Crystal Palace 1-0 Newcastle: Awful NUFC easily beaten by out of sorts Eagles

Another pitiful display, with a 1-0 win flattering us as we handed Crystal Palace their first win since Boxing Day in another worrying display at both ends.

Bruce vowed to change things, feeling the three January signings would give us something different, yet he picked the same side that crumbled last Sunday and failed to change the system.

He can’t continue to keep doing things the same way and expect different results!

Palace came into this one in horrendous form, often struggle at home and were their to be got at – yet they could’ve quite easily won that 3-0 if it wasn’t for Martin Dubravka.

We’ve now won 1 or our last 9 league games and I genuinely can’t remember the last time we played well. We’ve gotten away with it for months – which has often been down to commendable resilience, hard work and good luck – but that was never sustainable, and it’s starting to show.

The first half was pretty tough to watch. The wind made conditions very difficult at Selhurst Park, but there was no excusing some of our football and basic errors at times.

Dubravka kept us in it early on, making great stops to deny Cahill and Dann from corners, then Christian Benteke missed an absolute sitter moments later, miscuing his header after ghosting into the 6-yard box completely unmarked.

Bentaleb started awfully and was regularly giving the ball away, with his yellow card for kicking the ball away being one of three first half cautions for those in black and white.

We had a period of decent possession and Palace were giving us space to get in behind their midfield if we wanted it – with Zaha also paying very little attention to Lazaro when he got into good positions – but we failed to make the most of that. We sat too deep, struggled to play a passing game out of the back and, on the rare occasion broke their press, a loose touch our poor final ball often let us down.

Sean Longstaff picked out some lovely passes and Lazaro looked lively down our right-hand side, but nothing was sticking to Joelinton, Bentaleb looked way off the pace and our two wide men were struggling to get anything going – with Almiron often being forced to drop deep and Saint-Maximin drifting into central areas to try and get into the game.

It looked like we were going to get into the break all square thanks to some superb Dubravka saves and some awful Benteke finishing, but a Fabian Schar foul gave Patrick Van Aanholt the chance to make it 1-0 from 25-yards just 1 minute before half-time – and he did just that. Dubravka gambled on him going one way but he went the other, with his free-kick finding the top corner and handing Palace a deserved 1-0 lead.

After the second half collapse at Arsenal and woeful first 45 here, a response was needed – but things almost got much worse.

Jordan Ayew hit the post just 2 minutes into the restart after we failed to deal with a cut back across the box, then Gary Cahill missed another big chance moments later, heading wide after a floated Van Aanholt free kick found him free at the back post.

We needed to wake up and get something going yet, aside from a dangerous Danny Rose cross and a long-range effort from Fabian Schar, it was Palace who generally looked the most likely, with Dubravka saving well yet again after a Zaha cut back found Ayew once again.

With 20 minutes to play, Bruce then changed it, taking off Almiron and Rose and bringing on Gayle and Ritchie. I’d hoped this switch would mean a formation change and potential switch to a 3-4-1-2, but Bruce simply moved Joelinton out wide and put Gayle through the middle. We needed a genuine plan B and change of approach, not a like for like switch and ‘hope for the best’.

We sleepwalked our way to the 90th minute, with the player looking lost and frustrated, and a roar went up at the away end when 5 minutes was signalled for stoppage time.

One last push was needed after a pitiful first half display, yet we didn’t get close to the opposition box. Gayle was brought on to increase our goal threat yet I can’t remember him getting a touch – which is more to do with the flawed tactics than his lack of conviction.

To make matters worse, Palace caught us on the counter as we flung bodies forward late on and Lazaro – who’d arguably been our brightest outfield player – took out Zaha as the last man, and received a straight red with 30 seconds to play as a result.

A calamitous end to another pathetic performance.

We may be 7 clear of the bottom 3 still, with Brighton only taking a point and Villa and Bournemouth both losing, but performances like today’s are a reminder that we’re very much still embroiled in a relegation scrap.

Burnley await next weekend. You’d think things can only get better, but Bruce’s lack of tactical nous and failure to change following several toothless displays make me fear it’ll only get worse.


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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.

