Predicted Newcastle Line-Up v Fulham
Newcastle United v Fulham 3pm
At Saturday’s pre-match press conference, Alan Pardew confirmed that Fabricio Coloccini, Massadio Haidara, Hatem Ben Arfa, Cheick Tiote and Mathieu Debuchy would all miss today’s match against Fulham.
While Gouffran can be added to the players that were available in Lisbon on Thursday night, there are also question marks against both Danny Simpson and James perch, who limped off in that match.
The manager’s initial assessment was that Simpson had more chance of making the Fulham match than Perch but since then there have been reports that Danny Simpson is struggling for today so there’s every chance that neither of them will make it.
Assuming there aren’t any other nasty injury surprises, you’d assume that the other nine starters against Benfica will all take to the pitch today.
So I’d expect we will have Krul, Mapou, Taylor, Santon, Gutierrez, Sissoko, Cabaye, Marveaux and Cisse in the starting line up.
If you add Gouffran as the tenth, Alan Pardew’s alternatives could well be Anita,Williamson, Bigirimana, Obertan, Shola, Gosling and Campbell.
I saw Jim Robertson’s article on this site yesterday ( [intlink id=”26990″ type=”post”]Sissoko & Gouffran To Take Different Roles v Fulham [/intlink]) and I’m inclined to agree.
Jim predicted that Gouffran would play behind Cisse and Sissoko alongside Cabaye in the centre.
I think the options are so limited and the playing style maybe could do with refreshing anyway, I can see Anita having to drop in at right-back and the middle of the pitch strengthened with that Sissoko/Cabaye axis in the middle.
What it would also do is make Gouffran (great value at 15/2 first goal) more of a goal threat and take some of the expectation off Papiss Cisse.
As for the visitors, Sidwell is suspended and Dejagah & Petric miss through injury. I just hope Berbatov is in one of his more laidback moods as he has scored in each of Fulham’s last four matches.
The visitors are all but safe on thirty nine points and will be able to relax and play their football/have nothing to play for, depending on which way you look at it.
Newcastle have conceded more second half goals (37) than any other Premier League side, apart from Villa (39). That is something that needs to be addressed as failing to finish off games has been Newcastle’s undoing for much of the season.
Despite winning just one of the last seven matches against Fulham, Newcastle do at least go into the match on the back of three home wins in a row. In all three games, United came back from a losing position, let’s hope they don’t put us through that again.
For all the injuries problems and a hard game in Lisbon on Thursday, there are no excuses as this is a must win match and Newcastle’s players should be well up for it.
Three points is the only outcome today.
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