West Ham v Fulham: the psychology and the predictions

This has not been a good year for West Ham – indeed it was not a good end to the old year either.

Among the low points there was the end of the year defeat to Burnley, the FA Cup trauma against AFC Wimbledon, and now five games without a win.

30 Dec 2018 Burnley v West Ham United L 2-0
02 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Brighton and Hove Albion D 2-2
05 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Birmingham City FAC W 2-0
12 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Arsenal W 1-0
19 Jan 2019 AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United L 2-0
26 Jan 2019 AFC Wimbledon v West Ham United FAC L 4-2
29 Jan 2019 Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Ham United L 3-0
04 Feb 2019 West Ham United v Liverpool D 1-1
09 Feb 2019 Crystal Palace v West Ham United D 1-1

Normally comparing Fulham with any other team, Fulham come off worst, but not in this case…

29 Dec 2018 Fulham v Huddersfield Town W 1-0
01 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Fulham L 4-1
06 Jan 2019 Fulham v Oldham Athletic FAC L 1-2
12 Jan 2019 Burnley v Fulham L 2-1
20 Jan 2019 Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur L 1-2
29 Jan 2019 Fulham v Brighton and Hove Albion W 4-2
02 Feb 2019 Crystal Palace v Fulham L 2-0
09 Feb 2019 Fulham v Manchester United L 0-3

Fulham across the same period also have two wins – beating Huddersfield (who seem to find it impossible to beat anyone) and Brighton (which was more of a surprise).  But otherwise it is defeats all the way.

Fulham of course are still relegation favourites however while West Ham are solidly mid-table.  It would take a continuing collapse in confidence for West Ham to slip below 12th position – but a defeat in this game could well give them that dark feeling.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
10 West Ham United 26 9 6 11 32 39 -7 33
11 AFC Bournemouth 26 10 3 13 37 47 -10 33
12 Leicester City 26 9 5 12 31 34 -3 32
13 Crystal Palace 26 7 6 13 27 34 -7 27
14 Brighton and Hove Albion 26 7 6 13 28 39 -11 27
15 Burnley 26 7 6 13 29 47 -18 27
16 Newcastle United 26 6 7 13 22 34 -12 25
17 Cardiff City 26 7 4 15 24 47 -23 25
18 Southampton 26 5 9 12 28 44 -16 24
19 Fulham 26 4 5 17 25 58 -33 17
20 Huddersfield Town 26 2 5 19 14 48 -34 11

Looking at the home only games West Ham are not that impressive

Home games only

11 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 5 4 4 16 15 1 19
12 West Ham United 13 5 3 5 18 19 -1 18
13 Cardiff City 13 5 2 6 15 23 -8 17
14 Fulham 13 4 3 6 17 26 -9 15

Five wins and five defeats at home and a goal difference at the “London Stadium” of minus one is not impressive for a club that seem to start each season with the owners suggesting they have major aspirations.

But they are playing Fulham, a team whose away record is beyond catastrophic

Away games only

17 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 2 2 9 12 24 -12 8
18 Cardiff City 13 2 2 9 9 24 -15 8
19 Huddersfield Town 12 1 3 8 8 26 -18 6
20 Fulham 13 0 2 11 8 32 -24 2

No wins, two draws.  The Fulham team psychologist will have to perform miracles in order to get the players of Fulham to believe that they can get their first away win.  They will need luck, and a collapse in belief by WHU.  It could happen, but a 2-0 win to WHU seems more likely.

West Ham United v Arsenal: the predictions and the psychology

West Ham’s last five Premier League games have brought a mix of results…

15 Dec 2018 Fulham v West Ham United W 0-2
22 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Watford L 0-2
27 Dec 2018 Southampton v West Ham United W 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Burnley v West Ham United L 2-0
02 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Brighton and Hove D 2-2

Two wins, two defeats and a draw – and interestingly neither of their victories was at home.  Although in the games at the start of December they did beat Cardiff and Crystal Palace, scoring three each time.

