Crystal Palace: Five Things We Need To Do To Down Newcastle
1. A GOAL, A GOAL MY KINGDOM FOR A GOAL
There is no hiding the fact that we are a wee bit goal shy. 19 goals is a paltry return from 29 games and is the worst return of any of the 92 league clubs. Our last two goals have come from the penalty spot and the last time we scored from open play was against West Brom on 8th February. Added to this we have not scored in any of our last six fixtures against Newcastle so we have the past and the present stacked against us.
2. TO SCORE OR NOT TO SCORE THAT IS THE QUESTION
As the goals have dried up, Pulis has justifiably opted for a pragmatic approach recently. One that is based on a ‘what we have we hold’ principle and whilst we are not actively seeking scoreless draws many believe that this is the sum of our ambitions. The counter argument is that the team should be prepared to be more gung-ho, throw caution to the winds and attack, attack, attack. The best path should be somewhere in between whereby a solid defence should be the platform for rapid counter attacking but as have found out that is easier said than done.
3. NOTHING WILL COME OF NOTHING SPEAK AGAIN
When Glenn Murray returned as a sub against West Brom after nine months out, there was a wave of euphoria amongst the fans. Last season’s 31 goal messiah had returned and everything seemed rosy. But I, and many others, cautioned at the time Muzza was unlikely to be able to suddenly switch into free goal scoring form after such a long lay-off, which would make the already tricky transition to Premier League a whole lot more problematic. And so it has proved with Murray lacking the sparkle and goal dust of last year but if he could recover just a trace of that form on Saturday it would be a major boost.
4. BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH
When Newcastle visited Selhurst just before Christmas they were simply too good for us. Cabaye pulled the strings, releasing their wingers who ripped our full backs to shreds. But this is now a very different Toon with their midfield maestro shipped back to France and several key players injured they have struggled recently, scoring a solitary goal in their last five matches at St. James’ Park, so the spectre of a 0-0 is looming. Palace must not go into the game with any sense of inferiority, as that will limit the chances of springing a surprise.
5. UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN
It will be interesting to see whether the absence of Alan Pardew will make any material difference to the team’s attitude and performance. His banishment from the stadium after losing (and using) his head against Hull could be a minor inconvenience or a major destabilising influence. What may well be a more significant absence is the loss of Remy as he has been Newcastle’s main threat this season. So thanks to the vagaries of the fixture computer a second successive trip to the North East beckons after last week’s crucial game against Sunderland and another goalless draw is not out of the question.