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Newcastle United 1-0 Crystal Palace - Mikel Merino sends the Magpies up into the top six!

Newcastle United racked up yet another victory this season. This time it was bottom club Crystal Palace who were put to the sword. 

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Mikel Merino was the match-winner as Newcastle United beat Crystal Palace.
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Newcastle were the ones being forced to dictate the play, rather than being able to sit back and counter on teams as they usually have this season.

Joselu won an early header, which gave Christian Atsu the chance to put the ball into the box, but he failed to pick out a black and white shirt with his cross.

Wilfried Zaha tried to make things happen for the visitors, but after cutting in from the left, his misplaced pass gave Javier Manquillo the opportunity to counter, but the Spaniard over-hit his cross badly.

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Wilfried Zaha was very bright for the visitors.
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Palace then suddenly began taking control of the game. Former Newcastle winger Andros Townsend skipped past Florian Lejeune, forcing the Frenchman to trip him, which earned him the first yellow card of the game.

Zaha then got on the end of a cross after Jeffrey Schlupp had missed his header, only to fire a low shot straight at Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal.

Matt Ritchie did try to lift his side when he cut in from the right, only to see his tame shot deflect behind for a corner.

Controversy then struck. Zaha went down in the box hoping for a penalty. That was not given, which then resulted in Yohan Cabaye lashing down DeAndre Yedlin. A subsequent square-up ensued involving almost every player, with Newcastle players wanting Cabaye sent off. A yellow card was given and nothing more.

Minutes later, Atsu was slipped down the left by Shelvey and after a fantastic run, the Ghanian rattled the side netting.

The best chance of the game fell to Zaha. Townsend curled in a wicked cross to the far post, only for the Ivorian to get his header totally wrong.

The second half was more of the same from the off. Newcastle couldn't really get started. Patrick Van Aanholt tried to capitalise for the Eagles, but his long range shot went well wide.

Rafa Benitez, frustrated by what he was watching, introduced Mikel Merino to try and add some attacking impetus to the side.

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Rafa Benitez's side now sit in 6th in the Premier League.
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Mo Diame was also brought on by Benitez, but still Palace looked more dangerous. Townsend fired over the bar.

Newcastle did eventually get going after Joselu made Speroni work. Their first attempt on target of the game. Aleksandar Mitrovic then replaced the Spanish striker as Newcastle seeked a winner.

The away side were still creating chances though. None better than when Ruben Loftus-Cheek slid a ball across the six yard box, which Van Aanholt almost finished.

A 0-0 draw seemed inevitable towards the end of the second half. Both teams huffed and puffed, but failed to create any real clear cut chances.

That was until Matt Ritchie delivered another beautiful corner, this time it was headed in by Mikel Merino, who grabbed his first goal in black and white. An excellent moment for the young Spaniard.

An absolutely awful match, one that Newcastle would have probably lost in seasons gone by. Not this team though. There is a real sense of positivity flowing around the city and this win will only enhance the feel good factor. An excellent start to the season.