At home they are a mid-ranking team…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
10 Watford 11 5 1 5 16 18 -2 16
11 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 10 2 14
12 West Ham United 11 4 2 5 16 18 -2 14
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers 11 4 2 5 12 15 -3 14
14 Cardiff City 11 4 1 6 13 23 -10 13
15 Fulham 10 3 3 4 12 19 -7 12

…still with more defeats at home than victories, and a negative goal difference.

Arsenal away were notorious last season, winning just four games all season through.   This season while not setting the world alight away from home they actually do have a better away record than West Ham have a home record…

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 12 10 0 2 28 12 16 30
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20
5 Manchester United 11 5 2 4 22 19 3 17
6 Leicester City 11 5 2 4 13 13 0 17
7 Arsenal 10 4 3 3 22 21 1 15
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 4 3 3 11 10 1 15

But this has not been a happy few weeks for Arsenal, as the recent results show

19 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur (LC) L 0-2
22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 3-1
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-1
01 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Fulham W 4-1

I’ve included the League Cup game against Tottenham rather than restricting myself to league matches because of the high intensity of the derby match.

Arsenal did however pull themselves back together after the Tottenham defeat and after the Liverpool defeat, winning the next game against modest opposition – although each time they were at home.

But the fact is that Arsenal’s away scoring record is 22 goals to 21.  West Ham’s record at home is 16 for to 18 against.

But it is when we look at the head to head we can see where the power really lies.  This table only counts Premier League matches – the cup games in this period were Arsenal wins as well.  The result column is shown from Arsenal’s point of view

29 Sep 2007 West Ham United v Arsenal W 0-1
01 Jan 2008 Arsenal v West Ham United W 2-0
26 Oct 2008 West Ham United v Arsenal W 0-2
31 Jan 2009 Arsenal v West Ham United D 0-0
25 Oct 2009 West Ham United v Arsenal D 2-2
20 Mar 2010 Arsenal v West Ham United W 2-0
30 Oct 2010 Arsenal v West Ham United W 1-0
15 Jan 2011 West Ham United v Arsenal W 0-3
06 Oct 2012 West Ham United v Arsenal W 1-3
23 Jan 2013 Arsenal v West Ham United W 5-1
26 Dec 2013 West Ham United v Arsenal W 1-3
15 Apr 2014 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-1
28 Dec 2014 West Ham United v Arsenal W 1-2
14 Mar 2015 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-0
09 Aug 2015 Arsenal v West Ham United L 0-2
09 Apr 2016 West Ham United v Arsenal D 3-3
03 Dec 2016 West Ham United v Arsenal W 1-5
05 Apr 2017 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-0
13 Dec 2017 West Ham United v Arsenal D 0-0
22 Apr 2018 Arsenal v West Ham United W 4-1
25 Aug 2018 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-1

21 games by my adding up and only one West Ham win.  The last two gave Arsenal a 7-2 overall scoreline.  The last five give Arsenal 15 to West Ham’s 3.

Psychological prediction

West Ham do not see their home as a fortress and although the disturbing crowd scenes at the ground are now a dim memory, they are still a memory of fan discontent.  The owners of the club promised the crowd the most successful stadium migration in history, and lots more money spent on players but this has not arrived, and we are seeing a similar West Ham to the past.   The players will feel the crowd’s background discontent.

Arsenal will feel this is a ground they can win on, and all the recent results will boost them – their recent visits, their return to goalscoring after the Liverpool disaster – yes they will feel psychologically inferior to the top four sides in the League, but not here.  Here they will expect to win, and that is a most valuable commodity.

I would go for 1-3 to Arsenal

West Ham United v Brighton: the predictions and the psychology

19:45 West Ham United v Brighton
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistants: Daniel Cook, Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Craig Pawson

West Ham have a home record that is just a little below average:

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
10 Watford 11 5 1 5 16 18 -2 16
11 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 10 2 14
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14
13 West Ham United 10 4 1 5 14 16 -2 13
14 Cardiff City 11 4 1 6 13 23 -10 13
15 Fulham 10 3 3 4 12 19 -7 12
16 Burnley 10 3 1 6 12 20 -8 10

Four wins, one draw, five defeats.  Scoring and conceding around 1.5 goals a game.

