East and west London collide today as league strugglers West Ham host Fulham at the Boleyn Ground with both sides hoping to claw their way to a more comfortable position in the table. The Hammers are on their worst run of form for almost a year, losing their last three Premier League games against Wigan, Liverpool and Manchester City, while Fulham have lost four of their last five matches.
Gianfranco Zola's team languish in the relegation zone having managed just one win from six, while Fulham sit two points and one spot above them. West Ham will start favourites, having won eight of the last 11 matches between the two teams, with the other three drawn. West Ham will not be relying on history, however. Monday night's 3-1 defeat to City was the latest reverse in a frustrating run for the club but assistant manager Steve Clarke believes his side have the ability to arrest their alarming slump and turn their fortunes around.
"I am frustrated because I can see the talent we have in this group," he said. "Against Liverpool we played very well and against Tottenham we almost came out on top. "It becomes frustrating when you know you have an ability to win matches against really good teams and suddenly find you are losing them. "Six games is too early to start pushing any panic buttons. In those six matches there have been a lot of good things to take from them. The only good things we haven't taken are the points. Hopefully in the next six we will take more than we did in the first six."
Matthew Upson is likely to return for West Ham after injury. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org