Martin Jol’s Fulham side travel to St James’ Park to face a Newcastle United side who haven’t scored in the Premier League in 325 minutes, and haven’t scored at home in 450 minutes of football.
While the Newcastle United side hit 16 shots at goal on Saturday against West Ham United, none of them hit the target, a startling statistic that shows Pardew’s side need to be more clinical in front of goal.
Fulham, on the other hand, have creativity and attackers in abundance in their first XI with the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Bryan Ruiz, Adel Taarabt and Darren Bent. Jol will find it hard to balance out his team this season, as it can be argued that Berbatov and Taarabt are notoriously lazy in terms of team effort. Fulham will find it hard to keep clean sheets this season with such an attacking first XI, although the West London side gave the perfect away performance against Sunderland on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, winning 1-0 at the Stadium of Light.
Fulham have recorded only 2 wins at St James’ Park since 2006 (2-1 in in September 2006 and 1-0 in May 2009 – the year the Magpies were relegated to the Championship).
In the last five meetings, Fulham have won their last three home fixtures against Newcastle United while the Magpies have took the points at St James’ Park, with the last fixture a 1-0 win for Newcastle United in April 2013 – incidentally the last time they scored at home.
Newcastle United have a host of injuries and suspensions, with Steven Taylor missing out after his red card against Manchester City on the opening weekend, while the North-East side could also be without Jonas Gutierrez, Loic Remy and Cheik Tiote.
Maarten Stekelenburg and Kieran Richardson will miss the trip up North, while Fernando Amorebieta could also miss the trip.
As mentioned above, Newcastle United have not scored at St James Park’ in a staggering 450 minutes of football. The last goal to be scored at St James Park was against Fulham in April 2013, scored by Papiss Cisse.
Newcastle have only gained one point in their last four home games.
Hatem Ben Arfa hit four shots on goal at the weekend versus West Ham United, with none on target – a 0% shot accuracy.
Sylvain Marveaux created the most chances in the Premier League last weekend (7)
Fulham have won their last two away games (Sunderland – August 2013 and Swansea – May 2013), despite only winning four games in the entire 2012/2013 campaign.
Scott Parker played the most accurate passes for a midfielder in the Premier League last weekend, with a total of 85 passes, a passing accuracy of 91.76%
Newcastle United – Hatem Ben Arfa
The French international needs to recapture his form of the 2011/2012 campaign, when his side finished just outside of the Champions League places. Ben Arfa, despite only playing 18 league games last season, created 18 chances from open play in the 2012/2013 season. Despite being injury prone, Ben Arfa, on his day, can create havoc for any Premier League defence
Fulham – Dimitar Berbatov
The ex-Spurs and Manchester United striker topped the goal-scoring charts for Fulham last season. The Bulgarian has the tag of being lazy, but he regularly relieves pressure on his team-mates by holding up the ball and introducing others into the game, while also assisting goals and banging them in on a regular basis.
Newcastle’s home form of late has been utterly scandalous, and this summer’s behind the scenes revelations haven’t helped Pardew’s cause with Joe Kinnear coming in as Director of Football. The start to the season for Newcastle hasn’t been a shock, and their woeful performance in front of goal may give Fulham the chance to strike a blow at St James Park. I’m backing Fulham to win at 3.730 at Pinnacle Sports, while also backing Under 2.5 goals at 1.87 in the game at St James Park.
Prediction: Newcastle 0-1 Fulham