Newcastle United made it five straight wins at St James' Park and a second in 10 days on Easter Sunday thanks to a dramatic last-gasp diving header by Bruno Guimaraes in the 95th minute that completed a 2-1 comeback against a very good Leicester City side:
Brendan Rodgers' men were organised, composed in possession and confident after a late win against PSV midweek to advance in The Europa Conference League and opened the scoring with a clever free-kick that caught Newcastle cold:
Yet The Magpies dug in and were inspired by Bruno Guimaraes' first goal at St James' Park and equaliser just before halftime which was confirmed by VAR after a 2-minute wait for a decision that increased the tension inside the stadium and his effort - that had been initially disallowed - was overturned as Kasper Schmeichel never had control of the ball:
The win and all three points puts Newcastle on 37 points up to 14th in the table level on points with Crystal Palace in 13th spot who have a +3 goal difference compared to The Magpies' -19 with both clubs three points behind 9th placed Leicester, who have 40 & games in hand.
Wednesday's game is the rearranged fixture that was meant to be played on March 19th but was postponed because of The Eagles' involvement in The FA Cup, a run to the last four of the competition that Chelsea ended at Wembley 2-0 on Sunday afternoon with Mason Mount scoring the decisive second goal:
With Chelsea to face Liverpool in The FA Cup Final in what is a repeat of The League Cup Final, it means the same five clubs - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City or Man United have won 28 out of the last 30 FA Cups and 28 of the last 30 Premier League titles, a competitive stranglehold that Newcastle's new owners are attempting to break.
Patrick Vieira in his first season in charge at Selhurst Park is having a very good season having taken over from Roy Hodgson and guided Crystal Palace to 37 points from 31 games so far with seven games left to play having added a new attacking dimension to The Eagles centered around the effervescence, energy and running of Connor Gallagher.
The 22 year-old loanee from Chelsea has scored 8 goals in 27 games for Palace and assisted a further three and has impressed so much with all-action displays like that at The Etihad against Champions Man City that he was selected for Gareth Southgate's England squad and made his first start for The Three Lions vs Switzerland in March.
Gallagher wasn't allowed to play in The FA Cup Semi-Final against his parent club Chelsea so he will be rested and raring to go against Newcastle and will be one for Eddie Howe's men to watch along with perennial Palace danger man Wilfried Zaha.
Both Newcastle and Palace's last Premier League games were against Leicester yet while The Magpies ground out a 2-1 home win, Vieira's men lost 2-1 at The King Power:
Prior to that loss, Palace were unbeaten in five and had beaten Arsenal, Wolves & Watford and drawn with Man City & Burnley. In the corresponding game against Newcastle at Selhurst Park in October, Vieira's men drew 1-1 with a Graeme Jones-led Magpies side thanks to Callum Wilson's acrobatic overhead kick:
A heaven of a lot has happened on Tyneside since then with Eddie Howe's appointment coming two games later after an ill-fated pursuit of Villareal Manager Unai Emery as well as Europe's biggest transfer spend in January bringing Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn, Matt Targett, Chris Wood and man of the moment Bruno Guimaraes to St James' Park that transformed a potentially disastrous four point start from the first nine games of the season into the second best Premier League team since January 22nd:
Eddie Howe and Newcastle have made St James' Park a fortress again and will be hoping for a third win in quick succession at home after beating Wolves and Leicester.
In his pre-match presser, Howe said he wants his Magpies side to pick up where they left off against Leicester in terms of intensity and desire but have more of the ball after The Foxes controlled the game and had the lion's share of the possession on Sunday:
And Howe revealed how he would love to complete the hat-trick of home wins to get the three points and the club to the magic 40 point mark that usually means survival:
Injured winger Ryan Fraser is still out but Howe has no injury concerns apart from him and is looking forward to another good performance in front of Newcastle's fans:
Another home win and Eddie Howe can become the first Newcastle manager to six consecutive home wins in a row since Sir Bobby Robson, esteemed company the Magpies manager feels privileged to be among:
Prediction - Newcastle 3 Crystal Palace 2