Fulham vs. Newcastle: 6 Things We Learned
Fulham defeated Newcastle 2-1 at home earlier today and Bleacher Report's taking a look at what we learned about both teams.(via ESPN Soccernet)
With that win Fulham moves to 13th in the league table, three points ahead of Newcastle.
The match was fairly even throughout in terms of possession and shots but the home side had to hold on to keep the lead.
Here are 6 things we learned from Fulham vs. Newcastle.
Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse Should Not Start Together
Like any team, Newcastle certainly wants to have its best players out on the pitch.
For Alan Pardew that means ensuring that both his Senegalese forwards, Demba Ba and Pappiss Cisse, are playing.
That partnership has not worked very well since Cisse's introduction into the side.
Demba Ba started last season on fire but when his compatriot joined in January his goal-scoring stopped.
Ba has again been the form man in front of goal to start the season, with 10 goals in 15 games. Cisse, on the other hand, has four goals in 16 games.
It is quite possible that Pardew's insistence on using the two players together is part of the problem and, for now, he should stick with the striker who is in-form.
There is nothing wrong with having a striker like Cisse coming off the bench to make an impact. At least until he gains some form.
Newcastle May Be in a Worse Position Come January
Newcastle's Premier League form since the beginning of November consists of one win, one draw and five losses.
That could become much worse when January rolls around.
Newcastle's remaining games in December have them playing at home twice and away twice.
They host Manchester City next week, Queens Park Rangers the next, and then visit Manchester United and Arsenal.
On paper, and on current form, three of those games do not look like positive results.
Newcastle Needs Fresh Blood in January
It could be said that Newcastle's current form is due to things the staff or players can eventually remedy.
The club has been unlucky in games, players have been in poor form, and there have been injuries. All those things have made things difficult of late.
Bringing in new, quality players will help the club turn the current situation around.
Newcastle doesn't have a lot of depth or quality in midfield and defense beyond the starting 11.
While there's plenty of bodies available to play as forwards, only Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse can really threaten sides.
Alan Pardew needs to find some more gems like the Senegalese duo and Yohan Cabaye in January.
Last season they were able to sustain their form due to the introduction of of Cisse and the lack of European competition.
With tight competition in the EPL and the knockout stages of the Europa League to contend with, Pardew's star men need more help.
Fulham Not Missing Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele
It was always going to be tough to beat Newcastle despite their form but Fulham did just that.
Though they are currently in 13th position, Fulham are only three points away from last year's ninth-placed finish.
Clint Dempsey goals played a huge role in the club's position last year but he has not been missed so far.
With Hugo Rodallega, Mladen Petric and Dimitar Berbatov, the Cottagers have three players to provide a goal-scoring threat.
They are all different players and have scored 10 goals between them since the season began.
While that outlay isn't the greatest, it is the added productivity of the midfield players that has been a bonus for the side.
Steve Sidwell, Damien Duff, Bryan Ruiz, Alexander Kacaniklic and Chris Baird have all scored two goals or more.
They have played their roles well for the most part on both ends their contributions have helped negate the loss of Moussa Dembele.
That kind of balance will help the club tremendously if all the players involved can continue their form.
Fulham Has Solid Depth
All the players mentioned in the previous slide make for a good set of experienced players.
Add in the likes of Giorgos Karagounis, Brede Hangeland, Aaron Hughes, Mahamadou Diarra and others and Fulham has a pretty solid team.
Young talents like Kerim Frei and Pajtim Kasami can provide sparks of youthful energy.
Then there's also squad players like Stephen Kelly, Sascha Reiter and Ashkan Dejagah who can make a solid impact on any given day.
Fulham doesn't have world-beaters but there is a good mixture and balance in the squad which should enable them to have a successful season.
Fulham Can Make a Surprise Push for Europe
If things go well for Fulham throughout the season they could end up vying for one of the European positions in the table.
The mixture of talent, experience and depth within the squad is good when compared to teams like West Bromwich Albion and Everton.
Both these teams were able to get off to extremely good starts to put them in the hunt but there's no reason Fulham can't join them.
They've beaten West Bromwich and tied with Everton and are certainly capable of repeating or improving upon those feats.
They were unlucky to lose to both Manchester clubs, should have gotten three points from Arsenal and held Chelsea to a draw. The only bad result against a bigger side was the 3-0 loss to Tottenham.
Martin Jol has hinted that he will strengthen in January and that would improve the London side's chances.(h/t ESPN Soccernet)
Fulham's results have shown that they have a solid squad and should they find a good run of form, and increase upon the quality in the side, they may have a very good season.