Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace: Merino magic sends the Mags up to 6th!

It wasn’t a classic, but what a huge win! Mikel Merino’s 86th minute header piled the misery on a bottom of the league Palace and sends us up to 6th in the Premier League.

Aside from Yohan Cabaye’s reckless scissor tackle on DeAndre Yedlin – which somehow didn’t see red -there was so little to report in the first half. We came out of the blocks with a good energy about us but that was paired with a real lack of composure. Aside from a Christian Atsu shot, I can’t remember a single shot we had on goal.



Aside from the odd burst from Zaha or Townsend, Palace didn’t look much better, but we showed so little up top and couldn’t keep a hold of the ball. Perez’s performance made me wonder if we’d have been better playing with 10 men!

As ever, we were sitting deep and hoping to spring counter attacks, however we looked isolated in so many areas of the pitch, not helped by the fact several of Shelvey’s attempted passes were wayward.

It looked destined for a 0-0, but with ten minutes to go, we picked it up a little – perhaps our superior fitness levels coming into play? Perez and Joselu were eventually hauled off after highly ineffective afternoons and Mitrovic and Diame gave us a lot more up top – especially the latter, who put himself about and made more things happen in 20 minutes than Ayoze did all game.

A corner arrived and in the 86th minute, Matt Ritchie’s delivery was met majestically by Mikel Merino, who leaped superbly to direct his header past the sprawling Speroni – his first goal in black and white!

After a game with just 2 shots on target prior to this moment, it came as an unexpected goal, sending St James’ into delirium and securing another huge 3 points!

There was quite a few poor performances across the pitch today, but Jamaal Lascelles deserves a special mention. He was a man mountain at the back got something in the way of everything Palace threw at us.

A big big win that sends us up to 6th – ELEVEN points clear of bottom of the table Crystal Palace.

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About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

147 thoughts on “Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace: Merino magic sends the Mags up to 6th!

  1. I am surprised there has not been more talk about how crap we were yesterday and against the bottom team. There is always that canard that a good team wins when they do not play well. Bollocks. Good teams like Man City win 3 or 4 nil. You have to hope it was an off day for Shelvey and Ritchie but I have seen enough now of Perez and Joselu in the PL to know that that is their usual standard. I hope I am wrong and I will gladly take to win but I must say we absolute dogsh!t.

    We can’t afford to be complacent because we have some winnable games coming up.

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  2. Premandup:
    Looking at LBs I wonder if Rafa would go for Jose Gaye from Valencia.

    You do know that Valencia are 2nd in La Liga? I doubt they will stay there but have a chance for Champions League.

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  3. Ice: I watched a few games this weekend as well. I would much rather we played the way Spurs, Citeh and Arsenal did and not the way we did against Palace 🙂

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  4. Eric Sykes:
    Ice: I watched a few games this weekend as well. I would much rather we played the way Spurs, Citeh and Arsenal did and not the way we did against Palace

    Would be nice,but you need a better class of player than we have Rafa is cutting his cloth according to what he has

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  5. I am not trying to criticize Rafa or the players at all, but I do know that if we had lost 1-0 there would be much hand wringing and a totally different match report to the ones I read. The score often dictates the narrative. We beat Swansea and all was hunky dory but lose to Huddersfield and how could that happen? In truth there wasn’t too much difference between the two performances. Of course there are other games like West Ham where the reports were a true reflection of the game.

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  6. It is good to have a solid defence though. I used to dread the first goal going in under Pardew or Carver as I knew that quite often there would be 2 or 3 more.

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  7. Clear our decent start has been based on our defence. Not sure when the last time was we looked so solid? Long may it continue. We should be nearly save buy Christmas if we carry on like this and we can give the cup a good go.

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  8. There’s a potential 36 points up for grabs from now until end of December, I think we can get 13- 16 of those which puts us at 27 or 30 points at new year start when another 36 points are up for grabs. I am looking at 3 or 4 wins , 4 draws and 4 losses from our next 12 games.

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  9. I reckon, results will be
    Burnley a draw
    Bournemouth we win
    Manure we lose but you never know
    Watford draw cause we are at home
    West brom draw
    Chelsea we lose
    Leicester draw, but only cause they’ll have a new manager by then
    Everton we win cause we are home and they are a mess, unless a top coach arrives
    Arsenal we lose
    West Ham draw, think they will be better with new coach by then
    Man City big loss you would think
    Brighton we win cause we are at home

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  10. Amazingly I think you are a bit pessimistic. However, with 21 games gone and 17 left in the new year we are certainly going to be safe. the question becomes how high do we finish. With a new No9 and No10 I would have thought that we could be competing with Liverpool and Arsenal for the 5th Spot.

