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

After four of our opening five games being against the league’s ‘top 6’, we are now set for a slightly more generous run of fixtures – however the trip to Selhurst Park will be anything but easy.

It’s perhaps a welcome reminder that, between now and Christmas, next month’s trip to Old Trafford is only game against on of the Premier League big boys – although no game is every easy when you’re struggling and in desperate need of a win.

The good news is that the Rafa has declared both Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles fit for this one, with Rondon also likely to return after missing out last weekend following a late return from international duty.

To have our best defender and captain, our most creative player and our best striker in the starting line up could be the huge boost we need – with us yet to play a game this season where all three have started.

One worry is how we contain Crystal Palace and their main man Wilfred Zaha. Is there a player a Premier League team relies on more? I don’t think so – and that’s perhaps a reflection of how good Zaha is more so than how good the rest of Palace’s squad are.

Keeping him quiet will be key, but we must show so much more in attack, up our intensity and stand up to the test – with us needing to weather any storms that come our way and give them something to think about at the other end if we’re to get all three points here.

Preferred XI

As ever, here’s the team I’d like to see, followed by the side I expect Rafa to go with:

I can actually see Rafa going with the above side for this one.
The defence will be unchanged from Arsenal after news that Jamaal Lascelles has full recovered from an ankle knock that saw him taken off at half-time last weekend. Fernandez was arguably our best player in that one too, so he’ll keep him place in the side.
In midfield, Isaac Hayden will surely miss out after another poor showing, with it looking likely that Shelvey will finally be in a position to return after Rafa declared him fit today.
Perez will no doubt get the nod (as he always seems to regardless of how poorly he plays), however Rafa has decisions to make both out wide and up top.
Murphy is rarely given consecutive starts and Kenedy is in desperate need of a confidence boost, so I see the Brazilian coming back in, whilst Rondon looks likely to replace Joselu – with the Venezuelan confirming he’s now fully recovered from his international exploits.


Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Dubravka – Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett – Diame, Shelvey – Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy – Rondon 

The Opposition

Here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ in the Palace side:

Wilfred Zaha: One of the best players outside the top 6 and without doubt Palace’s biggest threat. Keep him quiet and there’s a good chance they’ll struggle; but doing that is far easier said than done. He’s powerful, explosive and relentless in attack. The biggest ‘one to watch’ without a shadow of a doubt.

Patrick Van Aanholt: One of the most attacking left-back’s in the country and someone Ritchie and Yedlin will have to keep a close eye on. That being said, we could look to exploit the fact he’s so attacking at the other end of the pitch.

Mamdou Sakho: A solid defender and fierce competitor but someone who never convinces me on the ball; having a tendency to look like Bamby on ice when he gets it. We might just force a mistake if we pressure him as he often takes risks on the ball.

James Tomkins: A real threat from set pieces – which will be something to watch given we’ve conceded more chances from set pieces than any other side in the Premier League.

Predicted Palace XI – (4-3-3) Hennessey – Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt – Kouyate, Milivojevic, McCarthur – Townsend, Ayew, Zaha. 

Team news

Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles are fit, with his message of a fully fit squad also suggesting that  Salomon Rondon could return.

For Palace, Christian Benteke has been ruled out, whilst Scott Dann, Connor Wickham and Pape Souare are also unavailable.


Match Prediction

As I’ve alluded to previously, keeping Zaha quiet will be key – but we’ll have to be far more adventurous and clinical at the other end if we want to come away with all three here.

I had been pretty fearful of a defeat, but the positive injury news on Shelvey and Lascelels coupled with Rondon’s potential return give me hope.

I’ll go for a hard fought draw.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Newcastle

Howay the lads!

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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.

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

  1. We need Kenedy and Perez to start performing. Those 2 played well together back end of last season, but neither have started well this season.

    Zaha is the big danger man, but his little out burst after their last game worries me a bit. Him twisting about opponents tackling him makes me worry that any challenge on him will result in a booking … and we all know how much he likes a penalty. I really hope it doesn’t go that way, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.


  2. Sharpy, mate. I am 99% certain that if the game is a draw on 91 minutes and Zaha goes down in the box that there will be a penalty.

