Newcastle headed to Crystal Palace and AFC Richmond’s Selhurst Park hoping to build on their fine form but were largely frustrated by a resilient home side.
Let’s assess how everyone performed.
5 - Eddie Howe: Guilty of playing it a bit too safe on the evening. Hindsight is easy but should’ve started Saint-Maximin against Joel Ward, an aging player who has been getting targeted this season. Ward got skinned by Joelinton and Willock on a few occasions. ASM vs Ward very well could have made the difference. It’s telling that Joel Ward was hooked as soon as Saint-Maximin was brought on. Changing a winning team is understandably not wise, but he could’ve, at the very least, made his substitutions sooner. These are the kind of matches that make the difference between a Champions League spot and a Europa League spot. Hard to be too critical on the day though, as he’s got Newcastle playing their best football in a decade.
7 - Pope: Took every opportunity to spring counter attacks with excellent throws. Made one of the finest saves you will see all season.
6.5 - Trippier: Adds a level of quality that is hard to imitate. Handled his defensive duties with Zaha well throughout. A constant threat down the right hand side. Failed with an offside trap once against Zaha but recovered well.
7 - Schar: His play on the ball is exquisite. Makes playing out the back look easy. Solid in defense too.
7.5 - Botman: Reads the game so well. Great recoveries throughout.
6 - Burn: Solid as ever at the back but didn’t offer too much going forward.
6 - Longstaff: His decision-making has gotten quicker. Was neat and tidy with the passes. He’s definitely growing into the role. All that is missing is that little bit of composure and quality in the final third.
6 - Bruno: Was the conductor once again but was heavily marked throughout. Wasn’t able to change the game as much as we all would have hoped.
6.5 - Willock: Lively again down the left with direct runs and shifty dribbling.
(Sub) NR - Saint-Maximin: Cameo
6 - Joelinton: Provided clever link-up play, and his press resistance continues to open up Newcastle’s attack. Left a bit to be desired with his shooting, though. Also, shouldn’t get baited into a tussle in the dying moments of the game when precious points are on the table.
6 - Almiron: Good link up play with Trippier. His role in build up play is growing more nuanced. Has gone from finisher to provider a bit more. Palace was weary of his threat throughout.
(Sub) NR - Murphy: Cameo
5.5 - Wilson: Ran tirelessly throughout, chasing any half-decent ball. Maybe should have done better with a free header in the center of the box. To be fair, the service could have been better.
(Sub) NR - Isak: Cameo