Newcastle United welcome Crystal Palace to St James’ Park in the Premier League this weekend with both sides in decent form.
The Eagles will undoubtedly be the happier of the two sides, sitting ninth and unbeaten in their past four games, though their previous two outings have been draws against Watford and Brighton.
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s defeat to Burnley over the weekend ended their unbeaten run of three games, but they have shown signs of improvement after a poor start under Steve Bruce.
A win for Bruce’s side would see them leapfrog the Eagles but Roy Hodgson will have his sights set on closing the gap on the top four.
Read on for our preview, predictions, team news and TV coverage information.
When is Newcastle vs Crystal Palace and where can I watch live?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: St James’ Park
Date: Saturday, 21 December 2019
Kick-off: 3:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): N/A
Last five meetings: Newcastle vs Crystal Palace
06 April 2019: Newcastle 0-1 Crystal Palace (Premier League)
22 September 2018: Crystal Palace 0-0 Newcastle (Premier League)
04 February 2018: Crystal Palace 1-1 Newcastle (Premier League)
21 October 2017: Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace (Premier League)
30 April 2016: Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace (Premier League)
Aggregate Score: Newcastle (LDDWW) 3-2 Crystal Palace (WDDLL)
Ones to watch
Newcastle: Martin Dubravka
Newcastle have tried to prioritise on the defensive aspects of their game under Bruce this season, and while that hasn’t worked at times, Martin Dubravka has been there to clear up any danger.
The goalkeeper is one of the busiest in the Premier League and has proven his worth already on so many occasions. If he wasn’t the man between the sticks, Newcastle could conceivably be further down the table.
Crystal Palace aren’t great in attack but Dubravka will be key if Newcastle want a positive result this weekend.
Key stat: Only two goalkeepers have made more saves in the Premier League this season than Martin Dubravka’s 64.
Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha
It’s the obvious choice but the fact is, Crystal Palace haven’t been exciting to watch this season aside from when Wilfried Zaha turns on the style.
The Ivorian has three goals in his past five Premier League games and scored in the 1-1 draw with Brighton on Monday. As the January transfer window creeps ever closer, doubt surrounding Zaha’s future continues to grow and the 27-year-old may be inspired to up his game again if he wishes for a move away.
Only Jordan Ayew has scored more goals for Palace this season but he hasn’t found the net in almost two months, while Christian Benteke has more yellow cards than goals in 2019 at three to one.
Key stat: Only Jordan Ayew (9) has hit the target more times in the Premier League than Wilfried Zaha (8) among Crystal Palace players.
Newcastle continue to be without Allan Saint-Maximin but they are also sweating on the fitness of Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron who missed last weekend’s defeat against Burnley.
If the pair do not return, Bruce is likely to line Joelinton on the wing as he did against Burnley – albeit with little success.
Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie remain out until the New Year, while Ki Sung-Yeung and Ciaran Clark are also sidelined.
Confirmed XI: Dúbravka; Manquillo, Schär, Lejeune, Fernández, Dummett; Shelvey, Hayden, Almirón; Carroll, Joelinton.
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Options are slim for Crystal Palace’s trip to Newcastle this weekend, with seven players either out injured or suspended.
Mamadou Sakho is serving the final game of his three-match ban for a sending off against Bournemouth and is joined on the sidelines by fellow defenders Gary Cahill, Jairo Riedewald and Joel Ward.
Jeffrey Schlupp and Andros Townsend are also out.
Confirmed XI: Guaita; Kelly, Kouyaté, Tomkins, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic, McArthur, McCarthy, Ayew, Benteke, Zaha.
Games between these two sides have been low-scoring affairs in recent years and there aren’t many signs of that changing this weekend.
Only two teams have scored fewer goals in the Premier League this season than Newcastle’s 17, one of those being Watford – struggling at the bottom of the table. The other? Crystal Palace.
The Eagles have managed just 15 this season, with their strike force not doing enough to break down opposition defences. With someone like Wilfried Zaha in their side, they will always have a chance though and that could be the difference this weekend.
Scoreline prediction: Newcastle 0-1 Crystal Palace