back as Steve Clarke's side have made a strong start to the season. With four goals to his name so far this year, West Brom supporters will be hoping for more of the same from the fan favourite as Gera aims to come back to haunt his former side. The Black Country club are looking to stay in the chase for a European place after losing 2-0 to Manchester United in their last outing.

B. Ruiz

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Since Bryan Ruiz limped off against Sunderland back in November, Fulham's form has suffered dramatically, with the Cottagers picking up just four points out of a maximum of 21 in that time. The Costa Rican's absence has also led to a decline in Dimitar Berbatov's own performances, with the Bulgarian failing to find the net during Ruiz's time on the sidelines after being forced to play in a more withdrawn role. After returning on Boxing Day, Ruiz scored in their last match as the Cottagers fell to a surprising 2-1 loss at home to Swansea. Martin Jol will be hopeful that Ruiz can rediscover his influential form from before he got if injured if Fulham are to avoid being caught up in a relegation dogfight at the end of the season.

Editor's Prediction

West Brom were unlucky to lose at Old Trafford at the weekend, and will be hopeful of bouncing back quickly as they prepare to face Fulham in their first match of 2013. Their home form has been solid this season, making them a surprise contender for a European place come the end of the campaign, and while Fulham continue to struggle on their travels despite Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz's best efforts, it will take something special to deny the Baggies anything other than another three points in front of their home crowd.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

West Bromwich Albion

Fulham

Wins
0
3
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

West Bromwich Albion FC WBA
West Bromwich Albion FC West Bromwich Albion
Draw
Fulham FC FUL
Fulham FC Fulham
50%
26%
24%

Top 3 Predictions

West Bromwich Albion FC WBA
2 - 1
Fulham FC FUL
West Bromwich Albion FC WBA
1 - 1
Fulham FC FUL
West Bromwich Albion FC WBA
1 - 2
Fulham FC FUL

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