Form a factor relegation rivals must overcome in six-pointers
Victories are precious at the wrong end of the Premier League table – so precious in fact that strugglers West Bromwich Albion and Fulham have both managed one in seven. Hull City share that recent form, but it’s even rarer at their next opponents Cardiff City, who have a single win in 10.
Coral make both Fulham and Cardiff odds-on for the drop at 1/3 and 8/11 respectively, but are less sanguine about the chances of Albion and the Tigers. West Brom are 11/4 to be relegated and Hull 11/2.
Newcomers to English football meet at The Hawthorns as Felix Magath takes charge of Fulham for the first time at the home of winless Baggies boss Pepe Mel.
West Brom barely have their heads above water because of this slump – something the Spaniard was charged with addressing – but are odds-on at 8/11 for victory.
German gaffer Magath could hardly have a better game to get his reign off to a decent start. Fulham have only lost one of their last seven meetings with Albion. Back them to make inroads on being four points from safety here with a win at a hugely attractive 4/1. It’s 5/2 for a draw.
Midfielder Steve Sidwell is having his best scoring season in the top-flight this term. He also has two in his last three appearances against the Baggies. Another goal from midfield here is a 7/2 chance to come anytime.
Striker Kostas Mitroglou could also make his long-awaited Fulham debut in the West Midlands too after a knee injury. The Greece striker is 15/8 to cap his bow with a goal.
Sound bites have dominated the build-up to this crunch clash between sides in the Premier League’s bottom four. The rallying cry from Magath called this fixture “probably the most important game in this club’s history”.
Mel, meanwhile, described West Brom as being “family”. He was the father and the players were his children in what is a rather bewildering metaphor to make five games into his spell in charge.
If we run with his turn of phrase, then one of Mel’s youngest sons in Saido Berahino. Back the Baggies’ pacy forward to score anytime against Fulham at 6/4. Nicolas Anelka is in training again, but this games comes too soon for him. Another Albion forward, Stephane Sessegnon, may return.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces another Manchester United playing favourite in Steve Bruce as Cardiff clash with Hull. The Tigers come into this one with just two league away wins under their belt all season.
One of those was in Hull’s last league outing at fellow strugglers Sunderland. The road is not where they pick up the bulk of their points though. Only eight of the 27 won by the Tigers have come in away games. Bruce’s boys are 15/8 to beat the Bluebirds.
Cardiff need a win a lot more than Hull here. Solskjaer’s side are 6/4 to get that, but must do so without the injured Gary Medel and banned Craig Bellamy. Fraizer Campbell could face his former club and you can get 15/8 on him scoring anytime.
The last two meetings have been drawn between these sides that came up from the Championship last term. It’s 11/5 for that to happen yet again here. Given the low-scoring nature of the Tigers on their travels and the Bluebirds’ lack of recent home victories, this eventuality looks most likely.
Front pair Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long must now be factored in to calculations about Hull’s away form, however. Both are 15/8 to get goals in south Wales.