After a disastrous week with horrible shifts at work, whilst battling illness I’ll add, we can once again return to football action.
I won’t bore you with any more moaning so instead we’ll take a look at the visit of Crystal Palace tomorrow.
United missed the chance to notch up a second league double of the season last weekend when losing at Fulham. However the visit of the Eagles gives us a chance to do just that as Alan Pardew’s old club rock up on Tyneside.
When the two sides met shortly before Christmas it was Newcastle who blew Palace away winning by three clear goals at Selhurst Park. Palace have been much improved defensively though and we remain the only side to score more than two goals against them since Tony Pulis took over the task of trying to secure Premier League safety.
It’s at the other end where Pulis’ men are struggling having scored just seven league goal since the turn of the year. The problem for the Magpies however is that they aren’t faring much better and have found the back of the net just eight times in that same period.
Loic Remy and Mathieu Debuchy will both be absent through injury, as will Davide Santon who is closing in on a return to action and may feature against Everton on Tuesday.
Hatem Ben Arfa is fit enough to make the squad although a space on the bench will be the most likely for him while Sammy Ameobi and Rob Elliot could also return after recent injury absences.
Crystal Palace: Strikers Marouane Chamakh (hamstring) and Dwight Gayle (ankle) are both missing for Tony Pulis who other wise has a full squad to choose from.
As mentioned earlier, a 3-0 win at Selhurst Park means we are looking for a league double over Palace, which is something we haven’t managed in the Premier League since the 1994/1995 season.
At St James’ Park it is United who have been the stronger of the two sides winning 11, drawing three and losing two of the 16 meetings. The last win for Palace at SJP was in March 1998.
Head-to-head, home and away in all competitions, United are also stronger. A total of 30 matches have been played with Newcastle winning 19, Palace picking up seven victories with four draws making up the numbers.
Stats and facts…
Loic Remy misses his seventh match of the season. United have failed to score in or win any of the six he has missed to date.
Newcastle have failed to score in eight of their last 11 Premier League games and have scored just once in their last five fixtures at St James’ Park.
Palace have failed to score a goal from open play in their last four games.
Palace will be looking to build on the away point gained at Sunderland last week and will look to keep things tight. They’ll work hard, tackle hard and see if they can grab a chance that will inevitably fall their way at some point throughout the match. It’s a Tony Pulis side, you know what you’ll get.
So we’ll have to be patient if we can’t make an early breakthrough. We have an advantage in terms of quality so as long as we keep plugging away the chances will come. It’s just a matter of whether or not we can take them without our top scorer on the field.
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 22nd March, 2014
Venue: St James’ Park