Newcastle 1-0 Palace
Alan Pardew lost on his first return to St James’ Park thanks to a shocking second half performance from Crystal Palace. The visitors looked in control of the match for the first forty-five minutes only for the ease of their performance to fall off a cliff in the second half.
Should I bother writing anything else? If the players can’t be bothered to turn up for the second half after two thousands Palace fans have spent a small fortune to get to Newcastle to watch the match, why should I bother wasting my time offering my thoughts – which I am having to do with a banging hangover on the train back home from Newcastle on a Sunday evening?
Of course I will, just like we will all turn up for Stoke and Southampton – I just really hope that the players do not prove Sam Allardyce right and approach the final two league games with a “I don’t give a shit” attitude. Going into the Cup final with no form and no confidence will be disastrous for us.
Further, the ticket for Southampton is £42. It would be nice if I could leave the ground feeling like I haven’t wasted my money like I did after this one.
Yohan Cabaye’s Penalty Miss
Before I get into the kick itself, I will make it utterly clear that I think that our captain, and leader, Mile Jedinak should be taking any spot kick when he is on the field. He has never missed a penalty in his career, often finding the side netting of the goal and giving the keeper no chance whatsoever. Take the ball next time Mile, it’s yours.
Cabaye received a mixed reaction from the home crowd. Some boos, probably from the same people that wanted Pardew out, and some cheers. Much like the entire team, his second half performance left a lot to be desired and he was over trying as a result. When Mike Dean, wrongly, pointed to the penalty spot, he was straight on the ball.
Now, players should be professional at all times and it is clear now, that even with Jedinak on the pitch, Cabaye is our penalty taker. However, if he finds the back of the net with that penalty kick, without knowing what was going on in the Sunderland game, he could all but be banging the final nail into the Geordie relegation coffin. Should he really be doing that to a team that gave him a platform to move to one of the biggest Clubs in European football?
With all of the emotion attached to that penalty, I think that it would have been wise to hand the ball to Jedinak and let him tuck it away. Instead, a Newcastle player saved a penalty for the first time since February 2012 as the Frenchman basically passed the ball back to Darlow.
A step to the left, a step to the right.
Whilst Yohan Cabaye was finding it difficult to score from 12 yards at one end, Andros Townsend was proving at the other end that any free kick within twenty-five yards of the Palace goal is akin to a penalty kick at the moment. For the second time in a few weeks, Wayne Hennessey was emphatically beaten on his side of the goal from a direct set piece.
I gave him a bit of a break for the Dimitri Payet one. After all, Payet has been scoring free kicks for fun this season so it is should probably go down as an incredible free kick as opposed to a goalkeeper error. When Townsend is the player on the other end of the free kick, there is no such break to be given from my end.
Wayne, until someone proves that they can beat you over the wall – stop walking that way and offering your side of the goal as a freebie. Outsiders may see a free kick fly in the top corner and think that I, and many other Palace fans, are being harsh but we are sick and tired of your incompetence
Man of the Match: James McArthur
Our midfield collapsed when he departed, therefore he wins it by default.
Up Next: Stoke
We have already beaten our two final league opponents of the season twice. Beating any team three times in a season is an incredibly difficult feat. Mark Hughes will be looking to avoid a Palace hat-trick so expect Stoke to look for the points and, maybe, just ensure that Palace are sweating going into the final day at Southampton.
Come on you Palace!