Newcastle United 4 – 0 Crystal Palace. Newcastle United propelled themselves into the race for Champions League qualification with a thumping victory over Crystal Palace at St James’ Park.
First-half goals from Jacob Murphy, Anthony Gordon and Sean Longstaff were added to by Callum Wilson just past the hour as the Magpies climbed to fifth in the Premier League.
Roy Hodgson’s visitors were never in the game and couldn’t match Newcastle’s intensity, but will hope it is a minor blip in what has been a fine start to the season.
Just four minutes in, Kieran Trippier found Murphy with a sumptuous first-time pass and the winger lifted the ball over Sam Johnstone, who was caught in no-man’s land.
Initially called offside, VAR judged that Trippier’s run in the build-up was impeccably timed, sending the St James’ Park crowd wild.
Newcastle’s stranglehold on the first half was released only sporadically by attacks from the visitors, and the hosts were out of sight by the break despite having squandered a number of chances.
Trippier and Murphy were causing havoc down the right, and their link-up led to a pinpoint cross for Gordon to finish at the back post in the final minute of normal time.
Longstaff then added the third, pouncing on a Marc Guehi slip to slot past the helpless Johnstone.
Palace started the second half with a few signs of life; a more organised counter-press helping them break through the Newcastle lines.
Odsonne Edouard was denied by a Jamaal Lascelles block, but Newcastle broke from the resulting corner, with Ward stepping in to cut out Murphy’s Gordon-bound cross.
That ruthlessness on the break was evident again when just seconds after Palace had tested Nick Pope, Wilson finished off yet another swift move involving Murphy and Trippier.
The defeat at Brighton at the beginning of September feels like a long time ago.
That was Newcastle’s last of three successive losses; they have since returned to their best, going eight games unbeaten in all competitions, scoring 22 goals and conceding just three.
They could have scored more on Saturday, particularly when Gordon hit the bar in a similar position from which he eventually profited.
Bruno Guimaraes was typically effervescent, while calls for Sean Longstaff to receive England recognition may echo beyond Tyneside after another goal, and Wilson proved a point to Gareth Southgate too.
Coming into this game, Palace had only conceded 18 goals in total since Hodgson’s return to the club in March, but they were opened up far too easily from the start.
While everything stemmed from Newcastle’s right, the returning Jefferson Lerma and Cheick Doucoure looked off the pace in the middle, too.
Hodgson will rightly be concerned by such a damaging defeat, but it is still rare enough to count as an off day. With Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze still out injured though, their lack of any real threat going forward is arguably more pressing.
source – BBC