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Match Reports

Positive change at HT with Mitrovic for Perez until I realised it was Lascelles…

6 years ago

Crystal Palace 5 Newcastle 1  Saturday 28 November 3pm

Sadly, I had the misfortune of being at the game on Saturday.

My first ever Newcastle game was against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup in 1999 when I was 3, we won 2-1. Now onto game 416, I am 20 years old, and here we are in the away at Selhurst Park, on a freezing cold day, in the rain.

After a week of headlines about a training ground bust up, heated discussions and a rejuvenated side ready to fight for the shirt, we probably didn’t expect to win (I don’t remember the last time I backed us on an accumulator), but we all expected the team to put up a fight… to try.

How wrong was I?

Despite the early Newcastle goal, the warning signs that nothing much had changed were actually there in the opening 5 minutes. Sissoko giving the ball away numerous times, Coloccini evading challenges, and Paul Dummett doing what he does best, switching the ball onto his left foot and hoofing it down the line to nobody.

However, much to everyone’s delight, Papiss Cisse put the ball in the net in the 7th minute from a Darryl Janmaat cross. If there was one positive to take from the game, it’s that Cisse played well. For once his first touch was perfect, he held the ball up well and took the only big chance that he got, 1-0 Newcastle.

Moments after, NUFC could have been 2-0 up but shots from Cisse and Sissoko were blocked.

Then Palace came out for the first half and the game was over. Alan Pardew has put together a half decent side at Crystal Palace, and if there is one thing for sure, it’s that Crystal Palace have a better team than Newcastle United.

Almost immediately, only four minutes after Cisse’s goal, James McArthur took a shot at the edge of the box which deflected in off Dummett and past Elliott. 1-1.

Some would say that the goal was really unlucky, but in the stands running up to the goal there were cries of ‘Coloccini’ as a long ball was put forward and all he the captain had to do was head it or kick it away, anywhere. Instead, he backed out of the challenge, let Wickham win the ball and the rest was history.

Three minutes later and Bolasie made it 2-1 Crystal Palace. Comical defending.

Mistake by Colback. Mistake by Coloccini. Mistake by Anita. Mistake by Janmaat.

In the past year, I have noticed that in these situations, tough games, Coloccini is always more interested in flinging his arms around and shrugging his shoulders, rather than attempting to cheer his team back up. That’s not how a captain acts, even a ‘quiet one’ as Coloccini is said to be.

Shortly after, Yohan Cabaye came over to take a corner at the away end and was greeted with a mixed reception. I’d say 70% boos, 30% applause. For the next 20 minutes my view of the game was blurred, as two groups of people next to me came close to fists, arguing about why you should or shouldn’t boo Cabaye.

In my opinion, I have no good words to say about Yohan Cabaye. A fantastic player yes. But at the end of the day, he refused to play for Newcastle United while we were paying his wages. He went on strike, to engineer a move to a bigger club for more money.

If you weren’t at that Man City 4-0 defeat on the Monday night, then I don’t expect you to understand. But for those that paid £45 for a ticket, travelled down on a Monday (which always involves a sacrifice of work, family, friends, school or college), to find out that your best player is refusing to play, it is sickening. It may be harsh but players like that do not deserve to play for Newcastle United.

‘We don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a club that tries’ and I believe that motto applies to Yohan Cabaye.

Back to the game, five minutes before half time and the game was all over. Another defensive error as Wickham skipped past Mbemba. I remember muttering to myself “don’t dive in, don’t dive in” but he did.

What these Newcastle players need to remember is that Newcastle fans (and Sunderland, it’s generally a North East thing), have a great knowledge of football itself. We can see a bad player, and a good one, we can tell when you’re trying and when you’re not trying.

Anyway, a lucky volley this time, and it’s 3-1. Coloccini waves his arms around again, as the team make their way into the changing rooms to a chorus of boos and “we’re s*** and we’re sick of it”.

McClaren made out that we were still in the game at half-time but everyone else knew the match was over.

A positive change was made at HT with Mitrovic coming on Perez.

