Scout report: This is why Newcastle should expect a tough test from Crystal Palace
Newcastle United travel to Selhurst Park this weekend chasing a first win of the season - but what should they expect from Crystal Palace?
We've taken a look at the Magpies' next opponents to see what Rafa Benitez should expect from the Londoners, as the Spaniard continues his search for a first three points of the campaign.
Here's a full scout report on the Eagles - and gives details on why Newcastle should expect a tough test:
What system will Crystal Palace play?
Crystal Palace tend to operate in a 4-3-3 formation, in what is a slightly more defensive variation than that which Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez tends to operate with.
The system allows the Eagles’ pacy and lively front three of Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew and ex-Newcastle man Andros Townsend the opportunity to flourish, with their movement proving tricky to deal with.
Behind them lies a solid midfield three, whose duties are very much to protect the back four behind them.
In James Tomkins and Lamine Sakho they have a reliable pair of centre backs, who again will focus purely on getting the ball away from danger - while also posing a threat when it comes to attacking set pieces.
Who are Crystal Palace’s key players?
The aforementioned Zaha is Palace’s star man, and it’s easy to see why the Ivorian international was linked with several high-profile clubs this summer.
An explosive turn of pace and a bag full of tricks makes him a difficult customer when it comes to defending, and his end product is to be admired too.
He netted nine times in 29 appearances last season and has three goals in four outings already this campaign, so will need to be watched carefully.
Skipper Luka MilivojeviÄ‡ is also one to watch, and is likely to be the one to volunteer for set-pieces.
Do Crystal Palace have any injury worries?
Palace will be without four key players at Selhurst Park on Saturday - which limits both their attacking and defensive options.
Strike duo Connor Wickham and Christian Benteke are set to miss out with calf and knee injuries respectively.
Meanwhile at the other end of the pitch, Scott Dann (knee) and Papa Souare (muscle) are also absentees.
Who is Crystal Palace’s manager and what can we expect from them?
The vastly-experienced Roy Hodgson is in charge of the Eagles, and has been since September of last year.
Expected the former England manager to have his side defensively disciplined and unwilling to give Newcastle’s strikers an inch.
At the other end of the pitch, though, Hodgson will allow his side some more freedom to express themselves and create plenty of chances.
What form have Crystal Palace been in?
It’s been a mixed start to the season for Palace, who have won just twice in the league - claiming victories over Fulham on the opening day and Huddersfield in their last outing.
Their only other triumph came in the Carabao Cup and the Eagles will be keen to build on a start which sees them sat 12th in the Premier League.
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