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  11. Premandup:
    Amazingly I think you are a bit pessimistic. However, with 21 games gone and 17 left in the new yearwe are certainly going to be safe. the question becomes how high do we finish. With a new No9 and No10 I would have thought that we could be competing with Liverpool and Arsenal for the 5th Spot.

    That would be quite an achievement.

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  12. Icedog:
    So the Chinese are going to invest a lot of money into Everton to take them into top six talk of 300 mil plus

    Where you get that from, Ice. Chinese foreign investment has been curbed by their government.

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  13. Stuart79: Where you get that from, Ice. Chinese foreign investment has been curbed by their government.

    breaking news on a facebook site,talks have been on going waiting for result of Chinese meeting which has hinted at overseas investment to go ahead

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  14. i think they love to have a go at the toon,talk of Shelvey getting a ban for his antics against Cabaye come on what are things coming too ffs

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  15. Should be fecking Cabaye getting a ban not Jonjo, what the hell do people expect when one pro s challenge could of broken anothers leg ffs. Getting sick of this bollocks now .

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  16. Stuart79:
    Koeman sacked. I reckon Mancini is a good shout for that one.

    Stu – I’m a bit surprised by it to be honest. I know results haven’t went well, but Koeman is a top manager & Everton have never really been a sacking club over the years.

    My money’s on Tuchel – that Merseyside rivalry with Klopp.

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  17. Cabaye spent the day fouling players and actually fouled Shelvey in the build up to that goal – hence them both being on the ground when the goal went in.
    If Shelvey got punished for that it would be coz he’s Shelvey, not coz of the act itself IMO

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  18. I thought that with Everton’s owner being in the stands that there was something afoot. We now test my theory that Rooney has an if-fit-he-plays clause in his contract. Didn’t Tuchel fall out with people at Dortmund? Same with Mancini at Man City and Inter. They are good managers but I think they have a reputation for being a bit difficult. Not too bothered if Everton spend the next 300 million like they spent the last 200 – yes, they have spent 200 million since Keoman got there.

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  19. Sharpy17:
    Cabaye spent the day fouling players and actually fouled Shelvey in the build up to that goal – hence them both being on the ground when the goal went in.
    If Shelvey got punished for that it would be coz he’s Shelvey, not coz of the act itself IMO

    totally agree mate, will be livid if he is.

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  20. Not meaning to turn this into an Everton blog but it is topical, so… Early favourites for the job are Unsworth, Moyes, Dyche and Allardyce. Not much to fear there. Its also a matter of time for Bilic as West ham look awful most games. That’s probably where Mancini will end up.

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  21. I am still trying to figure out Jonjo. We seemed to be just passing the ball to him on Saturday and saying here do something with it. There were no runs from midfield which didn’t help with Ritchie having a bit of an off day. It also didn’t help that there was little movement up front for him to pass to, but my opinion is that he has his worst games when he is given too much time and assumes the role of quarterback. He is much better when he mixes it up. And the opposition knows what’s coming – short pass to Jonjo who will go all Hollywood.

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  22. Those stats from The Chronic are incredible. I had a gut feeling that there was Ref bias and also from watching our games I couldn’t remember the last sending off or even penalty (I remember Matt Ritchie scored one last year).

    This is either a massive coincidence or there is real bias – either consciously or unconsciously. Statistical anomalies do occur but this is going on for too long, especially when as Waugh points out there have been many occasions when a red could be shown to an opposition player. I don’t think this is a conspiracy theory any more I think it is a fact with actual facts to back it up.

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  23. I can guarantee that due diligence is being done by at least 2 groups. They’ve been looking at the costs of the new training ground. Obviously taking that into account when looking at a price.

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  24. Stuart79:
    I can guarantee that due diligence is being done by at least 2 groups. They’ve been looking at the costs of the new training ground. Obviously taking that into account when looking at a price.

    Thats promising mate.

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  25. Are they redeveloping the old training ground? Do NUFC own the land? That’s a totally different proposition to setting up a whole new complex on waste ground like Man City did.

    I am sure it is way out of date but you could probably upgrade it for 10 million or so. Not a lot of teams are really getting much return on their investment in training grounds. The blue print seems to be buy younger players from abroad and loan them out – even for Citeh and Chelsea. Everybody wants immediate success and so they are buying what they think is the finished article. Look at Loftus Cheek, he has been the next big thing for a few years and yet is loaned out again at age 22. Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford seem to be the exceptions rather than the rule.

