Mark Lawrenson says that at least one saving grace for Newcastle United is that they did manage to bring in some new players last month, even if Rafa was limited to only loan deals.

The BBC Sport pundit says that Kenedy and Slimani are better than what Newcastle already have – but that isn’t saying much…

Despite currently only one place in the table and two points separating the two clubs, Mark Lawrenson thinks there is a massive gulf in quality when comparing the two squads.

Difficult to argue with that really as Rafa Benitez has done minor miracles with the players he has, with Mike Ashley failing to back his manager with quality.

This does look a pivotal match in many ways, as a win for Palace would see them move onto 29 points and five ahead of Newcastle, opening up a gap to the current bottom seven, or certainly the bottom three.

A win for Newcastle would be massive of course, especially after throwing away the victory against Burnley, a draw though would at least keep Newcastle creeping up and Palace still right in the middle of a relegation struggle.

Mark Lawrenson picks out the likes of Townsend and Zaha as dangers and Christian Benteke scored only his second Premier League goal of the season in the midweek draw at West Ham.

When clubs like Palace have a striker who they bought for around double the amount that Newcastle’s 13 year transfer record is, it is a sobering thought.

Benteke looked back to form last season when scoring 15 Premier League goals and Lawrenson thinks after that second goal of this season he could be about to go on a ‘scoring streak’.

Newcastle could do with someone going on one of those, Joselu top scorer with only four goals and reminding us yet again on Wednesday just what you get when you pay £5m for your first choice striker, a lot of hard work but very few goals. You can argue £30m Benteke doesn’t guarantee goals either but then no forward does – but at some point Newcastle/Ashley have to move into the real world and pay the going rate for somebody who can potentially score goals based on a past pedigree.

Islam Slimani could potentially do that in the short-term but typical for us, he arrives with a thigh injury. Said to have an outside chance of making the bench on Sunday but more likely aimed at the Man Utd game a week later.

Mark Lawrenson predicts a comfortable 2-0 home victory but whilst things aren’t great up front, with Lascelles organising at the back, Newcastle have become hard to beat recently when playing the lower teams.

Slimani will hopefully provide a cutting edge in games to come but once again on Sunday, we will be looking more for Rafa’s powers of discipline and organisation to grind out a win.

Kenedy showed on Wednesday night that he has already added a bit of a spark, with also an eye for goal after that stunner struck the post, a perfect time to score his first Newcastle goal at Selhurst Park.

Mark Lawrenson speaking to BBC Sport:

“Newcastle managed to make some signings at the end of the transfer window, including Leicester forward Islam Slimani and Chelsea winger Kenedy – who are both better than what they had.

“But you only have to look at the difference between Crystal Palace’s squad and what the Magpies have got to see the difference between the sides.

“Christian Benteke got the Eagles’ goal in their 1-1 draw with West Ham on Tuesday and I just wonder if he is going to go on a scoring streak now – he is the kind of confidence player who does that.

“Newcastle do not have a striker of his calibre to lead their line, or game-changers like Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend or, when he is fit, Jason Puncheon.

“That is why the Magpies are where they are, a point above the relegation zone.

“Palace are only one place above them but I think they will run out pretty comfortable winners.

“Prediction is Crystal Palace 2 Newcastle 0.”

Crystal Palace v Newcastle Match Betting:

Palace win 21/20Draw 12/5Newcastle win 31/10

Kenedy to score first goal 19/1NUFC win 1-0 19/2NUFC win to nil 6/1

All Crystal Palace v Newcastle betting HERE

New customers to BetVictor qualify for up to a £40 welcome bonus in free bets.

  • Mitros gotta start

    I fear he may be right….Rafa to set up 6-4-0 and go for the point

    • JonMag


  • JonMag

    we tossed away 2 points against Burnley, there`s no getting away from the fact that we can`t score & always concede. 6 months in & he still doesn`t know his best team. he`ll be happy with a draw when you need a win. looking at the fixtures remaining we`ll have to rely on other teams being worse than we are because i see 9 to 11 points gained in the remaining games

    • Mitros gotta start

      Could rafa be the 1st manager to relegate us twice?
      Surely not from the tactical genius world class champions league winning manager!

