Magpies look to fly away with victory at Craven Cottage - Betting Preview
After a confidence boosting win last Monday night against a beleaguered Wigan Athletic outfit, Newcastle United again find themselves in the Monday Night Football spotlight as they travel to Craven Cottage to take on a Fulham side looking to bounce back for a dire home loss last weekend to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Welcoming the return of imperious Norwegian centre-back Brede Hangeland, the Cottagers, will be more confident of a positive result this week, yet the absences of dynamic forward Bryan Ruiz has been lengthened due to a setback in his recovery. Ruiz's sidelining is somewhat emblematic of Fulham's season to date, as they look to get so far before failing to convert, and Martin Jol hasn't seen his side score since a 3-1 defeat to Sunderland at Craven Cottage three weeks ago.
Leading the west London side in goals this season is Dimitar Berbatov, and the Bulgarian striker, 9/2 to score first, may well provide his team the formula that sees them end their worst Premier League run in over two years. Without a win in seven games, and with only one in five home games, their current dip is worrying for the fans and manager alike, but all runs come to an end, and having beaten the Magpies in three consecutive home games, Fulham are in with a chance here, and as such, have seen their price to win, aided by a Berbatov anytime goal, enhanced to 7/2 (from 2/1).
Whilst Fulham's troubles have been exacerbated in front of goal, Newcastle demonstrated no such issue last week, with Senegalese striker Demba Ba netting his Premier League leading third brace of the season (Ba is 10/1 to score 2 or more here). Whilst Ba has found fine form recently, his international strike partner Papiss Cisse has struggled, failing to consolidate on an impressive start to his Newcastle career. Whilst the pair were expected to miss January through international duty, Newcastle will welcome the fact that Senegal failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations, but will lose tenacious midfield Cheik Tiote.
Alan Pardew will look to capitalise on having a full squad until then, and while Hatem Ben Arfa continues to find himself sidelined, the Magpies will be buoyed by the return of David Santon. Whilst Tiote has registered a league-leading ten shots off target without one on goal, and whilst that run may end here (Tiote 8/1 to score anytime), Newcastle's fulcrum will continue to be Ba, who has seen his price enhanced to score in a Newcastle win to 7/1 (from 9/2).
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Best Bet: Double Chance: Newcastle or Draw: 4/5