Bruce goes, Jones in for now, Fonseca waiting in the wings
It all seemed to be going so well for 17 minutes against Tottenham last Sunday didn't it? Callum Wilson with a second-minute goal, a party atmosphere, part-owners Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi beaming with smiles and St James's Park rocking. But it didn't last long, well not for Steve Bruce, as sentiment afforded him his 1,000th game in charge and that was it.
Staveley reportedly told Bruce to carry on in a training ground meeting the Monday before Spurs, carry on he did for the one game. There's ruthless and ruthless, and now the search begins.
Greame Jones, Bruce's former assistant will face the media on Friday ahead of the trip to south east London, which ever there was a case of walking into the lions' den this is it. Jones had a fairly non-descript playing career bar a fine spell at Wigan, and now he'll be thrust into the national spotlight. Another case of walking into a maelstrom.
The fact I have wasted three paragraphs with barely a mention of football highlights the problem that Newcastle now have. It appears a done deal with Paulo Fonseca set to take over following reported talks, and sources close to the former Roma and Porto boss relate that he is keen.
As my colleague Joe Dyer pointed out this week, Fonseca is high on the list of Betfair backers too, with the 48-year-old 4/11 favourite in the Next Newcastle Manager market.
I usually back Alan Curbishley in those markets and have done for the last 20 years, so it's a surprise he doesn't feature in the list. One of my pals has backed Kevin Keegan at 100/1, and that would be sensational with memories of their champagne football and the best-ever away kit of the purple and blue stripes festooned with the Newcastle Brown Ale centre. Great socks too.
My own personal take was that Roberto Martinez at 12/1 and Steven Gerrard at 20/1 were possibles, but the momentum concerning Fonseca probably points to a done deal.
It was Staveley's first big power-play but it's all becoming a bit of a circus in terms of media coverage. It's the biggest story in town; players such as Philippe Coutinho can now be linked. That's a transfer I can see happening.
Newcastle lost last weekend 2-3 to Tottenham.
Late goals continue to dent league progress
A last-minute Arsenal equaliser last Monday in the 2-2 draw ruined Patrick Vieira's homecoming at the Emirates. It was the second time in three weeks the Eagles had conceded deep into stoppage time, and Alexandre Lacazette's leveller was felt just as painful as Neal Maupay's 95th-minute goal for their fierce rivals.
Palace could have been in tenth rather than fourteenth had they held on to those leads.
And we haven't mentioned the 86 minute loss at Watford.
Vieira is changing the style at Selhurst, and they went toe-to-toe with Arsenal - playing high up the pitch with an aggressive press. The character has been good in the side, but as the excellent Conor Gallagher reflected: "It felt worse than a defeat." However, the Frenchman is no doubt pleased in the build-up that all the focus will be on Newcastle, in what essentially has been a rather intense week.
Wilfried Zaha missed the Arsenal match through illness with Odsonne Edouard operating in a wider role in his absence. The winger is expected to return this Saturday with Edouard expected to shift to a more central position again.
I like neither price in the outright Match Odds. Palace look too short at 2.01/1and Newcastle without a win all season hardly deserve to be priced at 3.7511/4 on the road - losing three away and scoring just three goals.
Newcastle were totally outplayed by Spurs on Sunday and a meek second-half again showcased the worst of their defence with shoddy play. They have been opened up too easily time and time again, and while Jones is said to be a fine tactical coach who the players respect, he needs a performance of steel and mettle, especially at the back.
Crystal Palace have drawn five of their eight Premier League games this season, including each of the last three in a row. It's the most draws a team has had at this stage a Premier League campaign since 2014-15, when both Arsenal and Sunderland had five draws in their first eight. With that in mind and my lack of enthusiasm for either win price, I'd rather play the draw at 3.7511/4 and perhaps utilise a trade to get out if we can anywhere near 1.910/11 for your stake back.
A big shift out on Friday morning for the Magpies from the initial 3.711/4 to 4.10 still didn't tempt me. But it must be remembered that Newcastle have lost more Premier League away games in London than any other side in the competition (81). However, the Magpies have won six of their last 12 top-flight visits to the capital (D1 L5).
Palace have the full set of scorelines in their draws this season at home; with a 0-0 against Brentford, a 1-1 against Brighton and the most-recent 2-2 with Leicester.
The Under/Over line is inconclusive and undecided too with a fair split at 1.9620/21 and 2.01/1. Newcastle could be key to this, and while Palace will be more on the front foot, I can see the interim boss Jones making more of an emphasis on defence and to cut out the silly goals conceded.
The visitors have not scored more than one in a game on the road and have kept just three clean sheets in their last 25 Premier League games, with each of these shutouts coming against the three relegated sides last season.
The Magpies have conceded more goals than any other Premier League side so far this season (19). Which adds to the confusion.
I would advise small stakes on the Under 2.5 with a Betbuilder Draw at 3.89.
Newcastle striker Callum Wilson has scored five goals in his last five Premier League games, more than he had in his previous 18 (4). He's looking to score in three consecutive league appearances for the first time since a run of four with Bournemouth in September 2019. Wilson to net first is 5/1 on the Sportsbook, while Odsonne Eduard at 4s.
After netting in his first two Premier League games against Newcastle in 2013, Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke has failed to score in his last nine against the Magpies in the competition. We have had one successful lay in the Anytime Scorer market this season with Ivan Toney against Liverpool, and that's a bet I am happy to strike again with the Belgian forward.