‘Disappointing, but far from surprising’ – The verdict on Newcastle’s start ahead of Palace test. Crystal Palace could move into the top half of the Premier League this weekend, if they can beat Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

But what can the Eagles expect from the Magpies, who have started the season with just one point from their first five matches in the top flight?

We spoke to chief Newcastle United writer Lee Ryder at Chronicle Live to get the lowdown on the Magpies.

How do you assess Newcastle’s start to the season so far?

It’s been disappointing but far from surprising.

The Magpies were handed a tough start with games against top six outfits such as Chelsea, Spurs, Man City and Arsenal.

We’d have all taken four or five points from that but as it stands they are sitting on one point which was picked up rather disappointingly at Cardiff.

Newcastle have one from 15 but perhaps should have a couple more based on performances.

What is the current mood among supporters?

It’s very low.

The fans are protesting at Mike Ashley’s ownership after a poor transfer window and failed sale of the club 11 months ago.

Depending on how the game goes on Saturday there could be a few angry chants from the Toon Army.

What do you think is a realistic aim for Newcastle this season?

At the end of last season, with investment of course, the top eight would have been the answer to that.

Instead, most fans would be happy to stay up now as the club are already up against and one of the favourites to get relegated.

A comfortable finish would be nice but it could go to the wire.

What are the key strengths and weaknesses of the side?

Newcastle can be compact at the back and look good defensively.

Nobody has stuffed them this season and even games against the top six have been narrow affairs.

But they struggle in transition and even though they play on the counter they don’t turn defence into attack very quickly.

What sort of game do you expect at Selhurst Park on Saturday?

It’ll be a niggly afternoon for me.

Palace will be favourites and Newcastle will try to make life difficult for them.

Expect defensive tactics from United and them trying to stop Zaha from playing.

What is Newcastle’s likely line-up?

This depends on Lascelles’ fitness.

But it could be Dubravka, Yedlin, Clark, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Murphy, Perez, Rondon.

What is your score prediction?

2-2.

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