Fulham's Premier League run comes to an end on Sunday as they welcome Newcastle to Craven Cottage
The final round of fixtures in the Premier League season all get underway at 4pm on Sunday afternoon, and Newcastle United are hoping to finish their season as they did in 2018-19, when they visit Craven Cottage to take on already relegated Fulham.
On that sunny day on the banks of the Thames, Scott Parker’s first game in charge of the Cottagers coincided with Rafa Benitez’s last as Newcastle manager, and ended in a 4-0 rout in favour of the Magpies. Jonjo Shelvey, Ayoze Perez, Fabian Schar and Salomon Rondon all hit the target in the win to ensure Newcastle finished the season in 13th, before a summer of upheaval.
Two years and 11 days later, Steve Bruce takes his side to the capital in search of a win that could see them end the season in the same position, or even 12th if other results favour them. Just like that day though, Fulham have already been relegated, and will spend another year in the Championship next term.
Fans will return to the Cottage for the first time in 14 months, with just over 4,500 supporters receiving tickets, thanks to the rule of each stadium only allowing 25% capacity as fans start to return to grounds. The development of Fulham’s Riverside Stand was due to be completed in time for next season, taking the overall capacity to over 29,000.
Scott Parker will be hoping they can have an impact, as they’ve gone down with something of a whimper this season. At one point, it looked like they might have a shot of reeling in Newcastle, but after beating Liverpool back in March, they’ve not won a game in the league. That’s led to them needing a win against Newcastle if they’re to equal the record for the lowest points total of any team to finish 18th in Premier League history.
If they’re to do that, Parker will be hoping Antonee Robinson can return from a foot injury that has sidelined him for the last two games. Tom Cairney still isn’t fully fit after a knee injury but may make the squad if he trains fully towards the end of the week.
Former Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is a doubt with a buttock injury and will be monitored up to kick-off. After failing to start 23 games this season, we’re not sure if he’s picked up some splinters from sitting on the bench or the treatment table.
As for Newcastle, they’ll have Fabian Schar back from suspension, and were hoping that Jamaal Lascelles makes it, but it’s likely too soon for the Magpies captain. Ryan Fraser was named in Scotland’s Euro 2020 squad despite playing 90 minutes just three times this season, and is still missing with a groin problem. On-loan superstar Joe Willock won another game for his adopted side on Wednesday before coming off early with what looked like an injury, but is expected to be OK.
During that game, Martin Dubravka was struggling with a hamstring problem and will be monitored. Backup goalkeeper Karl Darlow is also injured, so third choice Mark Gillespie is on hand to make his Premier League debut if needed. Callum Wilson and Isaac Hayden are also out for Steve Bruce’s side.
Fulham take on Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on Sunday, May 23rd. Kick-off is at 4pm.