Crystal Palace travel to St James’ Park to face Newcastle United in a battle of two of the most goal-shy teams in the Premier League.
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Newcastle have scored 17 goals in their 17 league games this season, still two more than Palace have managed. Only Watford have scored fewer with nine.
Roy Hodgson’s men came from behind in their last outing to secure a 1-1 draw with rivals Brighton thanks to Wilfried Zaha’s third goal of the season.
Already sitting in the top half of the table, the Eagles have the chance to push towards the European places in December.
All of their opponents currently sit in the bottom half, while they also face Norwich City on New Year’s Day.
So how will they lineup against Newcastle?
Experienced defender Gary Cahill does not look any closer to making an injury comeback, with Roy Hodgson yet to confirm a return date. That means Scott Dann is likely to continue alongside James Tomkins should he pass his fitness test. Injury to Patrick van Aanholt means Jairo Riedewald will be expected continue on the left if he is fit. The Dutchman was taken off injured in the draw with Brighton.
A midfield trio of Luka Milivojevic, James McArthur and Cheikhou Kouyate provides plenty of defensive solidity, while the Serbian offers a threat from dead-ball situations. While Palace are not exactly scoring goals right now, they are at least not shipping in too many, with the trio playing their part. Only Leicester City (7) have kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season than the Eagles (6).
The front three needs to fire against Newcastle’s five-at-the-back system. Zaha, Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke have just seven goals between them all season, with the Belgian still yet to open his account for the campaign. The potential creative contributions of Max Meyer off the bench may be key to providing the attack with the chances to claim all three points on Tyneside.
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