Eddie Howe named an unchanged side from the one that beat Fulham, the agonizing wait to see if their star man would be fit finally over—Newcastle did in fact have Bruno in the middle.
The Brazilian, understandably, looked a touch off as he shook off the ankle injury that forced him out of the game against Fulham halfway through it.
For all their dominance on Saturday, Newcastle still found it hard to break Palace down and get in behind. Callum Wilson struggled up front, and it looked as though Howe’s side were lacking in ideas at times.
The Magpies, who moved up to third in the table overtaking Man Utd (they’ll play Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday), had the better chances with Vicente Guaita denying Joelinton three times. Callum Wilson, Sven Botman, and Alexander Isak all failed to score with their headers, too.
The home side had to wait 72 minutes for their only shot on target with Jean-Philippe Mateta’s fierce bomb expertly tipped over the bar by Nick Pope—the Newcastle's keeper has now kept nine clean sheets in a row.
Allan Saint-Maximin had a fabulous late chance but skewed over the bar after a heavy first touch. It wasn’t to be for Newcastle and they now look ahead to the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Southampton on Tuesday.
It is abundantly clear that Newcastle need fresh faces to keep their top-four challenge going this season. Their midfield looked tired and lacked creativity. If Newcastle’s owners were unsure about dipping into the transfer market this month, this performance should have convinced them to bring in reinforcements.
Speaking after the game, Eddie Howe had some interesting words to share.
During the final nine days of the transfer window, Newcastle will surely be on the lookout for players who can get that final ball right.