I sat down with Robert L. Bishop from Coming Home Newcastle this week to discuss Fulham's upcoming match with Newcastle. I asked him the usual three questions and answered the questions from his readers. Make sure to stop by and read their questions and my answers.
CC: I have to admit I haven't watched a ton of Newcastle yet this season. I watched most of the Man City match, but couldn't bring myself to watch the West Ham draw. I didn't see the Capital One Cup either, but have read the re-caps. I see that the club only scored 45 times last year, and didn't score until the 84th minute in the cup game. Is the lack of offense surprising to you? Do you expect to score often this week against Fulham?
CHN: It's not really all that surprising. We knew before last season was up that a striker, if not two, would have to be a priority for the club in the transfer window, because Papiss Cisse is the kind of striker that needs a partner to take the pressure off of him and hold up play. So far, Loic Remy on loan has been the only business on that front, and he hasn't been available yet. I did expect to at least have a league goal by now, but I anticipate that they will continue to struggle offensively unless someone is purchased before Monday or Remy shows that his time at QPR was not a fluke. I don't expect a ton of scoring this week, but I will be disappointed if they don't find the net.
CC: As few goals as Newcastle scored last year, conceding was an even bigger problem. I'm not aware of any big changes that the club made on the defensive end. Did the club do anything to address the defense in the off season?
CHN: Well, they got healthy. Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor, and holding midfielder Cheik Tiote all missed significant time last season, and there were other 2 and 3 week injuries along the way to some others. Again, we would have liked to see some signings, but at least we can hope for continued health. The expected back four of Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, and Santon is not impenetrable. However, with Krul between the sticks, I always feel that Newcastle will have a fighting chance.
CC: It was rumored that Cabaye asked out of the game last week. Do you expect him to play this week? Do you think he remains with the club through the transfer window?
CHN: He's been told to be ready. That may very well be a play for leverage in negotiations with teams that won't meet the asking price of £20 million. I still doubt they would put it out there if they weren't serious about either making it happen or turning Cabaye into a scapegoat to save face with the fans. Honestly, either is a realistic possibility. My gut says he won't play, but I won't be terribly surprised if he does. I don't believe he will be with the club on Tuesday.
Key players, projected lineup, and score prediciton
CHN: Based on the latest injury news and the lineup we saw on Wednesday in the cup match, I expect the following lineup:
Krul | Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon | Ben Arfa, Anita, Sissoko, Marveaux | Cisse, Remy
Remy is expected to make his debut. If Jonas Gutierrez is recovered from his hamstring injury, he may be preferred to Marveaux, much to my chagrin. Cheik Tiote is also a doubt, and Steven Taylor is still serving a red card suspension. Remy is an obvious one to watch, and Anita and Sissoko formed an effective partnership last week. Debuchy played Wednesday and has struggled somewhat to start the season, but with Massadio Haidara still out, there is not really anybody to provide cover. He may be the weak point.
I'll go 1-1, because Duff is due for yet another goal against his old club, and I think/hope Cisse and Remy will form a fast understanding.