Predicted Newcastle Starting 11 v Crystal Palace
What a fixture – the visitors who have conceded two or more goals in each of their last five League matches, against a home side who haven’t had a player score a goal in their last four competitive matches…something has to give.
Newcastle did of course win midweek, thanks to an own goal, likewise that was how United got a consolation goal when defeated at Anfield in our final match of last season.
The two premier league matches this season have seen blanks against Man City and Villa with Alan Pardew at pains to say how well the team is doing in all departments…apart from the final third.
The Newcastle manager even going so far as to claim that in all three matches this season United have shown ‘tremendous control’. How this is possible without scoring a goal against Villa or City is anybody’s guess.
Pardew also reckons Emmanuel Riviere will find his feet and the goals will eventually come BUT the manager saying the French striker could find it tough against Palace’s rearguard.
Well if Riviere can’t threaten home to Palace then the outlook doesn’t look too bright does it!
All eyes will be on Siem De Jong as fans await whether he is the player who can join the dots together and help his team find the route to goal.
A late substitute appearance at Villa almost won the three points, as he became the first (and only player so far) to test the opposing keeper properly in a Premier League match this season.
Despite that sub appearance and 68 minutes against Gillingham, Alan Pardew claims De Jong is only eighty to ninety per cent fit and while the manager states the Dutchman will definitely be involved, he doesn’t know if he will start. The indications appear to be that De Jong mustn’t be able to train fully, or else why would he still be struggling for fitness?
Let’s hope this won’t be an ongoing problem and a carry on from the injury problems he suffered at Ajax last season.
I fancy Pardew to be desperate to start with De Jong in the hope that this can help give Newcastle the penetration missing so far in the three matches, though having said that I didn’t see De Jiong’s presence make that much of a difference at Gillingham.
What we keep coming back to, is a total reliance on new signings to instantly make an impression in the attacking third.
With Cabaye & Remy gone, Ben Arfa put out with the bins and established midfielders such as Sissoko & Gouffran being more the honest runner type of attacking players, can a combination of Colback, De Jong, Riviere and Cabella unlock the Palace defence?
At the other end, it will be a major surprise if Williamson doesn’t slot back in alongside Coloccini after his suspension, with the only likely decision as to whether Dummett or Haidara plays on the left. I would much prefer Haidara to be given a run to see if he can make it but I fancy that Pardew sees Dummett as the more safe (uninspiring/average) choice when it comes to a game he is desperate to win, or at least not lose…
Palace have also signed a manager, though it is dubious as to whether adding Neil Warnock has improved their position going into today’s game.
Apart from the possible inclusion of Siem De Jong, the bench against both Villa and Manchester City has really shown how limited the alternatives are.
This though hasn’t prevented Alan Pardew telling us that he has a full squad and so players need to go out if any are to come in.
A win today will give confidence and breathing space for Alan Pardew and others, anything less and we’ll even more ferociously be keeping an eye on that 11pm transfer deadline on Monday.
I can see Alan Pardew picking the following starting 11, with Gouffran dropping to the bench to accommodate De Jong…
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