The FourFourTwo Preview: Fulham vs Newcastle

Premier League | Craven Cottage | Sat 15 Mar | 3pm

Billed as

The match Alan Pardew definitely won’t be at this weekend.

The lowdown

Oh boy, where to start. To call the last few weeks of Fulham and Newcastle’s respective seasons eventful would be an understatement.

FULHAM FORM

  • Cardiff 3-1 Fulham (Prem)
  • Fulham 1-3 Chelsea (Prem)
  • WBA 1-1 Fulham (Prem)
  • Fulham 2-3 Liverpool (Prem)
  • Man Utd 2-2 Fulham (Prem)

NEWCASTLE FORM

  • Hull 1-4 Newcastle (Prem)
  • Newcastle 1-0 Aston Villa (Prem)
  • Newcastle 0-4 Spurs (Prem)
  • Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle (Prem)
  • Newcastle 0-3 S'land (Prem)

The headline moment was, of course, Newcastle manager Pardew noggin-nudging Hull midfielder David Meyler during his team’s previous Premier League match, but there has been madness at Fulham too, with the previously sane west London club rattling through managers like most clubs rattle through unpaid social media interns.

Pardew has this week been handed a record seven-game ban –consisting of a three-game stadium ban, then a four-game touchline ban. In the possible confusion, Fulham’s latest manager Felix Magath will be aiming for his first Premier League win – if he doesn’t get it, his team could be well and truly jiggered.

Last weekend’s defeat at Cardiff leaves the Cottagers four points adrift of safety (effectively five, given their woeful goal difference), and although that may not sound too huge a gap, they face Manchester City and Everton in the following two matches. Picking up points this time around are an absolute must.

Despite Pardew’s absence, this still may not be a good time to face Newcastle. After a nightmare run that saw them lose 3-0 to Sunderland and Chelsea and 4-0 to Tottenham, the Magpies enter this match on the back of successive wins – 1-0 over Aston Villa and 4-1 at Hull. That win at the KC Stadium saw the Toon soak up the pressure and hit their hosts on the break, and with the likes of Loic Remy and Moussa Sissoko bringing pace and power, they’ll be well equipped to do the same again this weekend.

Team news

Fulham are likely to be without defender Fernando Amorebieta (muscle injury) and midfielders Scott Parker (knee), Damien Duff (duff knee) and William Kvist (knee). Ashkan Dejagah will face a fitness test.

Newcastle could be without Davide Santon (knee), Hatem Ben Arfa (knock) and Gabriel Obertan (knee) and will definitely be without Loic Remy (calf) and Mathieu Debuchy (groin) for at least three matches. Fabricio Coloccini is set to return, having been given compassionate leave due to a family bereavement.

Player to watch: Steve Sidwell (Fulham)

One of the few bright spots of Fulham’s season has been the form of Sidwell. The former Reading, Chelsea and Aston Villa midfielder has scored seven goals this term – his best tally since the Royals’ record-breaking promotion campaign of 2005/06.

But it’s not just goalscoring that the carrot-topped scrapper brings to the table – he’s a diligent passer, a competitive tackler and an intelligent interceptor. This was all highlighted in the defeat at Cardiff, when he was one of only a couple of Fulham players to emerge with any credit. He completed 51 passes (a game high), 4 tackles (more than any other Fulham player), 3 interceptions (a game high), won 6 aerial duels (a game high), and made 5 clearances (errrrm, only seven fewer than Brede Hangeland…)

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

  • N'castle 1-0 Fulham (PL, Aug 13)
  • N'castle 1-0 Fulham (PL, Apr 13)
  • Fulham 2-1 N'castle (PL, Dec 12)
  • Fulham 5-2 N'castle (PL, Jan 12)
  • N'castle 2-1 Fulham (PL, Aug 11)

The managers

Sadly, this won’t be a meeting of the Penfold lookalike and Dangermouth, given Pardew will be watching the match on a dodgy stream from his hotel room (assuming he can’t find a more interesting way to spend two hours alone with the internet). Instead, Newcastle’s assistant manager John Carver will patrol the visiting technical area. He has previous when it comes to acting as Newcastle’s boss, as he was caretaker for one solitary match following the sacking of Bobby Robson in August 2004. Carver’s side won that Premier League clash with Blackburn Rovers 3-0.

His record on the touchline since hasn’t been quite so good. In eight matches as caretaker of Leeds and Sheffield United, he won just twice, while his win ratio during his 14 months as head coach of Toronto FC was just 30%. Still, he did square up to Callum McManaman at Wigan, so Pardew might not be missed after all.

Facts and figures

  • Fulham have won their last 4 home matches against Newcastle.
  • 4 of Fulham’s 33 home matches since the start of last season have had at least 3 goals.
  • Fulham have scored in 10 of 11 home games against middle-third teams since 2012/13 but they’ve lost 7 times, including four 1-2 defeats.
  • Newcastle have won 7 away games this season – more than both Liverpool and Man City.
  • 8 of Newcastle’s last 10 trips to bottom-six teams have had at least 3 goals.
    Best Bet: Over 3.5 Goals @ 3.00
    More FFT Stats Zone factsFind the best odds with Bet Butler

FourFourTwo prediction

No headbutts, some goals. Fulham to win 2-1.

Fulham vs Newcastle LIVE ANALYSIS with Stats Zone


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