Newcastle take on Fulham this afternoon in what is one of our most important games of the season.
With just seven games remaining United find themselves just three points off 18th placed Wigan and time is running out if we are to ensure we don’t suffer another relegation.
Results yesterday mean that it’s technically possible for us to end the afternoon in the bottom three should we lose and other results go against us. Aston Villa are now level on points with us whilst Sunderland could overtake us if they pull off an unlikely (but again not impossible) victory at Stamford Bridge. Meanwhile Wigan visit QPR where a victory for the away side combined with a defeat for us and a five goal difference in the scorelines (say we lose by two and Wigan win by three for example) would see us drop to 18th place.
That’s the worst case scenario though. Looking up, a win would see us jump to 13th place ahead of Stoke and Norwich whilst a six-goal swing between the results of our game and West Ham’s visit to Liverpool (again as an example, say we win by three and West Ham lose by three) would see us jump into 12th ahead of the Hammers on goals scored.
Before looking elsewhere it’s important that we get ourselves sorted. Win at all costs is the message of the day as getting points on the board is all that counts and goal difference would only be important at the end of the season anyway.
We are the home side and the pressure is on us to get the victory, but we’re up against a Fulham side who are unbeaten in five and with players like Dimitar Berbatov they have the ability to cause problems. Martin Jol will no doubt have a plan to frustrate us and should they manage to do that in the first 20 minutes or so it’s important that we keep our heads and carry on.
You can read even more build up to the game in my match preview which is viewable by clicking here. It details injury news for both sides ahead of the game, outlines a brief history of the fixture between the two clubs and dishes out some rather interesting statistics along the way.
The game itself is not being shown live here in the UK although it is scheduled for overseas broadcast. That means that those who aren’t going to the game or those currently in a country not showing the match (like me in Belgium) will be looking to watch the match online so if anyone happens to come across a decent stream then please feel free to leave a link to it in the ‘comments’ section below.
Team news will be provided by my good self assuming I have no problems at work so I’ll endeavour to add the team sheet in, in full, at the very bottom of this article.
Which neatly wraps this up and now it’s over to the players and management to put us through the mill once more. I just hope that after 90 minutes all the pain, tears, anguish and tantrums are worth it and we have a priceless victory to celebrate!
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon; Sylvain Marveaux, Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez; Yoan Gouffran, Papiss Cisse
Subs: Rob Elliot, Mike Williamson, Vurnon Anita, Gael Bigirimana, Gabriel Obertan, Adam Campbell, Shola Ameobi
Fulham: Mark Schwarzer; Sascha Riether, Philippe Senderos, Brede Hangeland, John Arne Riise; Stanislav Manolev, Eyong Enoh, Giorgios Karagounis, Damien Duff; Bryan Ruiz; Dimitar Berbatov
Subs: Neil Etheridge, Aaron Hughes, Kieran Richardson, Emmanuel Frimpong, Urby Emanuelson, Kerim Frei, Hugo Rodallega