Newcastle United vs Fulham key battles

Newcastle United will lock horns with Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday, hoping to get back to winning ways after suffering Champions League heartbreak.

The Magpies lost 2-1 to AC Milan at St James’ Park on Wednesday evening and were eliminated from the Champions League. They finished bottom of Group F with five points from six games, and the defeat to Milan saw Eddie Howe’s boys lose three games in a row in all competitions.

On the other hand, Fulham dismantled Nottingham Forest and West Ham in back-to-back home games with a 5-0 scoreline to skyrocket into the first half of the table. Confidence will be high in the Cottagers’ camp at the moment and they will be raring to take advantage of Newcastle’s injury-ravaged side at the weekend.

On that note, let us take a look at the key battles that could define the outcome of this Premier League encounter.

#Joelinton vs Joao Palhinha

Joelinton has been among Newcastle’s most impressive performers in recent weeks, with the central midfielder scoring in back-to-back games against Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan. Expected to start on the left of a midfield three, the Brazilian will be hoping to assert himself in the game with his physicality, power and energy.

As Joelinton will be looking to make late entries into the box, link up well in the final third and create opportunities for his teammates, Fulham must do everything possible to keep him quiet. The responsibility could fall on the shoulders of midfield general Joao Palhinha.

A defensive midfielder by trade, Palhinha excels in tackling and winning back possession for his team, and if he can hack Joelinton from getting into promising positions, Fulham’s chances of getting a positive result at St James’ Park will become higher.

#Raul Jimenez vs Fabian Schar

After a subdued start to the season in Fulham colours, Raul Jimenez seems to have found his mojo of late. The Mexican has netted three goals across the last two games, thus, finally providing a focal point to the Cottagers’ attack that was missed in the first period of the campaign following Aleksandr Mitrovic’s departure. So, his confidence will be high heading into this fixture.

However, Jimenez will be up for a tough test on Saturday when he faces Fabian Schar. With Newcastle managing just one clean sheet in the eight games across all competition, the Swiss must take extra responsibility in the injury absence of Sven Botman and lead the troops from the back.

It will be interesting to see how Schar goes about tackling Jimenez’s threat in this absorbing clash.

#Alexander Isak vs Timothy Castagne

Newcastle’s perennial injury crisis deepened during the defeat to Milan in midweek, where Anthony Gordon and Kieran Trippier both left the field with issues in the second half. As Gordon felt tightness in his hamstring, it would be a surprise to see Eddie Howe risk the winger against Fulham amid such a quick turnaround. So, Alexander Isak could be deployed on the left of the Magpies’ front three.

Isak is Newcastle’s top scorer with seven goals in 12 Premier League appearances this season. With his movement, pressing and burst of acceleration, the Swede will undoubtedly be the hosts’ biggest threat going forward. Timothy Castagne—expected to retain his spot at right-back—faces an uphill task of keeping Isak silent throughout the game.

While Castagne offers a lot going forward, he has often struggled to keep up with pacey forwards. Isak’s quick feet and ability to sprint in behind will prove to be a big advantage for Newcastle if used properly against the Fulham full-back. So, Harry Wilson, who could come in for the injured Willian on the right flank, will have to drop back and help out Castagne defensively.

Related Posts

About The Author