On the heels of their two worst performances of the Steve McClaren era, Newcastle travel to London to take on former manager Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace. We are meant to be encouraged and upbeat, however, as Steve McClaren gave a Sternly Worded Speech™ to the squad that temporarily suspended his swear ban and called several individual players into question. We are meant to believe that Fabricio Coloccini is going to respond magnificently and lead a newly focused Newcastle United squad to glorious victory.
In reality, we have an underperforming squad that is getting worse instead of better and is going into the match with a hole in central midfield that is likely to be filled by Yoan Gouffran who is not a midfielder and notably also not a defensive midfielder. Crystal Palace have regressed a moderate amount in recent times and are Newcastle's exact equals when considering the "Form Table". It still must be assumed that, based on the relative merits of their respective campaigns, Crystal Palace are the better side and this will be an uphill fight for McClaren and his squad... newly focused attitude or not.
We'll know soon enough whether this is all much hand-wringing about nothing or whether we are still well and truly in the muck.
Date & Time: November 28, 2015 1500 GMT (0700 PST, 1000 EST)
Venue: Selhurst Park, London
Players to watch: Fabricio Coloccini, Ayoze Perez, whomever starts in Tiote's spot
TV Information: No broadcast