Thereâ€™s one thing that is very clear in this game and that is that Fulham have a lot of injuries and are short of some of their best players, and they are not playing particularly well.
Not surprisingly Fulham, because of past results, have looked nervous in the first half, and have had very few opportunities at Newcastleâ€™s end of the field. As far as chances go Newcastle haven’t had any really clear chances either, but Newcastle have looked the better side in the first half.
But it looks like Newcastle are strolling through this game and they need to increase both their urgency and their pace in the second half as Fulham are there to be beaten today. If Newcastle cannot get 3 points from this game then we are in a lot worse condition than we thought. We fully expect Newcastle to do what they did at Blackburn a couple of weeks back, and raise the tempo significantly in the second half. But goals change games and it’s still 0-0 and therefore anything can still happen in this game.
The best chance for Newcastle came after 15 minutes when Joey Barton had a free header at the far post, and goalkeeper Niemi mishandled the ball but it was scrambled away for a corner.
Geremi has put in some good corners and free kicks during the first half. From one corner Habib Beye, at the near post, had his jersey clearly pulled by a Fulham defender, and it should have been a penalty. Needless to say the referee and his assistants missed it.
In previous games Fulham have generally been good in the first half of their games and weak in the second half, so Newcastle can get all 3 points from his game â€“ if they can raise their game significantly. If they donâ€™t win this game they will have only themselves to blame.
Fulham: Anti Niemi, Carlos Bocanegra, Dejan Stefanovic, David Healy, Steven Davis, Aaron Hughes (c), Elliot Omozusi, Clint Dempsey, Hameur Bouazza, Simon Davies, Danny Murphy
Subs: Tony Warner, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Alexey Smertin, Shefki Kuqi, Chris Baird
Newcastle United: Shay Given, Habib Beye, Charles N’Zogbia, David Rozehnal, Claudio C50capa, Nicky Butt, Geremi (c), Joey Barton, James Milner, Oba Martins, Alan Smith
Subs: Steve Harper, Jose Enrique, Emre, Mark Viduka, David Edgar