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Charlie Nicholas excellent on Newcastle 0 Crystal Palace 1 – Especially Miguel Almiron conundrum

3 years ago

Charlie Nicholas covered Newcastle 0 Crystal Palace 1 for Sky Sports on Saturday.

A match where Palace won by a single goal in the final 10 minutes.

That Milivojevic penalty was the only shot on target for the visitors but despite that, Nicholas states: ‘A comfortable win in the end’ for Palace.

Charlie Nicholas feels there is too much space and disconnect between the NUFC midfield and the front three. The Sky Sports pundit feeling the team/Rafa are not convinced about ‘releasing themselves’ to go and support Rondon, Almiron and Perez.

One of the key issues overall is Miguel Almiron according to Charlie Nicholas and I totally agree.

The Sky Sports pundit thinks the Paraguayan is playing far too deep and needs to be playing further up the pitch ‘closer to Rondon’, so he can make a difference where it really matters.

Charlie Nicholas talking to Jeff Stelling on Sky Sports:

Jeff Stelling:

“Newcastle on a run of five wins at St James Park but was the outcome a fair one.”

Charlie Nicholas:

“They looked more dangerous Palace in the counter-attack, as they tend to do with Zaha, Batshuayi, Townsend returned today.

“Newcastle had a little period in the first half. Rondon had two really good chances. The first a header, a beautiful cross-pass from Perez, he peels off the centre-back Tomkins and he just needs to head it down into the corner and he tries to be clever and lob it – he ends up putting it over. Just after that he missed another glorious chance.

“A penalty at the end, Zaha’s trickery, some magical footwork today, Some of his footwork is so quick, so dynamic. Matt Ritchie had to play against him, he’s thinking ‘Just stand still so I can kick you.’

“A comfortable win in the end.”

Jeff Stelling:

“The penalty – To say it was naive defending is an understatement.

“They (Schar) had a nibble trying to bring him down outside the box. We were watching saying ‘Don’t dive in, don’t dive in, oh no!’

Charlie Nicholas:

“He (Zaha) sometimes does go down a bit easily but he is sucking you in to say ‘If you want to kick me, make an attempt, it is your call’ because it is a 50/50 call here. He has stayed on his feet and he’s not really going anywhere. Yedlin comes in and takes him out. Easy penalty, easy decision, and after they scored the goal I never really saw much change.

“Shelvey came on to big applause, they were really pleased to see him back in the team, but didn’t really do much in that time.

“I’m not sure about Newcastle.

Almiron, you bring him to the team. You go for a front three who have got something…a bit of pace, a bit of movement, a bit of strength with Rondon, but it is as though they are not convinced about the midfield releasing themselves to go and support them.

“Because of that they get caught with these gaps in between the sections of the team, and that is where they are vulnerable.”

Jeff Stelling:

“Is Miguel Almiron now feeling the strain of playing regular high level competitive football?”

Charlie Nicholas:

“His (Almiron’s) willingness with and without the ball is still there.

“If I was Rafa I would play him a bit closer to Rondon and let Perez do a bit more of the harder work.

“He is doing too much too deep and if I want him in the team to make a difference, I want him closer to Rondon.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Crystal Palace 1



Milivojevic 81 (Pen)

Possession was Palace 46% Newcastle 54%

Total shots were Palace 3 Newcastle 18

Shots on target were Palace 1 Newcastle 5

Corners were Palace 4 Newcastle 9

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune (Dummett 65), Ritchie (Atsu 90),  Hayden, Ki (Shelvey 76), Almiron, Perez, Rondon

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Fernandez, Muto, Manquillo

Crowd: 51,926 (Palace 1,400)

(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle’s defeat to Palace HERE)

(After the defeat Rafa Benitez revealed he is nowhere near agreeing a new contract with Mike Ashley – read HERE)

(Dubious Roy Hodgson comments HERE after beating Newcastle United)


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