Michael Owen predicts Fulham v Newcastle
The final weekend of the season and Michael Owen has been looking ahead to Sunday at Craven Cottage.
The biggest drama ahead of the match saw Fulham as usual happily sell lots (most?) of the tickets in the ‘neutral’ sections to Newcastle fans, these being next to the official away allocation of 2,700.
Only to then suddenly cancel tickets for anybody having a north east postcode.
A stupid and pointless exercise as there is no history of trouble in this fixture and most Newcastle fans wouldn’t have been buying tickets using a north east postcode, it mainly being southern based NUFC supporters getting tickets without the necessity of being a Newcastle United member/season ticket holder.
As for the match itself, nothing of real substance to play for, apart from pride and satisfaction for each club.
Fulham could end their season with three home wins in a row and four victories in their final five games, whilst a win for Newcastle would give them one point more than last season’s 44 points.
As Michael Owen points out: ‘The Cottagers have only conceded one goal in their last four games and they have improved dramatically under Scott Parker.’
When Dendoncker scored the winner for Wolves on Saturday, it brought to an end six hours of PL football without Fulham conceding a goal.
Very remarkable when you factor in that Fulham have the very worst defence in the Premier League and had conceded 76 goals in the opening 33 league matches (now 77 goals in 37, Huddersfield (75 goals) the only other to have conceded 70 or more).
You can often expect a new manager ‘bounce’ when a new boss comes in but it was a bit delayed for Scott Parker.
Fulham had lost four in a row and then Scott Parker made that nine defeats in a row.
Though there were mitigating factors, Parker’s first five games against Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and away at Watford and Leicester who are also top half.
Victories over Everton, Bournemouth and Cardiff followed, before that 1-0 loss at Wolves despite Fulham having 61% of the possession.
It looking a classic case of once the pressure is off, a relegated team suddenly playing decent football.
Michael Owen predicts an ‘entertaining farewell’ for Fulham and a scoring draw in the match.
Newcastle have significantly improved on the goalscoring front and scored in every Premier League game since 2 January, if you rule out games against clubs from the capital, NUFC losing at home to Palace and away at Spurs, Arsenal and West Ham without scoring a goal.
As Owen remarks, Newcastle were well up for the Liverpool match despite having only pride to play for and whilst this may be a less energised atmosphere, Rafa Benitez will still be demanding his players do everything they can to end the season on a relative high.
Aleksandar Mitrovic also gives the game added interest, he has 11 PL goals this season whilst Perez also has 11 and Rondon 10, nice if one (or both!) of them can overtake Mitro.
Michael Owen talking to BetVictor:
“Fulham have won their last two home league games.
“But I feel United will take a point at Craven Cottage, having played their part in a terrific game with Liverpool at St James’ Park last weekend.
“The Cottagers have only conceded one goal in their last four games and they have improved dramatically under Scott Parker.
“I can’t split the sides in what promises to an entertaining farewell to the Premier League for the hosts.
“Tip: Score draw 7/2.”
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