Curiously West Ham are higher up the league if we just look at away games, but of course our focus here is on Brighton

9 West Ham United 10 4 2 4 13 14 -1 14
10 Watford 9 3 3 3 11 10 1 12
11 Newcastle United 10 2 5 3 8 12 -4 11
12 Crystal Palace 10 3 1 6 12 17 -5 10
13 Everton 10 2 3 5 13 15 -2 9
14 AFC Bournemouth 10 3 0 7 12 23 -11 9
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 10 2 1 7 7 16 -9 7
16 Southampton 10 2 1 7 10 21 -11 7
17 Cardiff City 10 1 2 7 6 18 -12 5
18 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 8 21 -13 5

And for away matches Brighton are in the lower half of the table with two wins, one draw and one defeat.  A goal difference of Brighton away of -9 while West Ham at home is -2.  It gives West Ham the edge – especially if they can get an early goal.

In December West Ham went on a winning run before losing at home to Watford and then away to Burnley.

01 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v West Ham United W 0-3
04 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Cardiff City W 3-1
08 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Crystal Palace W 3-2
15 Dec 2018 Fulham v West Ham United W 0-2
22 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Watford L 0-2
27 Dec 2018 Southampton v West Ham United W 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Burnley v West Ham United L 2-0

That last away defeat was very unexpected since it was just Burnley’s third home win of the season, and this against a team that can certainly win away.

Both of these recent WHU defeats have been by 0-2, and although West Ham won the first four games of the month they were all against teams that were having problems.

Brighton on the other hand have had a more bumpy ride of late.  Here are their December results

01 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Brighton and Hove Albion W 1-2
04 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Crystal Palace W 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion L 1-0
16 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Chelsea L 1-2
22 Dec 2018 AFC Bournemouth v Brighton and Hove Albion L 2-0
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Everton W 1-0

Three wins, three draws and a defeat.  They too have lost to Burnley, and they did manage a draw against Arsenal, and they limited the damage in a defeat to Chelsea by just one goal.

The psychological position.

We have all seen clubs go on long winning or at least undefeated runs, but then when the run ends, they find it impossible to pick up the pieces and start winning again.  Typically there might be three, four or even five defeats against clubs that would previously have been swatted aside without a second thought.

The issue in this, as in so many aspects of football, is psychological.  A goal is given away and the players think “oh no not again” instead of metaphorically rolling up the sleeves and getting on with winning the match.

Yet psychology is very rarely taken into account by pundits – so we’re now adding the psychological element to our predictions.

Brighton’s players will very much be on the up having ended their run of three defeats.  West Ham players however will be nervous.  An early goal by Brighton and they will have that sinking feeling, thinking the good run is over.

So the first goal in this game is going to be very important, and neither side will want to give it away.  Neither is a side that is currently feeling that they can come back when going one down.

I suspect West Ham will go all out for the first goal, and get it, and so win the game, probably 2-0.  But the first goal is vital.

West Ham v Watford: the predictions

West Ham v Watford is one of those strange games that doesn’t always turn out as one might expect.

