Fulham will be hosting Newcastle United at Craven Cottage in London on Monday Dec 10 in an English Premier League showdown. This is a crucial match for both sides as they’re level at 17 points each in the table and sit in 13th and 14th position. They need the points to stay clear of the relegation zone and to climb up the standings if possible. They’re each just three points in front of Sunderland, who sits in 18th place and in the last relegation spot. Fulham has four wins, five draws and six losses with 25 goals for and 26 against. Newcastle has the same record, but with 17 goals scored for and 21 against.
It looks like Newcastle has their work cut out for them since they haven’t won a match away from the friendly confines of their home stadium yet this season. They’ve managed four draws on the road though while the other three games ended in defeat for them. They haven’t played very well defensively and they have to rely on striker Demba Ba to do most of their scoring for them as he has 10 goals already. If he happens to have an off game then they’re usually in trouble as Papiss Cisse, his fellow Senegalese striker, has been struggling up to now. Newcastle has seven goals on the road and has allowed 12 against.
Fulham isn’t the greatest home team in the league as they have won and lost three matches at Craven Cottage in the league this season with the other game being a draw. They’ve managed 13 goals at home and allowed 10 against. Fulham has just one win in their past five home contests with a draw and three losses. Two of the losses were to Spurs and Man City, but they also dropped three big points at home to Sunderland.
The good news for Fulham in this match is that they’ve beaten Newcastle at home five out of the last six meetings. They’ll need a big game from top striker Dmitar Berbatov here if they hope to pick up a win and will need 40-year-old Australian international keeper Mark Schwarzer to be at his athletic best to keep Ba and Cisse off of the score sheet. Fulham’s offense has been brutal lately though as they haven’t scored in close to five hours of football. They last won a game in the middle of October when they beat Aston Villa 1-0 and have gone seven matches now without a victory.
Fulham manager Martin Jol will have Brede Hangeland back in the squad as well as Alex Kacaniklic. Hangeland was suspended and Kacaniklic was injured. However, Bryan Ruiz is still on the disabled list with a hamstring problem. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is hoping that Hatem Ben Arfa will be back in the team after missing the past four matches with a hamstring injury. He might also have several other players back including Davide Santon, Jonas Gutierrez, Cheick Tiote, and Gabriel Obertan while it looks like Yohan Cabaye will miss the game with an injury.
Both teams need the points badly, but both are struggling. Look for the game to end up in a draw.
Sportsbook William Hill has the latest odds of a Fulham win at 19/20 with a Newcastle victory at 14/5 and a draw at 5/2.