    Even the production line at Southampton seems to be grinding to a halt.

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  26. Chelsea had 39 players out on loan last year and a similar number this year. With the best academy facilities in the world how does that benefit anybody if they are loaned out? I know there are the U13s,15s and 17s but how many of those actually make the grade in the PL? Most get cut or have middling careers in the lower leagues.

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  27. We should still do it because the cost of the finished article is so exorbitant now and if we can find one Shearer or Gascoigne…

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  28. Rafa is keen on a new training ground. Almost every other club has a training ground 10 time a better than ours. It does have an impact on some players when you’re trying to persuade them to join as well as helping with actual training. It’s a must for me.

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  29. Stuart79:
    Rafa is keen on a new training ground. Almost every other club has a training ground 10 time a better than ours. It does have an impact on some players when you’re trying to persuade them to join as well as helping with actual training. It’s a must for me.

    I don’t disagree at all, just saying more about the academy and the path to the first team. It is not happening but if we are so far behind, an upgrade for the first team is essential. The strange thing is that we used to have so many injuries and even without massive investment in facilities we seem to be OK now – touch wood.

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  30. kimtoon: totally agree mate, will be livid if he is.

    Kim – I could understand if he put hands on Cabaye, but what he did was no different to players celebrating in front of away fans – giving it the hands behind the lugs listening for the boos thing.
    I wanted to turn my back on Shelvey after the Spurs game. Sick of giving him chances – but I can’t. I’m a huge fan of the kid & having read what Elliott had to say about the abuse that he gets, I’m on his side big time now.

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  31. Stuart79:
    I can guarantee that due diligence is being done by at least 2 groups. They’ve been looking at the costs of the new training ground. Obviously taking that into account when looking at a price.

    If there really are 2 groups currently going through the books I’d imagine one of them would probably be the auditors. The club’s financial year-end is 30th June so this is the time of year that they’d normally be on site examining the financial records. Unless, of course, HMRC removed most of them when they raided the club back in April 😉

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  32. Chris G: If there really are 2 groups currently going through the books I’d imagine one of them would probably be the auditors. The club’s financial year-end is 30th June so this is the time of year that they’d normally be on site examining the financial records. Unless, of course, HMRCremoved most of them when they raided the club back in April

    Chris, auditors wouldn’t need to be going over plans and costings for the planned new training ground. It’s people doing due diligence.

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  33. Rafa feels really settled with us. Long may it continue. I wonder what he actually knows about the take over?

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  34. Was Watching Liverpool/Spurs and they cut to the linesman. A middle aged man (well, 30’s) with a footballer haircut – cropped on the sides, a little quiff on top and a line made with clippers between sides and top. I am sorry, but you are not one of the players, or a 14 year old boy for that matter. BTW I remember going to school in the ’70s and the whole class laughed as one as a classmate came in with a Keegan perm.

    Back to the linesman. It would be like your geography teacher coming in with a Morrissey quiff back in the day. How about the maths teacher with a Flock of Seagulls do? Or the male Deputy Head coming in with 5 carat diamond earrings and having his eyebrows with little lines in them like Aaron Lennon. The words job and age appropriate come to mind. You don’t see any Managers with Pogba-like red stipes and zig-zags in their hair.

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  35. There is something strange happening at Spurs as well – Sissoko is actually playing OK. He scared the sh!t out of Liverpool when he was running at them at speed. He also tried to play a simple final ball. Not sure if he has any end product yet but he is looking more like the player that he was when Rafa got his hands on him and not the Pards/Schteve version.

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  36. The Chronic are going to be heartbroken if Amanda Stavely doesn’t take over. They are doing 2 articles a day, the latest says she has the charm of a diplomat and the brains of a nuclear physicist. I think Lee is in Luurv.

    Nevermind there are supposedly 4 other interested parties and no bids. Fingers crossed and it does look like her group might provide some decent funding but the Chronic really do have a hard on for her.

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  37. Eric Sykes:
    The Chronic are going to be heartbroken if Amanda Stavely doesn’t take over. They are doing 2 articles a day, the latest says she has the charm of a diplomat and the brains of a nuclear physicist. I think Lee is in Luurv.

    Nevermind there are supposedly 4 other interested parties and no bids. Fingers crossed and it does look like her group might provide some decent funding but the Chronic really do have a hard on for her.