Here are the results since 1994 at West Ham’s ground…

08 Jan 1994 West Ham United v Watford W 2-1 FA Cup
11 Sep 1999 West Ham United v Watford W 1-0 Premier League
01 May 2004 West Ham United v Watford W 4-0 League Division 1
27 Nov 2004 West Ham United v Watford W 3-2 League Championship
27 Jan 2007 West Ham United v Watford L 0-1 FA Cup
10 Feb 2007 West Ham United v Watford L 0-1 Premier League
07 Mar 2012 West Ham United v Watford D 1-1 League Championship
20 Apr 2016 West Ham United v Watford W 3-1 Premier League
10 Sep 2016 West Ham United v Watford L 2-4 Premier League
As we can see, in the 1990s and early 2000s West Ham won four in a row.  Since then they have gone five with only one win.  Not what one might expect without looking up the record.
In terms of overall form the clubs this season have a very similar record…
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 17 14 3 0 37 7 30 45
2 Manchester City 17 14 2 1 48 10 38 44
3 Tottenham Hotspur 17 13 0 4 31 16 15 39
4 Chelsea 17 11 4 2 35 14 21 37
5 Arsenal 17 10 4 3 37 23 14 34
6 Manchester United 17 7 5 5 29 29 0 26
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 17 7 4 6 19 19 0 25
8 Everton 17 6 6 5 24 22 2 24
9 West Ham United 17 7 3 7 25 25 0 24
10 Watford 17 7 3 7 23 25 -2 24

In fact the only difference between their overall form is that Watford have scored two goals fewer than West Ham.  It is a remarkable link between the two sides.

So what of West Ham at home

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 9 9 0 0 33 6 27 27
2 Liverpool 8 7 1 0 18 2 16 22
3 Chelsea 9 6 3 0 19 7 12 21
4 Arsenal 9 6 2 1 17 8 9 20
5 Everton 9 5 3 1 16 9 7 18
6 Tottenham Hotspur 7 5 0 2 12 6 6 15
7 Manchester United 8 4 3 1 14 11 3 15
8 Watford 9 5 0 4 14 15 -1 15
9 Brighton and Hove Albion 8 4 2 2 13 10 3 14
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 4 2 3 12 11 1 14
11 AFC Bournemouth 9 4 2 3 14 14 0 14
12 West Ham United 9 4 1 4 14 14 0 13

West Ham have four wins, one draw and four defeats, with goal difference of zero.

As for Watford who are away,  here is how their away form pans out so far

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 10 8 0 2 19 10 9 24
2 Liverpool 9 7 2 0 19 5 14 23
3 Manchester City 8 5 2 1 15 4 11 17
4 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 16 7 9 16
5 Arsenal 8 4 2 2 20 15 5 14
6 West Ham United 8 3 2 3 11 11 0 11
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 8 3 2 3 7 8 -1 11
8 Leicester City 9 3 2 4 11 13 -2 11
9 Manchester United 9 3 2 4 15 18 -3 11
10 Newcastle United 8 2 4 2 7 7 0 10
11 Watford 8 2 3 3 9 10 -1 9
A slightly worse record emerges: two wins, three draws, three defeats, and a goal difference of -1.
Looking at the goals scored so far we might go for West Ham 2 Watford 1 – if it were not for that habit Watford have of doing ok away to West Ham.  A second bet could be to go for a draw however.
West Ham have certainly picked up after their very dodgy start with four wins in their last five…
24 Nov 2018 West Ham United v Manchester City L 0-4 Premier League
01 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v West Ham United W 0-3 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Cardiff City W 3-1 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Crystal Palace W 3-2 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Fulham v West Ham United W 0-2 Premier League

However these games have all been against clubs that are not doing particularly well this season.  Yes they have scored 11 in the last four, but against teams with very dodgy defences.

Watford’s results of late have been patchy to say the least.  Here are their last 10

06 Oct 2018 Watford v AFC Bournemouth L 0-4 Premier League
20 Oct 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Watford W 0-2 Premier League
27 Oct 2018 Watford v Huddersfield Town W 3-0 Premier League
03 Nov 2018 Newcastle United v Watford L 1-0 Premier League
10 Nov 2018 Southampton v Watford D 1-1 Premier League
24 Nov 2018 Watford v Liverpool L 0-3 Premier League
01 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Watford L 2-0 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 Watford v Manchester City L 1-2 Premier League
10 Dec 2018 Everton v Watford D 2-2 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Watford v Cardiff City W 3-2 Premier League

Seven games with just one win – that recent result against Watford.  And their two wins before that were against teams also in difficulty at the time – Wolverhampton and Huddersfield.

