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

Olly has been 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. OLLY just about what I said on last thread word for word,but imo the team needed that or heads “might” have dropped a little as they thought they should have won last wk so will do them the world of good

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  2. By the way if you ever want to see who’s playing where and what station is showing it go on
    SportonSat.com

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  3. Hope I never see a game as bad as that during the rest of the season. Pleased with the three points but really we were awful; no other word for it. We couldn’t win a second ball. We couldn’t string two passes together. We showed no urgency to get forward. I felt sorry for Joselu because he received no service at all and Shelvey made too many Hollywood passes that often missed their target. Glad we won but we didn’t deserve it.

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  4. Rubbish game apparently, but for a team in transition a brilliant 3 points to keep the momentum going

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  5. Munich Mag:
    Rubbish game apparently, but for a team in transition a brilliant 3 points to keep the momentum going

    Spot on mate,you can never keep everyone happy but I’ll take the 3 on offer anytime

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  6. Rafa team right there! More than the sum of its parts. When was the last time we were so solid at the back?

    Seriously, I think if he’s given serious cash we’d do very, very well.

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  7. Stuart79:
    Rafa team right there! More than the sum of its parts. When was the last time we were so solid at the back?

    Seriously, I think if he’s given serious cash we’d do very, very well.

    G Crooks on bbc said with the right investment Rafa could win the lge as he has the know how,hope we get to find out

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  8. I keep looking at the league and I really can’t decide which teams go down this season. Palace have had a crap started, but they have a squad there that could put a run together.
    I think it’s going to be as close this year as it was last year – and winning games like today should hopefully see us avoiding being involved in a relegation battle.

    Ugly win today, but we played well against Saints and only got a draw – doesn’t matter – all about picking up points. We won’t win all our home games, but if we can turn SJP into a bit of a fortress then that gives us a bloody good chance too.

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  9. Sharpy17:
    I keep looking at the league and I really can’t decide which teams go down this season.Palace have had a crap started, but they have a squad there that could put a run together.
    I think it’s going to be as close this year as it was last year – and winning games like today should hopefully see us avoiding being involved in a relegation battle.

    Ugly win today, but we played well against Saints and only got a draw – doesn’t matter – all about picking up points.We won’t win all our home games, but if we can turn SJP into a bit of a fortress then that gives us a bloody good chance too.

    Palace surely have to go down? They effectively have a 30 game season where everyone else has 38. They’re already 6 points off safety. It would need to be one hell of a run for them to get to 38 points from here. But I think Huddersfield will go down and also Swansea.

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  10. Stuart79: Palace surely have to go down? They effectively have a 30 game season where everyone else has 38. They’re already 6 points off safety. It would need to be one hell of a run for them to get to 38 points from here. But I think Huddersfield will go down and also Swansea.

    Stu – you’d think so mate, but Palace have the players to win 3 games in a row & the likes of Brighton, H’field and a few others can go on a similar loosing streak.
    Palace are a prime example though that you can invest in a squad with foreign money – but you get the manager wrong & it counts for nothing.
    Could WHU and Stoke be in real danger this season?.

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  11. kimtoon:
    I an see West Ham dropping if Bilic stays much longer.

    Kim – did you watch them last night?

    They were absolutely awful. Arnautivic (spell) was a joke for the money he went for. But to have a player like Hernandez and not play to his strengths is just crazy!!. Every game I’ve seen so far he’s running round chasing the game. 11 individual out there & Bilic seems lost as to what to do with them.

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  12. Sharpy17: Kim – did you watch them last night?

    They were absolutely awful.Arnautivic (spell) was a joke for the money he went for.But to have a player like Hernandez and not play to his strengths is just crazy!!.Every game I’ve seen so far he’s running round chasing the game.11 individual out there & Bilic seems lost as to what to do with them.

    Was it Snodgrass who said he signed him but had no clue what to do with him and wondered if he had ever actually seen him play? If so, I am just wondering who’s signings these players are. If Bilic signed them then he has to go. But if the Dildo brothers signed the players whilst playing real life football manager…

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  13. SHARPY I thought Bilic would have made a canny manager,he’s played for them and managed at national level so what is going on there,I remember he was a pundit at the Euros I think it was and all the other pundits were all ears when he was speaking about tactics

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  14. Oh my god jabba says if he sells the toon he wants to stay involved with football but at a lower level club,which poor sods are going to get him as a owner I dread to think

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  15. Icedog:
    SHARPY I thought Bilic would have made a canny manager,he’s played for them and managed atnational level so what is going on there,I remember he was a pundit at the Euros I think it was and all the other pundits were all ears when he was speaking about tactics

    Ice – I do wonder how much say Bilic has on recruitment. They all seem like marquee players that the owners seem to think the fans want.
    I’m sure it’s one of their sons that is always tweeting about who they are about to sign before the club make an official announcement.
    The owners bang on about this standard of football that goes with the stadium, but all they seem to have done is recruitment a bunch of talented individuals. But they actual look a better team when the likes of James Collins, Mark Noble and Andy Carroll are in the side.
    I think Hughes has managed to do a similar thing at Stoke. Spent big money on the likes of Imbula and Berahino – but put Glen Whelan & Peter Crouch in the side and they look a better team.