    I am not usually a conspiracy theorist but checking out the statistics about penalties and red cards for and against NUFC makes me wonder. Gayle had about 3 nailed on penalties denied last year.


  3. Eric Sykes:
    Sharpy, mate. I am 99% certain that if the game is a draw on 91 minutes and Zaha goes down in the box that there will be a penalty.

    I am not usually a conspiracy theorist but checking out the statistics about penalties and red cards for and against NUFC makes me wonder. Gayle had about 3 nailed on penalties denied last year.

    Eric – it pissed me off hearing him say it. Twisting about feeling targeted – howay son, you play for Palace!! You can’t seriously suggest that people target you more that Aguero, Salah, Kane, Hazard or any other top player from a top team?!.
    I watch the likes of Salah and even Messi and Ronaldo getting kicked up aheight week in week out, and they get up and get on with it.
    He’s just a prima dona drama queen, but it’s been reported on enough this week and the refs will probably react to it.


  4. I really think we have to get something out of this game to keep the mood from spiraling down. That means we cannot leave Rondon isolated, and, as Sharpy said, Perez and Kenedy have to start performing. The good news is that Shelvey will be back and it is clear that he makes our team tick, gives the other players confidence.

    I worry a bit that the strength of Palace is on the flanks with Zaha and Townsend and who knows how our fullbacks will perform. Yedlin is hit and miss and Dummett hasn’t played as well as last season so far. We have to hope that changes.

    But hope is all we have got when you have 1 point from 5 games, because the squad will be low on confidence. It can happen, look at West Ham last week.

    Palace are not Man City and last year had a habit of turning draws into defeats and victories into draws. I am going for 1-1.


  5. NOW FOR SOME PESSIMISM 🙂 I thought we would probably have about 6 points from the first 8 games but even that looks like it was probably optimistic. Why?

    Palace are a decent team with a game changer in Zaha. I think we would all accept a point today, but what next?

    Leicester. A bogey team for us recently and with a lot of quality in their squad. I would say they would be slight favourites.

    Man U. We never win at Old Trafford. I don’t care if it is the class of ’92 or plodders like Smalling and Jones. We just never win there.


    There is a real chance of the next month being just all doom and gloom. A month where we will have 1, 2 or 3 points and be bottom of the league. Going into the dreaded break on that note would cast a pall over Tyneside and I am not sure that any words from Rafa would lift it. You can cheer for Rafa all you like and say it is Ashley’s fault and protest at his shops but that will not affect the reality that we are bottom of the league.

    I can’t stop on that note. The good news is that the fixtures get easier and Rafa will not let the club sink into full on depression. And there are other crap teams in this league so maybe we can scrape 4th bottom. AND, we have had no luck so maybe that will change (don’t expect an opposition player to be sent off or a penalty in our favour though 🙂 ).


  6. I can’t see us getting much today to be honest. But then again thats when they tend to surprise me. I’d be happy with a draw but personally looking at a 2-1 defeat. Only good thing is Palace not in great form either.


  7. Well, not impressed so far… Yedlin on a yellow already against Zaha… Zaha one dive already today too… we look poor again. It will be a long second half.

    Mitro scores again… ?


  8. Well this is our ‘strongest’ team and we’ve clung on to a draw against Palace.
    I know there are no easy games in this league, but of the fixtures so far Cardiff and Palace were winnable games and we’ve scrapped 0-0 draws.


  9. We were just unbelievably poor… palace threw away several chances and missed an open goal… Fernandez my MotM which says it all really… offensively we were non existent….

    On top of that one of our “fans” throwing a bottle at a palace player was a shocker. ?? asshole.

    Wolves get a draw against Manure …


  10. Missed the game. Mustn’t have been much of a spectacle as the highlights they showed here were the bottle and Kenedy getting angry. With CCTV they will probably find the bottle thrower and he’ll end up in jail. NUFC will probably get a fine as well.


  11. Ashley, Charnley and Bishop at the game. Does that mean that they will be meeting with Rafa to discuss a January transfer budget?

    If it is backs to the wall against a mid-table team we are in for a big struggle but there is the possibility we could go on a run like last season. Still, all I can see is a point at best before the International break.


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