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Michael Owen predicts final day for Steve Bruce and Fulham v Newcastle United

3 weeks ago
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Michael Owen has been looking at the final day of the season and Steve Bruce and his team visiting Craven Cottage.

For so long, this match was billed as a likely relegation decider.

The reality of course has ended up being that a dismal bottom three were effectively relegated a long long time ago.

As you can see in this up to date Premier League table below, even if Fulham beat Newcastle today, Scott Parker’s side would still end up 11 points adrift of Steve Bruce’s Newcastle team.

Even matching the two Mike Ashley relegation seasons of 34 points (2008/09) and 37 points (2015/16) would have seen Steve Bruce and Newcastle United staying up. A massive indication as to just how low the quality was of those teams fighting it out at the very bottom.

The final 28 games (all competitions) of the season saw a feeble six wins for Steve Bruce’s Newcastle, with fifteen defeats and seven draws.

For Scott Parker, the final 28 games (all competitions) producing only four wins, twelve draws and twelve defeats.

No wonder Mike Ashley so quickly forgets his two relegations and thinks this staying up lark is easy, no doubt already thinking what is the point of NUFC spending much, if any, money this summer, when the likes of Norwich, Watford and either Swansea or Brentford are getting promoted.

Michael Owen thinks Newcastle will edge this final game of the season 2-1, which would fulfil Steve Bruce’s dream of matching the ‘Mighty Rafa’ who got 45 points in 2018/19.

Fulham though, actually have the stats in their favour in recent times, as well as winning both games against Newcastle in the 2016/17 Championship season, with 12 Premier League wins against the Magpies, they haven’t got more victories against any other club in the PL era. In total, home and away, the PL record reads, 12 Fulham wins, 10 Newcastle wins and 5 draws.

At Craven Cottage it has been dismal though in recent years, apart from that very last visit when Rafa’s team won his final NUFC match 4-0, player of the season Rondon scoring the fourth and final goal at the very end of the match.

Before that game, the previous nine visits seeing eight wins for Fulham and only one victory for Newcastle.

That one victory was the very last win Sam Allardyce got with Newcastle, sacked in January 2008 after a run of only two wins in thirteen matches. A Joey Barton penalty in the 92nd minute was the first and only NUFC shot on target as Newcastle beat Fulham 1-0 on 15 December 2007.

Checking back the stats for that season, I was interested to find out that it was actually Michael Owen’s most productive NUFC season, admittedly the other three seasons didn’t provide much competition!

Michael Owen played in more Premier League games (29) and scored 11 PL goals.

Interesting though to see the split, two goals in 12 Premier League appearances under Sam Allardyce, then nine goals in 17 PL appearances under Kevin Keegan that season.

Hopefully we will see a decent game today, maybe not bringing back memories of KK…but with Fulham playing attractive open (though usually ineffective) football, it should give Newcastle decent chances to counter-attack, whatever tactics / set-up Steve Bruce employs.

Whilst Bruce no doubt has had sleepless nights in his excitement of potentially matching Rafa’s 45 points, I just hope for no injuries impacting on Newcastle United and a decent game to watch, a win simply a bonus.

Michael Owen talking to BetVictor:

“These two were big relegations rivals in the run-in, but it was Newcastle who pulled it out the bag with a few huge results to keep them safe.

“The Magpies have continued to play well, and up against a Fulham side that gave so much only to get nothing in return, I think this one will end in an away win.

“Prediction is Fulham 1 Newcastle 2.”

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