      • Georgia Peter

        Neither of which would have been down to him……!

        • ghostrider

          Maybe not the first but if he takes the plaudits for keeping us up he must also take the rap for relegating us.
          He can’t have it both ways by logic but I’m sure a certain amount of fans would say it wasn’t his fault if he sent out 11 cheer leaders citing that the pom poms give us extra width.

      • GToon

        Ironic really when you think that in the champions league final at 3-0 down his Liverpool side really went for it in the second half. Haven’t seen us do that yet. Was it under his orders or Gerrards I wonder.

    • grantham mag

      From where six at the most all draws after parking the bus and hoping for the best, This NUFC at its worst in the history of our once famous club.

  • Mitros gotta start

    Something not quite right about lawrenson….everytime i see him he reminds me of rolf harris or jimmy saville….something shady going on there

    • John Partland

      You could land yourself in a bit of trouble saying things like that. It’s one thing to disagree with someone for saying your team is rubbish (I support Newcastle too) but it’s absolutely disgusting to imply someone is a child abuser by saying that they remind you of 2 high profile celebs who have been proven to have abused children. This kind of comment doesn’t belong here. P.s he isn’t saying anything about Newcastle in the above that isn’t true. We don’t have the quality and that is why we are dangling by a thread above the relegation zone.

      • Wor Lass

        Well said.

    • East Durham Mag

      Not your finest hour there Mitros. I ain’t mad about him but that’s a silly comment. I hate Fatty but still wouldn’t say that about him.

  • John

    Newcastle can only loan players – apparently it’s all the owner.

    Sunderland can only loan players – apparently it’s because the club And fans are s**t. nothing to do with the owner….


    • Damon Horner

      All Finance mate. Sunderland can’t afford it and we don’t want to afford it.

  • robbersdog

    It’s hard to argue with Lawrenson’s reasoning; Palace have a better squad than us, and they’ll probably win.

    And then we’ve got Man Utd at home, followed by Bournemouth and Liverpool away.

    Tough times ahead.

    • Guest 2

      It’s not reasoning to state the obvious! Once again Lawro fails to ‘reason’ why the quality is so low here and we all know the answer to that one.

  • Scottie Chugger Dearden

    I used to think this guy was an egyt but now I look at Merson and Co I think he’s a genius

  • ghostrider

    On paper Palace do seem to have a better squad than us.
    On paper so do Burnley and every other team, because apparently we are a championship club and all the rest are premier, including Brighton and Huddersfield because they spent more than us. APPARENTLY.

    The thing is the game isn’t played on paper, it’s played on a pitch and from what I’ve seen this season i’d say we are on par with and even better than the teams outside of that top 8.
    That includes Palace.

    It’s all to do with how we get set out at any given time because Rafa changes the team in such away with so many different players, it almost looks like he’s playing pre-season football in order to find out who to use as the mainstay.

    Horses for courses is one thing but when you know you can take teams to task then do it and stop giving them too much respect they do not deserve.

  • S.G.M.

    Two massively incorrect statements in that piece. “There is a massive gulf in quality when comparing the two squad” ………..Utter bollocks.
    “Rafa Benitez has done minor miracles with the players he has” ……….Rafa is yet to perform his first miracle with any of the players.

    • Albert Stubbins

      Getting joselyn to put his boots on the correct feet would be his first one!! Maybe a revitalised Diame will be his second.!!

  • Wor Lass

    Lawro tells it how it is – he hasn`t got an agenda as long as Liverpool aren`t involved. He can come across as a bit of a prat but he`s genuine and was, at least, a class player. He`s also managed teams. He may not have been a roaring success (although he did OK at Oxford for a while, I think) but at least he`s been there and done it. More than most of the other bloodsuckers can say.