Less than a month into the new Premier League season West Ham United manager Avram Grant looked like a condemned man. No points from his first four games in charge of the club, the Hammers were rooted to the foot of the table, and murmers regarding the former Chelsea boss's future began to become audible.
West Ham secured their first point against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, while Grant was observing religious day of worship Yom Kippur, and his side haven't looked back since. They advanced further in the League Cup with a win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, before returning home to, perhaps most impressively, beat rivals Tottenham at Upton Park.
The Hammers are at home again on Saturday and showing a tendency towards attacking football. With the wind in their sails, they will fancy their chances against Fulham in this London derby.
Stubborn Cottagers offer tough test
Fulham, though, are proving hard to beat. So hard to beat in fact that they've yet to lose a Premier League game this season, picking up a point against Manchester United and keeping clean sheets against Bolton Wanderers and struggling Everton.
As impressive as it sounds, however, the Cottagers have only won one of their first six games as well. While Mark Hughes has transformed his side into a more adaptable, expansive unit, the results are not entirely dissimilar to those of previous boss Roy Hodgson, who gained plenty of praise for stabilising the club in the Premier League.
Hughes may feel he can turn Fulham into a side capable of playing regular European football, and a win against West Ham could see them climb as high as fifth in the table at this early stage.
West Ham United
The Hammers are without Thomas Hitzlsperger, who is yet to play a competitive game for the club, until mid-October, but Valon Behrami could return after a knee problem.
Young prospects Jack Collison and Zavon Hines are both still unavailable due to long-term injury problems.
Possible starting XI: Green; Jacobsen, Da Costa, Upson, Gabbidon; Dyer, Parker, Noble, Boa Morte; Piquionne, Obinna.
Mark Hughes' options in attack are severely limited by injury, as Bobby Zamora and Andrew Johnson are still out, though the latter is nearing a return from a long-term problem.
Moussa Dembele is yet to fully recover from a knock picked up in the League Cup against Stoke City, so Clint Dempsey is likely to start as a striker.
Possible starting XI: Schwarzer; Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido; Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff; Gera; Dempsey.
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