Preview: Fulham FC Vs West Ham United

With so much media speculation as to who will go where and who will arrive, it is easy to forget that the Barclays Premier League season starts in just a couple of weeks from today. West Ham have today's 'friendly' against Fulham at Craven Cottage, a hastily arranged game in Austria and a final match against Atletic Bilbao before the season's opener against Manchester City at the London Stadium on the 10th of August.

Hammers' new arrivals Sebastian Haller and Pablo Fornals are due to get a run out, they will also experience the vagaries of the English weather for the first time since signing. Two days ago they were training in bright 'tropical' weather, today their baptism will be under grey sky's that only London can generate! Fulham are the ideal club to play in what will be the first 'competitive' fixture for a full strength Irons side, ex-Hammers Scotty Parker manages the Cottagers and has a good relationship with the Hammers hierarchy which includes access to players for loan deals.

The fact that the two clubs do business together will ensure the game will be played competitively, but not in an overly physical way, crunching tackles can wait for a couple of weeks. It is unclear as to whether Manuel Pellegrini wants to start both Fornals and Haller or bring them on later, he may decide to give the players just 45 minutes each as he attempts to 'juggle' his midfield. If all the players stay fit, Jack Wilshere in particular, then Pelle will be spoiled for choice.

The game this afternoon will be screened on European platforms, West Ham and Fulham are also due to announce that it will be streamed, so long as the broadcast facilities can handle the demand. Lovely old stadium is Craven Cottage, tickets are still available including hospitality packages for £90 that include two course meal and 'unlimited' drinks. There must be one or two fans who think they can 'get their money's worth, and there is even a rumour that 'Big Andy Carroll' might turn up to avail himself of the offer!

Hopefully Manuel Pellegrini has taken fans' opinions of Carlos Sanchez's performances on board, and if he does play him it will be to put him in the shop window before transfer deadline day. - Ed

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David gold used to call him that,trying to get down with the youth I reckon!!;)

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