Sporting Intelligence
FeaturesSuper statto: SearsWest Ham and Fulham seek atonement on the road

West Ham and Fulham seek atonement on the road

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By Brian Sears

16 September 2010

West Ham and Fulham have an unwanted statistic in common, one that both hope to ditch this weekend.

It concerns away days, bad ones, lots of bad ones. On the very first day of last season, Fulham went to Fratton Park and a Zamora goal allowed them to return with all three points. On the same day, West Ham were at Molineux where goals from Noble and Upson ensured a 2-0 victory. The fans from east and west London must have been contemplating fruitful journeyings around the country. How they must have dreamt of the many super away days to come. All the achievement ahead. All those points. Yet neither club has managed a single away Premier League win since then, in 20 attempts each.

Both are looking for atonement of a football kind, as Fulham travel to Blackburn, and West Ham play at Stoke at lunchtime on Saturday, although West Ham will play at Stoke without their manager. Avram Grant will miss the match to observe Yom Kippur, aka the Day of Atonement, one of the most significant events in the Jewish calendar. Yom Kippur falls on 17 and 18 September this year, and West Ham announced earlier this week that they “fully respect and understand” Grant’s absence at this time of fasting and prayer.

No other Premier League clubs aside from the Hammers and Fulham have been winless on their travels so long, and in the whole of the Football League only Hull and Gillingham have gone  longer since an away win. Over the last 20 games both Fulham and West Ham have come close in claiming an elusive win; Fulham have had nine draws and West Ham six.

Away wins generally have been thin on the ground so far this season. There have been only eight in the 40 games played, with Chelsea and Blackpool grabbing two each for themselves. Mark Hughes must already be wrestling with the endemic problem of Fulham’s inability to pick up away wins. In their nine and a bit seasons feasting at the top table, Fulham have only managed 23 away wins in their 173 games away from Craven Cottage.  Sunderland in their nine and a bit seasons have won 28 of their 173 games but have been relegated three times! 

Fulham’s continuing survival is down to their form at the Cottage and that they have picked up as many as 59 points in away draws,  including two already this season.

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