Crystal Palace (A): Pre-match thoughts, preferred XI, team news & predicted line-ups

After cocking up a game we should have won on Wednesday, this one feels all the more important – especially against a side who we could leapfrog in the league with a win but could go FIVE points behind with a defeat.

Results have been mixed for us today too. Swansea getting another great result with a point at Leicester, Brighton beating West Ham (although that does keep Moyes’ men well and truly in the mix) and Southampton beating West Brom (however that result means we could go SEVEN points clear of Pardew with a win tomorrow..).

At the end of the day, we can look at other results as much as we like, but ultimately it all depends on us. Palace have been much improved under Hodgson and have some dangerous in their side (Zaha being by far the most threatening one), but these are the sort of games that could define our destiny this season.

Given some results today, our lack of ‘winnable’ fixtures to come and the prospect of facing Man Utd next, this is a game we really need to be taking points from.



Three points would be HUGE and perhaps even bigger than recent away wins at Stoke and West Ham in the circumstances. Both of those recent away victories should give us real confidence, as should the fact that a win would send us up to 12th! I’m getting greedy now, but winning by more than 1 would see us up to 11th, leapfrogging Watford, showing just how tight it all is in the bottom half of the table this season.

 

The Team I’d like to see start

It’s highly unlikely, but Rafa has confirmed that Slimani’s injury isn’t as bad as initially suggested and he’s been in training yesterday. He’ll most likely start on the bench, but it would be a huge boost to have him in from the off – especially given Joselu and Gayle’s current form.

Regardless of who starts up top, I’d have Kenedy and Murphy on the wings. The former was one of the best players on the pitch on Wednesday and the latter has been our top performing winger in recent weeks and deserves a run in the team. Ritchie and Atsu need to pull their finger out to earn a start in my opinion. Atsu was very poor against Burnley and offered next to nothing. He’s been good in spells this season, but there can be no passengers allowed at this stage.

Merino and Diame deserve another shot at it in midfield, however I think Shelvey will come in for Merino if I had to guess (two games in just over 4 days).

At the back it’s as you’d expect. I have little faith in Yedlin given Palace’s threats out wide, however I have even less faith in Manquillo.

 

The Opposition

Ones to watch..

Wilfried Zaha – The most obvious one and one of the best players outside the top 6 for me. He’s their match winner and an explosive talent who is so hard to keep quite. Stopping him will be the key tomorrow – especially with Sako and Townsend set to miss out.

Christian Benteke – Hasn’t been at his best this season but is a real handful in the air. I would fancy Clark against him in an aerial duel, so hope Lascelles can do a job on him tomorrow.

Mamadou Sakho – Their best defender and a player who could return to their back line after a spell out. He’s unpredictable and unconventional in his style, but he’s a big player for them when fit. Joselu had little joy against him in the air at St James’ (and that’s one thing he actually is good at).

For an inside look into today’s opponents, take a look at this week’s edition of the ‘Opposition Opinion’ which can be found on the home page. A great insight into tomorrow’s opponents from a Palace fan.

 

Form

Newcastle – 16th (24 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 1 / Drawn: 3 / Lost: 1

Burnley – 15th (26 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 2 / Drawn: 2 / Lost: 1

 

Team news

Rafa has hinted that both Slimani and Dubravka could make the squad after training this week, however it’s unlikely either start.

Aside from Gamez (who seems to be constantly AWOL/injured at NUFC), it seems we’re pretty much full fit.

Former Mag Townsend could miss out, however Bakary Sako, Schlupp, Dann, Loftus-Cheek, Puncheon and Wickham.

Predicted Line-ups

Predicted NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1) – Darlow – Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Diame, Shelvey – Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy– Gayle

Predicted Palace XI – (4-3-3) – Hennessey – Fosu-Mensah, Tomkins, Sako, Van Aanholt – Cabaye, Milivoyevic, McCarthur – Townsend, Benteke, Zaha.

 

 

Match Prediction

Pre-Burnley I said my head expected a draw and my heart a win. For this one my head’s telling me we might struggle, but as I alluded to above, stopping Wilfried Zaha will be massive. On our side, it’s also important (for me) that Rafa makes some positive changes. We were good against Burnley and deserved to win, but Murphy and Slimani (if fit) could give us a real boost.

If we can deal with Benteke’s aerial threat, keep Zaha quiet and pack more of a punch in attack (Slimani, Murphy and Kenedy could help with that no end) then I don’t see why we couldn’t win, however I expect another draw.

Wouldn’t be the worst result in the world, but wins really are gold dust at this stage – especially when we face Man Utd next weekend.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Newcastle 

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

130 thoughts on “Crystal Palace (A): Pre-match thoughts, preferred XI, team news & predicted line-ups

  1. Its about time defendets started getting penalised for pulling in shirts. It needs to be consistent thougb because I am not going to be happy if we dont get a penalty when it is done to us.

