Match Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle United

By - Saturday 21st December, 2013

Palace start the busy Christmas period with a home game against Alan Pardew’s Newcastle

PHot by Richard Fisher, used under Creative Commons.

Despite last week’s defeat away at Chelsea, Crystal Palace’s performances have improved considerably over the last month or so, and the Eagles find themselves in eighteenth place – a win in this encounter could see them leave the relegation zone for the first time since the early stages of the season.

Before they can look forward to a Christmas Day in safety however, Palace face a stern test against an in-form Newcastle United. The Magpies currently sit sixth in the league table, having lost two of their last ten matches.

The home side go into the match with some concerns about fitness among the squad; Jonny Williams, Stuart O’Keefe and Kagisho Dikgacoi all face late fitness, a particular concern given the three players play in similar positions. Barry Bannan may therefore be moved into a more central role than of late, with his position on the wing up for grabs among Yannick Bolasie, Jimmy Kebe and Dwight Gayle. More promisingly, left back Dean Moxey returns to the squad, and is likely to replace Adrian Mariappa.

Newcastle meanwhile will welcome Yohan Cabaye back into the squad after a one match ban, and Alan Pardew has no further squad concerns.

Having recently undergone a renaissance of sorts, the onus will be on the Eagles to continue that good form going into a busy Christmas period which also includes away matches against Aston Villa and Manchester City, and a home match against Norwich City. Three of the matches over Christmas lend themselves to having potential to pick up points, and with the Eagles on the brink of the relegation places, there is a real chance to put some breathing space between themselves and the three relegation spots.

As with many matches at this time of year, whether Palace will do so however is dependent on the fitness of the squad, and the quality in depth – which is perhaps the biggest concern. Undoubtedly, the first team have improved considerably, but the likely replacements may not inspire Tony Pulis.

Nevertheless, they should approach the match against Newcastle with optimism. The form of the defence and also Marouane Chamakh in attack bodes well – with clean sheets a realistic proposition and Palace dangerous on the counter-attack, the chances of taking a point or three are considerable.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1 -1 Newcastle United

Tom Lickley

Tom Lickley

Contributing a variety of roles to the Citizen since early 2013, Tom now focuses upon regeneration, urbanism and real estate writing. He is a strategic communications consultant specialising in the real estate sector, and counts a number of the world's largest investment and fund management companies amongst his clients.

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