Rafa Benitez was both happy and disappointed at the final whistle.

Newcastle the dominant side in the first half at Selhurst Park and should have maybe been more than one goal up.

However, Crystal Palace came out with attacking intent and Newcastle found it very difficult to even get out of their own half.

Whilst Karl Darlow made a number of decent saves, he was also indebted to see some last ditch tackles/blocks from his defenders, especially Ciaran Clark.

The biggest talking point though being an equaliser coming from a penalty that could be given every single match but which never is…apart from today.

 Rafa Benitez:

“The (Newcastle) fans are fantastic.

“When you go away you always can feel them…we would like to win every game and send them home happy.

“We have more people at home, and if we stick together we will be stronger.

“Islam Slimani was not ready  (to be in the squad for Palace match).

“He was training on Saturday, he will train tomorrow, he will have a chance for next Sunday (v Man Utd).

“He must compete, like Dubravka and Kenedy.

“Joselu has a virus.

“Then it was very dangerous for everyone in the end because all of his family are with the virus and you have to be careful.

“He was very weak.

“Scoring the second goal could have changed everything, we didn’t do it and we conceded what I would say is a soft penalty – he was pushing my player and my player was pulling.

“That changed everything because obviously they had more confidence and were pushing and we know they have very good players up front.

“We had to be strong in defence and it was difficult. To come here and to get a point, before the game I would say no, but after the second half maybe.

“But I still feel in the first half we could have scored the second goal…

“The difference between the push and the pull (on the penalty decision)?

“It’s easy for the referee and the linesman to watch for that.

“It’s something we have talked about in the past but it has happened and so we have to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

“We cannot do it…but I see a lot of penalties not given for us in every game, different situations, but the same consequences at the end.

“We have one less game and one point more – we are still fighting, so we will see.

“We are very narrow and compact so we have to carry on. I think that this group of players are working very hard, so you can’t complain about that.

“We have to ensure the new players make more competition in every position.”

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)

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

(See fan rating for players and add your own HERE)

(Read Roy Hodgson’s verdict HERE)

  • Stephen Paylor

    We finish 17th and stay up by goal difference with 36 points, unless we can get something against Manure. Swansea, Stoke and West Brom go down.

    • GeordieZebra

      Magic. Thanks for the fortune telling. See you in August.

      • Clarko

        In the Championship.

        • TheNutJob


    • At the moment my bet is on us going down on the wire like a few years back.
      Just don’t see where we’ll pick up 10+ points from.
      Burnley and Palace were a must 4 points, yet we picked up only 2 when we should have buried both games by scoring a second.

      • thewildchimp

        Slimani will score if fit enough. We have decent delivery; it is that our forwards aren’t good enough.

        • I am not convinced Slimani’s confidence and abilities are much better than Gayle or Murphy. I hope you are right.

  • Gayle, Shelvey, Ritchie and Yedlin have played yet another ultimately poor game. Not contributing enough in defense and in attack. We desperately need competition for Yedlin and Shelvey. Mo Diame today made much more successful passes than Shelvey and if it wasn’t for Clark, Dummett and Darlow (and Lady Luck) we could have been at least 2-3 goals down.
    At least I have figured it out why we are so poor in attack. Rafa keeps changing the attacking players every game and the lads can’t get a sync on. All we see are solo attempts and the moment we should be combining easy and scoring players don’t know if the other is going to make a run and where.
    Out defense is solid because we have Darlow, Lascelles, Dummett and Clark playing week after week next to each other.
    I am all for squad rotation, but we have so few games now and we need to get every decent attacking player out there and play every game to get that sync on.
    I would have Perez, Murphy and Kenedy up front with Merino and Diame behind them. It’s now proven that both Gayle and Hoss are toss. For me Perez is born to play the False 9 role and he can also poach a few goals. Murphy and Kenedy both have delivery, great technique and can shoot. Diame and Merino should be starting games easy with Hayden behind them to provide cover.

    • TheNutJob

      Opta stats Shelvey 6.43 Diame 6.19 v Crystal Palce 4th Feb 2018

    • Proppaboots

      Whats a false 9 role????

