Mark Lawrenson predicts Crystal Palace v Newcastle, highlights Pardew and McClaren's battle

Selhurst Park - Crystal Palace - 23/02/2014

Mark Lawrenson believes Crystal Palace and Newcastle United will draw 1-1 today.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks Crystal Palace and Newcastle United will draw 1-1 at Selhurst Park this afternoon.

Palace go in to the game having lost to one North East side already this week, having slipped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Sunderland on Monday night.

Jermain Defoe's winner after some comical defending from Palace means that Alan Pardew's men continue to struggle at home, but he will be desperate to beat his former club today.

Pardew endured a tough relationship with the Newcastle fans during his four-year spell as manager at St. James' Park, but he has enjoyed some success with Palace since his move in January of this year.

Magpies boss Steve McClaren also faces a huge game after a 3-0 home defeat to Leicester City last weekend, and with just two wins all season, fans are once again concerned about an impending relegation battle.

With both teams needing a victory, this should be a closely-fought game - and pundit Mark Lawrenson certainly believes that to be the case.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Lawrenson believes that the teams will draw 1-1 at Selhurst Park - and highlighted the importance of the battle between Pardew and McClaren.

"This is a big game for Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew against his former club, but probably an even bigger one for Newcastle manager Steve McClaren," said Lawrenson. "I thought the Magpies would build on their win at Bournemouth when they played Leicester but they ended up being taken apart."

"Palace will be expecting to win but then they expected to beat Sunderland on Monday night too, and they did not create many opportunities in that game. In fairness to the Black Cats, they got what they came for which was a clean sheet and a win, but Newcastle cannot play like that so this game will be more open," he added.

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