Fulham-West Ham United Preview
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - West Ham United and Fulham will both be looking to continue solid starts to the season when they meet in a London derby at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon.
Fulham have been heavily involved in the transfer market, and despite losing key midfielder Moussa Dembele to north London rivals Tottenham, manager Martin Jol is confident that his squad still have the necessary ambition to succeed this season.
"He had a clause in his contract and they (Tottenham) agreed to pay that so we had to let him go," admitted Jol. "I tried to keep him over the last six months because I knew of the clause. I think it could've gone either way. If he had stayed it would've been good for him and made a good step in six months or a year's time to a big club, but he decided to go to a big club earlier. As I said last week we are a healthy club, we didn't just need the Dembele money."
West Ham United are targeting Premier League survival on their return to the top flight and manager Sam Allardyce is hopeful of picking up three points against Saturday's opponents.
"I watched them last week and they recovered well after looking dead and buried at Old Trafford," said Allardyce. "That is something we have to have in mind because if they play the way they did last weekend from the start of the game it is going to be very difficult.
"Every Premier League game is a challenge and we need to make sure we are ready. We need to get in amongst them and restrict them from having time on the ball. If we can impose our home advantage and carry on from our opening-day win we can expose the Fulham defence. Sheffield Wednesday did just that in the Capital One Cup and Manchester United did last weekend. I believe there are a few weaknesses we can take advantage of. However, Fulham have been an established Premier League side for more than ten years now and they will be very difficult to beat."
West Ham will be without Wales international midfielder Jack Collison because of a knee injury. Fulham have doubts over Bryan Ruiz, John Arne-Riise, Philippe Senderos, Simon Davies and Kerim Frei.
West Ham took four points from Fulham two seasons ago, winning 3-1 at Craven Cottage and drawing 1-1 at Upton Park. The Cottagers have failed to win at West Ham in the league since 2001, losing three and drawing four. West Ham's 33 fouls is a league high after two rounds of games. Mark Noble is the only Hammers player in the league top 100 for completed passes, making 76 over the two matches. In contrast, Fulham's Mahamadou Diarra has completed 127 passes - making him the seventh highest in the league.
Updated August 30, 2012