Newcastle United have a good shot at claiming three points against a Zaha-less Crystal Palace side on Friday.
Newcastle United are hoping to end their two-game losing streak when they travel to London to face Crystal Palace. Games involving these two teams have only been decided by one goal since the 2015 campaign, and a tight battle is expected to take place at Selhurst Park once more.
The key difference this time around is that the Eagles will be without their star player Wilfried Zaha. The Ivory Coast international is their most dynamic threat in the final third, and he leads the team with five goals this season, but he will miss this clash after testing positive for COVID-19.
For the player and the club, that is unfortunate news, and we here at Newcastle Toons wish Zaha a speedy recovery with no complications, but Newcastle United must use this to their advantage.
The Magpies lucked out with major absences against Everton and got the job done, but they failed to play with the same urgency against Southampton despite the absence of prolific striker Danny Ings.
Steve Bruce is walking a thin line at Newcastle United, at least with the fans, and another defensive show on the pitch would only add more fuel to the fire.
Yes, Zaha is only one player, and there are other key players to watch for in the Palace squad, but history proves that Palace are one of the worst teams in the league without Zaha.
This report from Goal highlights just how much Crystal Palace depend on Zaha. Without the Ivorian, the Eagles have lost 71.4% of their games in the top flight. When looking at the statistics from this season, if Zaha’s goals are taken off the list, Crystal Palace would only have six goals to their name.
Their scoring woes were already put on display this past weekend as Burnley earned their first victory of the season in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. Newcastle United decided to give their primary striker Callum Wilson another week of rest against Chelsea, but he should be ready to go for this important fixture.
With six goals to his name already this season, the Magpies need to open up in midfield and focus on feeding the ball to Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson early on.
If Newcastle United can play the way they did against West Ham and Burnley, then three points are definitely there for the taking, and what a boost that would be heading into a clash against Aston Villa next week.