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Match Reports

Excellent insight on what happened with Newcastle United on Saturday – Recommended

3 years ago

In ordinary circumstances, a point away at Crystal Palace wouldn’t be a bad result. Although from the moment I stepped out of the door, there was always that feeling the football may play second-fiddle to other matters on the day.

As I sat on the tube and read a few lines from Kevin Keegan’s upcoming autobiography it was safe to say there wasn’t going to be much talk over whether it would be Rondon over Joselu, and more to do with the problems at Newcastle United. The book surely does promise to be a cracker.

It is never going to happen in a million years but wouldn’t it be fantastic if the likes of Sky, or Bein, or talk sport, actually called out Dennis Wise as to why he thought Luka Modric would be too lightweight.

Why he thought hiring a security guard as head of recruitment at one of England’s top clubs was a good idea? Or just how that man didn’t know who Per Mertesacker was (after he had played in Euro 2008 for finalists Germany).

Imagine our surprise then when Mike Ashley and his minions actually turned up to the game. Wouldn’t be surprised if he just nipped in after a cup of tea with Simon Jordan, where they planned their next verbal assault on Newcastle fans. Sat next to Charnley, Barnes and Bishop, it is quite staggering that 50% of those who were there representing Newcastle, technically have nothing to do with Newcastle United. No official role in the running of the club. I think that is something that the Premier league certainly need to look into in regards to the role that Barnes and Bishop play at the club in an unofficial role.

I am always hesitant to use the term “cockney mafia” because it has the tendency to make us look like southern haters which we obviously are not… however, it says it all about the direction Newcastle United are going in that the people who run the football club, can only be bothered to turn up to the game when it is in London. A proud north east institution, ran from London. It’s not right. To paraphrase KK, they just don’t get it do they?

The Game

Palace dominated the game from start to finish in truth. Newcastle spent most of the game camped inside their own half, and very rarely looked a threat when they crossed the halfway line.

The home side had a few chances in the first half, and although they hit the post, it was arguably Newcastle who had the best chance of the first half. Ayoze Perez went through on goal after a mix up in the Palace defence. Perez though, never looked like scoring in a million years. He struck a rather pitiful shot at the goalkeeper.

At the other end of the pitch Zaha had a quiet game, so all credit to Dummett and Yedlin who kept him quiet. I thought before the game there was a good chance he would win a penalty or get a Newcastle player in trouble but he was rubbish all day and never looked like causing a threat. Instead, Townsend and Ayew, plus Mayer when he came on, were most potent for Palace (shows how many more options they have compared to us – throw in Benteke as well who wasn’t available).

It was 0-0 at half time, and to be honest, at that point Newcastle had done ok. They had been under the cosh for most of the half but they looked ok.

Joselu came on for Rondon at the break and it was pretty clear from this point, that was game over for Rafa. Newcastle showed virtually no intent to get out of their own half in the second period. I don’t know if Rondon was injured or not, but if he doesn’t do it for us this season, then it may be curtains. Absolutely no disrespect intended towards Joselu but it is a travesty that he is our second choice striker.

What confuses me about Rondon is that, based on press reports, it seems he was one of the few signings who was in Rafa’s top choices. Even if he wasn’t plan A, I think it is certain that he is plan B. You maybe can’t say the same for the others who have been pushed onto Rafa in my opinion, but considering it was well documented all summer long that Rondon was the man… I am still a little perplexed. It is a question I have asked before in regards to bringing in Slimani also, but what exactly does he do that Mitrovic didn’t do?

Lots of fans may jump to the defence of Rafa with just about everything, but the decision to choose Joselu over Mitrovic and Gayle is nonsensical in my opinion. Obviously we couldn’t have sold Joselu for anywhere near the sort of money as Mitrovic, but at the moment, it is bewildering that we are stood here watching Newcastle struggling through the season with Joselu upfront while Gayle and Mitrovic play elsewhere.

Mitrovic hasn’t even been replaced. We have seen a swap between Gayle and Rondon, and then Mitrovic has just been sold (without any benefit to the team). It may be true that both Rondon and Joselu get no service up front, but I don’t think that is really a defence of how poor they were on Saturday. If they held the ball up, won flick ons etc then yes fair enough, but I think they both gave the ball away every time it came close to them. So I don’t buy the ‘it’s because there is nothing behind them argument’.

I have said this a million times, for the most part you can’t really fault their effort and that is all you can ask… however in the past few weeks, the likes of Hayden, Kenedy and Perez don’t really look up for the fight at all this season.

Palace piled on the pressure in the second half and I can’t remember Newcastle even getting up the other end of the pitch to be honest. Townsend played well. He nearly set Sakho up for a winner which should surely go down as one of the misses of the season. If it had gone in though, it would have gone down as one of the worst decisions of the season from the linesman who failed to spot the ball go out of play at the by-line. Needless to say, the 3,000 geordies behind spotted it and he received a fair bit of stick for it.

Atsu was the next sub to come on. Did nothing. Jacob Murphy hasn’t exactly set the world alight so far but he must be sitting thinking what on earth do I have to do to get a game here? His confidence must be at an all time low when he sees Atsu coming on ahead of him.

Muto then came on for Perez. A writer on The Mag wrote yesterday that Rafa is saving Muto, and saving his confidence. I couldn’t disagree more. If i was Muto, and Ayoze Perez was keeping me out of the team, then my confidence would be at an all time low. It still affects my own personal confidence as a former youth player that the likes of Perez made it and I am sat here writing this article… so god knows how Muto must feel.

It finished 0-0. Another pretty boring, pretty negative, and most disappointingly, a pretty lacklustre Newcastle display.

Rafa Benitez

Based on performances so far you could say that a lot of these players should be dropped, but it can also be argued that they can’t be dropped as there is nobody there to replace them.

There is no intent in the team, that is the only thing that wrangles me at the moment. I just can’t imagine that the players are on board with these tactics, especially after finishing tenth last season.

Can we not even try and play a little bit of football?

The Fans

The 3,000 fans who sold out the away end were in fine voice on what was otherwise a very dull and rainy day. Of course it was spoiled by one idiot who threw a bottle on the pitch. This is all the worse when the spotlight should have all been on fans making a stand in front of Ashley. Instead, some attention has been drawn to this one idiot who has let everybody down and made us look like a bunch of idiots in front of Ashley, and the national media again. The lad did Bishop’s job for him on Saturday. Well done. W…ker.

Last bit

Based on what i have seen so far this season, and this is with more stress based on performances rather than results, I can only see us being in the bottom four. I would be amazed if there was a team in the league that finished below Cardiff, Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield.

What is a crying shame at the moment, when people are forking out so much money, is that football appears to be secondary to everything else going on at the football club.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle 0 


Possession was Palace 62% Newcastle 38%

Total shots were  Palace 16 Newcastle 6

Shots on target were Palace 4 Newcastle 3

Corners were  Palace 9 Newcastle 5

Referee: Andre Marriner

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu 73), Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy, Perez (Muto 81), Rondon (Joselu 46)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Ki

Crowd: 25,679 (2,900 Newcastle approx)

(Alan Shearer reacts to Newcastle’s 0-0 draw at Palace – Read HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the goalless draw with Crystal Palace – Read HERE)

(Mike Ashley turns up and gets the full treatment! – Read HERE)

(Rafa Benitez talks about Mike Ashley’s appearance at Selhurst Park HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn


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