With just three points separating them from the drop, Crystal Palace need to be very careful in their visit to St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).
You’d think careful would be Tony Pulis’s watchword, but Palace have notched just three draws since he was appointed, putting their total at four – the same number as Newcastle. But despite Pulis’s reputation as the man that’s never seen his side relegated, Crystal Palace are mighty close. They’re just three points above Sunderland, who have a two game advantage, and last week’s goalless draw did nothing to help their cause.
Newcastle, on the other hand, are certainly safe with 43 points, but that won’t ease their fans frustrations. As if it weren’t enough to lose to last-place Fulham (in rather controversial circumstances) last weekend, the Magpies haven’t had a decent showing at home since Boxing Day, when they thrashed Stoke 5-1. Sure, they beat Aston Villa 1-0 in their last home game, but that was the first time Newcastle had scored at St. James’ in six matches, while conceding 10. A solid smashing of fragile Palace would do wonders.
Perhaps a bit surprisingly, there’s no changes made to the Newcastle side that lost at Craven Cottage last weekend. Then again, the visitors could have very well had a different result if decisions had gone their way, so maybe the fault won’t be put on the players. That, or Newcastle have few options at this time.
With just one goal in their last four outings (and just 19 all season), Palace could use a bit of a change of pace. Glen Murray and Tom Ince drop to the bench, replaced by Jason Puncheon and Cameron Jerome in attack.
Newcastle: Krul; Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Sissoko, Anita, Tioté, Gouffran; de Jong, Cissé
Subs: Elliot, S.Taylor, Haïdara, Gosling, Marveaux, Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bolasie, Ledley, Puncheon, Jerome
Subs: Hennessey, Gabbidon, O’Keefe, Guedioura, Bannan, Ince, Murray