Fulham (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

If you’d asked me in August which side were heading into the 2018/19 Premier League season with more momentum I would’ve said Fulham – but our seasons have gone in very different directions.

Our net spend since promotion is little over £100,000, yet Fulham spent over £100m alone last summer. This not only highlights what an incredible job Rafa Benitez has done once again this season, but shows just how horrific Fulham’s business has been.

On the face of it, it seemed like they were showing ambition, making more £20m plus signings in one summer than we’d made since 2005, however it soon became clear that they lacked heart, Premier League know-how and couldn’t defend to save their lives.

In fairness, they’ve been in good form over the past few weeks, winning three of their last 5 and sharpening up considerably at the back under ex-Mag Scott Parker – who’s just landed the job on a permanent basis as a result.

They’ll want to finish their season off on a high before heading into abother crucial Championship campaign, but in a game that could be his last as Newcastle manager, Rafa Benitez will be determined to sign off in style.

Predicted XI

With Ki out, Jonjo Shelvey looks almost certain to start – and it could be his last for Newcastle United if Rafa Benitez remains at the club.

Yedlin is out after undergoing groin surgery, meaning Javier Manquillo will continue at right-wing back and rightly so. He’s not the answer, but he’s been brilliant of late.

Muto will be hoping for a rare start and rare chance to impress Rafa, but with Perez and Rondon certain to start and Atsu performing well against Liverpool, it doesn’t look like he’ll play.

Aside from Shelvey coming in for Ki, I expect us to be largely unchanged from the side that lost narrowly at St James’ Park last weekend.

Preferred NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1) – Dubravka – Schar, Lascelles, Dummett – Manquillo, Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie – Perez, Atsu – Rondon.

The Opposition

Here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ in Scott Parker’s side:

Aleksandar Mitrovic – The Serbian has only scored 3 goals since the turn of the year, but Rafa Benitez will know what he’s capable of if we allow Fulham to get good balls up to him in and around the box. His battle against Lascelles, Schar and Dummett will be the big ‘one to watch’ in this one.

Ryan Babel – A player Rafa brought to Liverpool many moons ago but someone who’s showing he’s still capable of playing at this level based on his performances at Fulham since January. He’s the one match winner at Fulham and has a rocket of a shot, having bagged 5 goals and 4 assists in 15 appearances for the Cottagers.

Tom Cairney – The midfielder has been constantly linked with a move to Newcastle, with Benitez said to be a big fan, however he’s failed to hit the heights this year on his first full season in the top flight. That said, he ran the show when Fulham hammered us at St James’ Park a few years ago.

Predicted Fulham XI – (4-2-3-1) – Rico – Odoi, Le Marchand, Ream, Bryan – Anguissa, Chambers – Sessegnon, Cairney, Babel – Mitrovic.

Team news:J

DeAndre Yedlin joins Miguel Almiron, Florian Lejeune and Sean Longstaff on the sidelines, with the American undergoing groin surgery earlier this week.

With one heading back to West Brom and the other heavily linked with a big move away, let’s hope it’s not the last time we see Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez.

Fulham right-back Denis Odoi is set to be assessed after missing their defeat at Wolves last weekend.

Prediction

Fulham will be buoyed by the fact Scott Parker has now taken the job permanently at Craven Cottage, but Benitez will be determined to end the season in style – especially when this could be his last game in charge at the club.

The home side have been in much better form of late, being 6th in the form table at present with 3 win in their last 5, however there is a reason we’re 16 points better off than them this season.

If we can stop them getting good balls into Mitrovic, keep Babel quiet and have a bit of cutting edge about us on the counter then I can see us getting the win.

Prediction: Fulham 1-2 Newcastle

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

98 thoughts on “Fulham (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

  1. Conceivably the whole front 5 could be gone in the summer.

    Atsu most likely to stay but a lot of fans give him stick.

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  2. It’s pretty funny when you have the highest paid player in the league, the best goalkeeper in the world ™ and a player going to Real Madrid for 140 million and then Little Fatty Luke Shaw gets your player of the season award.

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  3. These Scousers aren’t lying about hotel prices in Madrid. I was there last year in the off season and we paid about $150 a night at the Atlantico, a very nice 4-5 star hotel in the central district. I just checked for the Champions League weekend and it was $1,500 a night with only 1 room next. The following weekend it is $222 a night.

    I was looking at Hotel.com and knew quite a few of the hotels that came up because me and my girlfriend spent a few hours on various hotel websites before choosing the one we wanted. They were also anywhere from $1,200 to $1,800 a night.

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  4. If I was one of these AirBnBs owners I would be cancelling reservations from anybody with a Liverpool address on their credit card as well as some Scousers claim. From the prices for Hotels there are going to be many of them without rooms and 16 to a room dossing on floors and pIssing in your plant pots. And that’s probably being generous.