116 thoughts on “Crystal Palace 1-0 Newcastle: Awful NUFC easily beaten by out of sorts Eagles

  1. I know Bruce is in a bit of a Catch 22 with the loanees in that they are not match fit and the only way they can get match fit is to play, but in our current situation we cannot play them. We have seen the results of the experiment of playing unfit players, so give them a couple more weeks training. They may actually be better than what we have got but not if they are half fit. In our situation we cannot afford to take that risk at the moment. I don’t know what he was thinking, it could be in the loan deals that they have to play a certain number of games but I doubt that it says EVERY GAME.


  2. The other thing that is obvious now is that other Managers have sussed our system and sussed how our players will react when pressed. It doesn’t matter if we start out OK like against Arsenal or start out crap like against Palace, at some point our players and coaches will revert to type. By that I mean as soon as the opposition press us it will be 9 men on the 18 yard line and 1 attacker in the centre circle as a supposed outlet, but never actually winning the ball because he has at least 2 defenders on him. And the second part of the “masterplan” is having Miggy or St Max trying to break the press by taking on the opposition by themselves and finding they have no-one to pass to. Same every game, so why wouldn’t the opposition suss it.

    It is up to Bruce and his coaches to realise this and to change it.


  3. Oh, and the 3rd thing is that if we do go a goal down we lose all shape when chasing a game. Since we are so shot-shy we get desperate. I don’t know how to fix this without a genuine striker but running around like headless chickens leads to massive gaps like against Arse and Leicester.


  4. Joey Barton was trolling the Mackems. I will paraphrase what he said after the match – that it was lame for the Mackems who were a PL side 3 years ago to be celebrating a draw against Fleetwood like they had won the World Cup.


  5. One thing perfectly explained why we are so **** happened last Saturday. Longstaff lost the ball in our half of the centre circle as he had no options and our three centre halves were still on the edge of our area. Ridiculously deep and Palace players had so much room as there was nobody between Longstaff and the defence and a gaping hole


  6. I’ll be interested to see what you think of Seattle Stuart. I have a very good friend who lives there and I visited him for a week last year. I think it has lost its soul because of what they call “tech boys”, 30 somethings with too much money from Microsoft and Amazon and too little taste. It is also the home of Starbucks and the whole city is turning into one big Stabucks facsimile. Best bar I went to was a dive where some of the old grunge bands played. Jerry, my mate, warned me to keep any cutting remarks to myself but we ended up doing shots with the locals.


  7. Flying to Seattle today, Eric. Visiting Boeing and then off to San Fran tomorrow then the main event – wine tasting!


  8. I am off to Cabo and La Paz in Mexico next week with coincidentally my friend from Seattle and a few others. The main event there will be tequila 🙂


  9. Eric Sykes:
    I am off to Cabo and La Paz in Mexico next week with coincidentally my friend from Seattle and a few others. The main event there will be tequila ?

    That might make watching Bruce’s NUFC easier. Especially if you drink so much you pass out!


  10. Better be careful in Seattle mate. The singers of Nirvana and Soundgarden both killed themselves. So stay happy. I think it might be the weather (like Manchester). But you’re used to it.

    I’ll see how suicidal I am after Burnley. Might join Kurt and Chris (Cornell) in the grave and never make to Cabo.


  11. OLLY: you going to take anything from Little Chrissy Waugh at The Athletic seriously? EX-INTERN TO RYDER. Worst financial reporting at The Chronic ever. Whenever I see his by-line at The Athletic I think, Chronic, I think lax reporting, I think – this is likely nonsense.

    He might actually be right this time, but that is not his insight. It is because it is obvious that Bruce has to make some changes and anybody who follows NUFC knows this. Not just Little Chrissy. Not even Little Chrissy Waugh.


  12. You don’t always think of Jesus as a prolific striker but he has 62 goals in 80 games for Man City. He doesn’t even start every game because they have Aguero.

    What did he cost?

    What does our 40 million pound striker have?

    1 goal in 27 games a and he has started 26 of them.


  13. You know, I don’t care if Joelinton goes on to be the next Thieri Henry but at this point Joelinton is a massive bust for the Steves. 1 goal in 27 games.

    St Max looks good but his numbers (stats) aren’t that great either.

