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The Arizonan

Fulham welcome Newcastle -- PL Match Preview

last updated Friday 14th March 2014, 1:20 PM


Fulham manager Felix Magath
Fulham manager
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Fulham look doomed. Their bungled season has been hopelessly managed. Deserving supporters of one of the most charming clubs in the land have been left to flounder towards the reef of relegation by a series of disastrous decisions by those at the helm.

Incredibly though, the Cottagers have escaped from straits more dire than these.

The bottom-of-the-table club are actually a point better off after 29 games than under Roy Hodgson in 2008, when they earned 16 points from the last nine matches to stay up on goal difference.

Manager Felix Magath is stoically hopeful: "We need to win all five home games. I think that could be enough."

Those remaining five home games are winnable though: Newcastle, Everton, Norwich, Hull and Palace. But do they deserve to stay up?

Previous owner Mohamed al Fayed would never have allowed this mess. Martin Jol should have gone last summer as soon as rumours began about Gus Poyet going to Fulham. Jol never seemed to have the dressing room behind him after that.

He'd also packed the side with too many luxury players and made poor signings in Amorebieta, Rodallega and Zverotic.

The Rene Meulensteen episode was bizarre. Now Felix Magath has arrived with a different, intensely disciplined style. At this late juncture, his methods seem untimely. I can't see the players relishing harsh training in March.

Nonetheless, this game is winnable on paper. Newcastle have lost four in a row at the Cottage and go there without Alan Pardew because of his stadium ban and top scorer Loic Remy because of injury.

Pardew deserved his suspension, but some of the lynch-mob calls for his head have bordered on senseless hysteria.

I have known the man for more than 25 years. He is passionate, driven and very good company. He is also a generous benefactor to charities away from football. He is fully aware that he now needs to show more generosity of spirit and less fire on the touchline. There'll no more chances.

Earlier this season when there were calls for his sacking after four defeats on the spin, his players responded with a fine win in London - 3-1 at West Ham. I can see them repeating that.

Fulham may cling to memories of the 2008 escape. I can only see Championship football ahead for them.

    Head-to-head



  • Fulham have won four successive home matches against Newcastle, and six of the last seven.


  • There have been five goals scored in the 85th minute or later in their last five Premier League meetings.



  • Fulham



  • Fulham are without a win in their last nine league games (D2, L7).


  • They have lost 20 of their first 29 top-flight matches in a season for the first time in the club's history.


  • The Whites have the worst home record in the Premier League, earning just three wins and 10 points from 14 matches.


  • They have conceded 65 league goals this season - 15 more than the next-worst side, Cardiff. Thirty nine of those goals have come in the last 14 matches.


  • Fulham have used 36 different players in the league this season. Only Middlesbrough (37 in 2005-06) have used more in an entire Premier League campaign.



  • Newcastle



  • Newcastle have won successive league games for the first time this calendar year. They last won three in a row as part of an eventual four-match winning streak in November.


  • The Magpies have lost 10 of the 11 league games in which they have been behind this season. The exception was the 5-1 home win over Stoke on Boxing Day.


  • Their last 61 league goals have been scored by non-English players. James Perch was the last Englishman to score in the 4-3 defeat at Manchester United on Boxing Day 2012.
























Source Jonathan Pearce at BBCSports
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