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  16. Icedog:
    Oh my god jabba says if he sells the toon he wants to stay involved with football but at a lower level club,which poor sods are going to get him as a owner I dread to think

    I hear the Sunderland owner wants to sell ?

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  17. Yep that was the worst game i have seen us play for some time. We were reall not switched on at all. I have seen some comments about our lack of quality but i think we weren’t motivated enough for the first 70 minutes. We were just going through the motions. Happy with the 3 points tho!

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  18. Time to end the Joselu-Perez experiment.

    Mackem Watch – still 2nd bottom

    Carver-Schteve-Pardew Watch – Leicester need a new manager. Crap ex-Toon Managers need not apply. Ugly John didn’t even get the Gateshead job. Where is Schteve now?

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  19. McClaren is a “coaching consultant” at Maccabi Tel Aviv. What is that? Send a couple of e-mails and youtube links and weekend breaks in January and February?

    It is strange that our ex-managers have not been snapped up by Champions League clubs. Keegan was out of football for like 4 years and Shearer had no experience. Kinnear 🙂 Dennis Wise. Jiminez. Lliam*******.

    When you look back, the Fat Man has made some appalling decisions.

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  20. I should be shocked that we are still in The Premier league. I think I am correct in saying that Rafa called Charnley. And Lee gets paid about 200k a year which is about 1/4 of what Sunderland pay their MD. Even the one who decided to keep Adam Johnson when she knew he was guilty was on 600k.

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  21. So, basically, Charnley gets paid in a year what Rooney gets in a week. He hires Rafa who gets paid 30 times as much as him (6,000,000 / 200,000 = 30). It is not all about money but in Charnley’s case it might be. Why hasn’t he looked elsewhere? He has been MD at a Premier League Club and is by far the lowest paid MD in the League.

    Is he the Joe Kinnear of MDs?

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  22. Two bits of good news – we won, and the next game cannot possibly be as bad as the Palace game. I was watching in a Pub and when we scored I didn’t even watch the remaining 4 minutes, plus extra time. I knew we wouldn’t score another and Palace looked like they could play ’til Christmas without scoring.

    Now we don’t play until next Monday. That should give us time to work out who will replace either/and/or Joselu and Perez. I don’t like to criticize our players but this has to end.

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  23. How about M and M from the start. Mitro as the number 9 and Moreno as the number 10. Joselu and Perez could come on for the last 20 minutes. Obviously, I will not criticize Rafa but this is just flipping what we do now. Get on the front foot a bit more.

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  24. Didn’t the NUFC fan who punched the police horse go to jail? I think he did. The Everton fan who punched the player is worried about social services taking his kid away (see above) he should be worried about Her Majesty taking his liberty away. He was blaming the players for starting the fight and Everton for leaving a gate open. I live in a country where the orange President just called a family whose soldier son had died in a terrorist attack and said “he knew what he signed up for” and this **** even beats that for stupidity.

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  25. Sharpy17: What?, when did that happen?.I can’t find anything about him passing either

    It was on yesterdays thread at the start and the end of previous thread when Ice broke the news mate.

    Poor performance but the lads snatched the 3 points, a win for Batty .RIP

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  26. Eric, the guys a moron. Who punches someone when they have a young child in their arms! His lad must of been really frightened, I think it’s disgusting that his child so young had to witness that and could very easily of been hurt in the process too. Shit for brains, as we say down here. Deserves all he gets but I doubt he’ll learn any lessons somehow.

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  27. Well, I have no clue how Cabaye stayed on the pitch yesterday, THAT was a leg breaking challenge, absolutely shocking.

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  28. In my opinion last week’s performance was the best so far and only brought one point. Yesterday was our worst and brought three. Such a dynamic game football. You can just never tell what will happen and I guess that’s why it’s so popular. Having said that I guess we’ll lose against Man City 🙂

    Rafa must bring an end to the Joselu/Perez experiment. They were awful yesterday and it was far from the only time. It’s Mitro time with Merino or Shelvey backing up. Seen two reports now Benny’s coming back! No10?

