Palace Return From Winter Break To Secure Important Three Points

A surprising change to the usual game plan saw the Eagles beat Newcastle with a high press, high tempo attitude which the visitors found difficult to contain but the failure to take chances meant for a tense finish.


22nd February 2020


Crystal Palace 1-0 Newcastle United


Selhurst Park Stadium, Holmesdale Road, Selhurst, London SE25 6PU




REFEREE – Peter Bankes

ASSISTANTS – Ian Hussin, Harry Lennard, Stuart Attwell (fourth official)

VAR – Andy Madley, Adrian Holmes (assistant)


Yellow cards – James McCarthy (14), Nabil Bentaleb (21), Miguel Almiron (32), Jamaal Lascelles (39), James McArthur (74), Matt Ritchie (83), Joelinton (88), Sean Longstaff (90)

Red card – Valentino Lazaro (90)


Patrick van Aanholt (45)


Jordan Ayew


What a difference a winter break makes. A high energy performance at Selhurst that secured a well deserved three points. An enjoyable high press and relentless showing with a number of excellent individual performances. The players and management have had many a critical comment aimed at them in recent weeks and months but they deserve plenty of praise for this result. Only criticism from this one is that we did not score more goals and put the game to bed to avoid a nervous end. A good time to find some form with the run of games coming up as points are needed. However, if we continue to play like this, there will be no problems at all.


In another weekend of VAR controversies, there was nothing to see here.


Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.

“The frustration amongst supporters on tactics and performances had certainly grown over the past few games. However, the mid-season two week break came at just the right time giving our players the opportunity to recharge their batteries and recover from longer term injuries and general knocks. The effect was seen immediately from kick off. We played long spells of the game with a higher tempo and energy levels producing a ‘front foot’ performance.

Ultimately the single goal of the game securing three points was much deserved and certainly Newcastle couldn’t have argued with a greater margin of defeat. Our midfield probably pressed 10 yards further up the pitch than seen in recent home games giving the whole team more of an offensive intent. Much credit to McArthur, McCarthy and Kouyate who together gave us a more mobile unit on and off the ball. Seven shots on and seven shots off target confirmed our dominance in the final third of the pitch. Often only their keeper Dubravka stood between us and more goals.

Our back four remained secure when Newcastle posed any threat with Dann and Cahill providing a solid centre back partnership. Ayew gave yet another man of the match performance. His energy levels combined with technical abilities stood out throughout the whole game. An honourable mention too for Van Aanholt who gave one of his best performances this season capped with a top class finish from a free kick at the end of the first half. It proved to be the crucial difference between the two teams.

Three big games are next on the horizon starting with a trip down the A23 next Saturday. Two more wins required to secure Premier League safety and guarantee an eighth successive season at the top level. It would be some achievement in our club’s history.”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (7) – Two good saves in the game were the difference between Palace taking all three points and leaving Selhurst with a frustrating point, or nothing.

2 JOEL WARD (7) – Stood up well to the challenge particularly when knowing he was always going to be caught for pace.

6 SCOTT DANN (7) – Started in place of the injured Tomkins and did an excellent job slongside Cahill. Unlucky with a header which was well saved.

24 GARY CAHILL (7) – Wore the captains armband and did the job well, could well have been on the score sheet twice.

3 PATRICK VAN AANHOLT (8) – Very good set pieces, particularly the well placed free kick which ended up sealing all three points. One of his better games defensively and got forward often to support the attack.

8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – Worked well as part of the midfield three. Made one great run which almost ended in a goal but ended up succumbing to injury. Replaced by 44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (6) on 90 minutes.

22 JAMES MCCARTHY (8 – BOOKED!) – The early booking did not prevent him from putting in one of his best performances in a Palace shirt. Strong in the tackle and used the ball well when in possession.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (8 – BOOKED!) – Many ask why Palace play with three defensive midfielders but the Scot does not play that role, his box-to-box running sees him support the attack as much as helping out the defence. He had a very good game doing exactly that.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7) – One player that revelled in the role of playing the high press and going at the opposition. Whenever he had the ball he took on the opposition. Was once again the target of some tough tackling, was clearly frustrated to be hauled down instead of a run at goal in the dying seconds.

9 JORDAN AYEW (9) – Another who was subject of some rough treatment from the opposition but it did not have a huge effect on him as he put in a man-of-the-match performance. On another day he could have had a hattrick but his tireless running on and off the ball was a big reason why Palace won the game.

17 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (7) – We often play so much better when the big Belgian is in the side. Had a couple of great opportunities to score but fluffed his lines but played his part in the win. Replaced by 20 CENK TOSUN (6) on 89 minutes who contributed with a superb challenge to win the ball back.


13 Wayne Hennesey, 34 Martin Kelly, 7 Max Meyer, 10 Andros Townsend, 40 Brandon Pierrick


1 Dubravka, 23 Lazaro, 18 Fernandez, 6 Lascelles, 5 Schar, 28 Rose, 24 Almiron, 26 S Longstaff, 42 Bentaleb, 10 Saint-Maximin, 9 Joelinton

Substitutes – 11 Ritchie (replaced Rose on 71 minutes), 12 Gayle (replaced Almiron on 71 minutes), 14 Hayden, 20 Lejeune, 22 Yedlin, 26 Darlow, 43 M Longstaff


ROY HODGSON – “It was hard to lose three in a row especially when in the last two we were hard done by. We dominated the game but I am disappointed we had to suffer towards the end. When it’s 1-0 they are never out of the picture. It’s our first win in 2020. It was vitally important, and had we conceded in the last few minutes it would have been disastrous. That would have knocked us for six. But it’s a win that moves us up the table and away from the relegation zone. We never lost sight that this would be a dogfight and we wanted to stay ahead of the curve on that.”

STEVE BRUCE – “The better team won. We have had decent possession, but we gave the ball away too cheaply especially when in good areas. We didn’t ask questions, maybe it is a time to change – we have to score to win a game. It was difficult with the conditions, but we have no complaints saying the better team won. Our biggest problem all season has been evident – we have to create more of a threat in the opponent’s area. We have to look at it and analyse it. Maybe change is sometimes for the best.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Jordan Ayew (8.7) who also had the most shots (7) and the most dribbles along with Allan Saint-Maximin (6). The most tackles were by James McCarthy (8).

  • Team rating: 7.22 – 6.42
  • Total shots: 18 – 8
  • Shots on target: 9 – 2
  • Possession: 44.3% – 55.7%
  • Pass success: 74% – 77%
  • Dribbles: 16 – 14
  • Aerials won: 22 – 14
  • Tackles: 22 – 15
  • Corners: 7 – 5
  • Dispossessed: 12 – 9


Palace are 13th in the Premier League with 33 points from 27 games played, a point behind Southampton in 12th and two points ahead of Newcastle in 14th.


29/02/2020 Brighton & Hove Albion (a – 12.30pm)

07/03/2020 Watford (h – 3pm)

14/03/2020 Bournemouth (a – 3pm)


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