Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 1 – Sunday 4 February 2018 2.15pm

We asked a number of our regular writers to give us a brief instant reaction after the final whistle.

Newcastle 1-1 at Crystal Palace, meaning both sides gain a valuable point in the ever so tight relegation battle.

Kevin Christie:

“Very lucky point that we really had to dig in for.

“We were bright in the first half hour but then completely lost our way.

“The second half was embarrassing – entirely out-muscled and out-played for the entire 45 minutes.

“I honestly think that I have never seen a more pointless participant in a game of professional football than Dwight Gayle today. Absolutely woeful.

“Offered nothing – no pace, no presence, no movement, no energy and entirely devoid of belief.

“Ayoze was also flimsy and flat. A very poor game from him too.

“Strange move from Rafa to try and hoof long balls up to them all game…. We desperately need Slimani in to lead the line ASAP.

“Dummett was probably our MOTM today. Lots of important interceptions and kept Townsend quiet. Darlow was nervy but made some brave blocks and was unlucky with the penalty.

“Yedlin had a tough afternoon and was skinned time and time again which left Ritchie with way too much defending to do to possibly offer any threat going forward.

“Shelvey ineffective as usual and tried his best to give away another penalty at the end. Always way too much hype about him. Rarely makes any positive impact. Talk of an England recall is embarrassing.

“Ultimately, it’s another point closer to survival but we have a long way to go yet. We need some wins. Very difficult to see where our next 3 points will come from.

“The worrying thing is that the likes of Bournemouth and Swansea are capable of pulling off unlikely wins against the top sides, which is something that we never look like doing.

“Rafa vs Jose next weekend – a good time to start maybe….?”

Jamie Smith:

“Ridiculous to have a penalty given for that. Happens several times in every game ever.

“Having said, you can’t deny Palace deserved something on balance. Having played well first half, the second was abysmal, and you get almost grateful for the point that does us no good at all in the increasingly desperate battle at the bottom.

“Thought Darlow did well and was unlucky not to notch another penalty save.

“Kenedy superb again and his withdrawal for the sketchy Atsu ended any attacking threat.

“Hope he’s ok for Man U, who we unfortunately must get something against.”

Nat Seaton:

“Selhurst Park is the only London ground I go to with optimism as I’ve seen us win so many times there.

“Today I’m ok about sharing the points as I could only see them winning as the game went on.

“We’ll have to see if it means a point towards staying up but we have stopped a relegation rival from getting all three which is a plus.

“Can’t wait to get a decent centre forward on the park, hopefully this will be next Sunday…”

Paul Lyon:

“Point is better than none I suppose, thought we were gonna win that one for bit there but it wasn’t to be.

“Need to start turning these draws into wins ASAP!”

Ben Cooper:

“Normally I would be gutted that we gave up a lead for such a soft penalty, especially seeing as the linesman looked so chuffed to have given it.

“Today I was happy to get a point though, seeing as they had a million chances and we got a goal from a terrible corner and didn’t threaten much after that.

“Our defenders gave everything again and even though they are none of them great players, they did their best. They had absolutely nothing in front of them today.

“Whether it is a lack of confidence, form or ability, we are going to have to get used to knowing that one goal is all we have in us, if that, and we just have to hope that one goal is enough.

“It hardly ever is.”

Jamie Swan:

“Took an absolute pasting in that second half but escaped with what might be a precious point.

“Sometimes you have to say fair play to a team and Palace were chomping at the bit.

“Zaha was a bloody handful.

“We didn’t help ourselves with stupid fouls and not holding onto the ball at times like.

“Jonjo Shelvey, come the summer in this league or the next, should be moved on. He’s a luxury that would be better served elsewhere.

“Started so well and we could have got a couple, then in the second half Kenedy couldn’t slip Perez in when two on one you just knew that would be this game’s Joselu penalty moment to regret.

“Still in the mix to stay up and most still in the mix to go down.

“Stay United.”

