Love him or loathe him you can’t deny Steve Bruce is at the moment doing a decent job
Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0, not a great amount to report on or look back on apart from…
Anyway, starting the day in the Flying Scotsman in Forest Hall, things got off to a poor start.
Knowing the Metros were off and taxis would be at a premium, I booked well in advance. Such is this digital and technical world we now live in, it was all going well, taxi was running about ten minutes late but it did not matter, I could track the car and provide regular updates to my amused mates as they chatted and watched the early game that was being shown on the pub TV.
Countdown to zero and phone beeps with a text ‘your taxi has arrived’, 30 seconds later we are outside, only to see the said taxi disappearing out of sight with ‘not us’ inside. Given I had booked, managed and given running commentary, I was not the flavour of the month. However, after a short delay another taxi was sourced, another beer was had and before we know it we are in town in good time to see what bottles Peppers had on offer today!
The main chat beforehand was how we would line up and it came as somewhat of a shock when as the teams were announced, there was no sign of Willems. As he was not on the bench we assume it was an injury, either way, I thought it weakened us a little.
I was however delighted to see Lejeune back, if any player deserves a run of injury free good luck then it his him. I was also pleased to see both Shelvey and Almiron back but surprised Joelinton retained his place, I have to be honest, I feel for him, £40 million is looking about £35 million too much for him, but he does not hide and gets stuck in, he does however need to start bringing more to games and quickly.
The game kicked off and for about 15 minutes or so we looked quite bright without ever threatening, however, this soon descended into (I have to be honest) mediocrity at best. Palace looked the more likely to score and a smart save from the ever dependable Dubravka kept Zaha out, it also has to be said that Zaha, despite his skill, was struggling to make an impact mainly due to the tenacity and clever defending of Manquillo.
Half time and another beer came and went and the second half was much the same as the first, with Dubravka again making a couple of smart saves as the game drifted to the inevitable 0-0 draw.
However, what is this……a throw in near the corner flag and Schar whips in a dangerous ball to the back post, Carroll leaps high and heads the ball back in front of the goal somewhere near the penalty spot where a Black ‘N’ White shirt lashes it into the top corner from about 12 yards …….Get In.
The elongated celebrations tell us it is Almiron who has lashed the ball in with such style and the cheers become louder.
I don’t need to over egg the goal, we have all seen the replays and photos of both the goal and the celebrations, the one picture though that encapsulates it for me is Andy Carroll lifting little Miggy sky high so he can milk the warmth and the applause some more.
Nothing of consequence happened afterwards and we saw out the game with ease, where most of the crowd stayed on to warmly applaud our little Paraguayan. Now I don’t care that he has not scored for 26 or 27 matches this little fella deserves it, he is full of pace and energy and chases and tackles back as hard as he runs forward, if I had a hat on I would take it off for him!
So the game ends and it another three points and we are into the lofty position of 9th and while the football is admittedly dour, it is quite effective at times, and by all means criticise Steve Bruce when we lose, give him fair praise when we win.
I have said before, whether you love him or loathe him you can’t deny he is at the moment doing a decent job and it is so obvious the players are 100% committed to him.
So talking about the players, who played well?
Well the whole defence did well, particularly the aforementioned Manquillo, he reads the game so well and while not as quick as Yedlin he defends better. Lejuene it also has to be said breezed through the game. Shelvey was quietly effective and when he plays well we play better without doubt, though the day belonged to one Miguel ‘Miggy’ Almiron.
Back to the pub and everyone was chirping about that moment and the fact most of the other 89 minutes were drab is now forgotten, however, we can look forward to a boxing day trip to Manchester United before the return of comical pantomime villain Jordan Pickford next Saturday, we can be effective enough to take points off both teams.
The day however was tinged with a little sadness when it had been announced that England and West Ham world cup winner Martin Peters had sadly passed away aged 76. I grew up watching players like him play against Newcastle and it was also sad to learn of the passing of Sunderland 1973 cup winning player Billy Hughes and pushing rivalries to one side, he made an impact in North East football and it would in my eyes be wrong not to acknowledge that. RIP to two proper footballers.
I know a lot of people in the comments section often dislike my comments/opinions and I am comfortable with that, football is all about opinions after all, but please let me take the opportunity to wish every Mag reader and fan of Newcastle United and your families a very Happy Christmas indeed.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0 – Saturday 21 December 3pm
Possession was Palace 58%, Newcastle 42%
Total shots were Palace 16 , Newcastle 8
Shots on target were Palace 4, Newcastle 3
Corners were Palace 5, Newcastle 4
Referee: Simon Hooper
Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:
Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lejeune, Fernandez, Dummett (Yedlin 90+2), Hayden (Sean Longstaff 64), Shelvey, Almiron, Joelinton (Gayle 77), Carroll
Darlow, Krafth, Matty Longstaff, Atsu
(A must see as Jeff Stelling and Phil Thompson react to moment when Miguel Almiron scores – Watch/read HERE)
(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0 – Read HERE)
(Roy Hodgson says he can’t believe Crystal Palace didn’t win, never mind lose to Newcastle United – Read HERE)
(After first goal in 405 days Miguel Almiron says he is on the Coke tonight to celebrate! – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s win – Read HERE)
(A message from Miguel Almiron as Steve Bruce raves about him and two other Newcastle stars – Read HERE)
(Watch THAT Miguel Almiron goal here and the official Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0 match highlights – Watch HERE)
(Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0 and Pat Nevin calls it right on Miguel Almiron! – Read HERE)
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]