Football supporters are generally strange creatures and Crystal Palace fans are no different.
No matter what reality/stats tell you, fans always fear the most unlikely scenarios.
So if the opposition haven’t won for ages then you become convinced that it is all but certain that will end against your team, the same as returning players, even though it actually happens far less than you imagine it, supporters will still think it is all but inevitable that especially returning strikers will score.
Thankfully Newcastle aren’t on a really bad run and have actually done ok recently against teams that aren’t Manchester City, winning two and drawing three of their last seven games that weren’t against Guardiola’s men.
However, there is every chance that Dwight Gayle will get a start today in a counter-attacking line-up, with Slimani a place on the bench at best if he is passed fit.
Crystal Palace fans fearing Gayle is bound to return and score despite a feeble three goals so far this season.
Palace supporters are also asking themselves whether this is the biggest game of their season so far.
At the moment 11th and 19th are only separated by three points and a win for the home side would see them into 11th place and five points clear of the relegation zone, whilst for Newcastle a win would send them into 12th at least, a win by two goals meaning 11th.
Defeat for Palace would mean they’d be only two points off second bottom and a loss for Newcastle would mean they’d stay level on points with second bottom.
I suppose the question (biggest game of the season so far?) is maybe even more relevant for Newcastle fans because after this game three of the following five matches are against Man Utd, Liverpool and Tottenham.
Crystal Palace fans commenting on their top Holmesdale.net message board:
‘I have got us down for a 2-1 win however I am concerned about them parking the bus. I am hoping they see this as an opportunity to try and get 3 points and venture outside their own half because otherwise we will struggle to break them down.
A lot of Newcastle fans are getting pretty hacked off that Benitez appears to be playing for a draw in every game.’
‘Geordie bus parked.
Really annoying 0-0.’
‘Vital game for both sides,so much at stake.
Think we have enough quality to win this,going for 2-0.’
‘Palace to win 3-1 – Gayle will score the one for them if fit!’
‘Got a very bad feeling about this one. Bare bones of a squad, new players too soon to be fit and/or bedded in.
‘I have a bad feeling as well 0-2. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Slimani and Gayle on the scoresheet.’
‘Bad news about Sako but I will go for a Palace Win.
We must keep an eye on Gayle and Kennedy.’
‘If Gayle plays then he will absolutely score – he is too quick for our defense if he runs on to through balls.’
‘They will start by trying not to lose and will not breakout until we score.
I think we will score and run out 2-1 winners but we must score in the first half otherwise their entrenchment will grow.’
‘I can see Newcastle parking the bus. They did it when we played them at home so I can’t see them coming to us and going for it!!
We will need to break them down. I hate the term ‘must win’ but these really are the sort of games we need to be picking up 3 points.
I’ll go for a 2-0 us but it will be hard work!’
‘I’m going for 2-1 to us. It will be tight unless we suddenly get clinical in front of goal.
Joselu plays he will score because he has not been able to hit a barn door recently. We will help him put that misery aside.’
‘Newcastle will rough Wilf up – need a strong ref unlike the t… at Hammers.’
‘Is Newcastle the biggest game so far?
With the relegation scrap wide open I feel tomorrow’s game is of enormous importance not just for 3 points but more importantly for the teams morale for the rest of the seasons games.
I trust Roy can lift them and cant imagine any other manager being better equipped for this task.
So so important that we get behind the team and really create the 12th man ..
It feels almost like a mini cup final (if there’s such a thing).’
‘I agree with this. It’s a massive game. A win, for either side, could well define the remainder of both clubs’ season.’
‘Not particularly ….. the NEXT game is always the biggest game it just happens to be Newcastle.’
‘It certainly feels important. Home game v relegation rival, just before 4 very very tough matches. I’d say it’s either going to be fans elated or quite disappointed. I.e – a huge 3 points. Pressure on or off. A draw doesn’t do a great deal for us with the next 4.’
‘I thought we’d get 4 points against West Ham and Newcastle.
‘Tomorrow is massive for us. A win would be a huge step towards playing in the Premier League again next season, a defeat and we are right back in the mix to go down.’
‘Newcastle, Stoke, Huddersfield, WBA, Brighton. 5 wins to safety! Feasible, but not straightforward.’
‘Every inch up the mountain has been huge.
It feels like we’ve flagged a bit lately though so it would be great to bag a win. amazing that 11 to 19th is a 3 point gap.’
‘Every match is a cup final starting tomorrow and to the end of the season without a doubt but the rest of teams in the bottom 6 will be thinking same so we’ve got to come out of the other end as winners..come on Roy get them goin son..’
‘I genuinely fear our run in will be hard. Looks great on paper, but against a number of relegation rivals I fear the pressure will be high and battle harder potentially than in previous years. That’s my gut feel.
Newcastle is a game where a win would seriously help morale. A goal from Benteke and a top performance from Cabaye and Hennessey would go a long way to boosting us all. Seeing Mama or Andros comes though 90 mins would be good soon too.’
‘4-0 Palace. Benteke x3 and Dann.’