West Brom v Fulham: Baggies can edge tight tussle

Slaven Bilic - West Brom
West Brom are unbeaten at home against top-half teams
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West Brom welcome fellow promotion-chasers Fulham to The Hawthorns on Tuesday night. Mark O'Haire expects the Baggies to edge a tight encounter.

"Albion have relished encounters with top-half teams (W10-D8-L3) during Slaven Bilic’s reign with W6-D4-L0 earned as hosts"

West Brom v Fulham
Tuesday July 14, 17:00
Sky Sports

West Brom drop vital points

West Brom manager Slaven Bilic admitted, "the mood is very low" after watching his Baggies side drop two points in their quest for an automatic Championship promotion place at Blackburn on Saturday. Second-placed Albion were held to a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park, a result that allowed third-placed Brentford to narrow the gap to only three points.

WBA went ahead on 41 minutes when top scorer Charlie Austin picked out Filip Krovinovic with a far-post cross and the Croatian midfielder found the bottom corner from 12 yards. Krovinovic could have doubled the advantage soon after the restart but Blackburn fought back to earn a deserved share of the spoils, and even wasted two great late chances to win.

The Baggies needed a point-blank save by Sam Johnstone and Kyle Bartley to clear off the line in the dying embers of the encounter to preserve their point. Post-match, Bilic said, "The end product was missing. We have to kill the game off. Unfortunately, we didn't. We have to take our chances. We created so many. But you know what happens if you don't take them."

Fulham extend winning streak

Fulham kept their faint hopes of automatic promotion alive with a 2-0 win over play-off-chasing Cardiff on Friday night. Aleksandar Mitrovic marked his return from suspension with a first-half penalty before Josh Onomah crashed home a second for the Cottagers after the break to secure a fourth successive Championship victory for Scott Parker's side.

Aleksandar Mitrovic Fulham friendly.jpg

The Whites were able to recall Anthony Knockaert and Mitrovic but the attacking players had few moments to shine in a dour opening 30 minutes. However, the Serbian made no mistake from the spot after being pulled down in the area. Mitrovic's 24th league goal of the season in the 35th minute sparked the contest into life as the two teams traded blows.

Bobby Decordova-Reid twice came close to extending Fulham's lead but the hosts had to wait until midway through the second period to put the game to bed; midfielder Onomah capped a lovely move with a fine touch and firm finish. Parker said, "The win is key at this time in the season. We got the job done. We need to keep going now, but momentum is with us."

Albion fair favourites

West Brom have registered a solitary success over Fulham across the past 10 league meetings since 2008 (W1-D5-L4) although five of the last head-to-head contest have ended all-square, including each of the most recent three meetings. Those three fixtures, including the reverse at Craven Cottage, ended in the same 1-1 scoreline. The draw here is [3.65].

West Brom [2.10] have pocketed 10 points from their past four outings to consolidate their automatic promotion place. Albion have relished encounters with top-half teams (W10-D8-L3) during Slaven Bilic's reign with W6-D4-L0 earned as hosts. The Baggies are also the league's joint-top home goalscorers, averaging 2.00 goals per-game at The Hawthorns.

Fulham [3.85] have picked up just eight victories on their travels since relegation, although the Cottagers head to the Black Country having suffered a solitary reverse (at table-toppers Leeds) in 10 road trips (W4-D5-L1). The Cottagers have W3-D4-L3 away at the top-half and have managed to notch more than a solitary strike just five times in 21 overall road trips.

Tight tussle expected

The Hawthorns has tended to be a high-scoring venue with West Brom's home fixtures crossing the Over 3.5 Goals barrier in nine (43%) of their 21 contests here with matches averaging 3.19 goals. A massive 14 (67%) of those games have also paid out for Both Teams To Score backers with Albion earning a surprisingly measly four clean sheets as hosts.

Fulham's away days have largely been low-scoring affairs with an average of only 2.10 goals per-game. A chunky 14 (67%) failed to beat the Over 2.5 Goals [2.10] line with only two matches generating Over 3.5 Goals profit. With the Whites' sloppy road record in-mind, I'm happy to keep West Brom onside in a tight encounter on Tuesday night by supporting WBA in the Double Chance market and Under 3.5 Goals at 1.75.

Mark's 2019/20 Profit/Loss

Staked: 164.00 pts
Returned: 182.83 pts
P/L: +18.83 pts

Mark O'Haire,

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