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  2. I’m utterly pissed off about that penalty for two reasons. First – The exact same thing happened to Perez in the first half and even Souness mentioned it yet nothing happened. I know we scored from the same corner but still nowt given. Secondly, Darlow should have saved it.

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  3. Eric Sykes:
    If you give that as a penalty you would give ****ing 10 a game.

    Eric – Every single corner in every single PL game that happens. Yet why is it only this one that gets given? That’s a question the refs association need to answer in my opinion.

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  4. Same linesman btw who completely ignored the man handling of Perez or Gayle (couldn’t tell) from the corner in which we scored.

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  5. If we scored the corner then what can we expect the ref to do? Cancel the goal and pull back play for a penalty?

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  6. Our players in our 3rd dont want the ball. Tbey have options to keep it in play to feet but almost always turn and five it to Darlow – who thumps it away and we lose possession.

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  7. shamrock:
    If we scored the corner then what can we expect the ref to do? Cancel the goal and pull back play for a penalty?

    It happened before we scored, Sham…

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  8. Stu do you mean literally before we scored or beforebthe ball was delivered? If it was whilst the ball was out of play then I dont think it is a penalty. If it was whilst the ball was on the way to Diame, then we are talking literally a second or two – and the ref rightly allowed play to continue to see what happenedl or did not even get time to consider it because we scored so fast!

    Anyway. We have been dire this half.

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  9. Another example of the complete inconsistencies in the linesman. Shelvey tugging like mad and not a Dickie bird

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  10. How so Stu? They let us off with another clear shirt tug right at the end and we did win a lot of decisions for foulss etc, 2 of which we should have done better from promising positions.

    Trouble today was our players switched off at half time. We were awful. First half we were actually playing football. 2nd half we resorted to hoof ball. Zaha switching to the left wing really terrified our defenders. He is too good for Palace. Should be at a top 6 side.

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  11. Interesting that several on here said we would have a penalty against us even before the match kicked off… there really does seem to be a bias against us from the officials. There is so much consistency too. If that pull for the penalty was a real penalty then there should’ve been another for us and another for them.

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  12. I agree Gayle was a passenger. Perez was tracking back and getting involved but Gayle was not looking up and seeing Perez’ runs. He is out of his depth in the PL. I’m starting to think Ritchie might be as well. Yedlin definitely is. Decent enough supporting attack but defensively lacking.

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  13. shamrock:
    How so Stu? They let us off with another clear shirt tug right at the end and we did win a lot of decisions for foulss etc, 2 of which we should have done better from promising positions.

    Trouble today was our players switched off at half time. We were awful. First half we were actually playing football. 2nd half we resorted to hoof ball. Zaha switching to the left wing really terrified our defenders. He is too good for Palace. Should be at a top 6 side.

    Agree on Zaha Sham, but he never really made it at Man United when he got his big money move. Hardly got a game. I guess there are some players that excel in certain teams but just cannot make the step up, same when Sigurdsson went to Spurs…

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  14. Why should we get a penalty for a foul in the same instant that we score? I am confused. We wither take the goal or dont take the goal and pull back play for a penalty.

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  15. Yedlin is more a winger or wing back than a defender I think.. his pace is really useful when he gets forward. Put a decent defender behind him and he may be more useful.

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  16. Pleased with a draw in the end. Ref and linesman up and down. Gayle early offside was clearly on side. Think the linesman wanted to make a name for himself on telly. Merino blatantly pushed in the back. Nothing given. Now to Newcastle. Clarke and Yedlin poor. Agree that Darlow just boots the ball upfield and loses possession but the back four are no better and are just as likely to pass back to Darlow or aimlessly boot it up field too. Anyway the lads did at least fight hard. It was sometime before I realised Hayden was on the field. Why was Diame taken off?

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  17. See what you mean Dubai, but Zaha was something like 22 when he left Manure because he did not want to stagnate on the bench in a side full of superstars. Fair enough. I now think he has grown in stature and could hold his own in those sides atbthe age of 25.

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  18. Don’t know what has gone wrong with Richie he’s gone backwards he’s been bloody hopeless,is he unhappy at the club or what did he want to be away in the window???

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  19. Ice I justbthink Ritchie has been found out. He does not have a lot of trickery. All he has is get his head downn and run, using fitness and a bit of stamina to outmuscle the opponent. Once the opposition realised all they have to do is stay with him and dont be bullied, he is stuck because he has limited trickery. As a result he has less time to get his head up and make something happen. He runs out of time.

    I actually reckon he would make s better left back than winger atbthis level because he is tenacious than tricky. He could do a Milner. Yedlin couldnthen compete with Murphy etc forna spot on the wing because he is not a full back at this level.

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  20. I’m talking about the inconsistency, Sham. There was another instance when Sakho was grabbing a shirt and nothing given. Shelvey got away with it too but that just shows how ridiculously unlucky we were to concede a penalty that way.

