You’d like to be able to say these two side are inconsistent, but when you’ve both scored as many goals as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and picked up as many points as Arsenal in your last five Premier League games, you really need to re-evaluate.
It could simply come down to these sides being so similar in their outlook that finishing above the other is a primary goal.
Is this a cup final? No. But football on a Friday evening is bloody marvellous isn’t it?
Crystal Palace v Newcastle, Friday November 26
8pm, Amazon Prime Video
Here are Crystal Palace’s last four games, with added insight, and we’ll see if you can spot a pattern. Losing to Burnley – 54% possession; winning against Leeds – 35% possession; losing to Wolves – 55% possession; winning against Fulham – 35% possession.
In order for Palace to function, they need to be able to not have the ball. That’s not a knock – it’s just that Roy Hodgson understands transition play very, very well and it’s the focal point of his sessions midweek. Nobody in the league, bar maybe Man United, break as quickly as Palace do and given Newcastle will try and get on the ball to build-up through their expensive forward players, they’ll likely be picked off in midfield and turned over.
Newcastle have conceded twice in their last two games and to incredibly soft openers, too. The focus therefore will be on a clean sheet. Now, they won’t get it – but there’s an element of Bruce preparing his team to go to London on a Friday night and using this game as a reset on a tight pitch.
Would they take a point if some of their early-season results continued? Probably not – but they will now if it means stopping the rot. Expect it to be cagey.
The two goals that have knocked Newcastle out of their last two contests have been a very preventable OG against Chelsea, and a comical concession to Che Adams the week before.
Those goals came inside the opening ten minutes. That’s a level of embarrassment that isn’t long forgotten and there’s no hope that Palace will be repeating the trick.
This kid is special – and given the absence of Wilfied Zaha for this game, they may well depend on his attacking talents down the left to be the primary source of catching opposition full-backs being too brave.
A breakout game beckons for the most underrated signing of the off-season.
Crystal Palace v Newcastle tips
- A Paddy Power Same Game Multi of the above 4 legs pays at around 24/1
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More tips for Friday
- Thommo Expects Palace To Loom Over The Toon With This 9/1 Shout
- 3 For Glee As Brentford Host QPR In Friday’s Local Derby
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