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Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle - Preview, Lineups & Talking Points

Third, final, and deciding game between Eagles and Magpies after two early-season draws

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The recent history between Eagles and Magpies comes down to a stalemate: two games, two goalless draws.

The first one came early in the Premier League season with the two squads finding it impossible to score a goal against each other on the turf of St James’ Park.

The second one took place in November when the whole affair went down to a penalty shootout that Newcastle ended up winning to advance past the third round of the Carabao Cup.

The first one saw Eddie Howe pick Ryan Fraser and Alexander Isak as two of his starters for that Sep. 3 matchup. It marked Isak’s second-to-last game with the Magpies before January, and Fraser’s second-to-last start with the Magpies.

The second one had Howe relying on Chris Wood as his starting striker. Jonjo Shelvey manned the midfield from the get-go. Matt Target played on the left side of the defensive line, along with oft-pine-riders Javi Manquillo and Jamaal Lascelles. Youngster Elliot Anderson logged his second start of the season after he already made the starting XI on Aug. 24.

Barring Isak, who is now back with the team and nearing peak fitness and form, all of the aforementioned men are more outside of Newcastle than not.

Wood has already packed his bags and is about to start donning Nottingham-Forest-red threads. Matt Target, Elliot Anderson, and Jonjo Shelvey were once glorified and valuable but injuries have kept them out of the pitch for weeks on end. Javier Manquillo and Ryan Fraser never factored into Howe’s masterplan and will be leaving the club this month. Jamaal Lascelles is no more than a buried veteran captain these days.

Time flies, things change. Or not.

Crystal Palace is probably the same team they were one or five years ago. Zaha is still about to see his contract run out but he’ll inevitably remain within the Eagles organization, scoring goals and making transfer-rumor headlines every six months. Vicente Guaita just extended his deal with the organization he’s called home for the past five seasons.

The lads from London are coming off drawing a midweek game against the now-feared Red Devils, 1-1 on a last-gasp effort that earned Crystal Palace their first league point in three attempts after losing their prior two games before Wednesday’s.

You have to go all the way back to Dec. 31 to find Palace winning a game, which they did by defeating Bournemouth and beating them 2-0 on New Year’s Eve. That’s already three weeks ago, folks.

After dropping points against Leeds on Dec. 31 and Arsenal on Jan. 3, the Magpies returned to their (EPL) winning ways last Sunday against another club based in London. Let’s hope the trend keeps going today before a trip to Southampton come Tuesday in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-finals.

Eddie Howe spoke to the media on Friday providing some fresh takes on Newcastle’s state of affairs just hours before today’s game.

You can read everything Howe had to say here, as part of our pre-match coverage.

Probable Lineups predictions at the upcoming Starting XIs from the Magpies and the Eagles are in, so let’s go through what could be coming from Newcastle’s Eddie Howe.

Lineup Notes

  • Not Available: Shelvey (calf), Krafth (knee), Targett (foot), Bruno (ankle)
  • Doubtful:

Talking Points

  • Do you want a reason for concern? Bruno left SJP on crutches and won’t play today. Why is that worrying, you say? Newcastle has not been capable of winning any of the three games Bruno has missed this season, drawing two and losing one. Ugh.
  • The good news, at least relatively, is that Howe will be able to drop Joelinton back to his natural midfield position while starting Allan Saint-Maximin on the left wing. It’s actually incredible that Newcastle will be able to pull off such a move considering how slim the squad is in terms of its depth, but it looks like all stars aligned for Joelinton to have a multi-positional skill set allowing the Magpies to move at least a couple of pieces around in Bruno’s absence.
  • Don’t get overhyped, though, because that’s all of the depth this team have to them. With Chris Wood out to Forest on a loan-and-buy deal, it’s Callum Wilson and Alex Isak as Newcastle’s only strikers for the remainder of the year unless a miraculous signing happens in the next week and change before the transfer window closes. That is, simply put, unsustainable (little) depth at a key position.
  • Related to the point above, I don’t think I need to remind you that Wilson missed 20 league games last year or that Isak didn’t play from mid-August to the start of January. Not only do NUFC have only two strikers with finishing prowess... but both of them can be considered glass-bone players always at the risk of suffering long-term injuries. There is a need for a midfielder, but with Wood out, that is not a larger issue than signing a forward/striker to bolster the unit and its depth for the next four months.
  • One would think ASM is going to start this one and that Wilson will retain his starting gig, if only because Howe is the man calling the shots from the sideline. Isak on the left playing an inside forward role instead of ASM as a pure winger? Could happen, and Joelinton will be on the midfield covering for any sort of error/lack of backtracking coming from that left-side player. Isak and Wilson up front with a change of formation using two strikers and Miggy as a no. 10 with the wing-backs rushing forward hugging the touchlines? Possible, but questionable.
  • At the end of the day, it’s 12th-place Crystal Palace. Newcastle shouldn’t need any miracle to earn a positive result today. Let’s bag some point(s) and call it a day.

CHN Predicted Lineup

GK Pope
DEF Trippier - Schar - Botman - Burn
MID Longstaff - Willock - Joelinton
WNG Almiron - Saint-Maximin
FWD Wilson

Newcastle XI

Crystal Palace XI

  • Date: Saturday, January 21st
  • Kick-off: 17:30 BST / 12:30 EST
  • Location: Selhurst Park, London (England)
  • Broadcasts: fuboTV (CAN) — UNIVERSO NOW, NBC, UNIVERSO, Peacock, SiriusXM FC, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA) — Sky Sports Premier League, BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky Ultra HD, SKY GO Extra, Sky Sports Main Event (UK)

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Howay the Lads!