A week after Crystal Palace’s shock 2-1 victory over champions Chelsea they travelled to St. Jame’s Park to take on Newcastle United. Could Palace continue where they left off the previous game?
|Newcastle United||1-0||Crystal Palace|
|Lejeune 21′, Lascelles 29′, Manquillo 60′,
|Yellow Cards||Cabaye 28′, van Aarnholt 29′|
|Marino 86′||Goal Scorers|
The Expat Eagle’s Verdict
I think we all knew it in our heart of hearts that last week was going to be a result in isolation and it would be easy to put that narrative on the proceedings today.
In truth, the game was fairly even. I’d say we shaded it in the first half and Newcastle United shaded it in the second half. Typically, our defeat was as a result of our own undoing with one vital component that cost us the game.
That one thing wasn’t the poor marking at the corner that resulted in their goal. It wasn’t the fact that the ball went over Speroni’s head, which let’s be honest would have happened had Hennessey been in goal because he is a good 5 inches taller. No, it was the fact we didn’t have a striker on the pitch!
Statistics only tell you so much about the game but the fact we had 10 goal attempts to Newcastle United’s 7 tells you part of the story. The fact none of our attempts were on target whereas Newcastle United had 3 says the rest.
Crystal Palace had more chances, better chances but we lacked someone to put the ball in the net, let alone on target! We lacked a focal point in the attack and it didn’t help that Wilfred Zaha had an off day.
The one thing that summed up our afternoon perfectly happened when Loftus-Cheek came on in place of Zaha.
Palace cleared a Newcastle attack and as we broke away Loftus-Cheek received the ball on the right of the Newcastle United half and advanced towards their area. Just as he got level with the 18-yard line he put a cross into the box aimed towards the far post.
Usually, at a time like this, you’d expect your attacker to be bearing down on goal, ready to stab the ball in at the far post. Failing that you’d expect a midfielder to be making the run.
Imagine my surprise when I realised the player arriving at the far post was van Aarnholt. Palace had no other player anywhere near the penalty area so it seemed to be a two-man attack.
You can imagine how unsurprised I was when van Aarnholt arrived a fraction too late to poke the ball home, instead it went out for a goal kick.
That was the afternoon in a nutshell. We had attacks. We had the better of the play. We just had no threat.
I don’t blame Zaha for having an off-day. I think it is too much for him to carry the expectations on his own. Townsend had a good game. The problem is that this week our game plan wasn’t a surprise.
Rafael Benitez is one of the best managers in the game and what we did last week against Chelsea wouldn’t have gone unnoticed but him and his staff. I think it was a little nieve to try the same trick for the second week in a row even if we had little or no other options.
Personally, I think it is difficult to criticise Hodgson for his team selection given we won last week but maybe we should have thrown in Loftus-Cheek for McArthur just to put in an unknown factor.
The trouble is this defeat was sewn back in the summer when we let Campbell leave, who scored his 3rd goal of the season today for Hull, and not replace him.
We failed to plan and therefore we planned to fail. Today’s defeat is a result of indecision in the summer rather than anything decided in the last week.
Verdict: A good performance, carrying on from last week but we were hopeless up front.
|Newcastle United (4231)||6.77||Crystal Palace (442)||6.67|
Match rating courtesy of WhoScored.
|Ball Possession %
Match statistics courtesy of WhoScored.