The venue, St James’ Park
Eleventh place Fulham travel to St. James’ Park on Saturday after their somewhat uninspiring midweek fixture with League Two Burton in the Carling Cup, in which they needed penalties to progress, whilst the Magpies go in to this one off the back of a 2-0 win against Morecambe (also League Two) in the same competition.
With assurances from Pardew than Yohan Cabaye will play at least some part in this fixture, and positive news being reported on the fitness of Loïc Rémy, fortunes may just be on the rise for Newcastle in what has proved to be a disappointing and frankly, at times, embarrassing start to the season.
A 4-0 opening day loss away to big spending Man City and a goalless draw at home to West Ham in the following league fixture are results that before the start of the season no one could have said were out of the realms of possibility, but it’s the complete lack of quality and perhaps maybe even more worryingly, intent, shown by Newcastle in an attacking sense that have the fans worried.
The stadium that once housed a team once known as ‘The Entertainers’, a name which at the minute couldn’t be less apt, has seen the goals and the entertainment dry up, with 0 home goals and 10 against in its last four fixtures.
With just 1 shot on target in the Premier League this season – a typical 25 yard strike from Tioté which never really showed any sign of going in – Newcastle have the lowest tally in England. Our defence meanwhile, which has been almost at full strength, recovered well from the opening game to keep a very respectable, if at times shaky, clean sheet against West Ham.
Regardless, Newcastle fans will feel this is a game they could, and probably should, be winning. Personally, I will be happy to see some improvement from our team going forward and another steady showing at the back. Fulham will no doubt be looking to take advantage of our poor home form and secure another away win in the North East to go alongside their opening day 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light.
Newcastle look to ‘welcome’ Yohan Cabaye back to the side after he reportedly refused to play in their opening two League fixtures after a transfer bid from Arsenal. Loic Remy (calf) could return for a place on the bench while Tiote (groin), Gutierrez (hamstring), Haidara (knee), R Taylor (knee) and Mike Williamson (knock) are all out injured. Steven Taylor serves the last of his three game ban after his red card at Man City for clothes-lining Aguero.
Newcastle’s starting line up has been fairly consistent of late and we may line up as follows:
Meanwhile for Fulham, Amorebieta (knock) is definitely out, as is Richardson (hamstring). There are question marks over new signing Stekelenberg (shoulder) who looks likely to get a place on the bench at best.
Dimitar Berbatov is in line for a start having been rested for his team’s midweek game which saw Darren Bent make his first start for the club and new signings Parker and Taarabt could feature.
Manager Pre-Match Thoughts
“We know we need a win. For our fans, but also because of some of the bad publicity in the transfer market and with Yohan Cabaye. It makes it an important game, we are very much focused on trying to get the win.
Morecambe was a big win for us. You could tell on Thursday morning we’d had a win because it lifts everybody. We go in against Fulham looking for a win now. I do think it will be a tight game, I watched them at Sunderland and I thought Sunderland did well without hurting them. That is the problem with Fulham – they are a good defensive unit. They’ve got a player of real class in Berbatov in particular that anybody would want to see.
Fulham have that danger element about them. But we should win.”
“If you see their qualities, if you see the players they’ve got, I think it’s a fantastic squad,” he said of Alan Pardew’s men. “I saw the first match against Manchester City – and City is different, they’ve got so many qualities – and they beat them 4-0.
“We had a good game against Newcastle last year, and they had a terrific team. The year before, they were in the top six so they’ve got very good qualities and we are aware of that. The only thing is we would like to get at least a point from that game.”
April 2013 – Newcastle 1-0 Fulham – (Cissé)
December 2012 – Fulham 2-1 Newcastle – (Sidwell, Rodallega), (Ben Arfa)
January 2012 – Fulham 5-2 Newcastle – (Murphy, Dempsey 3, Zamora), (Guthrie, Ben Arfa)