    To fair Eric, I think most the NE has 😆

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  38. Eric Sykes:
    There is something strange happening at Spurs as well – Sissoko is actually playing OK. He scared the sh!t out of Liverpool when he was running at them at speed. He also tried to play a simple final ball. Not sure if he has any end product yet but he is looking more like the player that he was when Rafa got his hands on him and not the Pards/Schteve version.

    Pretty sure he had an assist against Real Madrid as well.

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  39. So the so called top six has lost their bid to get a bigger share of the TVs money,and so they bloody should,the PL is a lge of 20 clubs not six,are some frightened they might get knocked of their perch,good result imo

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  40. Wolfsburg are supposed to be in for Tosun as well. I just checked and they are 5th bottom of the Bundesliga. He might be one we can actually afford and Joselu could come on as a sub. I see that as Joselu’s role as he can hold the ball up but doesn’t ever look like he will be better than a 1 in 4 striker.

    Hopefully though we can see a bit more of Mitro before January. I would hate for us to sell him to Palace and for him to go on a tear. They have Benteke but he is so streaky. I can’t believe he cost 30 million and that was before this year’s transfer madness.

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  41. Eric Sykes:
    Ice: that Basiktas player scored again. Good header and was Man of the Match.

    ive watched him a couple of times now seems to have a knack for scoreing but wonder how he would go as a lone stricker as they play two up front

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  42. This is getting stupid now. Just saw that Levy values Bale at 223 million. Last week it was 170 million. At the end of the transfer window it was 110. So his price has not just doubled but more than the price of the most expensive player in the world before Neymar has been added to it. That is total madness.

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  43. Eric Sykes:
    This is getting stupid now. Just saw that Levy values Bale at 223 million. Last week it was 170 million. At the end of the transfer window it was 110. So his price has not just doubled but more than the price of the most expensive player in the world before Neymar has been added to it. That is total madness.

    there are a few clubs you could bye for that

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  44. Eric Sykes:
    The Chronic are going to be heartbroken if Amanda Stavely doesn’t take over. They are doing 2 articles a day, the latest says she has the charm of a diplomat and the brains of a nuclear physicist. I think Lee is in Luurv.

    Nevermind there are supposedly 4 other interested parties and no bids. Fingers crossed and it does look like her group might provide some decent funding but the Chronic really do have a hard on for her.

    In fairness to you, Eric, the Chronicle are over doing it it a bit. They ran a article yesterday about Amanda Stavely having a representative at the match on sat. Didn’t say who, where they were sat or anything – just that someone was there. I’m not sure we need to know that.

    I expect tomorrow we will have an article if she has different coloured Lippy on tomorrow.

    Usually I like and support the Chronicle but they’re going after the click bait on this particular subject.

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  45. Stuart: I am not totally against The Chronic as I understand that in a world where clicks are king you will have “5 things we learnt” and cryptic headlines like “23 year old signs new contract”. They are usually a step behind though and there are just too many lazy articles for the number of staff they employ, especially by their Chief Sports Writer who you would expect would be mentoring the younger journalists. Instead he uses the same template and formula in just about everything he writes. I also strongly object to them ever calling Fat Boy Quinn a legend.

    Did I ever mention any of this before 🙂

    Still a hell of a lot better than John Cross and Neil Ashton who just make sh!t up.

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  46. I love the “23 year old signs new contract” type headline. You click on it and it turns out to be Sammy Ameobi at Bolton etc. 🙂

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  47. I actually liked Chris Waugh’s article yesterday on sendings off. He did the research and pointed out that NUFC seeing so many reds and opposition seeing none for 2 years was a very strange coincidence, if not a conspiracy of bias – conscious or unconscious. People (not just me) have been pointing this out for months and longer. Then there are the penalties. They have also cottoned on (finally) to the Sky and BBC predictions people who have an obvious bias against NUFC. Again, that began on blogs and twitter but The Chronic now acknowledge it.

    They should write something about how the pundit worms have turned now we have had a few decent results. Some quotes about what they had previously said compared to now would be good. Also, they should all be slated for not realizing that NUFC had a very good manager who has always turned bad teams into average teams and average teams into good teams and good teams into challengers, CL winner, Europa League winners and La Liga winners. It is like they ignored history and just relied on an inherent bias against NUFC.

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  48. Now some of the pundits are going the other way talking about top 6 possibilities. That would be a Rafa miracle. Even if we get new owners this year. It is a win-win for the punditocracy though. If by some miracle it happened they could say they predicted it . When it doesn’t happen they will point to us delusional Geordies and probably wheel Keiran Dyer and Simon Jordan out for more interviews.

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