Premier League: Newcastle United v Fulham

It’s hard to tell which Newcastle side will turn up when kick-off arrives, with the Geordies having won three and lost three of their last six league games in contrasting performances.

Morale-boosting wins over Everton, Crystal Palace and West Brom have been paired with damaging defeats against Southampton and Chelsea, while they were soundly beaten 5-2 by Leeds United in midweek.

Meanwhile, Fulham have shown improvement in their last four games, taking five points as Scott Parker’s squad shows signs of gelling ahead of a tight relegation battle.

Once upon a time, Parker plied his trade as a player at Newcastle and will be making his first visit to St James’ Park as a boss, and will have former Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to try and grind out a result with. Mitrovic has lost his place in the Fulham team in recent weeks though, with Ivan Cavaleiro leading the line instead.

Newcastle’s current crop of strikers have been led by the impressive Callum Wilson this season. The former Bournemouth man already has seven goals to his name this year, one more than Newcastle’s top scorer from last season managed.

That player was Jonjo Shelvey, who may return to the starting lineup after being an unused substitute in the defeat to Leeds on Wednesday.

Shelvey’s influence will be important if Newcastle are to keep the ball more than they have been recently. The Geordies have the lowest average possession of any Premier League team, and have never had more than 48% of the ball in any league game so far this season.

As far as team news goes, Steve Bruce’s defensive ranks are still recovering from the worst of their recent COVID outbreaks. Newcastle only had one fit centre-back against West Brom, but welcomed back Federico Fernandez against Leeds. Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar and Javi Manquillo all missed the loss and are likely to continue their spell on the sidelines when Fulham visit.

Martin Dubravka was scheduled to be back from an ankle injury recently but hasn’t been part of a squad yet, so Karl Darlow will continue in goal, while Paul Dummett is another one missing for a longer period. Allan Saint-Maximin has missed three games with a calf injury but could make the squad.

Fulham have a smaller injury quota to deal with, with only Terence Kongolo definitely out. Bobby Reid came off during the draw with Brighton with a knock and will be assessed, while Kenny Tete is also a doubt as he continues to build match fitness after injury.

A win for Newcastle would put more daylight between themselves and the bottom five, and could move them to the brink of the top ten if other results favour them, while Fulham will be hoping to go above Brighton before they play on Sunday.

Newcastle United take on Fulham at St James’ Park on Saturday, 19th of December. Kick-off is at 8pm.

Premier League: Fulham vs Everton

Scott Parker’s side face Leicester City, Manchester City and Liverpool after the Toffees visit the capital, so taking points against Carlo Ancelotti’s side would be hugely welcomed.

The Cottagers have had a long time to reflect on missed chances against West Ham last time out, with Ademola Lookman’s injury-time penalty shambles hard to shake from memory as they slipped to a narrow defeat.

There was more penalty woe in the international break for them as well, as Aleksandar Mitrovic fluffed a decisive penalty for Serbia in their shootout defeat to Scotland, which sent the Tartan Army to the European Championships.

It’ll be interesting to see who takes the spot kick if they get one against Everton.

Fulham could be boosted by the return of Mario Lemina to the squad, after the midfielder missed the defeat to West Ham through injury, but Parker says a late decision will be made on him after he returned negative COVID tests and trained all this week.

Full-back Kenny Tete has missed the last five games since joining from Lyon, and is still doubtful as a calf injury continues to trouble him.

Terence Kongolo has yet to make a second debut for Fulham since signing from Huddersfield and this game is another that will come too soon as he recovers from a foot injury, while Aboubakar Kamara serves the final game of a three match suspension.

Everton are set to welcome back some key names as they look to stop a run of two straight defeats. Richarlison returns from suspension and will start after scoring for Brazil in the international break, while fellow Brazilian Allan is also available after a muscular problem.

Fabian Delph is also fit for selection after a knock, but Seamus Coleman’s hamstring injury rules him out. Ben Godfrey or Mason Holgate could deputise for the Irishman, with Yerry Mina available to cover at centre back if needed.

Ancelotti also provided an update on Jean-Philippe Gbamin’s injury, confirming the midfielder is in the final phase of his recovery from a serious Achilles injury, but not available to play against Fulham.

James Rodriguez is though, after a disastrous international break with Colombia, which included 3-0 and 6-1 defeats to Uruguay and Ecuador, and resulted in him releasing a statement denying Spurs defender Davinson Sanchez and Bournemouth midfielder Jefferson Lerma were involved in a dressing room fight.

A win for Everton could take them back into the top four, while Fulham are hoping to put daylight between themselves and the bottom three, with the winless trio of West Brom, Burnley and Sheffield United all struggling to pick up points.

Fulham take on Everton on Sunday, November 22nd, kick-off is at 12pm.

Fulham keen on Kongolo return

The Dutch international joined the Cottagers last season on a six-month loan, but struggled with a foot injury and made just two appearances as Fulham achieved promotion via the playoffs.

But manager Scott Parker saw enough of the versatile defender to want to sign him again, and Huddersfield are willing to sell as they need to raise cash.

Kongolo made 32 appearances in the Premier League, although was powerless to stop the Terriers from being relegated. He is also Huddersfield’s record signing, after arriving at the John Smith’s stadium for £25m from Monaco in 2018.

Still only 25, Kongolo can play centre-back or left-back, and that versatility could come in handy as Parker’s side aim to avoid relegation this season.

They play fellow promoted side Leeds this weekend, and Aleksandar Mitrovic is in line for his first league start after scoring the only goal in Fulham’s Carabao Cup win over Ipswich on Wednesday night.