      • thewildchimp

        A center-forward who isn’t really there to score goals, but to play attacking midfielders and wingers who are in scoring positions. Look up how Totti played for Roma in 2006.

        • Proppaboots

          Weve got a shitload of centre forwards who can’t score goals…theres a lot to be said for just keeping the game simple, play to your strengths and run your socks off….particularly if you are not very good or skillful.
          False No9’s my a**e!!

      • Leazes.

        He’s gone to fulham.

        • Peaky Magpie


      • Tino o

        Me 18 stone and lazy and I am better than.messi

      • When you have a striker that plays a bit deeper to make room or create chances for wingers and midfielders to make runs and score. Usually, it requires a fast player with good technical ability. Problem is our midfielders and wingers don’t make enough runs inside the box and play far too deep for that to work, but I would have given it a try, especially in the Cup games.

    • thewildchimp

      Yedlin wasn’t bad defensively. Lascelles and he were left alone too many times in 3 vs. 2 situations, that’s why it might look as they didn’t play well. Lascelles actually played great, considering that he was often marking two players at the same time and we didn’t concede from open play.

      • mentalman

        yedlin never plays well and is slightly better going forward than in defense and he does nothing going forward.

      • Wor Lass

        I don`t really agree that Yedlin was OK defensively. He gives his opponents too much space and relies on his pace to make up. Zaha gave him a bit of a pasting yesterday, I thought – especially physically. mind, he was outstanding in the second half.

    • Tino o

      Are you special?

    • Leazes.

      Right then, what is Rafa doing?….. he’s minimising the goal difference by playing a cagey game so when it comes to the crunch it’ll be worth a point.

      United are in the relegation scrap and fighting for nothing but survival, that is the reason for squad rotation….. its very safe and very boring….. he’s banking on not picking up significant injuries, and that is the Ashley gamble

      My god its tedious, what a way to run a club its almost as if the football was in hibernation and an accountant was in control.

      • In all fairness us not putting away chances is our biggest concern, We played a very open game against Burnley and should have won.
        We played a very good 1H against Palace, but ultimately we failed to increase our lead and playing away from home we got deeper to defend.
        With all these squad rotations the problem is players can’t get a sync between themselves and that’s why our final ball struggles. Most of our players spend far too much time thinking what to do with the ball in their feet. For instance, Clark as a defender has much better and faster decision making than Ritchie and Perez. Shelvey is a one-trick Pony who everyone found out ages ago and is continuing to only rely on that.
        Benitez is not the problem, those 8 games we went without win is all Ashley’s fault for not backing the manager in the summer! We had all our best to date players injured and we never stood a chance against experienced Prem Teams. That is no way RAFA’s fault there. Without Lascells in the defense and Merino/Diame in midfield we are shambles and would probably be a top 10 Championship team.

  • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

    Again 2 points dropped as we did against Swansea.
    Signings too little too late. It is gonna go to the wire. So wish our owner would realise our potential… or sell up & get out of our club! #AshleyOut

    • Danimal

      Definitely Ashley out, that goes without saying. But let’s keep the rest of it in perspective. Are Palace fans wetting themselves about dropping two points at home to us? It works both ways doesn’t it? If you are a Palace fan you’ve lost four points to us. Same with Swansea. Six if you support Stoke or West Ham.

      • Leazes.

        Hoping there are three worse sides isn’t really a good way to run a football club.

        • Tino o

          Listen matey it’s the only hope we have until the fatcnt is gone and to trust in our manager . Negativity is not the way forward! We have a poor squad but by a country mile the best manager amongst them! Get thru this and I’m sure fatty will sell.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            it`reality not negativity, you keep venting anger at people who are simply stating the truth.

          • HarryHype59

            “We have the best manager amongst them”

            This cringeing deference to Saint Rafa is laughable.

            None of his £44m summer buys started the match yesterday.

          • Tino o

            Would you swap him for any of the rest?? Wasn’t given nearly enough money to survive we have one of the worst squads ( thanks mike) one of his signing he didn’t have much choice given funds made available is joselu maybe he should have played

          • HarryHype59

            He was given £44 million last summer! I put 70% of the blame on Ashley, but the sainted one has to take some of the blame!

