Mark Lawrenson has been looking ahead to the Saturday afternoon kick-off at Selhurst Park.
Newcastle have only lost once in the past 34 years when playing Palace at this stadium but Lawrenson thinks that could change today.
Those nine matches since the 1983/84 season have seen six Newcastle wins, two draws, and just the single defeat. However, the last three results have read draw, loss, draw after a run of six away victories.
Newcastle picked up four points from Crystal Palace on their way to tenth position last season and no reason why they can’t match or better that this time.
However, we all know the reality is that Newcastle are unlikely to win any/many easy points this season and every one will ave to be fought for.
Today is no exception and much has been made of Wilfried Zaha ahead of the game.
Palace’s most likely match winner, whilst Newcastle fancied to get something if they can curb the danger man.
The winger/forward ramped up the debate about him when claiming last weekend he would have to break a leg before he got proper protection from referees. Rafa Benitez rightly countered that by questioning why the authorities hadn’t pulled up the player for his comments, which are clearly aimed at trying to influence the match officials.
A big plus will be if Newcastle can play most of the game further up the pitch, try and press and get on the front foot as much as possible, because if they defend deep and invite Zaha and Palace onto them, it is almost inevitable that he will create chances and win free-kicks in dangerous positions.
Mark Lawrenson accepts Newcastle have had some tough fixtures but away to Palace and Zaha, he says it is ‘not exactly easy either’ today at Palace.
Lawrenson predicts a 2-1 home win but this is a game that could have any potential result, with Shelvey and Lascelles back in the team, hopefully Newcastle can take more control and come away with at least a point.
Mark Lawrenson speaking to BBC Sport:
“I thought Newcastle did all right in the first half of their defeat by Arsenal, but they still ended up losing.
“Magpies boss Rafael Benitez has come out and said they have had some really tough games so far, and they have also faced Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham.
“That run is over, but playing Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park with Wilfried Zaha in the form he is in is not exactly easy either.
“Prediction is Crystal Palace 2 Newcastle 1.”
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