The Championship season begins this evening, as Fulham host recently relegated Newcastle United at Craven Cottage.
The home side enter the fixture with a drastically changed squad compared to last season, when they narrowly avoided the drop to League One. Fulham signed 7 players for the new campaign, but have lost important striking pair Moussa Dembele and Ross McCormack, with the latter only confirmed as an Aston Villa player yesterday. The departing duo netted 40 times for the Cottagers in the previous season, and manager Slavisa Jokanovic has admitted that a new centre-forward is desperately needed.
The visitors return to the second division after an absence of 6 years, and have been named by most bookmakers as the favourites to win instant promotion to the Premier League. The Magpies have sold a number of their star players, including last season’s top-goalscorer Georginio Wijnaldum, but have secured 8 transfers and retained decorated boss Rafa Benitez. Newcastle have brought in players with Championship experience such as Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden, and will be aiming to turn their recent downturn around as quickly as possible
With so many changes in both squads, it’s difficult to judge which side will emerge with all three points, or whether they’ll both share the spoils. However, previous encounters have always been full of goals, and the occasion should provide supporters with plenty of entertainment.