May 25, 2024

Newcastle United maintained their push for a European place with a 1-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage, and here are five takeaways from the match.
Newcastle United came within a point of sixth-placed Manchester United after a 1-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Injury-hit Newcastle were not at their best, but Bruno Guimaraes broke the deadlock in the 81st minute with a shot from inside the box.

Here are five takeaways from the game.

Bruno steps up as Newcastle have perfect response to VAR call

Bruno Guimaraes has now agreed Newcastle United contract extension with  release clause - Report - NUFC The Mag

 

Late drama is always expected with Newcastle United. Fabian Schar appeared to have put the visitors ahead in the 77th minute, but VAR intervened and referee Sam Allison was sent to the pitchside monitor, which is always a hint that a judgment has been overturned.

The referee saw Dan Burn collide with Calvin Bassey as Anthony Gordon crossed the ball into the box prior to Schar’s goal. The Fulham defender had already jumped at the point of touch and misunderstood the ball’s flight, but the official changed his initial ruling.

Furious Newcastle fans began chanting, “You’re not fit to referee!” However, the Magpies did not let their anger boil over, and they answered immediately, only four minutes later.

Elliot Anderson’s smart back heel, which came in for the injured Joe Willock in the first half, sent fellow replacement Harvey Barnes sprinting down the left. Barnes’ enticing cross was only cleared as far as the lurking Bruno Guimaraes, who rifled home from inside the area to give Newcastle the lead on his 100th appearance for the club.

This time, Bruno stood up, just like he did at the City Ground a few months ago. There has been much speculation over Bruno’s future, but the Brazil international delivered a clear message with his celebration on Saturday, repeatedly tapping the badge before raising his shirt and kissing it.

Eddie Howe gets angry

Fulham’s dismal start against Nottingham Forest prompted manager Marco Silva to make one of the Premier League’s earliest triple changes midweek. There was a compelling argument that Eddie Howe might have followed suit on Saturday, despite a thin bench.

There was supposed to be a lot on the line for Newcastle in this game, but the way the Magpies started made you think otherwise. Newcastle continually gave the ball away to Fulham, who caused serious difficulties down both flanks, and Joao Palhinha came dangerously close to opening the score after a quarter of an hour.

When Martin Dubravka went down for treatment midway through the first half, a scowling Howe summoned his players and scolded them as they gathered on the touchline. Newcastle improved marginally after that, with Anthony Gordon making a number of decent chances, but the visitors’ play remained sloppy, particularly in the first half. Fabian Schar, for example, badly misread a ball over the top and was fortunate that Rodrigo Muniz did not punish him, while at the other end of the field, even the in-form Alexander Isak took an unusually heavy touch after Sean Longstaff threaded the ball through to the record signing.

Fulham had 71% possession, 10 shots, and six corners at halftime, while Newcastle had not had a single shot on target or won a corner kick against a team in the bottom half. Newcastle will have been relieved to be level at halftime. That is how awful the visitors were in the first 45 minutes.

Newcastle stay in the hunt for Europe

Newcastle remains in eighth place, but the significance of this hard-fought victory cannot be understated in the race for Europe. Newcastle are now only a point behind West Ham, who rallied from behind to defeat Wolves on Saturday afternoon, and they still have a game in hand. Newcastle also pulled within a point of sixth-placed Manchester United, who face league leaders Liverpool on Sunday. In the previous week, the injury-plagued black-and-whites had picked up seven of the nine points available against West Ham, Everton, and Fulham.

Geordies finally get to celebrate a league win in capital

Results in London were critical to Newcastle’s top four push last season, as the Magpies avoided defeat in the capital on their way to qualifying for the Champions League, and this was a belated first league victory in the big smoke in 2023-24 for a team that has struggled on the road this season. Only Brentford, Burnley, Nottingham Forest, Luton Town, and Sheffield United have scored less points away from home during this challenging season.

Despite being far from their best, Newcastle managed to take all three points and keep a rare clean sheet. That is no mean task against a Fulham squad that has won nine games on their home turf  and defeated Arsenal, Spurs, Brighton and West Ham at Craven Cottage in recent months.

Injuries continue to pile up

Eleven. That is the startling amount of senior players Newcastle was missing before the game began on Saturday.

It is not an exaggeration to imply that those who were absent could form an XI capable of competing for Europe. Nick Pope might start in goal; Kieran Trippier, Jamaal Lascelles, Sven Botman, and Matt Targett in defence; Joelinton, Sandro Tonali, and Lewis Miley in midfield; Miguel Almiron and Tino Livramento out wide; and Callum Wilson up forward.

Given the medium- to long-term nature of these lay-offs, it is difficult to envision many returning for Spurs’ visit next week, and it is unclear whether Joe Willock will play after hobbling out just before half-time with an Achilles injury.

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