David Punton:

“The league table has a perilous look about it, so a win today would have been just the tonic.

“Instead we got an average display from NUFC and a soft penalty to cancel out Diamé’s opener, which was a good finish. That’s two assists in two games for the boy from Brazil, Kenedy.

“We could easily have lost that game so maybe a point is not to be sniffed at.

“We have to hope a win is around the corner soon though.”

Paul Patterson:

A ragged display but stick a good striker in there and we would have been OK.”

Toon Bano:

“On the face of it a point away at Palace is an acceptable result another point towards safety.

“However, when you throw 2 points away at home to Burnley, you really need to take all three being 1-0 up with 45 minutes left.

“People will say Clark was pulling his shirt and cant complain, however, when do you ever, I mean EVER, see a linesman give a penalty? Especially for a shirt pull?

“It’s staggering and unbelievable that today of all days a linesman decides to make a decision for a referee. Absolute joke.

“We have a free swing at Man Utd next week. I don’t want to see us sit back and lose 1 or 2-0. Go for the win. It could completely change our season!!”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 1


Newcastle: Diame 22

Palace: Milivojevic (Pen) 55

Possession was Palace 54% Newcastle 46%

Total shots were  Palace 21 Newcastle 11

Shots on target were Palace 6 Newcastle 8

Corners were  Palace 5 Newcastle 6

Referee: Andre Marriner

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame (Hayden 65), Shelvey, Kenedy (Atsu 57), Gayle, Perez (Merino 80)

Unused Subs:

Dubravka, Lejeune, Manquillo, Murphy

Crowd: 25,746 (Newcastle 2,900)

(Read Alan Shearer’s reaction to the Palace match HERE)

  • ToonTom

    The ref’s assistant got himself a bit excited there and thought he’d give a penalty for an event which occurs about 100 times every game by both teams.
    He felt safe, though. That’s the worrying thing. He felt he could signal for a penalty because it was ‘only’ Newcastle away at Palace.
    Put it in perspective. Would he have dared to give such a decision if it was Man City vs Man Utd?
    Of course not.

    • Cockneytrev

      Never in a million years,, it was a fekin disgrace,,,

  • JonMag

    we should have been 2 up at half time and the 2nd half was a disaster, we haven`t got the quality to sustain it for 90 mins but at the same time we didn`t get beaten.
    Slimani will give us that bit extra up front as Hoss & Gayle are totally ineffective.
    the kid from Chelsea isn`t match fit yet but he has quality. looking at the table i think the bottom 3 will go down & we`ll just about scrape in for survival

    • molend

      ‘we`ll just about scrape in for survival’. Again. As owld Willie Shakespeare said: ‘That it should come to this’.

      • Danimal

        I think it’s more likely Shakey would have supported one of the Midlands teams. Or possibly Manchester United if he got his head turned by the fame.

        • molend

          Nah, Harry Hotspur would have made him a Toon supporter

    • Mike Adam

      I agree Jon, I think the bottom 3 presently will go down.

  • mentalman

    can’t wait to see the rafa fans defend this one

    • molend

      Could you explain, from your position as a tactical genius, what improvements could have been made, short of playing Mike Ashley as a bustling centre forward?

      • JonMag

        that`s a plan

        • molend

          Divvent write it off, kidder. He’d bully referees. What he lacks in pace, he makes up for in guile. He’d be the obvious penalty taker- staring down the goalie. He doesn’t take half-chances, he takes no chances. And if we got a corner, he’d open a shop.

          • Gareth Marshall


      • mentalman

        for a start I wouldn’t have started with our only 2 strikers, we were left in a position where we couldn’t really change anything when it wasn’t working.

