Alan Pardew will be trying to get our first away win of the season tonight at Craven Cottage tonight, against a Fulham side who have the same points total as Newcastle after 15 games – 17 points – but it will not be easy.
And Craven Cottage has not been a happy hunting ground for Newcastle recently, and in our previous 10 visits there, we have lost seven.
In last season’s fixture we played great in the first half and were one up at the break through a very good Danny Guthrie strike just before half time, but then we were completely hopeless in the second half and leaked five goals to go down to a humbling 5-2 defeat.
And Alan Pardew summed up Fulham’s side and their season so far – which has been up and down:
“They’ve been hot and cold.” “We’ve had Hatem, and their outstanding player is Berbatov. He’s been terrific, and we’re going to need to make sure he doesn’t have a big influence on the game.”
“They’ve got good pros. I’ve been to see Fulham a lot. They were on my doorstep when I was working in London.” “They’re very difficult at home. They’ve got a nice rhythm, and their fans don’t give them too much of a hard time.”
“They can play poorly, and the fans will stay with them. You have to concentrate for 90 minutes at their place.”
We have a lot of injuries – but Demba Ba (hamstring), Davide Santon (groin) and Cheick Tiote (hamstring) are all expected to play tonight after being passed fit, after picking up injuries in the 3-0 win against Wigan a week ago.
There’s still a slight doubt about Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) but James Perch is available after serving his one-game Premier League suspension, for picking up five yellow cards on the season.
But according to the local papers today Gabriel Obertan still is not fit because of that phantom toe injury of his, and of course we have long term injuries to Steven Taylor (hamstring), Yohan Cabaye (groin), , Dan Gosling (ankle), Haris Vuckic (knee) and Ryan Taylor (knee).
It looks like Anita will continue to partner Cheick Tiote in central midfield, as they build up a decent partnership for Newcastle in the middle of the park, and assuming all our players fit from last Monday night and Ben Arfa can play.
And Alan Pardew has hinted at a new Newcastle tonight, and maybe he will play a 4-3-3 formation?
This could be starting eleven tonight:
Simpson Coloccini (c) Williamson Santon
Ben Arfa Anita Tiote Gutierrez
Subs: Elliot Tavernier Bigirimana Perch Ferguson Ameobi (Sh) Ranger
But we could see that turned into a 4-3-3 with Anuita Tiote and Gutierrez the middle three, and Ben Arfa, Demba Ba and Cisse the front three.
Fulham have captain Brede Hangeland back after he served a three-game ban for picking up a red card against Sunderland, but full-back Sascha Riethe is doubtful with a knee problem.
And former Newcastle target Bryan Ruiz is out until January with a hamstring injury, as is midfielder Simon Davies with a thigh injury.
And we’ve noticed Cheick Tiote has been shooting a lot lately – mostly off target – and the Ivorian has hit more shots this season (10 in total) than any other player in the Premier League without scoring a goal.
Maybe Cheick can get one on target tonight, and score his second goal of his career for Newcastle.
We really need a win tonight and it seems that Alan Pardew is sending out a Newcastle team to attack the Cottagers tonight.
Let us know how you think the game will go tonight.
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org