Newcastle is a team with fantastic fans and a squad capable of chasing a Europa League berth. However, the team was unable to cling to its Premier League spot and was relegated in 2016. The road back starts on Friday, when they try to win the first match in the Championship. They will play on the road against Fulham, a team that has spent a lot of time in the first division and hopes to get back there this season.
No Squad Concerns for Newcastle
The biggest challenge for teams that relegate from the Premier League is to retain their key players. The best footballers lose motivation and seek better opportunities elsewhere. Newcastle has the advantage of a dedicated crowd and access to significant resources. As a result, the most important players decided not to leave the club despite its recent meltdown.
Against Fulham, they are twice as motivated to win, since they play against a top quality opponent. In the second division, it doesn’t get any better than this, so Newcastle will be tested right from the start. The team didn’t defend in the Premier League even when playing against the best squads in the division. They are unlikely to start now even though they don’t have home pitch advantage.
Fulham Would Settle for One Point
The hosts are not among the favorites to promote to the Premier League at the end of the season. They are fully aware of their underdog status so their plan is to play the long game and claim one point at a time. Home pitch advantage means a great deal in the Championship, but it won’t be enough tonight.
Fulham is likely to play defensive football and wait for the perfect opportunity to score. There is a good possibility for such a chance never to arrive, but Newcastle will create numerous scoring opportunities. Punters would be better off backing the visitors as long as the odds revolve around even value.