Tradition says, that the team which is at the bottom of the Premier League table after Boxing Day, will relegate at the end of the season. West Ham United was in this position just before the match against Fulham. Even if the city rivals, won only a game out of the last ten played against “the Hammers”, they were in pole position to win this time. Both sides had only two victories so far in the league and are struggling to survive in the first division. However the finalist of last year’s European League had the advantage of home pitch. West Ham did not win yet this season a match on away field and the things did’t look better at the start of the game. With just eleven minutes after the referee’s first whistle, Hughes opened the score on Craven Cottage. Fulham lead 1-0.
But Avraam Grant’s students started to play better and better, and after an error in the opponents’ defense, Carlton Cole put West Ham level. After a few more minutes, just before the break, Piquoinne, put his team in front. “The Hammers” had a 2-1 lead. After exiting the changing rooms, Fulham looked even worse. The London rivals realized it and tried to surprise them with counter attacks. And they did when in the 73rd minute the same Cole scored his second goal after another marking error of the opponent defenders.
So, West Ham United got their first away success in this season and that helped them to leave the last place of the table. Now they can hope to avoid relegation. Even they have more games than other teams at the bottom at the table, this 3-1 win at Craven Cottage, rises them a few positions. For Fulham the situation doesn’t look good at all. With only two victories they should start worry.
In another Boxing Day match, Manchester United beat Sunderland 2-0. Both goals were scored by former Bulgarian international, Dimitar Berbatov, who confirmed once again his good form. But United played very well in all compartments and managed to create several goal occasions. The biggest were in the first half, when Manchester hit the post twice. After the break and the second goal, de “Devils” got full control of the game giving not even a serious change of scoring for their opponents. United remains at the top of the table with five points ahead and with one game behind. Still they are unbeaten after 18 games.