Saturday December 21st 2013, KO 15:00.
Barclays Premier League
Selhurst Park Stadium – Official Attendance: 24,936
Crystal Palace (RedNBlue/Blue) (0) 0 Newcastle United (Yellow/Blue) (2) 3
Admission – Season ticket, programme 3.00, Balti pie 4.00 and coffee 2.20.
Maestro on the Palace BBS ……”One goal was a deflection, one was an O.G and one was a pen”
Kevin W on Tony Kempster Forums, ‘where did you go’ …..”I blame the weather”
The difference was that Newcastle had two world-class performers on the day in Johan Cabaye and Fabricio Coloccini. Cabaye dominated the midfield highlighting our lack of quality in not being able to consistently pass to a red and blue shirt. And Coloccini, a Puyol lookalike gracefully and seemingly effortlessly sweeping everything up at the back. I expect both to make an impression at Brazil 2014 for France and Argentina.
Our lack of strength in-depth was evident today, which hopefully will be partly rectified in the January transfer window, whether by permanent or loan deals, Wilf Zaha please? Although a raid on Stoke by Tony Pulis may be more likely scenario?
Following on the back of an encouraging and battling 1-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge last Saturday, in this game, we were never really in it as the football gods, lady luck, call it what you like, turned away and did not smile on us. A couple of square pins in round holes did not help with Joel Ward having to switch from right full back to cover centre midfield for the injured KG and O’Keefe, and Dean Moxey returning from injury at left back but not looking match fit, and having to be replaced at half time by Jonny Parr. As a result we looked weak down both flanks when defending in the fist forty-five.
An early fifteen yard snap shot from Cabaye took an unfortunate deflection and wrong footed Speroni. And then Danny Gabbidon stuck out a foot and diverted at a hopeful cross swung in from the right to again wrong foot Speroni, and firmly left us with the proverbial ‘mountain to climb’.
An improved second half performance couldn’t hide our deficiencies although sub Bolasie added some much-needed pace and trickery. But overall Newcastle just had too much quality and composure on the ball.
This again was emphasised when they were able to bring on the skillful Ben Arfa for a ten minute maestro performance, his encore being a well struck penalty late on. And so the SE25 faithful dolefully trooped out into the wet and windy night contemplating a tough Xmas with away games at Villa and Man City, closely followed by the massive six pointer against the Canaries on New Years Day. A ‘fussball team’ we hope will not be of the same quality as Newcastle!
The only real positive of the day was the return from injury of fans favourite Jonny Parr, his first game since early spring, calmly filling in at left back at half time, and already looking a potential stronger long-term proposition than Dean Moxey.