THE BEST FORM OF ATTACK IS DEFENCE
Solid, reliable and committed were not words many would have used to describe the Palace back four back in the dark days of autumn when goals were conceded with regular monotony. But once winter really kicked in there was a stiffening of the sinews especially from centre backs Delaney and Gabbidon and there is now a solidity that must be maintained as we enter the crucial Christmas period. Like Palace, Newcastle have turned a corner in the last month or so and have amassed 16 points out of a possible 21, have risen to sixth and are sniffing the fringes of the battle for the Europa League. The strike pairing of Remy and Gouffran seems to be gelling and they need to be stopped in their tracks.
CHAMAKH FOR GOOD
To all the doubters and naysayers who scoffed at signing of our Marouane (I include myself in that group) and revelled in his slow start and hapless performances, you need to start eating humble pie by the bucket load. Robbie Savage, in particular, must be choking on his shaggy mane as our best ever No.29 continues to defy his critics by scoring in his last three matches. So now he is on a hot streak, his confidence growing with every game and he could well turn out to be an unlikely saviour. So complete has his transformation been that he has the honour of having the best remodelled pop video ever in Jim Daly’s “Chamakh for Good” – If you don’t watch anything else this Christmas do yourself a favour and check this out. Take That!http://www.youtube.com/
To all the doubters and naysayers who scoffed at the appointment of our Tony (I include myself in that group), well you know what happens next. Pulis has made a tangible difference to the team’s form and self-belief. He is not a magician but he has worked his magic on the players who have responded well to treatment and are out of Intensive Care and are heading towards the outpatients department. With this renewed faith we need to get at Newcastle and unsettle their French cohorts with Jedinak needing to pull off his very best Henry Vth impression
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead”. Take that Cabaye.
CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY
If we can upset Super Al’s return to his spiritual home then we will be set for the hectic Christmas schedule and any points gained will provide a solid platform for the next few fixtures which come thick and fast including a rather daunting trip to The Etihad where they seem to be turning their home matches against London clubs into some sort of a tennis tournament 6-0 (Spurs), 6-3 (Arsenal). So before we face a potential Mancunian mauling would be good to get a result and Newcastle.
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
Newcastle are one of those middling Premier League teams who can be good but also can be poor, as has been proved by their last two away fixtures winning at Old Trafford before capitulating 3-0 at Swansea. Our recent record at home is encouraging with seven points gleaned from the previous three games and no goals conceded, so long may that continue. Whereas before I was expecting this festive season to be a time for getting stuck into the port with gusto, studiously avoiding football and concentrating on the cricket, now the reverse is true. And whatever happens we will not be bottom at Christmas.
Twitter handle: @rcfoster
Crystal Palace v Newcastle Pre-Match Stats
Crystal Palace have failed to score in their last five meetings with Newcastle in all competitions.
Newcastle United have won their last four league trips to Selhurst Park to play Palace.