Newcastle-Fulham could be fiery affair

Fulham’s Marco Silva will be relishing Newcastle’s visit. — Reuters

FOLLOWING their commendable exploits against Liverpool in midweek, Fulham face further Cup scrutiny by Premiership adversaries when they welcome Newcastle United to London today for the FA Cup fourth round clash.

Marco Silva and his Craven Cottage squad will rue a couple of chances against the Reds that might have made a big difference to the outcome in that Carabao League Cup second-leg semifinal.

But they’ll also know that against the Magpies, they can make sure of more progress in this cup run.

Newcastle are five points and three places ahead of Fulham in Premier League standings, but that could count for zero today.

League form often gets tossed out of the window in these cup games, and that scenario could yet apply to this match.

This clash in London could be one of the thrillers of the fourth round, with both sides expected to give it all they have.

Fulham are enjoying their best season yet, and Silva has taken much credit for that.

The 46-year-old Portuguese manager has instilled a sense of belief in the side that was not there previously.

And with this, his team are punching way above their weight and looking for at least a draw against a Newcastle outfit that has been hampered by a long list of injuries.

Despite this, Eddie Howe’s team have managed a few decent performances.

They did lose to Liverpool and Manchester City, but that narrow 3-2 defeat by the champions had more positives in it for them than any other game this season.

In between those league matches, the Magpies also beat neighbours Sunderland in a fiery FA Cup derby.

That was a convincing 3-0 triumph, and it should hold them in good stead coming up against a Fulham side that are rather buoyant themselves.

The other all-Premier League matchups between Everton and Luton and Sheffield United and Brighton Hove Albion also have ingredients to dish out some classic Cup football.

Given the fine lines in these Cup games, it could well be that home advantage plays a role and tilts the odds.

Of course, Luton and Brighton will have none of that and endeavour to reach the last 16 at the expense of their hosts.

Defending champions Manchester City, who so majestically strode to that famous Treble last season, were in action last night at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Chelsea, who appear to have found some good form recently, also featured in an all-Premiership clash last night.

They hosted Aston Villa, who themselves have not been so shabby in the league, where they occupy fourth place.

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