Newcastle are set to take on Crystal Palace after one of the most impressive displays during the Steve Bruce era. Was the Everton match a fluke? Or is it something to build on?
Newcastle finally broke their winless streak this past weekend against Everton. The team looked spectacular against an Everton side that is still trying to push their way into the top 4. For the first time in a while, Newcastle were fun to watch and seemed to have some semblance of a tactical plan. One of the more encouraging things from that match was that Newcastle were on the front foot the entire match and did not have to rely on Allan Saint-Maximin to be the sole provider of offense. Players like Shelvey, Lewis, Almiron, and Manquillo all looked comfortable in the formation as well as provided a lot going forward.
Crystal Palace enter this match after narrowly beating out of form Wolves 1-0 thanks to an Eze goal. Roy Hodgson’s side has looked fairly inconsistent this season and at times reliant on key players Ebere Eze and Wilfried Zaha. If those two are silenced, then Palace seems to struggle. This is pretty normal for most mid-table sides, and Newcastle have to hope that this past weekend’s win was an anomaly in what has been an uninspiring run of form for Palace. On the contrary, Palace are able to break out and put in some impressive performances if either one of those two or Andros Townsend are having a good day. This same Palace team has put 4 past Leeds and 3 past Manchester United this season and they are capable of doing the same to a Newcastle defense that may be missing some players due to injury.
Last 5 Matches
Everton 0-2 Newcastle
Newcastle 1-2 Leeds
Aston Villa 2-0 Newcast;e
Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle (FA Cup)
Sheffield United 1-0 Newcastle
Crystal Palace (LDLLW)
Crystal Palace 1-0 Wolves
Crystal Palace 2-3 West Ham
Manchester City 4-0 Crystal Palace
Arsenal 0-0 Crystal Palace
Wolves 1-0 Crystal Palace (FA Cup)
For Newcastle, they are handed a nice boost as Steve Bruce publicly claimed he feels as if Allan Saint-Maximin is ready to start after making 3 appearances as a substitute. Captain Jamaal Lascelles is likely going to miss the next couple of weeks due to a hamstring injury he picked up in the Everton match. This leaves Ciaran Clark and Fabian Scar as Newcastle’s only two healthy center-backs on the roster. If either of them picks up an injury we could see Hayden or Krafth reprise their roles as center-backs. Ryan Fraser is set to miss this match due to illness, it does not appear to be COVID-19 related. Losing Fraser is a big blow, but it is worth noting he looked a little out of place in the Everton match. Outside of Lascelles and Fraser Newcastle will still be without Federico Fernandez who should return in mid-February
Palace have been bitten by the injury bug as Connor Wickham, James McArthur, James McCarthy, James Tomkins, Jeffery Schlupp, Mamadou Sakho, Wayne Hennessey, and Nathan Ferguson could all miss this match. The lone positive for Palace is that new signing Jean-Philippe Mateta could start after being on the bench for the Wolves match.
There is no reason for either side to falter from the formations they ran this past weekend as both sides won their respective matches.
Newcastle Projected XI (4-3-3/4-4-2 Diamond): Dubravka; Lewis, Clark, Schar, Manquillo; Hayden, Shelvey, Hendrick, Almirón, Saint-Maximin, Wilson.
Crystal Palace Projected XI (4-2-3-1): Guaita, van Aanholt, Dann, Kouyate, Clyne, Milivojevic,Riedewald, Townsend, Eze, Zaha, Mateta
Newcastle are buzzing with confidence, and hopefully that results in them taking advantage of an injury plagued Palace side. A full 90 minutes of Allan Saint-Maximin in a system that seems to suit him and the other attackers well should be enough to see that Newcastle win this one at home.
I think this one is a home win for the mMags, and their second double of the season. 2-0 win for Newcastle with Saint-Maximin netting his second of this season.