Victory looms for Newcastle
New Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock will start his second spell in the London club's hot seat with a trip to Newcastle on Saturday.
The re-appointment of the man who left Selhust Park four years ago has provoked a wildly split reaction among Palace fans, with some taking to social media to lambast the choice of chairman Steve Parish, while others appear to be very pleased. This is Warnock's 14th managerial role.
I'm certain Newcastle manager Alan Pardew will be preparing a 'new manager syndrome' excuse just in case, but I believe that Warnock's Palace, even with the inevitable early confidence boost, are a less difficult opponent than a Tony Pulis-led Palace side.
Palace have lost both of their league games so far this season -- a plucky 2-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates followed by a very poor 1-3 home reversal to West Ham at Selhurst Park. Although Newcastle are a point and a place ahead of Palace in the early table, they're yet to register a goal. If a Sam Allardyce team can score three times against Palace in their own home, I am certain Newcastle will find the back of the net on Saturday.
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The fixture gives Pardew the chance to be more expansive than the one-forward tactics he has employed so far this season. It would be good to see an attacking lineup with an extra forward drafted in -- either Ayoze Perez or Facundo Ferrerya -- and some of the more entertaining football the manager promised in the preseason.
It is unlikely Pardew will make too many changes though, and I fully expect Newcastle to start with Emmanuel Riviere as the only striker.
Who is the man most likely to break Newcastle's goal-scoring duck? The bookmakers make Riviere favourite, but I can see the goal coming from Siem De Jong or Remy Cabella.
Once again Newcastle approach a Premier League game with more injuries than any other side in the league. According to physioroom.com, no fewer than eight players have been on the treatment table this week, and although Jack Colback and Rolando Aarons are expected to recover in time for Saturday, Cheick Tiote, Davide Santon, Papiss Cisse, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Ryan Taylor will all miss out. Scott Dann is Palace's only injury absentee.
Colback will be looking forward to playing after receiving news of his first England call-up on Thursday. Roy Hodgson named 'the Ginger Pirlo' in his squad to play Norway and Switzerland. There was talk of a Colback call-up in his time at Sunderland but it took a move to a big club to convince Hodgson that he ought to be included!
Colback has impressed in his brief time on Tyneside and will be a valuable player for Newcastle in the future. He can play a key part in helping Newcastle to their first league win of the season on Saturday.