Crystal Palace and Newcastle United will both be plotting a recovery from bitterly disappointing defeats last weekend when they meet at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
Despite having an array of attacking talent at his disposal, Palace boss Alan Pardew – who takes on his former employers here – will surely be becoming increasingly concerned with the team’s home form, which has seen them claim just two victories from seven outings on their own turf this season. Just to add to their misery, struggling Sunderland came to South London on Monday evening and picked up all three points thanks to a determined rearguard action.
The Eagles had no shortage of possession or territory in that encounter, but found it difficult to break through an organised backline and often lacked the necessary quality in the final third. Wilfried Zaha was their brightest spark, but invariably the final cross or shot required to make the breakthrough went astray. Losing the game was the ultimate insult, and the decisive goal came from a horrendous mix-up as goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was badly at fault.
The key here for Palace will be to take their chances when on the front foot, but Newcastle come into this game with a hefty point to prove following their abject submission to new Premier League leaders Leciester City, who were superior and more hardworking throughout. The eventual 3-0 scoreline was an accurate reflection, and punishment for the lack of application shown by the Tyneside club. After a slight upturn before the international break, they are again attracting severe criticism.
Defensively the team looks massively vulnerable, with captain Fabricio Coloccini beginning to find the going tough alongside summer signing Chancel Mbemba, while the biggest contributing factor to the loss against Leicester was coming up short in the midfield battle. It will be interesting to see here how the likes of Vurnon Anita and Georginio Wijnaldum go about their duel with James McArthur and former Magpies star Yohan Cabaye, who will not need any motivation to perform well in this one.
Marouane Chamakh may earn his first start of the season for Palace after coming off the bench against Sunderland, but Bakary Sako is absent because of a hamstring injury.
Massadio Haidara is a long-term absentee for Newcastle, who do at least regain the services of Jack Colback. Fellow midfielder Cheick Tiote is sidelined by a groin problem.