Fulham play tomorrow against West Ham at Craven Cottage.The game takes place at 3PM UK Time and 10AM EST. The game will be on Fox Soccer Plus on taped delay at 10:30 AM EST in the United States. In the first match last October, the teams tied 2 - 2 at West Ham. Fulham are currently 12th in the league with 43 points. West Ham are 17th with 34 points. This will be a tough game for Fulham. The Cottagers are coming off of an emotional victory Thursday Night. West Ham are probably not going to be relegated. I still expect them to play well and go for the win. Below are "my 5 keys to victory for Fulham against West Ham."
1. How many players will Roy Hodgson rest for this match? Last week at Everton, Roy made 9 changes to the lineup to start the game. Bobby Zamora I am fairly confident is not going to play. I will not be against Hodgson making many changes this week. The players in the Everton match I thought played great. It is the end of the season, and I think it would be good to give some other players a chance to shine. I am hoping we see players like David Elm, Kagisho Dikgacoi, and Bjorn Helge Riise start tomorrow.
2.Stefano Okaka needs to score or contribute to a goal tomorrow. Time is running out in the season. I hope Stefano Okaka takes advantage of the opportunities given to him. Last week he had a golden opportunity to score. He did not convert on this shot with a goal. He has shown flashes of a quality striker. For Fulham to win tomorrow I think he really needs to be a factor in this match.
3. Fulham need to defend set pieces well tomorrow. Fulham have been burned a few times on defending set pieces this year. However, I don't think the free kick on Thursday was Fulham's fault. It was just a quality strike. I just think defending set pieces has been an issue this season. Let's hope the Cottagers do a good job tomorrow.
4. Fulham need to contain the West Ham's strikers. Fulham's back four have done well against quality strikers this year. They are going to have to step up once again. West Ham have players that can put pressure on the defense. Last match up between the teams Carlton Cole scored twice. They also have other players that have the ability to score.
5. Clint Dempsey also needs to be involved in goal scoring opportunities. Without Zamora playing, Clint Dempsey could have the job of creating scoring chances tomorrow. He has the ability to really affect a game. I expect him to be extremely involved in creating scoring opportunities. If he is very active tomorrow, Fulham have a great chance at winning.
The main question tomorrow is how will Fulham start the match? After the great victory on Thursday it wouldn't be a surprise if Fulham came out a little slow. They will need step it up tomorrow to beat West Ham. I look forward to see who will be playing against West Ham tomorrow, and how the team will actually perform on the pitch.