Has Michael Owen got this right about Fulham and Newcastle United?
Michael Owen has been casting his eye over some pivotal games this weekend that affect both ends of the Premier League table.
When it comes to the relegation battle, a six point gap opened up last weekend between Newcastle United and Fulham, with drama in both games ending up all eventually going in Newcastle’s favour.
Wolves winning in the 92nd minute at Craven Cottage, whilst Allan Saint-Maximin stormed off the bench at Turf Moor to change a losing situation to a winning one, all in the space of seven minutes.
This is how the Premier League table currently looks, ahead of the weekend’s matches:
Fulham go to Arsenal on Sunday and Michael Owen declares: ‘The Cottagers’ have lost their last five Premier League matches and they take on an Arsenal side that despite their frailties, still have the quality to brush aside teams at the bottom end of the table.’
As usual Michael Owen playing fast and loose with facts, Fulham have lost their last four PL matches but actually won 1-0 at Liverpool in their fifth last match.
Having said that, certainly their confidence must have taken a hit with four defeats in a row.
Scott Parker said after last Friday’s defeat to Wolves that they would be coming out ‘swinging’ when it came to this Arsenal match and I think they may well have a real fighting chance of grabbing a surprise win.
Arsenal pulled off arguably their most impressive result and performance of the season last night BUT there are plenty of reasons to believe they could be nowhere near that level on Sunday. The Gunners won 4-0 away at Slavia Prague to progress to the Europa League semi-finals and that competition is massively where their focus will be from now on.
Arsenal have almost no chance of qualifying for the Europa League this season via the Premier League, never mind qualifying for the Champions League. They travel to play Villarreal away in the semis 11 days after playing Fulham on Sunday, with another home game against Everton in between. Travel and fatigue will be factors anyway after last night’s match and a perfect excuse as well for Mikel Arteta to play a seriously weakened team on Sunday.
Fulham will throw everything at this game as only a win will really do and Arsenal will see winning the Europa League and at the same time qualifying for the Champions League, as a seriously massive all consuming target.
Michael Owen thinks an easy 2-0 to Arsenal but I think Fulham could well match them and then it is all down to whether Scott Parker’s team can find a goal (or two).
Michael Owen fancies Newcastle to go seven points clear of Fulham by getting a point against West Ham.
By hook or by crook Newcastle have somehow avoided defeat in five of their last six matches and Michael Owen talks about them having shown ‘grit’ in crawling to probable safety.
One thing is for sure, if Steve Bruce and his team repeat the first 55 minutes at Burnley last Sunday, then difficult not to see the Hammers strolling to an easy win.
For West Ham, since losing their opening two games of the season against Newcastle and Arsenal, the next twenty nine PL games have seen them win sixteen, draw seven and lose only six.
Only four clubs having beaten the Hammers since 19 September 2020 (eight months ago) – Liverpool (twice), Man Utd (twice), Chelsea and Man City.
Very impressive form for West Ham with 55 points from the last 29 games, almost averaging two points (1.896 points) per match.
This is a massive game for West Ham as David Moyes views the Champions League places with seven games to go. They are one point clear of fifth place Chelsea with seven games each to go and three points at St James Park would be the perfect set up to take them into what looks the key game next weekend when West Ham are home to Chelsea.
Like Arsenal with the Europa League, West Ham will be massively motivated with the Premier League, as it now presents this amazing chance of making the leap into Champions League football.
Michael Owen predicts a 1-1 draw and with the bigger picture showing only three Newcastle wins in their last 22 matches (all competitions), I think we would all take a point now and even if the worst happens at the Emirates, NUFC would still be four points clear of Fulham.
However, Steve Bruce can’t play for a draw as that would just invite West Ham to dominate and win. Will Brucey show rare bottle and look to attack a team that scores plenty (51 so far) but also concedes (39 so far).
West Ham have gone 3-0 up in each of their last three matches and ended up drawing 3-3 with Arsenal and beating both Leicester and Wolves 3-2.
Last weekend was only the fourth time in the last twenty one games that Newcastle had scored more than a single goal, NUFC will be hoping that the likes of ASM and Wilson are back to full fitness if it comes to an open match of who scores more.
Michael Owen talking to BetVictor about Newcastle v West Ham:
“West Ham’s incredible season continued as they won their crucial match against Leicester at the London Stadium.
“Their dream of playing Champions League football next season is very much alive.
“However, first they must overcome a Newcastle side that will feel there is light at the end of the relegation tunnel.
“The Magpies have shown some grit in the last few weeks.
“Back on home soil, I think they’ll have enough to take another big point.
“Prediction is Newcastle 1 West Ham 1.”
Michael Owen on Arsenal v Fulham:
“After making such a fight of it since the turn of the year, it’s looking more and more likely that Fulham will be playing Championship football next season.
“The Cottagers’ have lost their last five Premier League matches and they take on an Arsenal side that despite their frailties, still have the quality to brush aside teams at the bottom end of the table.
“With that in mind, I predict another afternoon to forget for the visitors.
“It’s 2-0 to the Gunners for me.
“Prediction is Arsenal 2 Fulham 0.”
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