Player Ratings – Newcastle United 1 – Crystal Palace 0

Dúbravka – 8. Had very little to do.  However, was part of the back five that kept a clean sheet.

Krafth – 8. A couple of sloppy mistakes in the first half which cost him getting a nine.  He’s on a great run of form and looks nothing like the player he was under the previous muppet we had in charge.  Most of the Palace attacks came from Zaha and he dealt with him really well – leading to an hilarious hissy fit from Wilfred in the second half.

Burn – 9.  What a colossus. When he’s good he is very good, and last night he was excellent.  Palace are a big, strong side and dominated the second half.  The back four defended a number of aerial balls into the box,and the two central defenders dealt with everything comfortably, and he was at the heart of it.

Schär – 8. Fab has struck up a great partnership with BDB.  As I mentioned above, they both dealt really well with a physical Palace team.  A couple of poor passes cost him a nine, but another very good performance from our Swiss international.

Targett – 9.  Another outstanding performance from the Villa loanee. What was Gerrard thinking? Solid in defence, always looking to be progressive with the ball.  Best LB we’ve had in years.

Shelvey – 6.  Being a bit harsh, but in the second half, when needed to retain possession, he routinely gave the ball away with weak or misplaced passes. He dived into a few challenges, which always scares the life out of me as he’s too often seen red for them. I wanted to see more from him but didn’t.

Bruno – 9.  Simply magnificent. He is the complete midfield player.  Full of energy, creative, combative, ball winner, progressive.  His tackle count last night must have been the highest on the pitch.  He played a number of superb passes, none more special than the through ball for Miggy’s goal.  Build a team round this lad, he’s special.

Joelinton – 6. Again, being a little harsh but his levels have been so high over the past three months or so. Very little impact on the game.  He should have scored in the second half with a free header, and you simply must take these chances.

Saint-Maximin – 6.  I was desperate from him to have a good performance last night.  Was hoping that he would take inspiration from the flags. However, it wasn’t to be and nothing came off for him.  He made a couple of mazy runs but flattered to deceive.   Must do more out of possession and was rightly withdrawn in the second half when Palace dominated the ball.

Wood – 5. There is nothing worse than an average player being out of form.  At least I hope he’s out of form.  You can’t put a one-on-one chance four yards wide when six yards out.  For all his plaudits for ‘chasing lost causes’ he’s not offering anything in terms of goalscoring or creating chances which is kind of what you need from one of your front three.  We used him as an outlet in the second half as we pumped clearances up to him and I don’t recall him keeping possession once.   Would have been a four had he not made a good defensive clearance near the end.

Almirón – 10. What a goal.  Had a great view from the Leazes West Corner.  When he hit it I was about to take cover, but no – top corner, never doubted him (I did, I’ve been a massive critic).   Got to be up there as one of his best performances for us, full of energy and creativity.  He got on the end of a great ball from Bruno however, for a player who normally goes to ground if someone breathes on him, he created his goal by holding off the left back and taking it past him under pressure.  In the first half he was almost unplayable.  Bravo bonnie lad.

Subs:

Murphy 6.   Came on as fresh legs but we barely had the ball so he couldn’t impact the game.

Willock 6.  Similar to Murphy, played a more defensive roll given the state of the game.

Longstaff.  N/A  not sure he finished running on to the pitch before the whistle went for full time.

Tim Wood