Newcastle United were held to a 0-0 draw by Crystal Palace at St. James’ Park on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League as VAR shambles denied the hosts a clear goal.

As ever, the hosts — buoyed by the fantastic atmosphere at St James’ Park — got off to a strong start and camped into Crystal Palace’s half in the opening 15 minutes or so. There was a spring in player’s feet following the events at Anfield in midweek.

The visitors tried to nullify the atmosphere with their composed passing and did make it an edgy game with a few enterprising openings on turnovers. However, Newcastle found a way to create chances against a resilient, energetic Palace side and made them look leggy towards the end of first-half.

Overall, the Magpies dominated for the most part in the first half. Miguel Almiron struck the post, Alexander Isak had two attempts saved, and Sean Longstaff also had a bullet header denied by Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita. Palace had a few chances of their own but the hosts deserved to be in front if not for their slight profligacy.

The second half panned out in a similar fashion, Newcastle piled on the pressure on the visitors, who were unable to deal with the home side’s energy and endeavour. The Magpies had plenty of prime openings to get in front, including an own goal from Tyrick Mitchell that was unjustly ruled out for offside.

Joe Willock, Jacob Murphy, and Fabian Schar all had golden opportunities but could not put the ball into the back of the net. The hosts kept coming at Palace, and had the better chances to win it but just lacked that clinical nature in the front of goal to finish them, as it ended 0-0 at the final whistle. The Hard Tackle will now run the rule over both sets of players.

Newcastle United

Nick Pope: 8/10

It was once again a superb display from Nick Pope, who made a string of fine stops as Palace threatened to cause a surprise against the run of play. He was attentive to hold Zaha’s shot early on and made a fine reaction stop to deny Mateta on the spin. Edouard was also denied from close-range.

The Englishman was quick off his line and always looking to get the Magpies on the offensive with his powerful and rangy quick throw. Another excellent performance in goal from the former Burnley man, who continues to make a mockery of the £10 million Newcastle paid to sign him from the relegated Clarets.

Matt Targett: 6.5/10

Targett was handed his first start after returning from injury. There were a few sloppy moments here and there, but there were several critical blocks and challenges. He dealt with Ayew very well and nullified the threat most of the time, while his distribution from deep and threat from corners is very underrated.

Sven Botman: 8/10

Botman was a strong defensive presence to help keep Palace at arm’s length. Composed and controlled, doing a good job of shackling Jordan Ayew and rarely looking troubled. A Rolls Royce of a defender, the Dutchman also helped build play with clever passes between the lines.

Fabian Schär: 7/10

Kieran Trippier: 8.5/10

Trippier had the tricky task of dealing with Wilfried Zaha, but surprisingly it was the latter who had to keep a check on the Englishman. Newcastle’s stand-in skipper caught the eye up and down the right, delivering a series of dangerous crosses and defending well.

He put in 15 crosses, and it was a shame that none of them was turned in. It was also a focused display in the back line, as he ensured neither man nor ball would get past him down the right.

Joelinton: 6.5/10

Newcastle’s man mountain in the middle of the park, Joelinton made sure that the Magpies emerge victorious in every battle in midfield be it second balls, duels, tackles, or interceptions as the hosts made things difficult for Palace all afternoon. He struck a shot into the side netting in the first half and was a tad sloppy in possession but it was indeed a heavy shift.

Sean Longstaff: 6/10

Did a good mopping-up job, breaking up Palace’s approach play, and tidy if unspectacular in possession. Almost scored in the first half with a glancing header, and was a real physical presence throughout, albeit he was caught on the ball on a few occasions.

Joe Willock: 6/10

Willock was harshly penalised for a foul on Guaita as the referee disallowed United’s opener, clearly, Mitchell barged him into the Palace keeper. Denied by a great save from Guaita after slid-in by Alexander Isak, while he missed another golden chance late on the turn late in the game.

Ryan Fraser: 6/10

Worked hard, regularly cutting in from the left, winning fouls in a good position, but lacked end product and was taken off midway through the second half. Picked up a yellow card as well.

Alexander Isak: 7/10

Isak created a great opportunity for himself with his burst of pace but will be disappointed with his choice to dink it over the keeper rather than burying it down the sides. Had a few half-chances after that but still showed flashes of his talent.

The Swede was also quite adept at exploiting the gaps in the opposition’s defence be it between the centre backs and full backs or between the defenders and midfielders, as demonstrated in one action when he dropped deep to play a wonderful ball for Willock for a golden chance late on. Hold-up play was still ropey but will get better.

