On a day of great FA Cup action, Alan Pardew was responsible for carving out one of the best results of the day.
While Chelsea and Manchester City will take all the headlines, Pardew’s Palace went to third placed Southampton and beat them on their own turf.
The question is how did he approach today’s match and his team selection, at Newcastle was it orders from Mike Ashley to play weakened teams in the FA Cup?
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Crystal Palace have beaten Southampton 3-2 this afternoon and Alan Pardew only made 3 changes (keeper and 2 outfield players) with 8 of the players who won at Burnley in their last match playing again, plus the three missing players were all on the bench today.
So how does this compare to what happened at Newcastle when Pardew was there?
2011 Newcastle beat West Ham 5-0 in the league and Alan Pardew made 5 changes as United lost 3-1 at Stevenage in the 3rd round.
2012 Newcastle beat Man Utd 3-0 in the league Pardew made 4 changes as United beat Blackburn 2-1 in the 3rd round.
2012 Newcastle lost 5-2 at Fulham in the league and Pardew made only 1(!) change to his team which then lost 1-0 at Brighton in the 4th round.
2013 Newcastle lost 2-1 to Everton at home before Pardew made 5 changes to his team for the 2-0 defeat at Brighton, the players left out included Cisse, Krul, Tiote and Coloccini.
2014 Newcastle lost 1-0 at West Brom in the league and Pardew then made 7 changes for the 3rd round defeat at home to Cardiff, players left out included Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Cabaye and Remy.
2015 Newcastle drew 3-3 with Burnley (Carver now in charge) and there were 7 changes for the 3rd defeat at Leicester, players left out included Janmaat, Coloccini, Perez, Colback and SIssoko.
It is hard to believe that there hasn’t been major influence from Mike Ashley, especially with a major change over the last three years.
In 2012 at Brighton only one change was made but then in each of the last three matches including the most recent under John Carver, not only have there been wholesale changes (five, then seven, and seven again) but pretty much all the decent players have been pulled out of the United teams each time.