Opposition Focus: Newcastle United


15/12/18 – Huddersfield 0-1 Newcastle Utd 
09/12/18 – Newcastle Utd 1-2 Wolves 
05/12/18 – Everton 1-1 Newcastle Utd 
01/12/18 – Newcastle 0-3 West Ham Utd 
26/11/18 – Burnley 1-2 Newcastle Utd


Newcastle are a well-drilled side but have also come up with multiple formations this year. Most recently Rafael Benitez set up the team in a 3-5-1-1, which allowed their formidable central defenders to sit deep and wide, while the likes of Manquillo and Kenedy serve as makeshift wingbacks. In the centre of the park is the size of Diame, the preciseness of Ki and the speed of Atsu. In front of them is Ayoze Perez who has free reign throughout the pitch but stays high in defence to serve as the attacking anchor. On his own at the top is Salomon Rondon, who is making good on his value from West Brom, with 4 goals on the season, including scoring the match winner against Huddersfield. Defensively, the alter the 3-5-1-1 into a packed 5-3-2, with an emphasis to sit deep but pressure aggressively on the sides versus using a bend, but don’t break mentality in the centre of the pitch. This defensive look allows the transition to happen in multiple areas, and through multiple sources. The side is good at moving the ball, and can create scoring chances from anywhere on the pitch. 

Battle to Watch

Tom Cairney vs Kenedy: If Ranieri sets up Cairney to be on the right midfield again, he’ll be facing up against Kenedy, who boasts quick feet and decisive passing. While controversial, Cairney looked good on the right-hand side against West Ham, where he was able to tuck in and hold the ball when we needed him to. His strength in maintaining possession will be tested against Kenedy, who likes to go in for a challenge, so it will be important Cairney can force him to overcommit and hopefully expose the aggressive positioning by the Brazilian. Kenedy did struggle at the wingback role against Huddersfield, as multiple crosses came from his side, so be sure that Cairney, or Christie, to be advised to send in early crosses for Mitro and Kamara.  

Danger Man

Salomon Rondon is who Newcastle signed to replace Mitro, and it is quite fitting that he is the team’s top scorer with 4 goals. Similar to Mitro, he’s got size and strength to him, but where he lacks is his ability to hold onto the ball to set up his fellow teammates. Regardless, being in form is sometimes enough to make up for the shortcomings, and with the way he is being found by creative teammates like Perez and Ki, it will be a high priority for our centre backs to push him off his game early on. 

Last 5 Meetings

11/03/17 – Newcastle Utd 1-3 Fulham (C’ship)
05/08/16 – Fulham 1-0 Newcastle Utd (C’ship)
15/03/14 – Fulham 1-0 Newcastle Utd (PL)
31/08/13 – Newcastle Utd 1-0 Fulham (PL)
07/04/13 – Newcastle Utd 1-0 Fulham (PL)


Fulham wins 31
Draws 13
Newcastle wins 27

Stats & Facts

  • The clubs have met on 71 occasions in all competitions – Fulham have won 31, Newcastle have won 27 and there have been 13 draws.
  • Fulham have won the last 3 meetings with Newcastle – 2 in the Championship during the 2016-17 season plus the last Premier League meeting in March 2014 which ended 1-0 at Craven Cottage following Ashkan Dejagah’s 68th minute strike.
  • Prior to Fulham’s 3-1 Championship win at St James’ Park in March 2017, the previous 8 meetings between the clubs had been won by the home side – 5 of them by a 1-0 scoreline.
  • There has been just 1 draw in the last 17 meetings between the clubs – 0-0 at St James’ Park in November 2010.
  • Despite losing on the last 3 Premier League visits, St James’ Park is the ground at which Fulham have won their joint-most Premier League away games. The 3 victories there is tied with 3 at Bolton’s University of Bolton Stadium, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

Players in common

Phillipe Albert, Peter Beardsley, Dave Beasant, Roy Bentley, Paul Bracewell, Viv Busby, Lee Clark, Andy Cole, Damien Duff, Alain Goma, Danny Guthrie, Aaron Hughes, Shefki Kuqi, Malcolm MacDonald, Aleksander Mitrovic, Alan Neilson, Scott Parker, Wayne Routledge, Louis Saha.