        Secondly I would have started with Murphy, he’s been our biggest attacking threat other than kenedy in the last few games and Ritchie really does nothing.

        next i’d play mbemba instead of clark, clark has been very poor the last few games

        next I would stop getting the team to play long balls to gayle and perez, if we want to play them we need a tall striker who is good in the air

        next I would identify their weakest defender and concentrate our attacks there, van aanholt would have been my choice and yet we rarely attacked down that side.

        next once we were 1 nil up i’d not have the team sit back and defend we’ve lost many points this season by doing this

        next similar to a previous points stop the aimless long balls

        next as I would have started with someone other than one of the 2 strikers I would have took gayle off as he did nothing and yet managed to play the whole game

        I wouldn’t shrink into the dug out and sit looking like I didn’t have a clue what to do

        I wouldn’t have brought on merino to play as no10 pretty much just because he is quite tall

        • molend

          Fair enough. I asked for your opinion and you gave it.

        • StevieB

          Lol, you make it sound so easy 😂😂😂

          • mentalman

            It should be when the manager and players are paid so much and said manager is an alleged world class manager and tactical genius

          • Danimal

            Perhaps it’s because he’s a highly paid world class manager that his sub-standard team got a decent result away against a team where many others have been rolled over in recent months.

          • mentalman

            Hes highly paid thats about it. A world class manager would have learnt after the first 4 or 5 times that we cant defend a 1 goal lead and we got a point today due to luck

          • Danimal

            Yes, due to bad luck.

          • mentalman

            yes palace’s bad luck and being wasteful in front of goal

        • Mike Adam

          Agree with Mbemba instead of Clark. Even though others have told me he can’t, I would play Merino in the #10 roll.
          I don’t understand the Hayden substitution, and then Merino too late in about the 80th. Still think a striker like Mitro would have been strong up top in a game like that and would have been able to hold the ball up and get others involved. Hopefully, Slimani can provide that next match!!!

          • mentalman

            By the time hayden came on rafa had decided a point would do and the defence needed help to hold out for it.

            I dont get why we would play merino in a position he’s not used to when we have players on the bench and on the pitch who can play at no10

          • Mike Adam

            And why is it that in the 65th minute Rafa decides that a point would do??? That is part of the problem. Who can play no. 10? Certainly not Perez cannot keep the ball.

        • 5floorshigh

          yep def would have started with Murphy instead of Ritchie…..but maybe would start trying Dummet in place of Clark……also would not have put Mitro out on loan, him and Slimani up fron with Kenedy and Murphy on wings and we may just have started frightening defenders

          • mentalman

            putting dummett in the middle then takes us back to the problem of filling the lb position, kenedy could play there but you then reduce our only attacking threat

          • 5floorshigh

            Manquillo or Gamez (when fit) ???…..yep its a stretch I know, Lejeune is other central option, he is a way better footballer than Clark with more composed ball distribution but at times can be like another Brambles.

          • mentalman

            I dont think manquillo isnt the answer, gamez looked good in the one game he played but he’s been injured since.

            Lejeune showed glimpses of promise but is another who would benefit from a run of games with the same partner alongside him.

            Getting a consistent settled team is our key to survival

        • Damon Horner

          I’d tell Benteke to play on Mbemba as much as possible and load the ball in the box feeling reassured if we went 1-0 your masterplan would be Ayoze Perez.

          • mentalman

            what is your master plan? Your right Benteke would probably play on mbemba as much as possible because the manager would tell him to do that, unfortunately our manager doesn’t believe in doing that

          • Damon Horner

            Meant nothing bad by it mate, I don’t think there is a masterplan just demonstrating you could negatively target anyone’s tactics and team setup with this group and identify weaknesses in it, until we have a chance to build the squad better equipped to compete, personally i’ll speak of what I would do below but I know it can have holes in it and I reckon i’d be watching a 0-0.

            Personally i’d make it all about the set pieces since we score most of our goals down this route (comparatively) and they’re known to be weak or disorganised. I’d start with the same back 5 as Rafa but i’d get Perez to start upfront (accepting we have no outball there) and add in another midfielder, Hayden or Merino, to balance the right side more which would be more attacking and to be attentive to the free-moving Zaha.

