By 90Min
February 03, 2018

Crystal Palace and  Newcastle are separated by just one place and two points ahead of their meeting at Selhurst Park on Sunday, and both could do with a win to move away from the relegation zone.

Both teams relinquished leads to draw 1-1 during the week. Palace were denied by Mark Noble’s penalty at the London Stadium as they shared the points with  West Ham, and Newcastle drew with  Burnley despite leading with five minutes to go.

After a terrible start to the season,  Crystal Palace have lost only two of their last fourteen league games, both to Arsenal. Newcastle’s form has been consistently inconsistent, and they have not won in the Premier League since New Year’s Day.

Here’s all the important information ahead of this weekend’s clash.


Classic Encounter

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Newcastle 3-3 Crystal Palace (30 August 2014, Premier League)

In 40 meetings Newcastle and Crystal Palace have shared the points on just six occasions, but by far the pick of those was this remarkably entertaining match early in the 2014-15 season.

Neil Warnock took charge of Palace for the first time since returning to the club and within thirty seconds of kick-off, he was celebrating a goal. Tim Krul did well to push Marouane Chamakh’s shot onto the post but Dwight Gayle was following up to score.

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Daryl Janmaat equalised for Newcastle, but Jason Puncheon restored Palace’s lead after half-time. Newcastle’s resilience was admirable though, and they levelled once again through Rolando Aarons.

With just two minutes of the match to go, it looked as though Newcastle had won it. Mike Williamson poked home and it seemed that it would be a frustrating return for Warnock. Instead, he experienced the rollercoaster of emotions that football can bring – Wilfried Zaha’s goal five minutes into injury time ensured the points would be shared.


Key Battle

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Wilfried Zaha vs Jamaal Lascelles


Four years on from the late drama at St. James' Park, Palace's hero on that day remains their most dangerous attacking talent. Wilfried Zaha's pace is one of the most lethal weapons available to any player or team in the Premier League, and if he isolates DeAndre Yedlin down the left flank then the American will have a torrid afternoon.

Zaha likes to bring the ball inside a lot though, so it is inevitable that he and Jamaal Lascelles will come head-to-head at some point. Lascelles is Newcastle's captain and easily one of their most important players. His value was proved most pointedly during a five-game absence earlier in the season, when the Magpies conceded fifteen goals while Lascelles was sidelined.

For Zaha it was a similar story - the six Premier League matches he missed at the start of the season were all defeats, and his return to the team coincided with their first victory. This, then, is a clash of two talismans. 

Lascelles kept Zaha quiet for 77 minutes in the reverse fixture, but on home turf, Zaha may feel that he has the upper hand in this return bout. He also has Christian Benteke now, who has been in fine form since the turn of the year, which will give Lascelles twice as much to think about. Zaha will surely benefit from the Newcastle skipper's divided attention.


Team News

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Few sides in the Premier League can claim to be as unlucky with injuries this season as Crystal Palace. Bakary Sako dislocated his ankle after 41 minutes at West Ham and Roy Hodgson has confirmed that he will be absent for the rest of the season.

He becomes Palace's sixth long-term absentee, every single one of them an important player. Scott Dann, Jeffrey Schlupp, Jason Puncheon, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Connor Wickham are also on the treatment table.

Yohan Cabaye may come into the side in Sako's absence. He is one of three Palace players who will be playing against his former club, along with Andros Townsend and Patrick van Aanholt. Norwegian striker Alexander Sorloth joined from FC Midtjylland this week but is not expected to feature. 

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For Newcastle, no such worries - they have one of the cleanest bills of health in the Premier League. The big question is whether Islam Slimani will be fit to make his debut after a deadline day loan move from Leicester. Rafa Benitez was hopeful, and Magpies fans will be as well.

Martin Dubravka could come straight into the side as well after joining from Sparta Prague, and a handful of further changes are expected with Javier Manquillo and Jonjo Shelvey likely to return.

Possible Crystal Palace Starting Lineup: Hennessey; Fosu-Mensah, Kelly, Tomkins, van Aanholt; McArthur, Milivojevic, Cabaye; Townsend, Benteke, Zaha


Possible Newcastle Starting Lineup: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo; Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy; Perez, Slimani


Prediction

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It's a tough call, this one.

On the basis of form, you'd have to go with Crystal Palace. A 4-1 defeat at Arsenal aside, they keep grinding out results, even draws, as they slowly inch away from the bottom three. Newcastle haven't been able to string two wins together since September, and although their away form has been better than their home form of late, there are few signs of a turnaround.

But if you take injuries into consideration, Palace suddenly look a lot more vulnerable. Six injuries to prominent first-team players would be a devastating blow to most teams, and it remains to be seen how that will affect the Eagles as the season wears on. They have been coping well so far though.

If Slimani is fit and raring to go, then Newcastle might fancy their chances. But with home advantage and superior form, you've got to fancy the Eagles to take down the Magpies.


Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-1 Newcastle

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