Despite the draw against Everton and win over Cardiff, it is hard to see Watford getting anything out of this game unless lady luck really turns to smile on them.

Fulham v West Ham United: the match predictions

Predicting the result and score of Fulham v West Ham

The leage table spells out bad news for Fulham and indeed for Southampton this weekend.   We’ll come to Southampton shortly but for now looking at Fulham we can see they have only two wins thus far this season with two wins three draws and 11 defeats.    Their goal difference is shocking at 16 for and 40 against.  By far the worst in the League

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
15 Newcastle United 16 3 4 9 13 22 -9 13
16 Crystal Palace 16 3 3 10 13 23 -10 12
17 Burnley 16 3 3 10 15 32 -17 12
18 Huddersfield T 16 2 4 10 10 27 -17 10
19 Southampton 16 1 6 9 13 30 -17 9
20 Fulham 16 2 3 11 16 40 -24 9

Looing just at home games however Fulham are far from being the worst club in the league

14 Wolverhampton 8 3 2 3 10 11 -1 11
15 Fulham 7 2 2 3 10 16 -6 8
16 Burnley 8 2 1 5 9 15 -6 7
17 Newcastle United 9 2 0 7 7 15 -8 6
18 Southampton 7 0 5 2 6 10 -4 5
19 Crystal Palace 7 1 2 4 4 8 -4 5
20 Huddersfield T 8 1 2 5 3 10 -7 5

Both of Fulham’s league victories have come at home – and they have two draws as well out of the three they have secured.  In other words their home form is low to middling, and they have a new manager which usually results in some sort of “new manager bounce” in terms of results.

Now for the table based on away form

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Tottenham H 10 8 0 2 19 10 9 24
2 Liverpool 9 7 2 0 19 5 14 23
3 Manchester City 8 5 2 1 15 4 11 17
4 Arsenal 7 4 2 1 18 12 6 14
5 Chelsea 7 4 1 2 14 6 8 13
6 Manchester Utd 8 3 2 3 14 15 -1 11
7 Leicester City 8 3 2 3 11 12 -1 11
8 Wolverhampton 8 3 2 3 7 8 -1 11
9 Bournemouth 7 3 0 4 11 12 -1 9
10 Watford 8 2 3 3 9 10 -1 9
11 West Ham Utd 7 2 2 3 9 11 -2 8

West Ham away have two wins and two draws, just as Fulham at home have.  The goal difference however is in West Ham’s favour – they have -2 GD while Fulham are at -6, some of which is down to the hammering Fulham took at home from Arsenal.

Here are the last five Fulham home games (all games are Premier League matches)

22 Sep 2018 Fulham v Watford D 1-1
07 Oct 2018 Fulham v Arsenal L 1-5
27 Oct 2018 Fulham v AFC Bournemouth L 0-3
24 Nov 2018 Fulham v Southampton W 3-2
05 Dec 2018 Fulham v Leicester City D 1-1

There is a real improvement in the last two games (although one might argue it would have been hard for it to get any worse) – and this in part is caused by a certain stability in the team.

West Ham away have looked more solid than one might have expected

16 Sep 2018 Everton v West Ham United W 1-3
05 Oct 2018 Brighton and Hove v West Ham Utd L 1-0
27 Oct 2018 Leicester City v West Ham United D 1-1
10 Nov 2018 Huddersfield Town v West Ham Utd D 1-1
01 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v West Ham Utd W 0-3

Curiously then if we look at recent results we could argue that both sides have a slight run of form – although this is stretching the use of the word “run”.

At home Fulham overall get scores akin to 1-2 while West Ham away get 1-1.  Fulham unbeaten in two at home and West Ham unbeaten in three away suggests a draw, as does the fact that out of those last five games (two home for Fulham and three away for West Ham) three have been draws.

I’ll go for 1-1.