'Surprise, surprise' - Mark Lawrenson predicts Newcastle v Crystal Palace
By Russell Edge
Former Liverpool defender and current BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson has predicted that Newcastle United will overcome Crystal Palace in their clash on Saturday.
Newcastle will come into the game at St James’ Park off the back of a 2-2 draw at Southampton, which saw the Magpies twice surrender the lead to the Saints.
Meanwhile the Eagles scored their first league goals and picked up their first league win of the season with a surprise 2-1 victory over reigning champions Chelsea at Selhurst Park, thanks to an own goal and a strike from Wilfried Zaha.
However victory was not enough to see them move themselves from last place in the top flight table, sitting a point behind Bournemouth and already five points off safety, with Stoke City in 17th.
Newcastle sit ninth on 11 points, and Lawrenson believes that they will push on up the table with victory over Roy Hodgson’s side, crediting Rafael Benitez’s management in the process.
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Predicting a 2-1 victory for the Magpies on the BBC Sport website, he said: “Newcastle should really have seen out their game against Southampton last week. They had to settle for one point instead of three, but I was still very impressed by them.
“Of the three promoted teams, they are starting to look the most comfortable and – surprise, surprise – they have got a manager who is extremely experienced in the Premier League.
“Benitez moulds teams and makes the best out of the players he has got, which is why he is getting some good results.
“Palace finally got off the mark by beating Chelsea last week and you could see in that game the effect Roy Hodgson has had on the players.
“There will be an expectation that they go to St James’ Park and get another positive result, but I think this is an extremely difficult game for them.”
Of the 41 games played between the two sides, Newcastle have won 25 of them, with their last clash seeing the Magpies pick up a 1-0 victory in April 2016 thanks to a goal from Andros Townsend, who left Tyneside to join the Eagles following the club’s relegation.
In other Newcastle United news, a Russian billionaire has registered interest in taking over the Magpies.