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.
— MatthewLaidlow (@MatthewLaidlow) October 21, 2017
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!
Merino's goal in our 1-0 win over Palace today… #NUFC
— Total:NUFC (@Total_NUFC) October 21, 2017
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.