    16,000 Scousers and 16,000 Cockneys without rooms is going to be a logistical nightmare. I don’t think they will let them in the bars on a Saturday night.

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  5. I sort of didn’t believe the stories in the papers about the prices being 5 times and more for a Hotel which is why I checked. I thought it was more media exaggeration. IT ISN”T.

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  6. Eric, it’s daylight robbery mate, even Poch and Klopp were having a moan about it.

    Just saw on BBC breakfast the travel guy saying you could book a week in Torremolinos from 29 th of may for £300 per person and just bus it from there to madrid for the game and back to finish your hols after it.

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  7. So having been in champions league for is it 19 seasons , Arsenal will finish outside the top 4 and miss out. They will have to rely on winning the Europa cup to get into qualifying stage . For this reason i hope Chelsea win it as already in top 4 and it will do the Gunners fans good to appreciate what they got every season under Wenger.

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  8. Premier league landscape has changed so much last few seasons, the decline of former powerhouses is quite amusing to watch. Fans of Man u and Arsenal twisting and moaning about their lot is really funny. Also the likes of Toffees fans realising that all that money spent has accounted for nothing, they can’t qualify for Europe, ditto Fulham fans , relegated.
    Makes what Rafa did last season and to an extent this one all the more amazing and still the fat lad cannot see the benefit of giving him what he’s asked for.

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  9. I think the extortionate prices for rooms in Madrid is probably a knockon from the Euro Fatcats and Corporates booking a year or so ahead and filling up all of the City Centre hotels. The fans are only allocated about half of the tickets so you know the other 30,000 will be there on corporate junkets schmoozing and getting freebies. They decide the venue 3 years ahead but the teams aren’t known until 3 weeks ahead so the bigwigs, as usual, are sucking on the teet of regular fans.

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  10. You know the Fatlad is not the only one with an age policy? Chelsea have a policy of not giving contracts to anyone over 30. However, they are breaking it for David Luiz, but he’s already at the club. I doubt they would pay a fee though. It is probably after they got burned on Schevchenko.

    I know I said we might lose the front 5 who will start tomorrow but it is pretty pointless speculating until we find out if Rafa is staying.

    If Rafa leaves we will be in disarray. All the coaches will leave and all of the transfer plans go with him. I know we have a chief scout but it is not like Carr. I think Rafa probably tells him who to look at like he did with Almiron.

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  11. It doesn’t bear thinking about if Rafa leaves. I read that last year he took only a week off and then was back in the office hammering the phones trying to set up transfer deals. What happens if Rafa isn’t there to do that? Steve Nixon has only been chief scout for a year. He doesn’t have Carr’s or Rafa’s contacts.

    With a normal owner you would think he would realise that we are fcked without Rafa at this point because they have given him all of the power over the team and scouting. There is no plan B. The only thing we could do is go into survival mode and try to keep most of who we have and then let the new manager have a couple of players he fancies?

    Maybe go after the players Rafa has already identified? But that also would be a bit stupid as you know Rafa would want them to fit into his system and would a new Manager want them?

    No, we will be a mess if Rafa leaves.

    It happened before with relegation when Fatty basically ignored the situation for 6 weeks and Hughton got the job by default. We got lucky then. I doubt it would happen twice.

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  12. I don’t know who I want to win these Championship play offs – really good fixtures and guaranteed a midlands team in the PL next season so good for our away fans ??

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  13. KIMTOON:
    Sharpy, defo not Villa or Leeds hopefully

    Kim – I agree, but sadly think it will be one of those 2. I’d like to see Derby do it and from a really selfish point of view, hope WBA don’t do it – I think WBA in the Championship should make the Rondon deal easier.

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  14. Sharpy, Baggies really want Gayle so hoping a swap with Rondon gets done, promoted or not mate.

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  15. And i quite like the baggies too, much nicer fans than Villa or Leeds, nowt against Derby either.

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  16. I thought Gayle did OK for us in the Premier League and was extremely unlucky with some of the chances that just missed or hit the woodwork. Could have had 2 or 3 penalties as well but we all know the Refs don’t give pens to NUFC.

    Was sacrificed for Rondon as I think Rafa wanted to keep him. It p!ssed me off some of the “fans” slagging him off.

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  17. A quick observation. Salah or Mane would easily win the Golden Boot if they gave them Milner’s penalties.

    And take away Pogba’s penalties and he goes from being directly involved in 20 of Man Us goals to being involved in 13. That’s sort of Sigurdsson level and hardly world class!

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  18. Progba is a showpony Eric, can’t abide the guy. Man u need to off load him if they are to progress.

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  19. Ilike Gayle but i do think Rondon is better. Gayle got fixated about his hammy’s for a while and i think it stifled his play. Certainly been freer and back to best with WB .

