Newcastle United are the latest contender for UEFA Champions League places to visit Sellhurst Park in Saturday’s match against Crystal Palace.
They slid one spot to fourth in the table via Manchester United’s mid-week draw at Palace. However, they’ve become arguably the Premiership’s best defensive team after a run of five consecutive league matches without conceding.
Palace salvaged their draw home to Manchester United Wednesday through Michael Olise’s brilliant free kick in first-half stoppage time. That snapped a three-match losing skid across all competitions, but the 12th-placed Eagles still have only one win in their last eight overall and last six in the league.
These teams previously drew 0-0 at St. James’ Park, a result that began what would become Newcastle’s active 14-match league unbeaten run.
Crystal Palace Fortunate to Get Results
Palace may have avoided defeat on Wednesday, but manager Patrick Vieira’s men are still struggling to create chances.
Leading scorer Wilfried Zaha has now gone seven appearances in all competitions without scoring. As a team, Palace have only created 5.2 expected goals (xG) over their last six league matches and scored only four times.
It’s also not entirely clear that transfer reinforcements are coming. Vieira expressed hope this week that the club would add one or two before the window closes, but he was far from certain.
This will be Palace’s third match in seven days after a stretch that began in a 1-0 loss at Chelsea last Sunday. The Eagles have performed fairly well on three days’ rest, earning a 2-2-3 record (W-L-D) overall and 1-1-1 mark in league play.
Center back Joachim Andersen left early in the Chelsea match and hasn’t played since. He’s now expected to miss roughly a month with a calf strain.
Newcastle a True Champions League Contender
Alexander Isak’s sensational, late free-kick goal sealed three points for Newcastle last Saturday in a 1-0 home win over Fulham.
His 20-minute shift in a return from a thigh injury may be a good omen for the Magpies in the longer term.
Isak was signed in the early season for a club-record fee from Real Sociedad to boost a previously unreliable attack in previous seasons. But a range of issues have limited him to only four league appearances to date.
Manager Eddie Howe’s squad has worked around it in part via a career year from Miguel Almiron, whose nine league goals lead the club. Callum Wilson has also continued to be a reliable producer with six goals in 14 appearances.
But that duo has combined for exactly one goal since play resumed following the World Cup, meaning Isak’s resturn could be coming at a crucial time.
Toon’s xG difference is far greater at home, but their actual goal difference is +13 at St. James’ Park against +9 on the road. That can sometimes happen with teams that press heavily since the posture of away games can favor pressing teams that are skilled on the counter.
Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle Pick
The recent past suggests a low-scoring encounter, but not so much the season-long track records or how these teams like to play.
In 19 league matches between Newcastle’s away games and Palace’s home fixtures, the bet on over 2.5 goals has cashed 11 times, a rate of 57.9%. The +166 odds on it imply a 46.3% probability.
It makes intuitive sense. Teams that want to be ball-dominant like Palace sometimes play higher-scoring games at home, and press-first teams like Newcastle can play higher scoring games away.
Looking further at Newcastle’s schedule, a bet on the over has cashed in 5-of-7 away games against sides currently beneath them in the standings.
Elsewhere, if there’s any value on the money line it’s on the draw, and it’s slight. Theoretically, Palace should be better than they’ve been at home, but they have zero wins this season against teams in the top half.
In the spread market, you might consider Newcastle -1.5 goals considering the price. That’s cashed in 6-of-19 games in the above mentioned home-away sample.