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Palace: Vieira should unleash Milivojevic vs Newcastle

Crystal Palace face Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon and manager Patrick Vieira should consider unleashing Luka Milivojevic from the start.

The Serbian midfielder has been a bit-part player in the Eagles’ side so far this season, making just two starts and nine substitute appearances in the Premier League.

However, he did impress in League Cup games against Oxford United and Newcastle, averaging a strong 7.25 rating from WhoScored for his performances, so he still has what it takes to impress in Vieira’s side.

It has been something of a surprise that his game time has been so limited, as his last start in the top flight came in the 1-0 win over Southampton when he starred again, earning a strong 7.55 rating from WhoScored.

Milivojevic was left on the bench in midweek as Palace earned a late draw against Manchester United, with Eberechi Eze also a surprise omission from the starting side as he came on in the second half to help Vieira’s side to a vital point, ending their run of home defeats.

 

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While there may be a clamour for the former Queens Park Rangers man to come in against Newcastle, Vieira must be wary that Eddie Howe’s side are now an extremely compact side with a strong midfield three, so Cheick Doucoure will need some defensive support in the middle.

Therefore, it would be a risk to have either Eze or Michael Olise alongside Doucoure in midfield, and Vieira should rely upon the experienced 6 foot 1 titan to come in from the start, as his rare starts this season have usually returned strong performances.

Roy Hodgson was full of praise for the midfielder back in 2018, praising the former Olympiacos man’s professionalism and attitude.

He said:

“From the moment I stepped through the door here he’s been absolutely excellent in every respect – outstanding.

“It is very valuable (to have consistency in selection). That’s something we’ve not been able to do with our team, and in Luka you are talking about one of those guys who is right from the first minute, he has played 90 minutes and then trained every day and got ready for the next game.”

Palace will have to be switched on defensively if they want to take anything from the game against Howe’s Champions League-chasing hopefuls and therefore it is time Vieira handed Milivojevic another start in the top flight.