Great, a little bit more directness. Two up front and perhaps something for the Palace defence to think about. However, I was really confused to see Mitrovic playing centre half, that’s not his position. Only for me to then realise that Lascelles had actually come on at HT, which was strange because I thought Perez was the one who had come off.

Turns out Perez was substituted, for Lascelles and we were now playing a 5-3-2. For anyone who tries to say it was a 3-5-2, it wasn’t. Paul Dummett didn’t cross the halfway line once in the second half.

Not even 100 seconds after the restart and it was 4-1. After 46 minutes against Crystal Palace and we are losing 4-1.

More chants came from the away end, including a loud rendition of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” and loud cheers for every NUFC pass, the ultimate humiliation really. In the meantime, Gouffran was brought on in defensive midfield. Palace continued to push for more chances, it could have been seven or eight by the time James McArthur made it 5-1 and wrapped the game up.

Although a few fans had left early, most stayed behind til the final whistle.

This has happened twice already this year, both times at Leicester in the Cup and League. Fans have stayed until the end to tell the players exactly what they think of them. In my opinion, this was a lot worse than both Leicester games.

With 100% of those who stayed chanting “you’re not fit to wear the shirt”. Captain Colo came over and raised his hand in an apologetic manner, before swiftly moving on. The only player to get a good reception was Rob Elliott, who although being our 3rd choice keeper, always gives a good account of himself in my opinion, and can rarely be blamed or criticised directly.

Crystal Palace 5-1 Newcastle United. Where on earth do we go from here?


Elliott – 6 Made a few good saves, and without his performance it could have been 7/8. Then again, he still conceded 5.

Janmaat – 4 Always happy to go forward but his defending leaves something to be desired.

Coloccini – -10 (that’s a minus 10) I don’t think there is anything Steve McClaren can do to change things at nufc but dropping Coloccini and having a new captain would be a start.

Mbemba – 4 Still has plenty to learn but so far this season has always been one of the “’least worst’ performers.

Dummett – 3 Always gives 100%, but is obviously not good enough. Why the club let Davide Santon go I will never know.

Anita – 4 Huffed and Puffed. Not good enough though. After years of not getting an opportunity under Pardew, this was seen as being Anita’s big season, but he’s not taking his chance.

Colback 3 – I will always defend Jack Colback. I think we need him, or a player like him in the team. Probably his worst game this though.

Sissoko – 0 Probably the most overrated footballer we’ve ever had. Another gutless performance. I saw him in the club shop with my brother a couple of weeks ago and I said “hey, do you want me to get you a picture with Sissoko?” to which he replied “no, he’s sh***” – I think he summed it up pretty well.

Wijnaldum – 4 A good player and we probably need more like him. But clearly not as good as everyone likes to make out.

Perez – 4 A quiet first half. He did nothing.

Cisse – 6 Positive touches, and he scored a goal. How often can we say that?

Lascelles – 3 Really poor. I have received multiple messages from Forest fans on social media, who can’t understand what Newcastle scouts saw in him.

Gouffran – 1 Probably a bit harsh but it doesn’t do justice as to how bad he is.

De Jong – 4 Almost scored, but that’s it. Somewhat of an enigma and the reasons as to why he doesn’t play remain a mystery.

On a final note, if we are really going to get the best out of Mitrovic, then he has to play every game. As a young lad, he’s going to have bad games, even terrible games, but to get the best out of a young centre forward, he needs to play every week. He needs to be loved.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

Here are the stats from BBC Sport:

Crystal Palace 5 Newcastle 1

Possession was 46% Newcastle and 54% Palace

Total shots was 7 for Newcastle and Palace 19

Shots on target was Newcastle 2 and Palace 8

While corners was Newcastle 5 and Palace 7

Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Coloccini, Mbemba, Dummett, Colback (de Jong 70), Anita,  Sissoko, Wijnaldum (Gouffran 70), Perez (Lascelles 45), Cisse

Unused Subs: Darlow, Sterry, Thauvin, Mitrovic

Ref: Stuart Attwell

Crowd: 24,833

(To view the player ratings by fans and to add your own go HERE)

(To see the instant fan/writer reaction go HERE)


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