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  29. Not that I want to jump the gun but I’d be interested to know people’s views on this. If we get bought out and the new owner has a lot of cash and gives Rafa £150m, do we have any players in the current squad which players could we say would be safe? I’d say Shelvey, Ritchie, Lascelles, Merino, Hayden (for potential) and Yedlin.

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  30. kimtoon:
    Well, I have no clue how Cabaye stayed on the pitch yesterday, THAT was a leg breaking challenge, absolutely shocking.

    Kim Not a Newcastle player that,s why.

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  31. Stuart79:
    Not that I want to jump the gun but I’d be interested to know people’s views on this. If we get bought out and the new owner has a lot of cash and gives Rafa £150m, do we have any players in the current squad which players could we say would be safe? I’d say Shelvey, Ritchie, Lascelles, Merino, Hayden (for potential) and Yedlin.

    I blow hot and cold on Yedlin. Think we could do better.

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  32. Stuart79:
    Not that I want to jump the gun but I’d be interested to know people’s views on this. If we get bought out and the new owner has a lot of cash and gives Rafa £150m, do we have any players in the current squad which players could we say would be safe? I’d say Shelvey, Ritchie, Lascelles, Merino, Hayden (for potential) and Yedlin.

    I think the back line is getting to be quite solid so most will be safe for a place in the squad.

    I’d expect that money to be eaten up with a good forward or 2, a decent #10, winger and keeper.

    So Darlow, Gayle, Mitro, Mbemba to go along with fringe players on loan and Colback obviously.

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  33. Will we ever get a penalty again? And things would have been a lot easier if Cabaye was sent off. Remember England’s current golden boy stayed on the pitch for a very similar tackle that put Lejeune out for a month.

    I am trying not putting on my foil hat yet but the law of averages says we have to get a penalty or sending off against us eventually. The Refs can’t all be against us like the pundits are. Or can they? #conspiracytheory.

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  34. Depend upon our objectives. We all know we need a No 9 and No 10. If in January we got Cenk Tosun and Benny I think that would cement our place in the top ten this season, possibly 5-7 depending upon how poorly the top six do.

    Next summer would be the interesting window. Freddie is Key to GK position. LB replacement for Dummett. Elsewhere maybe a marquee signing or two to consolidate, but if we wish to take on the Manchester clubs we need a whole new team

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  35. Sham: I agree that we easily could have had players sent off but by the law of averages we should get a penalty now and again and also have an opposition player sent off. Remember that it went about 6 years without Man U giving away a penalty at Old Trafford. There was obviously an unwritten rule by the Refs. And Rooney should be off in every game, he blatantly tells the Refs to F-off in every game and nothing is done about it. Playing midfield today BTW, hope it works out better for Keoman than it did for Mr. Roy. I am now absolutely sure that he has something in his contract that says if he is fit he plays.

    We might surprise Man U. They are a bit weak at the back playing wingers as full backs, Jones is out again and Smalling makes a lot of mistakes.

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  36. shamrock: I think the back line is getting to be quite solid so most will be safe for a place in the squad.

    I’d expect that money to be eaten up with a good forward or 2, a decent #10, winger and keeper.

    So Darlow, Gayle, Mitro, Mbemba to go along with fringe players on loan and Colback obviously.

    I agree about the back line. Strongest we have had for a long time. Would be sorry to see Mbemba go as he has done nothing wrong in my eyes. However we do seem to have a surplus of good centre backs. Contrast that with just Collo and Williamson and of course Taylor. My choice would be to let Clark go – reluctantly. He’s not getting any younger although he has been very good for us whereas Mbemba has future potential and could play holding midfield.

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  37. Ha Ha. A Rooney flashback. Commentator over hear said “that’s the Wayne Rooney we haven’t seen for many a year!”. See, it’s not just me.

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  38. Stoke have quietly dropped into the bottom 3, unless Everton lose by more than 2 goals.

    I never used to dislike Everton but have changed my mind recently. I think it started with Rooney moving back. Then the Daily Mail quizzed all of their reporters about the transfer window, about 15 of them, who said Everton “won” the transfer window and we lost (joint with Arsenal). Then they thought they would try to tap up Rafa, like they are a bigger club than NUFC. It is probably irrational but thems me reasons.

    And I had no thoughts on Palace until their fans started giving it large about Pardew.

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  39. Groucho: I agree about the back line. Strongest we have had for a long time. Would be sorry to see Mbemba go as he has done nothing wrong in my eyes. However we do seem to have a surplus of good centre backs. Contrast that with just Collo and Williamson and of course Taylor. My choice would be to let Clark go – reluctantly. He’s not getting any younger although he has been very good for us whereas Mbemba has future potential and could play holding midfield.

