Newcastle 1-0 Palace

Merino (86)
Sat 21st October 2017
St James' Park

After their shock win against Chelsea last weekend, Crystal Palace were brought crashing back down to Earth at St James’ Park thanks to a late Newcastle winner. Roy Hodgson’s men looked set for a first away point of the season, only for the hosts to benefit from an unfortunate ricochet in the 86th minute.

James McArthur was first to get his head to a corner kick, but the ball hit Mikel Merino in the head and looped over Julian Speroni and Patrick van Aanholt on the Palace line – it was a stark reminder that the Eagles are still in for a very long season.

Steve Parish Tweets After a Loss

Palace Twitter, they moan about Parish not tweeting after losses, yet when he does, people slag him off when everything he says was right. “Difficult conditions” are neither here nor there as both teams must deal with difficult conditions. However, we did play well until the last 15 minutes and the goal was unlucky.

The below graph backs up this view. The blue line represents the overall performance of Palace players vs Newcastle players (via That blue line is ahead for most of the game, because we were the better team for most of the game:

Sure, we didn’t manage a shot on target, but the slightest deflection on a Zaha cross in the first half prevents Yohan Cabaye from having a tap in. Van Aanholt somehow failed to convert a Ruben Loftus-Cheek shot-come-cross at the back post. In a game of very few chances, we had by far the best of them.

The reason we lost this game boils down to two issues that we are all too aware of. Our squad depth in the attacking third is non-existent. We win this game if we have a striker on the field. While Newcastle, a newly promoted team, are bringing on Mitrovic, we are bringing on Bakary Sako.

The 4-4-2 that worked so well against Chelsea simply did not work against Newcastle. Zaha and Townsend were allowed the ball in wide areas but were overrun when they tried to move infield and were handled with a rough hand. Of course, Zaha and Townsend can both be devastating from wide areas, but without anyone to cross to it becomes awfully difficult to do anything once they’ve beaten their man.

Going forward, the hope must be that Loftus-Cheek can get into the penalty area and score some goals while Benteke is out.

Fitness also played a part in this defeat. Up until the 75th minute, we were in control of the game, but as Cabaye, McArthur and Milivojevic started to run out of steam, Newcastle took control and all of a sudden, any thoughts of getting a winner evaporated and we found ourselves holding on for a point.

Roy Hodgson is getting us organised and he will get the team fitter. In the last two matches, I have seen a team that knows what it is meant to be doing and once we can, finally, get our best eleven on the field I have no doubt that we will start to pick up results. Whether it is too late already remains to be seen.

Should Cabaye Have Seen Red

Well, he must have seen red before he jumped in. I think that he was very lucky that his left foot went around the side, and not through, the player. If his left foot is an inch of two closer to the player and we are looking at a pretty horrific injury.

Stuart Atwell surely cannot be making a judgement that I have made after seeing the slow-motion replay multiple times and, by the letter of the law, should be sending Yo off. It is two-footed, he gets nowhere near the ball and he has used excessive force.

Newcastle should be thankful that he wasn’t red carded, otherwise, Shelvey wouldn’t have been able to abuse him when the winner went in. Naturally, it makes me want to find out where Shelvey lives so I can take a shit through his letterbox, but let’s be honest, we’d love the below if that was a Palace player:

Man of the Match: Mamadou Sakho

Didn’t put a foot wrong.


Up there with one of the worst of recent years. Whoever was interviewing Roy Hodgson after the game and mentioned that our fans had been amazing was hearing things.

Up Next: Bristol City – League Cup

We head to another ground that we haven’t won at in years. This time it is for a place in the Quarter Finals of the League Cup.

We’ll probably win and draw Manchester City away in the QF.

Come on you Palace!

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Stuart Atwell

Crystal Palace

Palace Manager: 
Roy Hodgson


Opposition Manager: 
Rafa Benitez