Fresh from tasting victory for the first time this season against Morecambe on Wednesday, Newcastle must now focus their attention back to the Premier League.
The visitors this weekend are Fulham and United will be looking to build on the 0-0 home draw with West Ham last weekend by taking all three points against the Cottagers.
Our league for has been atrocious reaching back into last season so a result is needed even at this early stage of the season. We’ve not scored a Premier League goal in five attempts and in truth we could still have been playing against West Ham now and we probably wouldn’t have managed to find the back of the net. We lack bite in attack, but perhaps a midweek win might just be enough to get some belief and confidence trickling through to the players.
Loic Remy could feature from the bench and make his Premier League debut for us, but it’s the talk of another Frenchman that is dominating the headlines. Yohan Cabaye has reportedly been told to be prepared to play after refusing to play/being left out since the start of the season in the wake of transfer interest from Arsenal.
Steven Taylor completes the final game of his three match ban picked up for his red card on the opening day of the season although Jonas Gutierrez, Cheick Tiote and Massadio Haidara are sidelined along with Ryan Taylor. Mike Williamson and Gabriel Obertan have not been reported as being injured although their absence from any squad so far this season would suggest that they are.
Having made eight changes in midweek we are likely to revert to our regular side for this game which will mean recalls for Fabricio Coloccini, Papiss Cisse, Moussa Sissoko, Hatem Ben Arfa and Tim Krul among others.
Kieran Richardson, Maarten Stekelenburg and Fernando Amorebieta will not travel with the squad due to injury but otherwise Martin Jol has a full squad to choose from.
Newcastle managed to beat Fulham towards the tail end of last season with Papiss Cisse scoring a winner in stoppage time. In terms of the Premier League at St James’ Park we don’t have such a bad record having won five of the eleven times the two sides have faced each other here in the North-East. Three draws and three defeats make up the eleven matches.
However overall, home and away in all competitions it is Fulham who hold the advantage. In total there have been 60 meetings between the two sides with Fulham winning in 26 of those compared to 21 for United.
Stats and facts:
The three previous league meetings between these sides in the month of August have produced 19 goals – an average of over six per game.
The Magpies have managed only one shot on target in total in the Premier League this season; fewer than any other side.
Alan Pardew has used only two English players so far in the Premier League this season, fewer than any other side.
Quite simply we need a win and it must come at any cost. Fulham will be tough to beat and present a threat to us in attack so we need to be careful whilst at least trying to pose an attacking threat of our own. Suffice to say, despite registering a win the other night, I’m not confident again.
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 31st August, 2013
Venue: St James’ Park