Newcastle - Crystal Palace

Newcastle are not alone on the top anymore as Forest (played two games more though) joined them with the same number of points. The Magpies are in the bad run of results as they’re winless in three league games. Draws against Sheff.Wed. and Derby were followed with decent displays, while WBA league game was probably the best encounter in this whole season. Plenty of opportunities on both sides and a draw as fair result at the end. For the Cup clash at Saturday, boss Chris Hughton made a simple calculation it’s better to lose with mixed team than to send best eleven and to lose anyway. He got 2-4 defeat, was screaming on referee, but stated the main priority is Championship and that’s it. It seems the only loss is key defender, centre-back Ryan Taylor, who got a red card and is unavailable for tonight’s game, while Steven Taylor is also  ruled out with a knee injury. Shola Ameobi  and Nicky Butt are in doubt. Butt is close to start the game, while considering importance of this game Ameobi’s start also wouldn’t be a surprise. Lovenkrands has returned to the squad having been on compassionate leave following the recent death of his father.


Considering sport’s aspect, Warnock’s side has been doing well in past few weeks (months, in fact). They’re without a defeat in last six competitive games, four in the league. But more important for this game is outside aspect as Palace went into administration because big debt (evaluated on 30 mill. pounds) and will get 10 points penalty. First, this causes Palace won’t fight for play-off, but to avoid relegation as they’re now just three points above the relegation zone! I can not see different effect than big shock in the dressing room. Next thing, all players are on transfer market from now. It means, they can not see the future in the club. Good side for Palace is all of them will try to represent themselves in the best shape in front the scouts and will put the maximum effort. But, at the same time they will hardly look like a squad. And last, biggest star Victor Moses, has been pulled out from the squad as administrators don’t want him injured. Defenders Davis and Hill are doubtful.


There are two sides for this game. On the one is Newcastle, tean (in my opinion) a class above all other in the second tier and need to bounce back as their first place is under a big threat. On the other side are Eagles who are in big trouble. In regular circumstances I would skip this game, but all these facts make from the hosts a big favorite. Home win and -1.5 handicap.


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