West Brom v Fulham: Cottagers to edge slow-burner

Scott Parker
Scott Parker has seen Fulham's defence improve markedly of late.

The Cottagers can see their improvement secure them a priceless win here at the Hawthorns but don't expect many goals, says Jamie Pacheco.

"But if they’re to win, I just can’t see it being high-scoring so the away win with under 3.5 goals looks a better pick."

West Brom v Fulham
Saturday January 30, 15:00

No Fireman Sam rescue this time

Most people in football or who follow football will have seen Sam Allardyce's appointment as a good thing for the Baggies. Bring in Fireman Sam, sort out the defence, improve on set pieces, nick a couple of 1-0s and you just never know.

But it just hasn't worked out that way, WBA no better than they were under Slaven Bilic and have been on the end of some right hidings. It was 4-0 at home to Man City in midweek, it was a 4-0 loss also at home to Arsenal and perhaps worst of all, a 5-0 defeat, again on home soil, to Leeds back in late December.

To what extent Allardyce is to blame and to what extent he just inherited a poor squad not up to this level is up for debate but at the moment, you just can't see where their next point is going to come from.

Allardyce 1280.JPG

Fulham giving themselves a chance

If this had been a few weeks ago you could have been saying similar things about Fulham. But after a really poor start something has just seemed to click and they've become what all promoted sides wouldn't mind being described as: hard to beat.

They have admittedly been on the receiving end of a couple of one-goal-margin defeats of late but as long as they keep battling hard, picking up points here and there and showing good discipline and game management, they may just give themselves a chance.

Aleksandr Mitrovic has his critics but you'd think that when you're not scoring enough goals, you'd give your best goalscorer more game time.

Low-scoring Fulham win the choice

Werst Brom are 3.55/2 and that can't be advised. Simple as it sounds, we can't trust them to keep a clean sheet and we don't fancy them to score. One maybe, but not two.

The draw could hold some appeal at 3.39/4. Three of the last four between the two resulted in stalemates and given where they both are in the table, it wouldn't be the biggest surprise.

At first glance Fulham look a tad short at 2.47/5 but a win for them is just about the most likely outcome. Crucially, this is a match they'll look at and decide they need to win. A draw away at the 19th-placed club just won't do given the position they're in and though that doesn't mean they'll get it, it does mean that if it's 1-1 with 10 minutes to go, they're unlikely to settle for the point so you've got that going for you.

But if they're to win, I just can't see it being high-scoring so the away win with under 3.5 goals looks a better pick. The Cottagers scored three goals in one game just once this season (they lost it 4-3 at Leeds) and two goals on just three occasions. 1-0 would be my idea of a score, maybe 2-0, but the safety blanket of 2-1 also helps. That pays 15/8 and is worth the gamble over the straight win.

Aleksandar Mitrovic Fulham friendly.jpg

Couple of scorers to consider

In what is unlikely to be a high-scoring game, it may not be the wisest move to go for too many men to get a goal.

But the plus side is that the runners are bigger prices than usual because of just that.

The two that look interesting are Ademola Lookman and Conor Gallagher. Lookman is the only player in the side with three goals and just seems to have something about him. He's an 11/4 shot.

Gallagher, the youngster on loan from Chelsea, has a bright future ahead of him and two goals this season. In a side where just about everyone seems afraid to take a chance, he certainly isn't. He's happy to shoot from distance and keen to get into decent positions and may just be their best chance of a goal at 11/2.

Other betting opportunities

If you want to take the chance the game will have less than 2.5 goals (8/11) and that a slow-burner will be drawn at the break (evens), you can combine the two in a same-game multi-bet. It comes to 2.76.

JAMIE PACHECO'S 2020-21 PREMIER LEAGUE P AND

Points wagered: 28
Points Returned:32.2
P and L: +3.2.

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