Newcastle’s first game without the suspended Alan Pardew at the helm resulted in defeat at the hands of strugglers Fulham. They’ll be looking for a reversal in fortunes when they host another relegation candidate in the form of Crystal Palace.
Newcastle will have felt aggrieved at the result as they dominated possession, and a rejected penalty claim in the last ten minutes will only have compounded their frustration. Much of the credit for their dominance of the football should go to Moussa Sissoko, who demonstrated his excellent passing ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he completed 32 passes in the opposition half, more than any other Newcastle player. Sissoko is 10/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal of the game on Saturday.
Paul Dummett has impressed for Alan Pardew’s men since breaking into the first team at the start of the season. One area where he has particularly excelled is his tackling and he demonstrated this excellent ability on Saturday, winning 80% of his challenges adding to his overall season percentage of 74%.
Cheick Tiote made another 3 interceptions on Saturday to take his overall tally for the season to 51. This is an impressive figure and shows how important Tiote is to Newcastle’s rearguard effort.
Crystal Palace left the Stadium of Light with a point in their last Premier League fixture, a result that leaves them three points clear of the dreaded relegation zone.
Tony Pulis billed the game as a ‘must not lose’ and he will have been delighted with the performance of his back four to ensure that this didn’t happen. In particular Damian Delaney impressed, as he marshaled his back four to great effect. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he made 20 defensive contributions which was the most in the Crystal Palace squad and the fifth most in the league.
Mile Jedinak has earned plaudits all term after producing a number of stellar defensive performances. This was the case again on Saturday as he made 4 interceptions, taking his overall tally for the season to a staggering 103. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that this is comfortably the most in the league and underlines precisely how important the Australian is to the Palace squad.
If Crystal Palace are to survive this year the club should look to change the ground’s name to ‘Selhurst Pulis’ as they looked destined for the drop prior to him taking the reins. One area where he should be praised is his workings in the transfer market, as he has signed a number of players who have strengthened the squad. One of these additions is centre half Scott Dann, and since he arrived in Croydon he has been a colossus at the back making a total of 60 defensive contributions in only 5 appearances.
Another move that Pulis made in the January transfer window was signing winger Jason Puncheon on a permanent deal. The former Southampton player has become a key component of the Southampton side and his offensive ability in particular is a key cog in the Eagles armoury. The EA SPORTS Player Performance underlines this as it shows that Puncheon has made a total of 440 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, crosses, dribbles and shots on target), the second most in the Palace squad. You can find Puncheon at 14/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal of the game at the weekend.