Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0 – Saturday 21 October 2017 3pm

Elliott 7 – A decent display. The fact the stats tell you Palace didn’t have a single shot on target tells you it wasn’t Elliot’s busiest afternoon. However, he cut out a few crosses and chose well when to come and sweep behind his defence, so a solid performance and of course a clean sheet.

Yedlin 7 – Until the closing stages when maybe the visitors tired and/or went more defensive, Palace’s left side managed to keep the Yedlin/Ritchie combo very quiet. With such a reliance on our right hand side to be the focus of most attacking play, it was a major factor in such a sterile display going forward for NUFC. Yedlin always keeps at it though and his pace was invaluable when getting back and helping to deal with Zaha.

Lejeune 7 – Followed on from Southampton with another very composed display, only this time without the momentary penalty lapse. A relative embarrassment of riches in the centre of defence compared to other areas of the team, Clark only getting on the bench and Mbemba can’t even make the matchday 18 at the minute.

Lascelles 8 – A very good afternoon, both as a player and a captain. With the team struggling to create anything going forward, so important to just keep it tight and focused at the back, so at the minimum it would be a point, or if Newcastle could come up with a late goal…it would prove to be a winner and not a point saver. Another big bonus is that Lascelles looks far more comfortable on the ball, never going to be a player but no longer carrying the air of another Mike Williamson.

Manquillo  7 – Newcastle’s best player in the first half for me and was one of the few showing some composure before the break. Maybe still not a long-term first team player but certainly suggesting he is an excellent squad player, particularly when you factor in the low transfer fee.

Shelvey 5 – Thought he was terrible by his standards. Hope this isn’t going to be a permanent return to standing on the toes of the central defenders and getting two yard passes, then trying to repeatedly launch 60 yard Hollywood style diagonal passes. Big reason for me why we struggled in midfield and to create anything, was that Shelvey was so deep and meant little support through the middle for our hapless front two.

Hayden 6 – Struggled to get involved throughout, out in a few decent challenges but maybe the biggest victim of Shelvey’s deep role.

Atsu 6 – Like many matches, he flatters to deceive. Suggests he can do far better but rarely really delivers. Worked hard though and for once provided more of a threat than Ritchie on the other side – maybe helped as well when the pair swapped wings.

Ritchie 5 – Just like Shelvey, shocking by his standards. You have to give credit to the opposition as that must have been a massive factor in Ritchie’s no-show. Has plenty respect stored in the bank though to get away with the odd poor game.

Perez 3 – What can you say? Obviously I don’t think anybody should be giving him stick at the match but this was a new low even for him. We all sympathise with Rafa because he wasn’t given the backing to bring in a decent number 10 in the summer but surely he can’t persevere with Perez after this one. I hear some fans say he does great unseen work and a lot of running – well I have given him a 3 for doing some running around but his influence on the game was zero, even tracking back he contributed almost nothing.

Joselu 4 – By now we should all be aware of Joselu’s strengths and limitations. Tries hard and puts himself about but looking badly exposed when having to start every week. Was totally in the pockets of Palace’s defenders who hadn’t managed a clean sheet all season. The lack of service and help from players such as Perez and Shelvey didn’t exactly help.

Merino 8 –  The match winner and at the very least he tried to get Newcastle playing football when he came on, which also appeared to remind Shelvey that he could get further up the pitch and try to work the ball, rather than expect to unlock the opposition with speculative long range passing. Merino has it all and in his brief career so far he has also shown to be a goalscorer, a massive bonus if he can do that in the Premier League.

Diame 7 – Whilst Merino’s introduction was obviously welcome, it was only really when Diame came on 10 minutes later that things did gradually change for the better. Didn’t do anything outstanding but showed some strength in possession, was able to run with the ball, and started connecting up play – all things that are/were way beyond Ayoze Perez. Appears to have put himself in line to start at Burnley, might not do Perez any harm either, maybe the Spaniard could contribute something as an impact sub in the right circumstances.

Mitrovic N/A (Not on long enough – didn’t want to be too harsh either, as he looked eager to try and help but was a liability when he came on)

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0

Goals:

Newcastle: Merino 86

Possession was Palace 45% Newcastle 55%

Total shots were  Palace 10 Newcastle 7

Shots on target were Palace 0 Newcastle 3

Corners were  Palace 5 Newcastle 3

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden (Merino 56), Atsu, Perez (Diame 66), Joselu (Mitrovic 78)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Gamez, Murphy

Crowd: 52,251

(Read what Rafa had to say after the match HERE)

(Andros Townsend believes Newcastle didn’t deserve to win – read it HERE)

(Garth Crooks believes Newcastle could win the Premier League if Rafa is given right resources – Read HERE)

(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Palace match HERE)

(Alan Shearer reacts to win over Palace HERE)

(Amusing Roy Hodgson hard luck story after final whistle HERE)

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  • mentalman

    Im concerned about our full backs we looked far more solid at the back with mbemba playing leftback as for yedlin i dont think he’s cut out for the premier league and seems to have lost some of his pace

    • pedrodelgardo

      Yedlin was my MoM v Liverpool just in the previous home game, if me and Yedlin were running from a lion I know who would get eaten!

    • Paul Busby

      I’ve seen some strange things on these comments section, but criticizing Yedlin as one of the players that isn’t up to the task has to be one of the strangest.

  • Anita kick up the Hoop

    At last !!!! … I’ve been saying this about Shelvey for ever! … he drags our entire side 20 yards further back because he’s too slow to mix it in midfield and plays the safe game by pinching possession from our centre halfs … Le June is a great passer of the ball.. he doesn’t need Shelvey anywhere near him!

    • Paul Patterson

      Shelvey plays in the sweeper position most of the time.

  • Phil K

    Diame has me tearing my hair out (AND Lascelles as captain, clearly) he’s a big lad, hefty, muscular and you know he has some ability but never shows it

    • Paul Patterson

      Sadly, I think he’s a more solid option than Perez at the minute . .

      • Phil K

        Which doesn’t say much. But Perez HAS scored and should have had three times the amount of goals he HAS got. Diame – 0 and not even an assist

  • Kelpo

    LeJeune was easily man of the match for me. looking forward to seeing this lad get more starts. Great defender and his passing will surprise many.