After a draw with archrivals Brighton at home, The Eagles will travel to face Newcastle United at St. James Park.
Despite being dominated for much of the game by the Seagulls Palace were able to fight back from a goal down and secure a point through a moment of magic from Wilfried Zaha. While a draw at home to a team as hated as Brighton may feel like a loss,given the current injury crisis Palace are suffering through it could have been much worse. The draw saw them slip down to ninth place in the table, but only a win away from climbing as high as sixth place.
Newcastle have had an up and down season and enter this match sitting just below the Eagles in eleventh place. New manager Steve Bruce has done an adequate job filling the large shoes left behind by former manager Rafael Benítez as the club look to maintain their place in the top flight after returning from the championship a few years ago. Newcastle lost their last game against Burnley but were unbeaten in three before that, including a draw with champions Manchester City.
The injury crisis went from bad to worse for The Eagles last week as manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that Andros Townsend and Gary Cahill would be set for long term spells on the sideline along with a large group of other players including Jeffery Schlupp and Joel Ward. This will likely see more changes made to the back line after Jaïro Riedewald was forced off at halftime against Brighton. If Patrick van Aanholt cannot return this week it could prompt Hodgson to hand highly rated prospect Tyrick Mitchell a chance at left-back, otherwise James McArthur could start in defense. Expect Christian Benteke to continue to lead the line, flanked by Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha, with Townsend hurt. Hodgson could also decide to switch formations and deploy a 4-4-2 with Zaha paired with either Ayew or Benteke if he determines that Max Meyer is worthy of a start in midfield after changing the game after coming off the bench last week.
One area where Newcastle have struggled this season is scoring goals. The Magpies have only scored more goals than Palace and bottom place Watford despite bringing in striker Andy Carroll and big money singings Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton to the attack this summer. Newcastle are not immune to injury struggles themselves with leading scorer Jonjo Shelvey facing a late fitness test to determine if he will play against Palace on the weekend. The Magpies have found success defensively by deploying a five in the back formation which presents a formidable challenge in front of goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka. The Slovakian keeper has been a steadying force for Newcastle appearing in all of their Premier League matches last season and so far this season.
Despite Saint-Maximin and Joelinton not yet hitting their stride in the Premier League they are still players who have enough talent to strike fear into opposing defences, even if the statistical production has as not arrived yet. Both players could see what will likely be a makeshift Palace defence as an opportunity to silence some of their doubters, especially if Mitchell is making his first Premier League appearance. Newcastle could also be vulnerable at the back with their best centre-back and club captain, Jamaal Lascelles, being ruled out until the new year though injury.
This match has a 0-0 draw or 1-0 result written all over it. Neither team will want to lose this game and especially given Palace’s injury situation they could be content to sit back and look to counter when on the road. Roy Hodgson will be able to rely on his well-drilled team to maintain formation and discipline, no matter which players are in it to hold out a timid Newcastle attack. This match could come down to which side can produce a moment of magic, like Zaha’s last week, to break the deadlock in a match between two otherwise evenly matched teams.