            The space behind Van Aanholt could be exploited as you say by better running of the channels. In agreement with you, i’d have also played Murphy on the right over Ritchie for that reason, Ritchie was a key left footed set piece taker but we know Kenedy can put a ball in the box so it’s leaving Ritchie less effective in my view. If Plan A fails then Gayle/Atsu is there as plan B for a different kind of mobility.

          • mentalman

            i agree, every team we play against has identified yedlin and high balls into the box as our weakness and they exploit it at every given opportunity and quite rightly so. We just don’t seem to do it. Swansea a few weeks ago the right back and right sided cb couldn’t cope with atsu running at them, he may not get the best balls into the box but they were constantly pulling at him and from what i can remember they were both booked early on due to fouling him, had rafa instructed the team to get the ball to atsu i could have quite easily seen either one of them getting sent off giving us a massive advantage and yet all the attacks switched to long balls down the centre.

            Set pieces are our main threat but its only kenedy who has consistently delivered good set pieces.

            we need to play with 3 in midfield, having a defensive midfielder to cover the full backs and also help out in the centre will release the wingers from their defensive duties so much

  • Andy Mac

    Didnt see the game but noticed Kenedy was off after 57 minutes and presumably our attacking threat went with him ? Embarrassing that in two short games he’s been the star turn ? How bad are the rest of them ?

    • JonMag

      the lad has a bit of class, i`d make Chelsea an offer now

      • Andy Mac

        Judging from Chelski fans comments they think he’s a better option than either Pedro or Willian so I dont suppose we’ll get a chance to make an offer ? Not sure he’d want to stay either ? Unless somehow or other we magically bought another four of five players of similar ability ? (Shakes head, off to look for my medication)

  • Proppaboots

    Weak as watta up front……..Gayle and Perez were non existent, when was the last time Ritchie done owt gannin forward??

  • Whickhamrobbie

    The worst Toon team in Decades sadly i agree with mentalman Rafa WTF was that ?
    Gayle ,Perez simply unacceptable .

    sorry to say it we are DOWN.

    • Stephen Paylor

      who else would you have played up there?

      • TheNutJob

        the only alternative to Perez would be Merino

      • Whickhamrobbie

        That’s the point we have no one . But Gayle or hoss .

        • HarryHype59

          We have Mitro but he has been loaned out to save a few bob on wages. The “tactics ” in the second half comprised of booting the ball up field to 5ft 8ins Gayle and then watch the ball come straight back. It was very “Pardewesque”

          • Mike Adam

            I think Mitro could have been affective in a game like that. Gayle and Perez did nothing except lose the ball and run offsides. Why Rafa why? Hope Slimani can be affective! Now everyone can jump on me for mentioning Mitro.

          • Damon Horner

            You get very paranoid! Saying to my brother at the early stages it’s a problem with the lack of out ball, Joselu a better option than Gayle too but Mitro would have been good to bring on, not sure if he enjoys it though but he can do it.

          • Mike Adam

            ???? paranoid ??? brother ??? lack of out ball ???? I don’t get what you are commenting on?

          • Damon Horner

            Paranoia: “Now everyone can jump on me for mentioning Mitro”

            Brother: I actually have a brother in my family, I speak with him, hence “Saying to my brother”.

            Out ball – A place the ball can be played out to so possession can be retained or attacks can start, an effective target instead of kicking the ball and watching it come back. Mitrovic would have been good to bring on around 60 minutes to do that as long as he didn’t give the ball away.

            In other words I agree with you mate. I also think your question mark button is a little bit stuck.

          • Mike Adam

            Oh, sorry, I didn’t know what you meant. Sorry I didn’t mean those to be disrespectful if they are. I am not up on the rules of text on blogs. I just speak straight English. If I offend anyone it is not intentional. Anyway, you are right Mitro on in the 60th minute, but when did Rafa ever do that? And one of the points I have been trying to make all season is how could Mitro have done any worse than what Rafa puts out on attack/striker? 7 goals in 26 games between our two main strikers. Perez gets bullied off the ball most times. Again, I do not want Rafa sacked, but how could he watch his strikers every match and not give Mitro a run?

