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Premier League

  • 21 January 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 25692

Fulham - Newcastle United Preview: Magpies have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight Premier League away games

With Arsenal playing on Sunday, a win for Newcastle at Craven Cottage would propel them into fifth place and just one point below the Champions League qualification spots



Kelly, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise
Sidwell, Murphy,
Duff, Dempsey,


Simpson, Williamson, Collocini, Santon
R.Taylor, Cabaye, Guthrie, Gutierrez
Ben Arfa

Moussa Dembele is won't recover in time to face Newcastle after coming off with a knock in the disappointing 3-1 loss to 10-man Blackburn last week. Expect Damien Duff to fill in for the attacking midfielder.

Dickson Etuhu will also be in contention to team up with Danny Murphy in Fulham's midfield but the Nigerian is also carrying an injury. Aside from that, the rest of the Fulham side should pick itself. Mark Schwarzer is still a week or two away from returning to action, while Zdenek Grygera remains the only long-term absentee for Martin Jol. The Czech is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a serious knee injury.

Newcastle have doubts over the fitness of Yohan Cabaye but assuming he is ready, he should partner Danny Guthrie in the middle of the park. It's hard to tell if Alan Pardew will select two strikers (Leon Best and Shola Ameobi) or stick with the lone front-man away from home and utilise the play-making ability of Hatem Ben Arfa between the lines.

Sylvain Marveaux, Steven Taylor and Sammy Ameobi are the long-term injuries for Newcastle whilst Demba Ba, Cheikh Tiote and new signing Papiss Cisse are ruled due to their participation in the African Nations Cup.

  • The last five matches between the two sides at Craven Cottage has been decided by a single goal win.
  • Newcastle have won just one of their last five away games in London (1-0 against Arsenal in November 2010).
  • There are currently only seven sides that have had a longer Premier League stay than Fulham (Aston Villa, Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United & Tottenham).
  • Martin Jol's side have already played 36 competitive matches this campaign, just two short of a full Premier League calendar.
  • Newcastle have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight Premier League away games.
  • Alan Pardew's side have failed to score on their travels on just one occasion in the league this season.
  • Seminal figures of footballing folklore shared roles at both Newcastle and Fulham. Sir Bobby Robson played 344 times for Fulham before later managing Newcastle for five years.
  • The great Newcastle number nine Malcolm Macdonald began his playing career at Fulham before later managing the west London side for four years.
  • The absent Demba Ba is responsible for half of Newcastle's 30 league goals this season. 
  • Clint Dempsey (pictured) is just one goal short of his seasonal record for Fulham (13). He currently has 12 to his name, with six coming in the Premier League.
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Players to watch

B. Ruiz

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The Costa Rican attacker is beginning to show why Fulham paid £11m for him in the summer following a recent purple patch in form. Though he isn't making headlines, his creativity as part of the triple-threat of attacking midfielders alongside Dempsey and Dembele, is key to Fulham's attacking instinct.

The 4-0 FA Cup win over Charlton in Fulham's last home game saw Ruiz play a part in all four goals and knowing he won't be hunted by Cheikh Tiote could leave him the space to pull the strings for the Cottagers.

L. Best

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Perhaps not the most fashionable of strikers, but no-one can argue that he isn't effective. Best won the game for Newcastle with the team's only shot of the game against QPR last weekend and it was a true collector’s item for the Irish forward.

There is extra onus on the front-man now that Demba Ba has flocked off to the African Nations and with he and new signing Papiss Cisse due back in February, Best will be all too aware of the impression he must make on Alan Pardew to hold a position in the team. His winner against QPR was only his fourth league goal of the season and his first in the last 10 Premier League games he has featured in.

Editor's Prediction

I can see this proving a tricky game for Martin Jol and it cannot be denied that the vast number of matches his players have played in has physically taken a toll. New bodies are needed this January and until then I can see Fulham labouring through their next couple of games.

No matter what hurdles are put in the way of Alan Pardew's team, they seem to get past them. Even the loss of his two best players in Tiote and Ba could not halt the Magpies last week.

Though this will likely be a far tougher test than facing a lacklustre QPR side in front of the St James' faithful. I back them to score but I'm not sure if their dependable backline can resist the lustre of Fulham's attacking unit.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head


Newcastle United


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
Fulham FC Fulham
Newcastle United FC NEW
Newcastle United FC Newcastle United

Top 3 Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
0 - 2
Newcastle United FC NEW
Fulham FC FUL
1 - 2
Newcastle United FC NEW
Fulham FC FUL
1 - 1
Newcastle United FC NEW