    Groucho: MBemba has shown versatility. Plus, we are going to need 4 centre backs with European football next year. What did you say Keiran Dier?

    I don’t think it will happen unless there is a takeover and we get a centre forward. I am sticking with 11-14th.

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  40. This’ll please you Eric; just heard first punter .. Claridge on R5 .. question everton’s tenure in the prem’ ship this season. Their fans remind me of the mackems last year; simply accepting their team is poor

    Don’t understand the Benitez to Everton links or the new one to Leicester. Sure both clubs have been more successful in recent years but the trend is down for both while we’re at least looking good value to move on. it must be the usual biased, lazy stereotypes from the media

    Glad i didn’t watch the game yesterday but checked in on around 75 mins to see it nil-nil. Like most, i assumed we’d lose from there like we used to. Nice to see a win

    Eric Sykes:
    Stoke have quietly dropped into the bottom 3, unless Everton lose by more than 2 goals.

    I never used to dislike Everton but have changed my mind recently. I think it started with Rooney moving back. Then the Daily Mail quizzed all of their reporters about the transfer window, about 15 of them, who said Everton “won” the transfer window and we lost (joint with Arsenal). Then they thought they would try to tap up Rafa, like they are a bigger club than NUFC. It is probably irrational but thems me reasons.

    And I had no thoughts on Palace until their fans started giving it large about Pardew.

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  41. kimtoon:
    think koeman’s a deadman walking
    Embarrassing display from Everton there.

    Koeman went back 3 then changed to back 4 for the second half. Then they let in 4 goals. I think he is gone. Wayne for player-manager 🙂

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  42. Rooney is specializing in getting managers sacked – Moyes, Van Gaal, Mr. Roy and almost certainly Koeman. Coincidence, I don’t think so.

    Yes, I know that is simplistic but I want to twist the knife. Surprised Troy isn’t on here defending Rooney. He was always sticking up for lost causes.

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  43. I hate how clubs just tap up managers of other clubs, it’s destabilising and shouldn’t be allowed once the season is underway . End of season is different as is managers out of a job .
    It’s like , Oh, we spent all this money and we’re still cack so can we have your manager please 👿
    **** off .

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  44. People talk about December being the hardest month but actually we have Leicester and Everton at home. Brighton at home at the end of December. Those first two games may have traditionally been difficult but those two teams are really struggling this season. Everton are worse than Palace. Even if they sack Koeman, they still won’t have a striker. Losing Lukaku has killed them.

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  45. from wiki – ‘Everton have competed in the top division for a record 114 seasons, missing the top division only four times (1930–31 and three consecutive seasons starting with 1951–52) since The Football League was created in 1888. Everton has won the League Championship nine times (fourth most as of 2016–17).’

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  46. Everton have always been a good club but were overtaken by Liverpool in a two team city many years ago. I would put them on par with us at the moment. There are always ebbs and flows, and I am not really trying to put them down. I still don’t think they will be relegated, Koeman has just lost the plot. He changes formation mid-game. One week he goes with new signings, the next with kids.

    Rooney turns 32 in 2 days. Have you ever seen an older looking 32-year-old? He has more lines on his forehead than Ugly John and Gordon Ramsay put together.

    Watching Spurs. Why is Harry Kane ALWAYS called “Harry Kane” and not just “Kane”? Same with Dele Alli.

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  47. Going on a mini rant here . Just heard Koeman being interviewed on radio and interviewer starts by saying how improved they looked and how there was positives and how hard it must be to lose like that. I get the feeling that a lot of pundits and whaqt have you can’t accept the fact that they got it so wrong about Everton at start of season and are desperately looking to save face , Why not say it how it is, they are bloody poor at the moment and money does not automatically mean you’ll be challenging for top 6 .

    And Spurs get a second.

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  48. ive been treated to a sack full of goals today 12 in the PL today 12 in Italy up to now,going to watch PSG game hoping for more,ime getting spoiled

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  49. Stuart79:
    Not that I want to jump the gun but I’d be interested to know people’s views on this. If we get bought out and the new owner has a lot of cash and gives Rafa £150m, do we have any players in the current squad which players could we say would be safe? I’d say Shelvey, Ritchie, Lascelles, Merino, Hayden (for potential) and Yedlin.

    Stu – yeah defo those. I’d probably stick with Clark as well coz I think he’s a solid squad player and done well for us last season and each time he’s played this season so far as well.

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