When Crystal Palace defeated Manchester City, Liverpool fans celebrated an early Christmas present. The shock result, a poor Palace side in the bottom half of the table going on the road and beating the title favourites, gave the Reds a four point gap.
Yet while Liverpool fans were enjoying being clear in first—and with a little breathing room, even—it was a result that also offered hope to other bottom half sides. Sides like Newcastle United, who travel to Anfield to face off against Liverpool on Boxing Day.
“Crystal Palace beat Man City so you don’t know what can happen in these games,” said Newcastle striker Salomón Rondón. “In my opinion, we are doing really, really well and we just had to adjust somethings in order to win more games.
“The only thing we have to do is keep going. When you play in the Premier League, you never know what will happen. If Man City, who are second, lost at home to a team like Palace who are near where we are, then it shows anything can happen.”
Palace’s victory combined with Newcastle’s own unexpected result—a poor nil-nil draw against dead-last Fulham—moved Palace from a point behind Newcastle to a point ahead and dropped United to 15th in the league table, just five points off the drop.
After an impressive mid-table finish last season under Rafa Benitez with what was essentially a Championship squad, a lack of investment by owner Mike Ashley has caught up to Newcastle this time around and they’ve struggled to consistently earn results.
But with the right game plan, the right performances, and maybe a bit of luck—or an opponent taking them lightly—anything is possible in any match. While Liverpool fans celebrated being top at Christmas, that’s what Newcastle was taking from the Palace result.
There may be 13 teams between the two sides in the table and a goal differential swing of 40, but if Liverpool aren’t fully prepared for United on Wednesday, any result is possible—and Newcastle will go into the match believing they can do what Palace just has.
“Every game is like a final so you have to fight until the end,” Rondón added. “If you win, it is massive. If you draw, it is a point that you can add to your tally and move on from. If you lose, then you must learn from it and then improve.
”We were close to winning at Man City earlier in the season when we scored, and it shows that you can beat anyone in the Premier League.”