These two sides have the lowest possession percentages in the Premier League, and both managers get a little bit testy when the subject’s brought up on Amazon Prime. First up, Roy Hodgson: “I don’t believe in possession stats. Until they have some relevance to the game of football I’m not interested, it’s a load of nonsense. The only possession stats I’m interested in are in the final third. The centre backs rolling the ball across the back isn’t possession. If we’re going to win the game it’s in the final third. If you give me stats of that at the end of the game I might be interested but I suspect yours will be the global kind and that doesn’t interest me at all.”
Dearie me. Steve Bruce is less abrupt, but still bristles. “I don’t take much notice of stats. Was it Jose who said Manchester City had all the possession the other day but he took the three points?”
Palace make two changes to the side named for the loss at Burnley. Gary Cahill and Jeffrey Schlupp take the places of Jairo Riedewald and Michy Batshuayi, who drop to the bench. It’s only Cahill’s second start of the season, the veteran defender having been bothered by hamstring and shin problems.
Newcastle make four changes to the starting XI selected for the Chelsea game. Callum Wilson is back from injury, while Jonjo Shelvey, Miguel Almiron and Jeff Hendrick also return. Jacob Murphy takes a place on the bench, while Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamal Lascelles are injured and Isaac Hayden is poorly.
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Crystal Palace: Guaita, Clyne, Cahill, Dann, van Aanholt, Kouyate, McArthur, Townsend, Schlupp, Eze, Ayew.
Subs: Butland, Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, Benteke, Batshuayi, Riedewald.
Newcastle United: Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark, Lewis, Hendrick, Sean Longstaff, Shelvey, Almiron, Joelinton, Wilson.
Subs: Matthew Longstaff, Schar, Ritchie, Yedlin, Murphy, Gillespie, Anderson.
Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire).
Crystal Palace went down tamely at Burnley on Monday evening, while Newcastle rolled over for Chelsea last Saturday. Both will fancy their chances of a bounce-back victory tonight: Palace because they’re unbeaten in this fixture in five, Newcastle because Palace have lost 14 of the last 16 games without Wilfried Zaha, who is still isolating with coronavirus.
Palace can go as high as sixth if they give the Toon a good thumping. Newcastle can leapfrog Manchester United into tenth spot with a victory, or, if they’re the ones handing out a spanking, they’ll go ninth at the expense of Wolves. But neither of these sides are prolific scorers, so realism caveats apply. It’s on!
Kick off: 8pm GMT.
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