Newcastle United will look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season when they face tricky Crystal Palace at St James’ Park on Saturday.

Newcastle United gave a good account of themselves away at Liverpool in midweek, but in the end, the game ended in a last-minute defeat, as Fabio Carvalho netted a thrilling 98th-minute goal to condemn the Magpies to a 2-1 defeat.

It was a tough pill to swallow for Eddie Howe’s men, who limited the Reds to few clear-cut chances and deserved at least a draw for their efforts and on the balance of quality scoring opportunities. That late goal snapped Newcastle’s four-game undefeated start to the top-flight season, which included a well-deserved 3-3 draw with champions Manchester City.

The result has also left Eddie Howe’s side eleventh in the standings, with six points to their name from five games and only one win, which came on the opening day against Nottingham Forest. The Magpies will now be looking to get back on track when a tricky Crystal Palace come to town this weekend.

Meanwhile, Patrick Vieira’s side have made a mixed start to the season, with one win, two draws, and two defeats in their opening five games. While there are contributing factors, such as facing big-hitters in Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester City in their first five games, the Eagles definitely need to start getting wins on the board to reflect their impressive performances.

However, their task does not get any easier with a trip to St James’ Park, currently one of the most difficult tests in English football. Newcastle came out on top in the corresponding fixture last term, courtesy of a Miguel Almiron wonder-strike. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides this Saturday, The Hard Tackle takes a look at both sides.

Team News & Tactics

Newcastle United

Despite being plagued by injuries to key players in the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Bruno Guimaraes, Callum Wilson, and Allan Saint-Maximin, Newcastle were surprisingly quiet on the deadline day. Maybe they pushed the boat to sign Alexander Isak only a week ago. Nonetheless, neither of the injured quartet are expected to start here, though Guimaraes and Saint-Maximin can feature off the bench if deemed fit enough.

Emil Krafth will also remain sidelined until next season due to an ACL injury. Eddie Howe will probably opt for the 4-3-3 formation. However, he might keep changes to a minimum for the upcoming home encounter despite the quick turnaround between games.

Since his arrival this summer, Nick Pope has been an ever-present in the Newcastle United side, and he should continue in between the sticks for the Magpies. Ball-playing defenders Fabian Schar and Sven Botman are expected to return to the starting lineup against Crystal Palace after being benched on Wednesday, replacing Jamaal Lascelles and Dan Burn at the heart of the Magpies’ back-four.

Kieran Trippier, if fit, is a guaranteed starter at the right back spot, whereas Matt Targett will fill in on the other flank as the left-back. Both the full-backs are comfortable playing the ball from deeper areas, with the former also capable of producing magic from set-piece situations.

Newcastle’s preciseness, ball retention, and game control are really affected by Guimaraes’ absence from midfield. That said, Sean Longstaff has filled in the sitting No. 6 role and has done okay, laying an incredible assist for Isak last time out. The Geordie playmaker will be supported by the energetic presence of Joelinton and Joe Willock on either side of him in the midfield three.

Newcastle’s star summer signing, Isak, opened his Premier League account against Liverpool in midweek, and the hosts will be hopeful he can recover from a dead leg in time to make his home debut. Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser will take up the wide positions, playing down the right and left-wing, respectively.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Targett; Willock, Longstaff, Joelinton; Almiron, Isak, Fraser

Crystal Palace

Unlike his counterpart in the Newcastle dugout, Palace boss Patrick Vieira has no pressing injury concerns to deal with as things stand. The former Nice head coach has experimented with multiple formations since the start of the season now that he has a flexible squad at his disposal.

Against Brentford, he deployed enforcer Cheick Doucoure as a single pivot to try and push his midfield players up the pitch. That could change against Newcastle, who play a midfield block, with the Frenchman likely to revert back to a 4-3-3 system, mirroring the home side’s formation.

Vicente Guaita is a regular in goal, with Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen likely to play central defence in front of him. Nathaniel Clyne and Tyrick Mitchell, if fit, are clear choices for full-backs.

Up ahead in midfield, Doucoure, who has taken to life in the Premier League like a duck to water, will hold the key to establishing stability in front of the back-four, screening the backline. Eberechi Eze and Jeffrey Schlupp will also see their names in central midfield.

In attack, Vieira has made the Eagles a force to be reckoned with and a tougher side to shut out, helped by the threat of Wilfried Zaha, who is in the form of his life and has already scored four goals from four top-flight outings so far. The Ivorian international has struck up a deadly combination with Eze down the left. In addition, Michael Olise and Odsonne Edouard will also be present in what should be a buzzing and dynamic front-four.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Schlupp, Doucoure, Eze; Olise, Edouard, Zaha

Key Stats

  • Newcastle are undefeated in 11 of their last 12 Premier League matches at home (W8 D3).
  • The hosts have scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 home league matches.
  • Newcastle are looking to win consecutive league games against Crystal Palace for the first time since October 2017, following their narrow 1-0 victory in the exact fixture in April last season.
  • Despite scoring first in each of their last three away league games, Crystal Palace have only taken one point from those.
  • Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha has scored 13 goals in 20 Premier League games since the turn of the year, making this already his most productive calendar year in the top flight.

Player to Watch

Alexander Isak

Newcastle broke their club-record transfer for the 22-year-old and the £63 million-man looked deadly in front of goal on his black-and-white debut. Just hours after being granted the long-awaited work permit to feature in the game, the Swede stunned Anfield to fire the Magpies in front with a cool finish up against one of the world’s best keepers in Alisson.

 Embed from Getty Images

The 22-year-old shimmied past two Reds defenders, floored them, and blasted past Alisson, only to be thwarted by the linesman’s flag and a tight VAR call in the second half. The 6ft 3in striker epitomises the raw, electrifying, pacey, yet equally poised striker in front of goal.

That said, his hold-up play and link-up looked a bit ropey, but that will improve with more training sessions under his belt. With Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson sitting out once again, the onus will be on Isak’s young shoulders to deliver the goods in the final third.

Prediction

Newcastle United 2-1 Crystal Palace

Only Liverpool have managed a clean sheet at St James’ Park in 2022 in the league. So, it is likely the Magpies’ will breach a Palace backline that has dropped 5 points from leading positions in their last two games.

While Newcastle are set to miss out on their key players once again, it is hard to bet against Howe’s men at St James Park, especially after a sour defeat at Anfield. Thus, the Hard Tackle backs the hosts to edge out a tricky Palace with a 2-1 scoreline in what should be a tight match.

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