As the final international break before the 2022 FIFA World Cup draws to a close, the focus now shifts to the Premier League once again. September certainly offered very little Premier League football, but the fixtures take a turn in the following month with several teams gearing up to take the pitch every three days. The gameweek 9 clash between Fulham and Newcastle United promises to be an enthralling one since both the managers have instilled an attacking approach to their teams.
Fulham has been one of the dark horses this year, with many expecting them to feature in the relegation battle. However, Marco Silva’s side is currently sitting 6th on the table with 11 points to their name. Moreover, they have already faced the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur, which makes the reading even more impressive.
Newcastle United have had an inconsistent start to their campaign despite showing promising signs. They have just won once but are currently in the top half of the table. Their form has also not been impressive as they have drawn the last four of their five games. But like Fulham, Newcastle’s fixtures also take a turn, with the Magpies facing teams from the bottom half in their next few fixtures.
When and Where?
Date: 1st October 2022.
Time: 3:00 PM BST.
Venue: Craven Cottage, London.
Referee: Darren England.
Assistant Referees: James Mainwaring, Wade Smith.
Fourth Official: Tim Robinson.
VAR Official: Mike Dean.
Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard.
Fulham’s talisman, Aleksander Mitrovic, was pictured with a bandage around his leg after Serbia’s clash with Norway but should feature for the Cottagers this Saturday. He has already scored six goals and is leading Fulham’s charge from the front. However, Joao Palhinha – another of the team’s key figures will be absent due to a suspension.
Harry Wilson and the new signing Manor Solomon are both ruled out of the clash. Joining them on the treatment table is left-back, Antonee Robinson, who had trouble with his ankle against Tottenham Hotspur. Tim Ream deputized Robinson and could continue as left back, with Layvin Kurzawa still gathering match fitness after his move from PSG.
Newcastle United’s record signing Alexander Isak is sidelined for three weeks. This is unquestionably a big blow, as the Swedish striker has made an impressive start to the campaign. However, Callum Wilson is deemed to be fit after recovering from a hamstring injury and should slot in Isak’s place.
Bruno Guimarães was also considered doubtful, but the 24-year-old is ready to start this week. Eddie Howe missed Jonjo Shelvey and Allan Saint Maximin’s presence and impact on the pitch, but both the players are closing in on a return and could make the bench against Fulham. Meanwhile, Chris Wood will have a scan after a rib injury, so he will not make the trip to London.
Fulham has been defensively suspect, but they have compensated for their defensive fragilities with their excellent attacking abilities. The Cottagers dominated the game from the first minute against Nottingham Forest but found themselves trailing after the first 45 minutes. However, a 15-minute spell comprising three goals propelled them to a victory.
Silva has also shown shrewd tactical flexibility, especially with Harrison Reed pushing forward as a central midfielder. Palhinha stands tall as a defensive midfielder and has looked sharp both in terms of passing and defensive ability. With the Portuguese international’s suspension, it will be interesting to see who Silva uses in that role. Reed could well drop in as a number 6, with Fulham veteran Tom Cairney starting as the central midfielder.
Additionally, Willian’s arrival has boosted their options on the wing as he brings an array of experience with him. So, the creative outlets along with Mitrovic will undoubtedly prove to be a handful for Newcastle’s defense.
Newcastle United, meanwhile, looks confident in terms of progression from the back, but have lacked a clinical edge so far. But, with the return of some key players, including Allan Saint-Maximin, Howe will hope his team can deliver against Fulham. Having said that, the Magpies struggled to break Bournemouth’s low block and their only means of creating chances were through Trippier’s crosses from the right side.
Of course, Fulham will be a different test, but the Newcastle United faithful will hope their forwards will start to fire this week. Further, goals from midfield have been lacking since Bruno Guimarães has been playing deeper to aid progression. A victory against the Cottagers is crucial for Howe to kick-start Newcastle’s season.
Aleksander Mitrovic has proved his worth in the Premier League this time around. Only Erling Haaland has scored more than the Serbian and only four players in the league have accumulated more xG (Expected Goals) than him. Well, his capacity in front of goal is very well known, but his ability to link up the play by dropping deep is going under the radar.
So far, Mitrovic has acted as a target man and a player who can drop between the lines and switch it to the other side. This has been crucial for Fulham to create overloads centrally. Sometimes, Mitrovic himself carries the ball from the midfield and creates opportunities for his teammates. This all-round display has been nothing short of excellent and could cause a few troubles for the Newcastle center halves.
Bruno Guimarães has been a revelation ever since he arrived in the Premier League. His arrival sparked the turnaround in form and Newcastle have been hard to beat since then. He has also formed an excellent connection with fellow Brazilian and midfielder Joelinton and the two have been the heart of the team’s ball progression and chance creation.
The former Lyon man has started the season in a stellar fashion and his line-breaking passes have been a highlight so far. But the variety of roles he has performed for Howe has stood out during his Newcastle United tenure. With Shelvey’s return, he could further push forward, and this will help Howe’s side to break defensive blocks and improve their goal tally. Moreover, Fulham have left spaces at the back and Guimarães often excels in these situations, threading through balls through the eye of a needle.
Fulham predicted lineup vs Newcastle United: Leno; Tete, Adarabioyo, Diop, Ream; Reed, Cairney, Pereira; Willian, Kebano, Mitrovic.
Newcastle United predicted lineup vs Fulham: Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Bruno Guimarães, Joelinton, Willock; Almiron, Fraser, Wilson.