The Warm Down: Newcastle snatch point as Fulham end with ten
Photo credit:(Getty Images/Stu Forster)

Newcastle United's final Premier League game before Christmas ended as a 1-1 draw as the Magpies recovered to take a point thanks to a second half Callum Wilson penalty.

Visitors Fulham took a deserved lead just before half-time, when a Tosin Adarabioyo header was diverted into the back of the net by the mortified Matt Ritchie who got in the way.

However Steve Bruce's side got themselves level in controversial circumstances as Graham Scott awarded a penalty when Callum Wilson was adjudged to have been fouled in the area.

After consultation with Andy Madley at the VAR hub, and having looked at the St James' Park monitor himself, Scott stuck with his initial call and also dismissed Joachim Andersen with him ruled to be the last man.

The sides had to settle for a point but what are the key aspects to take away from the game from a Newcastle point of view? 

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Vulnerability at set-pieces

Despite going down as an unfortunate own goal, there is still plenty to be dissected when looking at Fulham's goal before the break.

The Magpies initially failed to deal with the ball into the box from Fulham's left, however Joelinton had a big part to play in this failure as he let Adarabioyo tower above him which was where the havoc began.

Even if Newcastle's Brazilian forward did get his head to the ball, it only looked as if he would be heading the ball back across his own goal himself.

From the point of view of the final touch, it was unfortunate for Ritchie who was returning to the starting line-up having missed Wednesday's thumping at Elland Road. Typically for him as well, Adarabioyo's header was going wide. 

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Lucky, lucky, lucky

Football pundits could sit all day trying to work out what the correct decision is for Newcastle's equaliser. Should there have been a penalty? Should Andersen have been sent off? Should either have happened? The conversation will no doubt go on.

That's irrelevant, but what is relevant is the fact that Newcastle have needed a big refereeing decision to give them a huge slice of luck, not for the first time this season.

Prior to the penalty incident, the Magpies had failed to create any meaningful chances, Miguel Almiron's effort after 38 minutes the only real effort at goal.

Surely Bruce's men need to start creating their own luck, rather than relying on big calls to give them a helping hand. Even against ten men, very few chances were created. 

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Struggling against a relegation favourite

Newcastle scraped through against West Bromwich Albion last weekend but that can maybe be excused given that all players had been self-isolation and only returned to training days before.

After the drubbing against Leeds United all eyes were on manager Bruce and he certainly didn't do much to keep those eyes off him as his team put in another flat showing against the Cottagers.

The Magpies are currently fortunate that their early season points have got them away from the relegation zone for now, but with difficult games against Manchester City, Liverpool and Leicester City all to come shortly in the Premier League they may find themselves further down the standings before long if they are not careful.

Performances simply have to improve if Newcastle are serious about not being involved in a relegation battle this season.

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