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Match Reports

What Were The Tactics, Stats & Analysis From Fulham v Newcastle

8 years ago
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Fulham v Newcastle Match Report

Fulham 1 Newcastle United 0    Saturday 15 March 3pm

Alan Pardew was forced to undergo his first stadium ban away at Fulham on Saturday. Sat in a hotel room near the stadium the manager was probably either channel flicking – if his anger management is working – or destroying the TV remote.

Fulham were thoroughly unremarkable, lacklustre, full of huff and puff, but little else. Newcastle United were somehow worse, losing 1-0 at Craven Cottage and giving the Cottagers a hope of surviving in the Premier League.

FORMATIONS

Pardew was dealt the double injury blow of missing Matheiu Debuchy and Loic Remy. Forced to make changes to a side which, let’s not forget, won so comfortably at the KC Stadium, Pardew moved Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to right  back, brought back captain Fabricio Coloccini and replaced Remy with goal-shy Papiss Cisse.

Luuk De Jong, who has impressed with his aerial ability and work rate so far on Tyneside, was dropped a touch deeper than his strike partner to help out the two man midfield of Cheick Tiote and Vurnon Anita. Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko continued on either wing.

Fulham were quite similar to Newcastle – also adopting a 4-4-1-1 with Pajtim Kasami in the withdrawn striker role and youngster Cauley Woodrow up front. There was no space in Fulham starting line-up for former Toon captain Scott Parker or record January signing Konstantinos Mitroglou.

POOR START

The game didn’t exactly spark into life in the opening stages with both formations cancelling each other out and neither midfield capable of getting anything going. Despite the relatively open formations both sides pressed the space quite well, meaning Newcastle in particular were forced to look long, with Anita’s passing range bypassed (by the end of the game Newcastle had attempted 72 long balls to Fulham’s 58).

Both sides preferred to attack down their right hand side, with Lewis Holtby for Fulham and Sissoko for the Mapgies. The latter however failed to offer any real width once again. There is no denying Gouffran and Sissoko are both able runners (both made two tackles) but their tactical wing play leaves a lot to be desired with both players preferring to drift inside.

Without the threat of Debuchy pouring down in an overlap (although Yanga-Mbiwa played reasonably well) Fulham could afford to play very narrow and stop Newcastle coming through the middle. Gouffran particularly suffered via Fulham’s narrow defence. He failed to really exert any threat on Fulham and his one shot was a poor return for all the effort he put in.

Cissé, who has been woefully short of confidence for the best part of 18 months now, was gifted a chance when William Kvist’s wayward pass (something he suffered from regularly with just 58% pass completion) allowed him a free run on goal but Stockdale saved, and soon after Dejagah, subbed on to replace Kasami, cut inside Yanga-Mbiwa and shot from 25 yards. The ball dipped under the body of Krul and into the far corner – the Dutchman’s view possibly hampered by an offside Holtby – how Newcastle fans must have groaned when that became apparent with the Magpies denied a goal under similar circumstances aganst Manchester City earlier in the season.

SUBSTITUTIONS

Soon after Tim Krul’s howler allowed Fulham to take a somewhat deserving lead, Pardew, or should that be John Carver, made a change. Off came Cisse (37 touches, not a bad return for 70 minutes, but just two shots) and on came Shola Ameobi. The Nigerian striker was nigh-on anonymous, touching the ball a meagre seven times and giving away a foul. Quite what his impact was supposed to be isn’t clear but he failed to even compete for an aerial ball – something he has been quite good at this season.

Fernando Amorebieta formed a good partnership with Brede Hangeland in the heart of the Fulham defence with the pair both good at reading the ball and outmuscling Cisse, De Jong and Ameobi.

10 minutes after Ameobi had come on, Newcastle made another change with forgotten man Sylvain Marveaux replacing the disappointing Anita. The Dutchman did well enugh defensively (three tackles, two interceptions) but his passing was poor (75%) and he failed to carve open the Fulham defence, managing only one shot and one key pass.

Marveaux fared little better, failing to make a single key pass, shot, tackle, interception or anything statistically remarkable. He touched the ball seven times. With the clock winding down, De Jong, whose shooting thus far in a black and white shirt has been accurate but powerless, was replaced by 17 year old Adam Armstrong. In his brief time on the field the youngster looked busy and full of energy as you’d expect.

Newcastle boiled over in the final minute with even Tim Krul going forward for a corner. The Magpies claimed handball off John Heitinga but the appeals were waved away. Krul, perhaps desperate to somehow atone for his error which had gifted Fulham three precious points, confronted the official as he blew the final whistle.

STAR PLAYER

Although no Newcastle player covered themselves in glory in an insipid display, Mike Williamson’s good form at centre back continued (although his chances of going to Brazil are slim at best).

The former Portsmouth defender, seemingly reborn this season, won 88% of his aerial battles, made two interceptions, two tackles and a massive eight clearances. His pass completion of 75% was poor but it matched Newcastle’s game plan of a large reliance on long balls.

CONCLUSION

A poor game from top to bottom with Newcastle able to complain about to a penalty decision but not about the final result. A defeat in this manner will do nothing to dispel the rumour, the club will coast to the end of the season with safety assured for the next Premier League season, and no sign of European football.

Pardew will have to stay away from the stadium for the next two games but many fans would like to see more dramatic changes made to the starting 11 with the club afforded the rare opportunity to try out youngsters such as Adam Armstrong (his performance towards the end was the one brief bright spot in a dour afternoon).

Lots of statistics can be thrown about regarding Newcastle’s on-field display but the bottom line is Newcastle still have not scored this season without Remy in the team – and it looks as though he won’t be here next season.

Newcastle: Krul, Mapou, Coloccini Williamson, Dummett, Sissoko, Tiote, Anita (Marveaux 81), Gouffran, De Jong (Armstrong 86), Cisse (Shola 71)

Unused Subs: Alnwick, Gosling, Haidara, Steven Taylor

Ref: Howard Webb

Crowd: 25,664

You can follow Tom on Twitter @WeeklyNewsBay

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