Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday November 8 2008
Fulham welcome to Craven Cottage a resurgent Newcastle United side this Sunday. Under the leadership of Joe Kinnear, the Geordies have halted the slump that saw them in the relegation places and a 2-0 win over Aston Villa, on Monday night, saw them climb to a lofty fourteenth place in the table.
Fulham with two consecutive home games scheduled, know they have to start picking up points, especially at home, with tough trips to Liverpool and Aston Villa looming on the horizon. Last weekend, in the 1-0 loss to Everton, Fulham could consider themselves unlucky to fall to a late goal after a spirited performance.
However, with only eight league goals scored, the lowest in the Premier League, now is the time for our expensive strike pairing of Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora to start delivering, if not it promises to be a long hard winter.
Ahead of the clash Roy Hodgson has spoken out about the opposition and the sort of game he expects to be played when he remarks,
"We expect a tough game because it is a resurgent Newcastle side - they have taken 7 points from their last four games."
'A new manager has gone in there and that has galvanised the spirit of the club."
'They have top-class players and they have confidence but we have got to make sure that we match that. We should have confidence because we have not played badly but we have not had the right results.'
Let`s hope this resurgence comes to an end in front of the television cameras on Sunday.
Roy Hodgson will probably start with the same eleven that came so close to getting a result at Goodison Park,
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Bullard, Gera, Zamora and Johnson.
Elsewhere in the squad, Seol Ki-Hyeon after being allowed to travel to South Korea for personal reasons last week has picked up a knee injury and is unavailable. Fredrik Stoor has a cold and isn`t likely to be considered however, on the positive side, Dickson Etuhu is back in training and Tony Kallio should be on the bench after missing the Everton game.
Danny has been a little quite in recent games and we need him to start dominating the midfield, to start pulling the strings and start delivering those probing passes that forwards thrive on. Could Sunday be that day?
Newcastle arrive in London on the back of a great run and Joe Kinnear will be keen to keep that going. They picked up no new injuries against Aston Villa and Kinnear is likely to field an unchanged side which would mean Michael Owen starting on the bench.
Newcastle squad - Given, Harper, Beye, Enrique, Bassong, Taylor, Coloccini, Cacapa, Edgar, Butt, Guthrie, Barton, Duff, Jonas, N'Zogbia, Ameobi, Martins, Owen, Xisco.
Underneath that bad-boy image is a remarkably gifted footballer, let`s hope he has an off day and off course you`ve just got to give him some stick, it`d be churlish not to!
Newcastle are one club Fulham have the upper hand over when it comes to fixtures between the two sides at home with Fulham having won 4 times compared to the 3 wins Newcastle have. Surprisingly there have been no draws.
It`s a similar pattern when you consider all League matches with Fulham having won 14 times compared to the 7 of Newcastle with 5 draws.
Last season Newcastle emerged 1-0 victors, in the corresponding fixture, courtesy of a last minute winner from Joey (boo) Barton, from the penalty spot.
The man looking after proceedings will be Martin Atkinson.
It`s a tough one to predict, Newcastle are the form team but we`re quite comfortable at home. It could be one of those games where it goes right down to the wire. We don`t foresee a glut of goals but we can foresee white shirts celebrating at the end, courtesy of a late winner, 1-0 to Fulham!
Fulham take on Tottenham Hotspur in the second of two consecutive home games next weekend.
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Date:Saturday November 8 2008
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