          • mentalman

            the other managers around him are grinding out wins some against top teams, we’ll roll over against man utd and not even try like we did against citeh

      • Tino o

        Exactly mate we are where we are and dealing with our own league it’s the [email protected] end of the stick but we are more than competitive amongst them and I am convinced we will finish mid table just scraping the drop

    • Tino o

      1point gained let’s deal with the now

  • Tino o

    Really good result! Wait until the end of the season!!! We R very poor moderated for these muppets on the mag but we are better than most of the tripe south of 10th get behind Rafa and the team!!!!!! [email protected] the fat [email protected] [email protected] 4 now

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    What Rafa is saying is the away fans are fantastic but when at home the fifty thousand must stick together and really back the team. Let’s see the good flags out against Man Utd and no protests.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I`d love to know what the managers said at half time because the 2nd half was role reversal if ever i`ve seen it, from being on top & pressing them back for 45 mins come the 2nd half we were appalling to say the least.
    Rafa`s been in place now for 2 years & we haven`t improved one iota, in fact the squad`s worse & that`s all down to the Fat Lad.
    He`s rolled the dice again hoping the manager will save us.

    • mentalman

      obviously rafa told them to go out and defend a 1 goal lead yet again

      • Wor Lass

        Your record`s got a massive crack in it. Come to think of it, that`s where most of your comments come from – your massive crack!

        • mentalman

          very mature

          • Wor Lass

            Your crack?

  • Wor Lass

    Watching that second half, I have to say that it`s the first time I`ve felt that we`ll go down. If we don`t get some sort of goal threat out there by next Sunday we`ve had it. Gayle was so bad yesterday that even Joselu would have been an improvement. Clark continues to look a complete liability, Yedlin gives people far too much space and Perez was worse than useless in the second half. Kenedy was a bright spark but ran himself into the ground and we didn`t look at the races once he faded out. Jonjo gave his usual master class in how to pass the ball but it was never really far enough up the pitch to hurt the opposition. SloMo grafted again and Darlow saved us from a bigger beating. Star of the show for us, though, was Dummy, for me – he never let Townsend have a look-in. MoM was Zaha – he just loves playing against us.

    • Geordiegiants

      I think your assessment is 100% bang on, that’s exactly as I saw it. I would add in Darlow had a great first half, then the second half he was like a fish out of water.

      • mentalman

        Darlow seems to be affected by what is going on in front of him, he gets nervy once the defenders start to sit a bit deeper. he obviously likes a bit of space in front of him

        • Geordiegiants

          He is only young and feels the nerves of the team by the looks of things. I really thought last season he would make the step up, but he looking easily shaken.

          • mentalman

            He needs a consistent run of games to settle in and as you say he seems easily affected by the players in front of him. I dont think he’s ever going to be a world beater but he’ll hsve a successful career in the prem and I’d take him in the team any day over elliott.

            He’s on quite a long list of players at the club who would benefit from having an experienced older player to learn from. Unfortunately this won’t happen under fatty

          • Geordiegiants

            I personally would have Elliot over Darlow at the present time for the fact he has a lot more confidence and commands his box slightly better and hid distribution in better. I think they are both decent shot stoppers, but both have flaws. Darlow will be a decent keeper given time, but like you say he does need experience.

          • mentalman

            They both have merits and flaws and it’d be hard to pick between them when both fully fit.

            I can only see darlow playing a couple more games this season and we have perhaps seen the last of elliott for a while once dubravka starts playing

          • Lhc

            I disagree He’s 27 years old, in football that isn’t a ‘new kid on the block’ hes a seasoned pro. His nerves have nothing to do with age, it’s just in his character as a goalkeeper.

          • Geordiegiants

            Which bit do you disagree with?

          • Lhc

            That he’s young feels nerves due to age and inexperience

          • Geordiegiants

            Your right he isn’t young, the best way to describe it is, he is very inexperienced at the top level and it makes him nervous.