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Newcastle: Jacob Murphy can terrorise Fulham again

Newcastle United return to Premier League action at home to an in-form Fulham side this afternoon, with the Magpies seeking a first win in three top-flight games following their two recent stalemates with both Leeds United and Arsenal.

Eddie Howe’s side will, however, go into that encounter full of confidence having comfortably seen off Leicester City in the Carabao Cup in midweek, with the northeast side shaking off their shock FA Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in fine fashion.

The Tynesiders will seemingly be hoping to maintain that momentum against the west Londoners later today, albeit with Marco Silva’s men set to provide stern opposition having won five successive games in league and cup, including their recent triumph over a struggling Chelsea side.

The St James’ Park did, however, claim a thumping 4-1 victory when the two sides met at Craven Cottage earlier this season, with man of the moment Miguel Almiron notably netting a stunning brace against the ten-man hosts.

With Howe likely looking for a repeat of that emphatic win, the Englishman may well turn to a player who was crucial in the previous meeting in Jacob Murphy, with the reliable winger looking to terrorise the Cottagers once again.

The 27-year-old – who was lauded as the “biggest threat” for Newcastle in the recent defeat to the Owls by journalist Miles Staniforth – offered a real creative presence down the left flank in the reverse fixture, having notably laid on two key passes and attempted four crosses in that clash.

The £35k-per-week ace – who does have just one goal and one assist to his name this season – did also record three shots on goal in total to further illustrate his attacking intent, having been awarded a 9/10 match rating by The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder, who described the forward as ‘always a threat‘.

While his performance was arguably not faultless, as the former Norwich City man did lose possession on 23 occasions from his 58 touches, the dynamic asset did also showcase his willingness to put in the hard yards defensively, after winning two tackles in total.

Should the Magpies boss be looking for a repeat performance from his side this time around, the 44-year-old could well be best served bringing his trusted lieutenant back into the starting XI, with Murphy having featured the joint-most during Howe’s tenure thus far.

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That inclusion should seemingly see fellow forward Allan Saint-Maximin remain on the sidelines, with the fleet-footed Frenchman having again proven somewhat unreliable this season due to illness and injury, having started just four league games so far this term.

The 25-year-old has seemingly found it hard to force his way back into the reckoning of late, with it set to be no real surprise if he is once again utilised as a mere impact player off the bench.

As such, if the former Bournemouth boss is looking to spice up his attack this afternoon, turning to Murphy could represent his best solution on the flanks as he will look to destroy the Cottagers once again.