Crystal Palace go into Saturday’s Premier League trip to Newcastle United in a similar shape to when they won the reverse fixture 5-1, according to Alan Pardew.
Pardew will return to St James’ Park for the first time since leaving Newcastle to take over at Palace in January of last year and does so on the back of an FA Cup semi-final win over Watford.
His team take on a Newcastle side desperate for points as they bid to avoid relegation to the Championship. The Magpies are second from bottom and a point behind 17th-placed Sunderland with three games to play.
Rafael Benitez’s men have taken five points from their previous three matches – a run of results that has included creditable draws with Manchester City and Liverpool – but were thrashed by Palace at Selhurst Park under Steve McClaren in December.
Although Newcastle have improved since Benitez’s appointment in March, Pardew believes his team are close to the same level that saw them thump the Tynesiders in south London.
“He’s managed at the very top of the game,” Pardew said of the Spaniard at his pre-match media conference.
“This is as close as we’ve been to that game, in terms of form, fitness and spirit.”
Pardew faced a mass of fan protests towards the end of his Newcastle reign and could face a hostile reception from a crowd that is expected to be close to capacity.
However, Pardew expects Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye – who left St James’ Park for Paris Saint-Germain in 2014 – to be received better by the Newcastle fans.
“Yohan showed at the weekend: the bigger the game, the better he plays. I’m sure the Newcastle fans will give him a great reception,” he added.
Pardew has a “slight concern” over Wilfried Zaha but Palace have no other injury worries to contend with.
By contrast Newcastle are set to be without Daryl Janmaat (groin) and Fabricio Coloccini (calf) for the final three games, Yoan Gouffran and Steven Taylor are doubts.
With fellow strugglers Sunderland and Norwich facing tricky away trips to Stoke City and Arsenal respectively, Newcastle could climb out of the bottom three with a win.
And midfielder Jack Colback – scorer of the equaliser in the 2-2 draw at Anfield last weekend – told the club’s official website: “It’s a massive game for us, and one we’ve got to win really.
“We’ve given ourselves a chance now, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do to make sure we stay in this league.”
Key Opta Stats:
– The meeting earlier this season was the first time since March 1998 that Newcastle had lost against Crystal Palace in all competitions (W8 D3).
– Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse has scored in all three of his Barclays Premier League matches against Crystal Palace.
– Newcastle are unbeaten in their last three games (W1 D2 L0) and have not gone four games unbeaten in the Premier League since Alan Pardew’s tenure (six games in Octover-November 2014).
– Palace have not won a Premier League away game since December 19th 2015 – they have picked up just five points in nine road trips since (W0 D5 L4).
– Emmanuel Adebayor has scored six goals and assisted six more in his last nine Premier League games against Newcastle United. He jointly holds the Premier League record for most assists in a single game (four for Spurs v Newcastle – February 2012).
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