Newcastle v Crystal Palace
Newcastle have found themselves starting the season with a possible one point from six, and will hope that they don’t have their second home defeat in a row inflicted upon them. Failure to score a goal in either of their opening two fixtures will be a major concern, and something that they must look to resolve on the weekend.
One of the brightest notes in the Newcastle side in their opening fixtures has been the man who made the move across from arch-rivals Sunderland, Jack Colback. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he has completed 23.47km over the duration of the first two games of the season; more than any other member of the Newcastle squad. Off the ball, he has made five interceptions, and on the ball he has attempted five dribbles, five crosses and completed 63 passes in the opposition half; again, more than any other Newcastle player. He will be essential to driving Newcastle forward and creating chances for their forwards.
Whilst Newcastle will be relieved to have picked up their first point of the season last weekend against Aston Villa, they will be upset to have lost centre back Michael Williamson, who had made a good start to the season prior to his red card. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he will be a big loss, having won three of his four tackles so far this season and made 13 clearances and 6 interceptions; both of which are more than any other player in the Newcastle squad. It is important that Newcastle find a replacement to partner Fabricio Coloccini that can live up to the start made to the season by Williamson.
The two new attacking threats purchased by Newcastle in the summer, Remy Cabella and Antoine Riviere, are also simmering and EA SPORTS Player Performance Index show that they are impressing on the pitch. The statistics show us that Cabella has attempted nine dribbles and nine crosses whilst Riviere has attempted five dribbles and two crosses. Whist they have both made two interceptions, Riviere has won to tackles compared to Cabella’s nine. The statistics point to the pair to be a bit more selfish as neither has hit the target in the opening two games, but the talent is definitely there.
Crystal Palace have endured a tough time of late after losing their first home game of the season to West Ham, losing their manager but thankfully not losing hope thanks to a Dwight Gayle hat-trick, which saw them progress to the next round of the League Cup. The Eagles will be looking to impress under Neil Warnock’s new regime and keen to get their season back on track by returning to London with 3 well earned points.
Whilst it was Gale who netted a hat trick in the week, he has only been given 25 minutes of playing time across the two games he has featured in so far. According to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, it is Marouane Chamakh who has impressed for the Selhurst Park outift. However, it would appear that Chamakh’s best work is at the wrong end of the pitch as he has won six tackles, completed seven clearances and had three interceptions. In contrast, going forward he has completed only one dribble and no crosses, has had no assists but has scored with his only shot on goal. If he works higher up the pitch and gets more shots off, he will be reaping the rewards.
Whilst Palace will naturally want to add to their goals scored for the season, it is of more importance they stop conceding as they have the joint worst defensive record so far, shipping five goals. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that Julian Speroni has made nine saves in those two games and will have to continue that shot stopping form if his Crystal Palace side are to come away with a result from Saturday’s game.
This game could well be won in the engine room, where Newcastle’s Jack Colback may in fine form, but will be met by Crystal Palace captain, Mile Jedinak. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that only Jedinak has covered 21.28km in his first two league games; the second most in the Eagles’ squad. His 15 tackles won, more than anyone else in the Premier League, also show the centre midfielder’s hard work, as do his five clearances and his nine interceptions made. On the ball, Jedinak has already created a goal and completed 35 passes in the opposition half, but will be eager to improve on his 65.05% pass completion rate so that he can continue to create more goals to inspire the team that he leads.