Newcastle can’t play down to a lesser opponent on Saturday vs. Fulham

Sean Longstaff of Newcastle United F.C. (Photo by Rui Vieira - Pool/Getty Images)
Sean Longstaff of Newcastle United F.C. (Photo by Rui Vieira - Pool/Getty Images) /

When they face off on Saturday, Newcastle must establish they are a class above Fulham.

Yesterday, Newcastle United were blown away late by Leeds United. It was a tough match for the Magpies, but Leeds are an explosive side and are now level on points with Newcastle. When you play clubs around your position on the table, the results can go either way. It’s how you play against the clubs below you that can determine your season’s success.

Fulham is not on the same level as Newcastle and Leeds this season. They are closer to West Brom, who Steve Bruce’s side didn’t exactly blow away last weekend.

While there’s always a hope to play up to better opposition, it’s a major fear to play down to a lesser side. It’s easy to look past an “easy” matchup during the long EPL season. If you watched large chunks of the Newcastle-West Brom matchup, it was hard to tell who was a mid-table side and who was in the relegation battle. Despite Newcastle taking all three points, it was far from an easy victory for NUFC.

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Now, they face another club with single-digit points, hovering towards the bottom of the Premier League table. It will be important for the Magpies to establish themselves early. They need to assert their dominance and show who the better side is, taking any hope away from 17th-place Fulham.

It will be up to Steve Bruce to determine the amount of squad rotation, but he should have enough weapons at his disposal to make this a comfortable win at St. James’ Park for Newcastle United.