Magic Moment

When a resurging Fulham chasing the playoff spots travelled up to table topping ‘giants’ Newcastle United in 2016, the Whites blew the Magpies away. Tom Cairney opened the scoring with a trademark strike from 25 yards out which rifled into the top corner. But this game will be remembered as the day Ryan Sessegnon came of age with an outstanding display.

Having scored a brace, Sess was a ‘Ream’ away from becoming the youngest player in history to score a hat-trick. Fulham were awarded an injury time penalty which Tim Ream was ordered to take by the bench, a spot kick he would put wide of the target resulting in a missed penalty and an even bigger missed opportunity for the teenage sensation. Still, it’s not often that the country sits up and takes notice of a 16 year old playing in the second tier of English football and from that moment on, Ryan has been the talk of the town or should that be toon…depends on your accent I suppose!

Opposition View (@tfweeklypod)

It was a slow start for Newcastle but you have breathing space from the bottom three and we are at the half way point of the season. How would you assess your chances of avoiding the drop?

We’ll know a lot more after this weekend’s game. To go to 19 points and ten ahead of you would surely be an unmanageable chase for the likes of Fulham and others with half a season to go. Lose and it’s down to 4 points with a nightmare January and February. United have all of the bottom 6 to play at home – and as all of the bottom sides are generally terrible away from home, I’m more confident than I’ve been all season that we’ll stay up with a bit to spare. The major issue will be our underinvestment again in January compared to other relegation rivals. Beat you lot, and that probably won’t matter.

Taking off the Newcastle goggles for a moment, who do you think is a better player. Mitrovic or Rondon?

I saw almost every single one of Aleksander Mitrvoic’s performances for NUFC. For us Rondon is an ideal player as he’s so adept at leading the line alone and he is clinical, often taking his only chance in games. Mitrovic got worse and worse for NUFC and ultimately didn’t lead the line at all well in the championship as Dwight Gayle ran riot ahead of him. Rafa demands hard working players who will press defences and do the ‘donkey work’. Mitrovic proved time and time again he wasn’t up to much off the ball. He also needed 3 or 4 chances to score. Mitrovic is undoubtedly a good player but I wouldn’t trade him back of Rondón, even though he undoubtably has talent.

Which areas would you like to see strengthened in January & do you think Mike Ashley will give Rafa any money to spend?

Ashley won’t give Rafa money to spend. Or more precisely he won’t allow Benitez to spend the club’s own money. The people that run the club have no clue and would rather have tens of millions in the bank (maybe more) so the club can bail itself out of relegation than try and compete in the Premier League. We’re a desperately slow side and need a number 10, winger and left back as a minimum but we’ll likely get two of those in the form of foreign loans.

How do you see the game panning out?

We’ve been terrible at home this season and much better away from home. That said we don’t concede many and Fulham concede plenty. Fulham should look to attack and dominate as we lose whenever we go a goal behind. The win at Huddersfield was huge and confidence should be high. For that reason, I’m going for United 2-0.

Score prediction – 2-0

Predicted Line-up – (4-4-1-1) Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Schar, Dummet, Ritchie, Ki, Diame, Kennedy, Perez, Rondon.

Thanks to Alex from the ‘True Faith NUFC Podcast’ for answering our questions.

Match Prediction

The result against West Ham was frustrating and heartbreaking. The performance as a whole was not. I think Ranieri has the right squad in mind, and it was surprising to see Cairney pop up on the right-hand side of the midfield, but it worked brilliantly. The venue of St. James’ Park will be a fortress for a Newcastle side that is feeling the momentum after winning away to Huddersfield. Whatever way we line up, it will be important that we take advantage of creating our own momentum. I expect a similar line up against Newcastle, but taking out the too often, switched-off, Odoi with Christie. This will be a difficult match regardless, and my hope here is the Tinkerman does less tinkering, but we do more finishing. It will be a nailbiter, but Mitro will score a penalty to win it 2-1 with Tom Cairney scoring in the first half. COYW! 

Predicting Line-up(4-2-3-1)