Newcastle go in search of their first league win of the campaign as they welcome Crystal Palace to St James’ Park tomorrow.
After successfully negotiating a potentially tricky League Cup tie at Gillingham midweek, a twist of fate with the draw means that our opponents tomorrow will also be our opponents in the next round of that competition, who now have a familiar face back at the helm.
Neil Warnock was confirmed as the new boss at Selhurst Park returning for a second stint in charge of the Eagles following the departure of Tony Pulis a few weeks back. A new manager will generally bring fresh impetus and United will have to guard against that tomorrow. Buoyed by the resigning of Wilfried Zaha on a season long loan deal, this is far from the rudderless Palace that we’ve seen since the start of the season.
However we are the home side and need to start picking up points in the league. A win before the international break would be most welcome indeed. It’s not that we’ve been playing badly but there does seem to be a lack of attacking edge which undermines some decent performances, and with a shaky defence our lack of goals should be even more of a concern.
Cheik Tiote is once again missing as are Davide Santon and Papiss Cisse. Hatem Ben Arfa is still out of the loop while Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is also unlikely to be involved due to an impending move if speculation is to be believed.
Jack Colback and Rolando Aarons are available for selection.
Joe Ledley and Scott Dann are both doubtful for the trip to the North-East but otherwise Neil Warnock has a full squad to choose from.
United beat Palace home and away last term, a 3-0 victory at Selhurst Park followed by a slender 1-0 win on Tyneside. Indeed it was the same story when the two sides met in the Championship with United racking up six points from the two meetings.
We do have a good history against palace, last tasting defeat against the Eagles in March 1998 and we’ve not conceded a goal against them since January 1999.
Overall 31 matches have been played between the two clubs with United amassing an impressive 20 victories compared to just seven for Palace with four draws making up the numbers. Just two defeats on Tyneside for the Magpies with the Eagles taking all three points in 1998 as mentioned earlier and 1971 prior to that.
Stats and facts…
Newcastle have won just one of the last ten league fixtures.
United have lost four of the last five home league games.
Crystal Palace have conceded two or more goals in each of their last five league games.
Palace Captain Mile Jedinak made more tackles than any other Premier League player last season. He’s also made the most tackles so far this season.
Whilst we do have a good record it’s also important to point out that we’ve never ‘hammered’ Palace. I suspect that will be the case tomorrow also. As much as I’d love to see us rack up a few goals and for everything to click, I don’t think it will. It’s very early days still but the importance is winning the match regardless of score. If it’s 1-0 then so be it.
I’m always wary when a club we are facing has a new manager. Often there is an uplift in performance and a Neil Warnock is traditionally hard to beat anyway. All those things combined mean that I expect to see another nervy afternoon for the Magpies.
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 30th August, 2014
Venue: St James’ Park