Following on from a disappointing 2-0 loss against West Ham at a rain soaked Craven Cottage, the Whites make their longest away trip of the campaign to St James Park in search of three points against a rejuvenated Newcastle side. In torrid form away from home, can Fulham pull off a Christmas miracle? Niall Johnson takes a look.
Claudio Ranieri announced after last week’s West Ham game that he felt it was the best performance he had seen this Fulham team give under his regime and there was certainly a lot take from Fulham’s first half endeavours. 12 shots taken, 4 on target and some really great chances created, none more so than Aboubakar Kamara’s one on one opportunity early on. The lack of fight in the second half was a cause for concern and the departure of Seri seemed to only put an end to Fulham’s creative capabilities. Chances need to start being taken in these big games and perhaps a return to his former stomping ground will be the perfect occasion for Mitrovic to get his name back on the scoresheet.
March 2017: Newcastle 1 – 3 Fulham
August 2016: Fulham 1 – 0 Newcastle
March 2014: Fulham 1 – 0 Newcastle
August 2013: Newcastle 1 – 0 Fulham
April 2013: Newcastle 1 – 0 Fulham
Fulham Team News
There are only two absentees this week for Fulham. Ryan Sessegnon remains side-lined with an injury sustained in the build-up to the West Ham game. It is hopeful he will return for our Boxing Day fixture against Wolves while Zambo-Anguissa remains out for another two weeks. This could open the door for Steven Sessegnon whose patience has been rewarded this week with a new contract, while it would appear Kamara will be preferred to Vietto in the attacking wide role.
Newcastle Team News
Newcastle have a slightly longer physio queue; Kenedy, Lejeune and Shelvey all remain out, while Fernandez and Darlow are very close to returning to first team action.
The Danger Man
Fulham have infamously conceded 42 goals this season, but they meet this week the league’s second lowest scorers. For that reason Fulham can’t look beyond Rondon as being potentially the most influential player on the pitch from a Newcastle perspective. With five Premier League goals to his name this season, he is likely to cause problems for our beleaguered backline.
I foresee a very cagey game but think this will be a momentous weekend for Fulham, three points and a first clean sheet to follow, 1-0 to the mighty whites!