    As for our second half performance, well, you have to give the home side credit too. They have good players and we’re never going to be as bad as the first half.

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  21. There’s a lot riding on Slimani. The amount of games we’ve played well in and not won due to having no PL strikers is a joke. This was another. Unfortunately I think we may be in the bottom three this time next week.

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  22. Stuart mate, you seem in a bad mood today.

    An away point is OK especially when the Ref/Lineman is a Cnut.

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  23. Swansea have lost Bony and Fer to injury for the season on Sat,that’s a blow for them Ime glad to say.

    SHAM. but Richie even seems to have lost his knack of playing that killer ball from fre kicks corners ect,his whole game has gone to the dogs

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  24. Eric Sykes:
    Stuart mate, you seem in a bad mood today.

    An away point is OK especially when the Ref/Lineman is a Cnut.

    I’m not really in a bad mood. I said before the game is take a point but I am pissed off that we conceded a penalty like that when they only get given every total eclipse year. I’m also pissed off that we couldn’t finish Burnley off on wednesday becUse in reality we had enough chances to win big games easily.

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  25. Stuart79: I’m not really in a bad mood. I said before the game is take a point but I am pissed off that we conceded a penalty like that when they only get given every total eclipse year. I’m also pissed off that we couldn’t finish Burnley off on wednesday becUse in reality we had enough chances to win big games easily.

    So you ARE in a bad mood 🙂

    Yeah, that penalty was a joke.

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  26. Stuart79:
    There’s a lot riding on Slimani. The amount of games we’ve played well in and not won due to having no PL strikers is a joke. This was another. Unfortunately I think we may be in the bottom three this time next week.

    Stu – I think we had a good opening half hour today but the rest of the game I don’t think we played well at all. I thought we were very scrappy and hung in there for a fortunate point. I’ll take it like coz there’s been plenty of other games where we played better & created more chances & lost.
    I thought Gayle and Perez were very poor today. I’m starting to wonder if Perez has something in his contract that says every time he touches the ball he must go to ground – it certainly seems to end up that way.
    But it was bodies on the line stuff for large parts of that 2nd half & I thought Darlow had a very good game.

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  27. Icedog:
    Swansea have lost Bony and Fer to injury for the season on Sat,that’s a blow for them Ime glad to say.

    SHAM. but Richie even seems to have lost his knack of playing that killer ball from fre kicks corners ect,his whole game has gone to the dogs

    Ice – Palace lost their CB today as well mate & from what was said they already have a few long term injuries. Could do with them loosing Zaha as well though. They’ve always got a chance while that little creepy is on the pitch.

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  28. Palace have gotten 4 pens this season in four different games, they are masters at it, must practice winning them in training. Soft pen imo, shirt pulling is rife in every game but rarely see pens given unless it’s us doing it.
    Game of two halves again, good then poorish. How many times have we dropped points from a winning position now ? dread to think. A point better than nowt but if only Slimani was fit, I’m sure we’d have the 3 points now.

    Glad people are finally realising Yedlin is poor, been saying it for months. He is great going forward but severely lacking in defensive skill, constantly loses his man, out of position at the back, absolutely terrifies me defensively . I would play him as an out and out winger which he’d excel at.

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  29. Sharpy17: Stu – I think we had a good opening half hour today but the rest of the game I don’t think we played well at all.I thought we were very scrappy and hung in there for a fortunate point.I’ll take it like coz there’s been plenty of other games where we played better & created more chances & lost.
    I thought Gayle and Perez were very poor today.I’m starting to wonder if Perez has something in his contract that says every time he touches the ball he must go to ground – it certainly seems to end up that way.
    But it was bodies on the line stuff for large parts of that 2nd half & I thought Darlow had a very good game.

    You thought Darlow had a good game? He should have saved the pen, his kicking was all over the place and when we were under pressure he didn’t know whether he was coming or going for crosses. He looked completely all at sea when the pressure was on. He made a couple of good saves but that’s what they’re suppose to do.

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  30. Talking about Zaha he can really play ( and cheet) but I’ve seen him on a couple of programs Ime surprised he knows his name he’s so bloody thick and dumb I was very shocked

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  31. Stuart79: You thought Darlow had a good game? He should have saved the pen, his kicking was all over the place and when we were under pressure he didn’t know whether he was coming or going for crosses. He looked completely all at sea when the pressure was on. He made a couple of good saves but that’s what they’re suppose to do.

    Nah not really, just Eric said you were in a bad mood & I know you don’t rate Darlow so thought I’d drop a line 😉

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  32. It’s not that I don’t like him, I just think he’s not very good.

    Anyway, the positive to this is that there’s 10 teams separated by only 3 points. That’s a lot of teams that are in the mix. That surely means a low points tally needed? Ten teams all playing each other, taking points of one another and drawing. I think 35 will do it.

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