          • Damon Horner

            Honestly there could be plenty of reasons, not least Mitrovic had 4 league goals from open play by the end of February under McClaren so he is no obvious immediate solution to the goalscoring problem. He does however give us a different threat and his physicality will suit some games more than others, definitely felt he’d have changed things yesterday though.

          • Mike Adam

            Damon you cannot always go on previous years, especially for a young player. Plus what is wrong with a 21 year old scoring 9 in his first year in the Prem on a relegation side. And if memory serves me right he scored in Rafa’s fist two games as manager, then was benched for Cisse. Sorry, but I don’t believe there is any reason that anyone could give, with the performance of the other strikers, to not give him a run. We will always disagree on that and that is ok mate.

        • mentalman

          we have no one who suits the way rafa wants to play, he needs to find a system that works with the players we have avaialble

  • TheFatController

    Watching at home or in his hotel, Slimani must now know that if he touches the ball up front away from home, he’s improving on what we’ve got ….

  • TheNutJob

    Kenedy was full of busy again today, the poor lad ran himself into the ground.
    it doesn`t take long to see the lads the real deal. i think all the 3 new lads will start next week against that mob from down the road, you never know we may get something out of the match
    it`s a funny old game

  • Stephen Paylor

    Shelvey getting a lot of criticism it seems, i thought he was the best player on the field in the first half. We seem to only play well when he is so the sense in selling him that i hear is zero?

    • TheNutJob

      i thought he was good as well, they all tailed out in the 2nd half but i did notice he covered back more than usual

      • Mike Adam

        Yes, I noticed that too.

  • Desree

    I keep hearing people complain our players have a terrible first touch and can’t pass. Then complain about long ball tactics.

  • briankilclinesfordfiesta

    Pulled the shirt, gained an “advantage” – it’s a penalty. Soft, yes, but a penalty. The frustration is because it was so brainless.

    • Danimal

      I hate this shirt pulling generally but the more I watch this one, it looks like their player is fouling as much if not more.

  • 5floorshigh

    hoping Mr Slimani is a good signing, and Kenedy can get 90 minute match fit otherwise we will be going down……Joselu is uselss but at least I can see what he does, whereas with Gayle, I just cant see anything that he brings to the team….you may as well play Dummet or Clark up front………but on a positive note another good performance by Diame

    • Down Under Mag

      Gayle is a poacher, for me he offers very little else to the side and seems to have lost pace since his injury…or maybe the defenders in the top flight are just quicker and find it easier to mark him. As much as Joselu can’t score to save his soul, at least he does offer something else when he plays…not that he should be in there anyway. Fingers crossed on Slimani and kenedy to work some magic together!

      • mentalman

        i would have sold mitro and gayle last summer, gayle is never a premier league standard striker and rafa has never had any intention of playing mitro

  • Down Under Mag

    To be honest it’s a good point against a team away from home who should be nowhere near the relegation scrap given the players they have. They have a much better squad than us and it’ shard to imagine many of our players who would dislodge any of theirs. Shirt pull penalty was harsh but a draw was a pretty fair result, if we’d held on for 3 points it would have been harsh on Palace who had plenty of chances themselves and once again we score first and sit back hoping to defend a narrow lead.

  • Philippines

    Strange that we could go from dominant in the first half to looking like a Sunday pub team in the second half.

  • HarryHype59

    I fear opposition teams have worked this Newcastle side out. As soon as opponents up the playing pressure and tempo of the game, Newcastle get overun.

    At half time, Woy told them to pour forward at pace and our limited squad couldn’t cope.

    The ball retention and energy levels in the second half, particulary in midfield were shocking.

    CP must be wondering how they didn’t win that match. We mugged them for a point.