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  20. If Dwight’s hamstrings are fixed he’ll give you a solid 10 goals in the PL I reckon. And he has pace. With prices the way they are I wouldn’t sell him and he is the ideal option off the bench.

    But, we might HAVE to sell to afford other options. He must be worth at least 15 million to a Championship or promoted club. Or Brighton or Burnley.

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  21. Actually, what do they say promotion is worth now? Like 170 million? You have the guaranteed 100 million from just being in the PL and then about 90 million in parachute payments if you get relegated. I think The Championship teams get about 10 million a year from the league.

    So, by my reckoning that makes Dwight Gayle worth 170 million if he gets you promoted 🙂

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  22. KIMTOON:
    Sharpy, Baggies really want Gayle so hoping a swap with Rondon gets done, promoted or not mate.

    Kim – you’d hope so. Weirdly our player of the season was Rondon – theirs was Gayle – if common sense was a factor, you’d think there’s a deal to be had there like.

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  23. Eric I think the baggies want to keep him, the fans certainly do with an fans poll stating over 80% want to keep him .

    In the idea world we’d have both of them in the squad and there was a time when we would have pre Jabba .

    Really good loud atmosphere at this game too, well done the fans .

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  24. KIMTOON:
    Eric, what do you think about Abraham today? we are linked with a move for him again.

    Kim – one trick pony, and not brilliant at that trick just now. His record is very good in the Championship, but the PL is another level – Gayle is proof of that. I think he’d be an upgrade on Joselu (who won’t be?!) but I think £30m has been quoted – I’d rather pay half that for Rondon. I know Abraham is only something like 21/22 but can’t say I’m sold on him.
    I’d rather go after Maupay from Brentford, who’s a similar age, scored about the same, but would cost less and offer more in terms of movement and workrate.

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  25. Kim – one trick pony, and not brilliant at that trick just now. His record is very good in the Championship, but the PL is another level – Gayle is proof of that. I think he’d be an upgrade on Joselu (who won’t be?!) but I think £30m has been quoted – I’d rather pay half that for Rondon. I know Abraham is only something like 21/22 but can’t say I’m sold on him.
    I’d rather go after Maupay from Brentford, who’s a similar age, scored about the same, but would cost less and offer more in terms of movement and workrate.

    Inclined to agree Sharpy re Tammy, too expensive. I have not seen much of Maupay to judge him .

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  26. Gayle off second yellow !
    that’s villa in the final cause that will kill the baggies for 2nd leg

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  27. WB should of had a pen not long before Gayles red too.
    incompetent refs throughout our leagues

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  28. Kimtoon: we don’t get The Championship here. That’s one of the reasons I am so desperate for NUFC to be in the PL because I can get any game I want live. I think it is $35 a year but most NUFC are free anyway.

    And that’s one of the reasons I disagree with some that say we are better off being a good team in The Championship than strugglers in the PL. Because I would never see us apart from the odd dodgy internet stream.

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  29. Eric, i hadn’t realised you couldn’t get the play offs, i knew you couldn’t get the league games but thought maybe they would show playoffs as winner gets promoted to PL.

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  30. All over and you would think that’s Villa into the final with Gayle and Dawson missing for the second leg. 🙁

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  31. I wouldn’t rule out the Baggies just yet. Home game and if they make it to the final Gayle will be back because 2 yellows are only a 1 game suspension.

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  32. KIMTOON:
    Kim – one trick pony, and not brilliant at that trick just now. His record is very good in the Championship, but the PL is another level – Gayle is proof of that. I think he’d be an upgrade on Joselu (who won’t be?!) but I think £30m has been quoted – I’d rather pay half that for Rondon. I know Abraham is only something like 21/22 but can’t say I’m sold on him.
    I’d rather go after Maupay from Brentford, who’s a similar age, scored about the same, but would cost less and offer more in terms of movement and workrate.

    Inclined to agree Sharpy re Tammy, too expensive. I have not seen much of Maupay to judge him .

    Kim – Maupay is probably closer to Perez in terms in terms of the players we have. Plays a bit deeper and would be a good replacement if Perez did leave. I reckon we could get him for around £15m so if Perez brought £25m we’d have money left over to add to the squad. Maupay has 28 goals and 9 assists this season for a mid table Brentford side.

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  33. It will be interesting to see if he can get investors with or without promotion. I think he is spent up now and needs new money. He was never rich enough to bankroll them forever. And Ellis Short didn’t give them away, contrary to what most people think. He kept he parachute payments which are about 50-60 million.

    So what Short did was payoff the bank loan of about 65 million.

    He still had a personal loan to the club of about 60 million but he clawed this back by putting a lien on the parachute payments and charging Stewart Donald 6 million.

    Donald was obviously banking on cutting the payroll and getting promotion.

