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You’ll only think the win at Crystal Palace validates Steve Bruce if you DIDN’T watch the match

8 months ago

Steve Bruce and his players left Selhurst Park with all three points.

Goals from Callum Wilson and Joelinton giving Newcastle United the victory.

A 2-0 away win is always a positive event but the usual post-match battleground positions were taken.

Zero credibility pundits and journalists taunting Newcastle fans with this Steve Bruce led victory, whilst the small grouping at the other extreme were unwilling to give the NUFC Head Coach any credit whatsoever for the win.

The vast majority of us (Newcastle fans), simply relieved to have won the game and having our own ideas about the game, ideas that fall somewhere in between the two absolute extremes.

In these days of mainly online media, there is such an emphasis on trying to catch attention, that everything has to be either brilliant or terrible, as trying to sell ‘mediocre’ is very difficult, or indeed impossible.

Which brings me back to Friday night, it was a really poor game and the definition of mediocre is ‘of only average quality, not very good’, that is what I watched, not very good and only occasionally could even be described as average.

Yet reading the newspaper reports, especially the local (north east) ones, it is a very different story, trying to get people to believe it was something it was not. Maybe it is the case that with it having been shown live on Amazon Prime, it means the vast majority of Newcastle fans won’t have seen the game and instead have only viewed the goals and possibly brief highlights.

I won’t name and shame but one of the local journalists claimed that at least four of the Newcastle players had been ‘superb’ against Crystal Palace.

I can assure you, there was absolutely nothing ‘superb’ in relation to this match.

The best two players on the pitch were clearly Karl Darlow who made a few crucial saves to keep it goalless and commanded his box well, plus that Eze for Palace who Newcastle were after in the summer, he looks a really good buy and very good on the ball.

The two teams were negatively set up and showing little ambition, as both sets of fans predicted pre-match, the quality of football was really poor, with most of the chances and better moments in the first 87 minutes, almost all down to mistakes or weak play, rather than anything inspirational from either side.

The problem / truth of course is, that then when the scoreline ends up a 2-0 away win, no doubt nearly every journalist hastily changes pretty much everything they had already written before the dramatic finale.

If they had stopped the game on 87 minutes, every match report would have read pretty much the same, as follows…

A desperate game littered with mistakes and minimal quality, very few chances at either end but Karl Darlow having the more difficult saves to make. Unfortunately, the chances that did fall Newcastle’s way went to Joelinton, who sadly looks like Shola Ameobi is doing one to one training with him on striking a ball and scoring goals. The Brazilian WAS more involved and a little better in this match but still struggling to provide any attacking threat whatsoever. A match with so little entertainment, particularly the first 45 minutes which was shocking.’

The key moment was actually in the 82nd minute when Roy Hodgson went (relatively) all out for the win, bringing on an out and out striker in Batshuayi, on for midfielder McArthur. Crystal Palace started to get on top, get into some decent forward positions, looked as though they would be the ones to potentially win it.

Then of course Newcastle broke up the pitch and Callum Wilson does what Callum Wilson does, if NUFC can create a decent chance in a match, invariably Wilson puts it away. With Palace rocked, Joelinton then takes advantage with a decent run and gets the ball from Wilson, does everything right and then with the goal opening up, his terrible weak shot instead hits a defender and deflects past the bemused keeper.

You would take this type of result every time BUT then to rewrite match results turning this into a great performance, is embarrassing. Certainly, I bet not a single journalist had written about ‘superb’ performances by any Newcastle players before those final couple of minutes of belated action.

You will only think this Newcastle United win at Crystal Palace validates Steve Bruce if you DIDN’T watch the match.

This was two poor teams, one welcoming back their best and massively most effective player, the other missing their star turn, without who they have only won two Premier League matches in the past two and a half years.

If Wilson hadn’t played then Newcastle wouldn’t / couldn’t have won, if Zaha had played then I don’t think NUFC would have won, even with Wilson.

You could maybe say that Bruce’s tactics were very marginally more progressive than recently but we are talking very small marginally, in reality any extra attacking play was overwhelmingly due to poor opposition gifting the ball at times in dangerous areas.

Three points is hugely positive and you hope that just maybe Joelinton and one or two others can take a bit of encouragement from this.

However, whilst this may have been one small step forward for our Brazilian record signing, it was no giant leap for Steve Bruce and his management / tactics.

We stumble on, hoping for a few more nights / days like Friday, where Brucey’s luck edged it.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle 2 – Friday 27 November 8pm



Wilson 88, Joelinton 89

Crystal Palace:

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Crystal Palace 58% (58%) Newcastle 42% (42%)

Total shots were Crystal Palace 12 (3) Newcastle 14 (6)

Shots on target were Crystal Palace 3 (2) Newcastle 7 (3)

Corners were Crystal Palace 7 (3) Newcastle 3 (1)

Referee: Graham Scott

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark, Lewis, Shelvey, Hendrick, S Longstaff, Almiron (Ritchie 68), Joelinton (Schar 90+3), Wilson

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, M Longstaff, Yedlin, Murphy, Anderson

Crowd: 00,000

(Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle 2 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Alan Shearer points finger of blame within Newcastle United – Read HERE)

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle 2 – Read HERE)

(Happy Thanksgiving – A step in the right direction as the Turkeys came out ok in the end – Read HERE)

(Trolls attack Newcastle United fans after 2-0 win at Crystal Palace – Read HERE)

(Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle 2 – Watch HERE as Wilson and Joelinton clinch it in official match highlights)

(Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Friday’s victory – Read HERE)


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