    So far, Nickson has been a total failure. You would give St Max and Willems a C+ and the rest an F. Krafth?

    The loanees will hopefully bail Nickson out because I am not cheering him on to fail, just pointing out that he is not doing well so far.


  14. HOW MANY FCKN STEVES DO WE NEED? In the positions of power near the team we have:


    Don’t they get confused if one of the players yells “HEADS UP STEVE”?


  15. So, now I am getting Charnley’s recruitment policy. He sees the CV and it says their name is Steve – you’re hired, when can you start.

    Last one before Rafa was also a Schteve. But remember Rafa came to NUFC and Charnley didn’t have to look so his chain of Steves in prominent positions is unbroken.


  16. It is almost like that Monty Python “Bruce” sketch. I can imagine Eric Idle in one of the team meetings saying to Shola “mind if we call you Steve so we don’t get confused”?


  17. Eric, Seattle is a city that seems rather quiet. Not too busy but quite trendy. Been in the hotel bar for a couple of hours and it’s like a local for everyone. At least 6 people have come in and say at the bar and they’ve all known the bar staff and it’s obvious they come in regular after work. Bit odd for a hotel bar I reckon. But maybe that’s Seattle…


  18. TECH BOYS Stuart. Was the city of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots. Now Techies who go home to spend 3 hours on PlayStation.


  19. Soul less Seattle. Both Portland and Vancouver are much nicer places and have a smidgen of the Toon about them. I liked them both.


  20. So, did we all see what Pep did against Real Madrid? You know, the Real Madrid who have been kings of The Champions League for 50 years…

    He rested Aguero and Sterling as a tactical masterclass and played De Bruyne as a number 10. But then made adjustments when it was not going exactly to plan.

    That’s a manager Brucie FFS. You don’t have to have 9 players on our 18 yard line for 89 minutes of every game.


  21. I’m still struggling to get my head around the notion that Bruce doesn’t think the players we have are capable of passing the ball and attacking. How do the players feel?


  22. We have some good players Stuart.

    Nobody can tell me that the following are CHAMPIONSHIP level:

    St Max

    That should be enough to have a good game of football.


  23. Not totally sold on some of the others YET, like the Longstaffs but they show promise. I have no idea about the loanees because they haven’t played for us or their home teams.


  24. I mean, that is enough players that I listed above to at least have a go you stupid fat fck (SFF) and not just sit them up on our 18 yard line.


  25. While you international jetsetters are having fun, spare a thought for the rest of us watching us get beat yet again. It’s my birthday tomorrow, i’m just glad it’s the day before we play tbh, at least they can’t ruin it.


  26. Happy Birthday for tomorrow, Kim. Mostly I will be sampling wine at Napa Valley during the day but I don’t expect they will be celebratory drinks… I think 0-0 or 1-1 would be as much as we can expect playing like we are doing.

    Personally I would change to 4-2-3-1. Play Hayden and Bentaleb in the middle with Rose and Yedlin full backs and Lascelles and Fernandez in centre. Would play Gayle up front with Almiron behind him and Ritchie and SM either side.


  27. Thanks Stuart, sounds like you are gonna have a great time. I would give all things toon a miss if i were you, why spoil a good time.

    I said the other day that i would have a flat back four with joe up top outright and Saint out top left and Gayle central . Stick 3 in MF or two with miggy in the 10 spot as he can drop back to make a 3 as needed.


  28. Site won’t save name, have to keep putting in details again, i ticked the save box too. Guess that’s me for a bit as not doing that every time.


  29. Eric, staying in Napa and what a city! Small but fab. Everyone here for same reason. Wine! Wine touring starts tomorrow but having a canny feel tasting tonight in the town. Wine train Sunday! Will my liver prevail?!


  30. Better get some rest Stuart. You have to get up at 7am to watch the shower of sh!t we call the Toon tomorrow 🙂


  31. OK, I have had my moan about how bad we are. Need a good performance against Burnley and that will set us up for the rest of the year. Howay the Lads.


  32. Have to stay reasonably cheerful in the face of adversity otherwise you will end up like Ed’s blog with a bunch of OAPs yelling at clouds and bickering amongst themselves. Every day, every day the bickering 🙂


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