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  34. The good news for the Mackems is they have no debt which makes them a decent proposition for an investor if they can get into The Championship.

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  35. In this market Ander Herrera must be worth 30 million and Man U let him go for free. How can they be so stupid? He is going to PSG as well so it shows that he is a valued player. Everything they touch at the moment turns to sh!t and I am loving it (as Keegan might say).

    And now Pogba’s Agent has been suspended so they might not be able to shift him. He will probably challenge it in court.

    But it would be so funny to see Pogba sulking around the Man U dressing room next season poisoning everything GBC (Gone By Christmas) tries to do.

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  36. I have to admit that I quite like Frank Lampard and thought he was a great player but I worry if Derby get promoted. Yes, for Derby because I think they would be next year’s Cardiff. But more for my own sanity. He would be even more the darling of the Southern based media than he is now. I don’t think I could take the excuses and sucking up they would do after Derby lose to Man City 5 nil. Oh God, and then there are the ex-England player pundits. And worse still, isn’t Jamie Redknapp’s his cousin? We would probably also get ‘Arry on the telly for every Derby game saying I fink this and I fink that.

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  37. Quote from The Chronic “attendance expected to be around 25k, Sunderland have been struggling sell tickets all week”.

    I know they are in the 3rd Division but this is their most important game of the season.

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  38. OK. BBC Radio Newcastle had a short piece on the possible sale of Sunderland. The latest accounts show a 20 million pound loss when they were in The Championship. I know I read that part of the deal with Donald was that Short had a lien on the parachute payments. I just don’t see how this can work unless Short somehow is giving them more time if they do not get promoted. Even with the parachute payments they will be in trouble so what investor would buy into this train wreck?

    I think we will see some weird financial shenanigans in the coming weeks. Maybe some more dodgy characters with questionable records taking a flier on the Mackems?

    They have potential because of the infrastructure but not if they remain in the 3rd division much longer.

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  39. Mackems lowest league gate of the season but they just went 1 nil up. They really need promotion because I have taken a closer look at their finances and they just don’t add up.

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  40. Eric, Rondon returns to WB after tomorrow but i’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be eligible to play as he wasn’t named/registered in the squad at season start.

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  41. Both Derby and W.brom denied clear pens today by poor officiating. Could be very costly for both clubs with PL place at stake.
    Time to sort out these excuses for officials.

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  42. Everybody should checkout the pictures of the mackem’s lap of appreciation. There is hardly anybody left in the stands. That, along with the lowest crowd of the season, shows that not many believe anymore.

    Even Stewart Donald has said he is taking a break from twitter for a while. He was on quite a bit and did podcasts for a Sunderland Blogsite. Very, very strange that your Chairman, an avid twitterer, is staying away. Like he has something to hide? That he doesn’t believe.

    You would think he would want to rally the troops – players and fans. Maybe ask for one last push to get them to Wembley?

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  43. KIMTOON:
    Both Derby and W.brom denied clear pens today by poor officiating. Could be very costly for both clubs with PL place at stake.
    Time to sort out these excuses for officials.

    Why should The Championship be any different than the PL 🙂 I watch 2 or 3 games a weekend and almost all of ours and the officiating is appalling. I really truly believe that there is bias against us because hardly any 50-50s go our way. I can’t explain it. And Jon Moss is about 2 stone overweight and always 10 yards behind where he should be in the play. Maybe the 2 are related?

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  44. Eric, god knows mate, i’m hoping VAR helps bring about some parity but it will still require no bias on the part of the guys looking at it.

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  45. The Sun reporting Rafa will be offered a one year contract for £15m! Haha! Jabba is renowed for being a big spender isn’t he…

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  46. It’s a Sun EXCLUSIVE which means they made it up! If there is nobody else with this story then it is pure fiction.

    Who is playing right back?

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  47. So the sun has removed that story about Rafa and the £15m offer from it’s website for legal reasons.
    😆

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  48. KIMTOON:
    Eric, Rondon returns to WB after tomorrow but i’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be eligible to play as he wasn’t named/registered in the squad at season start.

    no he cannot play for W|BA

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  49. KIMTOON:
    Eric, god knows mate, i’m hoping VAR helps bring about some parity but it will still require no bias on the part of the guys looking at it.
    that is going to be a real laugh mate,you will have PL refs doing the game but var will be run by CCC refs can you see that working ffs

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  50. Well i’ve had me cutlets, mozzarella sticks and chilli dip, a nice glass of red so roll on the game. Lets sign off with a nice win, it’ll keep us happy until Rafa leaves when we can sink into our summer of depression whilst we read about all the players we’ll never buy.
    Oh and the no mark managers we’re linked with.

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  51. Shelveyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
    get in

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  52. Perezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzget in woo hoo

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