Miguel Almirón: 7/10

Almiron’s match engine is incredible. He was chasing lost causes, harrying and pressing, tracking back relentlessly, and firing shots, of course off-target. But he offered irrepressible energy and was a constant outlet on the right.


Jacob Murphy: 6/10

Replaced Almiron with 20 minutes remaining on the clock and was bright and sharp with his pace in behind but the end-product clearly lacking again.

Elliot Anderson: 7/10

Replaced Fraser and gave a new life to Newcastle’s attack with his fresh legs and looked dangerous. He looked very bright, and for someone just 19 years old, he looked physically imposing and had Palace on ropes with his trickery, pace, and power down the right. Should have started the game with that type of performance. He’s certainly pushing for his first start in black and white.

Dan Burn: NA/10

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Chris Wood: NA/10

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Crystal Palace

Vicente Guaita: 8/10

It’s telling when your goalkeeper is the best player on the pitch, but that was the case this evening for Palace. Guaita was called into action time and time again but stood up to everything that came his way and made a host of saves to earn his team a vital point. The pick of the bunch would be his spectacular fingertip save to deny Joe Willock, which was deflected onto the upright

The Spaniard also won all the aerial balls that seemed dangerous in the penalty area as Newcastle could not make anything from their set-piece prowess.

Tyrick Mitchell: 5/10

It was a game of two halves for Mitchell, who had a terrific opening 45 minutes defensively and kept Palace in the game with some great intervention to prevent Almiron from having a clear set of heels. But looked incredibly shaky in the second period, and got away with one thanks to the poor refereeing. Subbed off.

Marc Guéhi: 7/10

Guehi shepherded the ball out of play well several times in the first half while Newcastle players pressured him. Was one of Palace’s best players on an otherwise uninspiring display from the Eagles on Tyneside. Made some positive passes into the midfield.

Joachim Andersen: 6/10

Anderson was solid at the back but almost undid all of his industrious work off the ball by creating Newcastle’s first sight of goal with a timid pass that was intercepted by Isak.

Joel Ward: 4/10

Ward endured a very poor evening as he was either bypassed or ploughed straight through on numerous occasions, and that was against Ryan Fraser. It could have been even worse if he had to deal with the explosive Allan Saint-Maximin. The right-back area would be a weak link for Palace in the upcoming games.

Cheick Doucouré: 7.5/10

He covered a lot of ground as he was Palace’s destructor in midfield. He stopped a lot of counter-attacks with well-timed challenges, and clearances, including a crucial one off-the-line. All in all, he did an excellent job protecting his back four and offered steel in midfield. Got a fair few shots away, but lacked accuracy and precision, while his long passing was wayward.

Jeffrey Schlupp: 5/10

Struggled to stamp his authority on the match as the nadir of sluggish performance. Mostly focused on defence and was therefore unable to create anything going forward.

Eberechi Eze: 6/10

One of the midfielder’s quieter evenings but still found the occasional pocket of space, and looked untouchable at times, drifting and gliding past players with his mesmerising close control. But that does not take away from the fact that he was bullied by the Newcastle midfielders, and did not contest aerially at all.

Jordan Ayew: 6/10

Worked tirelessly to get Palace forward when the hosts were piling the pressure on. He had a couple of bright moments on transitions but was awry with his final ball that killed the sting out of attack as he battled away all afternoon long. Forced a save out of Pope at the front post late on.

Wilfried Zaha: 6/10

Disappointing afternoon from the Palace star-man as it was a game to forget for Zaha. Not many chances were created and just about completed half of his attempted dribbles. Lost the ball 13 times, and because he was off-colour the whole Palace team looked ineffective.

Jean-Philippe Mateta: 6/10

Mateta couldn’t get involved in build-up against an organised back line. He did come close, though, with a clever offside ploy to get in behind but fired straight to Newcastle keeper Pope.


Nathaniel Clyne: 5/10

Clyne came in for Mitchell but failed to better the latter’s performance. Few direct passes into the attack, but apart from it, a silent evening.

Odsonne Edouard: 6/10

Edouard was impactful today with his smart positioning and got a golden chance to pull Palace surprisingly in front. However, Pope got down well to produce an excellent save.

Michael Olise: 6/10

His silky skills were fun to watch and seemed lively. However, apart from a few lovely touches here and there, he could not influence the game in a positive manner and was uncharacteristically wasteful. 

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