Newcastle United return to action this afternoon at St James’ Park against Crystal Palace, and Eddie Howe will be looking for a positive response following their first defeat of the season to Liverpool on Wednesday night.
The last-minute injury-time winner scored by their opponents at Anfield earlier this week will be a bitter pill to swallow for the team and the supporters, but it should give the side a point to prove when they kick off at 3pm against Patrick Vieira’s team on Tyneside.
Indeed, there are some injury concerns as Howe remained tight-lipped on whether Bruno Guimaraes and Allan Saint-Maximin will make an appearance when speaking in his pre-match press conference yesterday (via Chronicle Live):
“Callum Wilson is slightly behind the other two. Bruno and Maxi are close, they aren’t serious injuries.”
Another player who was noticeably missing from the team in the mid-week defeat was Sven Botman, who sat on the bench for the entirety of the game, and now the Magpies manager must unleash the six-foot-three defender against Palace.
The Dutch defender who was hailed a “leader” by Christophe Galtier has been settling in nicely in the North East over his four appearances so far with a pass completion rate of 93% in his own half, as well as making an average of 2.8 clearances per game and has impressively has won 100% of his aerial duels.
His hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed either, as Howe has already been lavishing praise on the newly-signed centre half hailing Botman “very composed” in an interview:
“He looks very composed, very good on the ball, as we knew he would be.”
“He has settled in very well to how we want to play.”
The Newcastle boss may be regretful after giving the 22-year-old a rest at Anfield considering his aerial duel success and Liverpool’s winning goal being scored from a corner, however, he can make up for it by starting the talented centre-back today to cause nightmares for Crystal Palace.
With that being said, Howe will be hoping that the players can inject their frustrations from the past game into delivering a positive result at St James’ Park as they play on home turf in front of their home supporters for the first time in three outings.