Newcastle produced a dominating performance to brush aside Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, with Yohan Cabaye proving to be instrumental in the victory.
The France international scored one and could have had a couple more with a bit more fortune as he pulled the strings in midfield.
In truth United deserved the win and the three goal margin that came with it. Crystal Palace were simply blown away in the first period and despite fighting back for a brief spell at the start of the second half they never really looked like causing Newcastle any problems.
The start of the match was rather drab with United perhaps just shading it purely through the amount of possession they managed to maintain albeit without really threatening the Crystal Palace goal.
That changed on 25 minutes though as Cheik Tiote set Moussa Sissoko free on the right.The former Toulouse man cut in and played the ball back to Cabaye who stroked the ball home via a slight deflection off Mile Jedinak.
There was a nervy moment soon after the opener however as Crystal Palace nearly equalised through a Tim Krul error. The Dutchman came to claim a cross but flapped at the ball which inadvertently bounced off Mike Williamson only for Vurnon Anita to hack clear off the line.
But that would have been harsh on Newcastle and six minutes before half-time the lead was doubled through Danny Gabbidon who turned a Mathieu Debuchy cross into his own net under slight pressure from Loic Remy.
Half-time: Crystal Palace 0-2 Newcastle
The home side rallied in the windy conditions at the start of the second period and forced a sequence of corners which were all dealt with by the United defence. However it was Cameron Jerom who blew the Eagles’ best chance of getting back into the game as he blazed an effort from seven yards over Tim Krul’s goal.
From then on the treat subsided and Newcastle became the dominant force in the match again. Hatem Ben Arfa came on and almost had an immediate impact as he dribbled into the box and laid the ball off for Yoan Gouffran who smashed an effort from 20 yards off the crossbar before the former Marseille man tested Speroni with an effort himself.
Ben Arfa wasn’t to be denied though and when Shola Amoebi was sent tumbling in the box it was Ben Arfa who struck home the resulting spot-kick to give the scoreline a more realistic reflection of how the game actually panned out.
Full-time: Crystal Palace 0-3 Newcastle
It was a good performance by us. Palace may have been struggling but they’ve been good in recent weeks and pushed Chelsea all the way at Stamford Bridge so this result, or any result away in the Premier League, is a good one. We controlled the match and 67% of the possession seems to back that up.
The win gives us 30 points prior to Christmas which is better than many of us imagined I’d think. We now have homes games against Stoke and Arsenal over the festive period to contend with. It’s early days of course, but would you bet against us having 36 points by the turn of the year the way we’re playing at the moment?
Howay the lads!
Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Adrian Mariappa, Danny Gabbidon, Damien Delaney, Dean Moxey, Joel Ward, Mile Jedinak, Jason Puncheon, Barry Bannan, Marouane Chamakh, Cameron Jerome
Subs: Lewis Price, Jonathan Parr, Jose Campana, Yannick Bolasie, Jonathan Williams, Kevin Phillips, Dwight Gayle
Newcastle: Tim Krul, Mathieu Debuchy, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Davide Santon, Vurnon Anita, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, Loic Remy
Subs: Rob Elliot, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Gabriel Obertan, Hatem Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse