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My Newcastle team v Crystal Palace to complete the double – Contains only one January signing

3 months ago
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Interesting to look at the possibilities for the Newcastle team v Crystal Palace this afternoon.

A game between arguably the two least exciting teams in the Premier League.

In the red and blue corner, Palace with the very lowest (23) goals total. In the black and white corner, Newcastle with the second lowest (24) goals total.

On Friday, in summing the match up, Roy Hodgson said that if one of these teams goes behind, they will (would!) find it very difficult to score at the other end.

So the likely challenge is to pick a team that won’t concede before being able to score themselves…

You can say every match the first goal is likely to be crucial but when you have Newcastle with one win in eight PL matches and Palace one win in eleven, I think it is odds on a team will go on to win if they can score that first goal today.

So what would be your Newcastle team v Crystal Palace?

When playing Palace, it is impossible/foolish not to concentrate on Wilfried Zaha and having a strategy of how best to deal with him.

Valentino Lazaro may be a good, even very good, winger but judging him on Arsenal he is no defender. At fault for the first two goals and by his own admission he is a winger not a defender.

If Steve Bruce leaves him at right wing-back or right-back then he is even more stupid than I thought.

With Manquillo still not fit, the only viable option is to put Yedlin up against Zaha, not a great defender but has the pace to do at least part of the job.

To complete the job, I think the obvious thing at least for this one game, is to return Matt Ritchie to his natural position on the right wing, he will give Yedlin invaluable help in hopefully negating Zaha.

For this and other reasons I would go to a back four, Yedlin a right-back with Ritchie in front.

Dubravka obviously in goal, with then Lascelles and Fernandez, who for me has been our best defender all season, Danny Rose completing the back four.

Also returning to his best position/side, I would have Almiron left wing.

Whilst in the middle, Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden.

To be honest, I am not convinced of the wisdom of these January signings, players coming in on a temporary basis who aren’t match fit due to not getting games at their clubs, especially when it means the likes of Hayden and Ritchie end up getting dropped!

Bentaleb has shown nothing to me and if he plays ahead of Hayden once again, it will be a shocking decision.

Playing a 4-4-1-1 would then allow ASM to get a free role, we need him being able to roam and pick up the ball, especially in central areas, then running at the heart of the Palace defence, which is missing Tomkins and Sakho.

As for the centre forward, with even Steve Bruce now admitting Joelinton isn’t a natural goalscorer, the Brazilian needs taking out of the firing line and give Gayle a chance. It can’t be any worse and there were signs early on at Wolves when Gayle helped set up Almiron’s goal, before Gayle got injured, that just maybe he can bring out more from ASM and Almiron as well.

So this would be my Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:

I also think it wouldn’t be a negative for Joelinton and Lazaro to be left out.

Joelinton might benefit coming off the bench against tiring defenders and I think definitely the case with Lazaro. Rather than asking him to defend against Zaha as a wing-back for 90 minutes, he will surely benefit a lot more if he comes on for 25-30 minutes to play in his natural position as a winger.

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