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Nic Ladds 17th Jan 2009 - 17:04

Fulham can make it five in a row (away draws that is)

Roy Hodgson seems to have nailed the defensive issue now to it's time for goals as Fulham have drawn their last four away matches 0-0 and odds of 17/2 say we can expect the same outcome.

While they have a miserly defence, Fulham have scored a pathetic two goals away from home this season and are 5/2 in the betting to register their first away league win this season.

Things have also been looking up for West Ham who find themselves at odds of 6/5 to win with the draw at a generous looking 21/10.

The pair are only separated in the Premier League by goal difference but Fulham have played two games less and are currently on a nine match unbeaten run in the league.

Statistically the half time draw at even money looks the best bet of the weekend as all of Fulham's last ten games have been draws at half time while five our of The Hammers last six games have been half time draws.

Of these games all but one match for each team has been 0-0 at half time which suggests very few goals. Under two match goals is 2/1 while draw half time/draw full time is 4/1.

For those who have a more positive outlook it is worth noting that West Ham have won three out of their last four but have been scoring goals a lot more freely suggesting Zola's methods are starting to pay off.

While Fulham's defence is a lot sturdier than many of their recent opponents, The Hammers strikers are starting to look like they can make the grade.

Carlton Cole has scored four in his last four games and you wouldn't bet against him getting on the score sheet again and is available at odds of 6/1 to do so first.

All eyes will be on Craig Bellamy (if he starts) after he publicly declared he wanted to leave.

Should he start he has been finding the net recently and 6/1 about him to score first goal would be a decent bet but it's best to hold fire until he is confirmed as a starter.

Fulham's biggest threat by far is that of Andrew Johnson who at 13/2 for first goal carries nearly all of Fulham's goal threat.

Having said that, Clint Dempsey has chipped in with a few recently and is 15/2 in the betting to bag the first goal of the game.

Should it be a bad tempered affair, Fulham's set piece taker Danny Murphy at 16/1 for first goal or 6/1 to score anytime is of interest at a nice price.

If this game is going to swing either way then Fulham are the fancy to nick a result but big winning margins are unlikely with 1-0 at 7/1 and 2-0 at 12/1 with 1-0 to The Hammers at 11/2.

A better bet than a correct score however could be the double result of draw half time/Fulham full time at 6/1 in the betting.

As negative as it is this looks destined to be a draw, and a low scoring one at that. 1-1 is 5/1 in the betting but no goal scorer at 17/2 is preferred.

Both defences, especially Fulham's have done nothing but improve and while West Ham carry more of a goal threat, the questions over whether several of their top players will stay or not and with Craig Bellamy up to his old tricks, could be enough to unsettle Zola's side.

Both these sides are now looking like they will avoid getting sucked in to the bizarre relegation battle that is going on this season but a point may be the best either side can hope for and if there is a glut of goals it will be yet another unseen twist in this exciting Premier League season.

Draw - 21/10
Under two match goals - 2/1

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