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Report: Dominant Palace held level by resolute Newcastle side

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Benteke 56'
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Wilson 65'

Today’s focus may well have been on Newcastle United, with the scrutiny that new owners and managerial change brings stronger for them than for many, but it was Palace who caught the eye this afternoon. The home side put in a remarkably dominant performance but were only able to claim a point as a resolute Newcastle team and late VAR decision forced them level.

Summary

  • Patrick Vieira hands Michael Olise his first start, naming an attacking lineup

  • Odsonne Edouard opens the game swiftly, creating a chance from the left-wing

  • Newcastle hit the side netting and Palace the post as both sides trade chances

  • Palace enjoy a dominant spell, with 80% of possession and much of it close to goal. Olise in particular looks bright, but Newcastle defend well in numbers

  • Half-time: Crystal Palace 0-0 Newcastle United

  • Christian Benteke launches a half-bicycle kick at goal which flies just high

  • Five minutes later, he heads home at the far post to earn Palace a long awaited lead

  • Palace are ahead for just six minutes, with Callum Wilson finding the net with an effort that mirrored Benteke’s

  • Benteke almost re-establishes Palace’s lead, but strikes the ball just wide

  • VAR rules out a Benteke goal with minutes left for a foul in the buildup

  • Full-time: Crystal Palace 1-1 Newcastle United

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Odsonne Edouard’s start to life at Palace was fast, with a debut goal after 28 seconds, but today the forward sought to make swift impacts a trademark. He collected the ball almost from kick-off and stormed along the left-wing, bundling his way to the byline and crossing towards the spot.

The immediacy of this early chance caught out fans and players alike, and the ball ultimately ricocheted behind via Conor Gallagher and Christian Benteke. But it was a show of intent from an attacking lineup against the league’s second-leakiest defence.

The next 14 minutes were more settled for both sides – with a potentially disruptive break for Luka Milivojevic to receive treatment in – until Newcastle created their first scare. Striking close to goal after a free-kick bounced around the box, Matt Ritchie forced Marc Guéhi into a goal-line clearance before Callum Wilson hit the side netting.

Palace’s pressure came through slick passing around the edge of the box - with every player looking forward in Newcastle’s half - and finding cute through-balls which the hosts crowded out.

This direct approach almost paid dividends when Michael Olise whipped a perfect ball onto Christian Benteke’s head, but the Belgian powered low against the post. Tyrick Mitchell reacted fastest to the loose ball, however his driven effort was tipped behind by goalkeeper Karl Darlow. Both were openings that may well have gone in on another day, somewhat foreshadowing the frustration to come.

There were spells in the first-half where Palace simply couldn’t worm their way through a packed defence, with Newcastle playing a back five and deep-sitting midfield. This led to the hosts having 80% possession during the first-half: a uniquely long time on the ball, enabling bright flashes which a congested defence snuffed out with speed.

One particularly bright area for Palace was the right-wing, where Olise danced and shimmied. He appeared to toy with his marker Ritchie, but the Newcastle left-back prevented much bar testing crosses from escaping his control.

Palace returned for the second-half with a clear mission: break through the Newcastle backline. It was a task they approached well in the first 45 without finding success.

Five minutes after retaking the field however they almost did so in spectacular fashion. With Palace again attacking from the right, Conor Gallagher crossed into the box and found Benteke. As he has before, the forward leapt into the air and unleashed a fizzing half-bicycle kick at goal, which flow over the crossbar by inches.

Then finally, five minutes later, Palace’s dominance paid off; and Benteke was again at the heart of it.

This time, on the end of another Gallagher ball after the midfielder did excellently to retain possession, Benteke powered home a far-post header, which flew through the narrow gap between Darlow and the woodwork.

The goal was an unquestionably just reward for 55 minutes of possession, chances and misfortune. It was the key Palace needed to unlocking the game and visiting XI, with Newcastle forced to abandon their dense, rigid setup for something more dispersed and attacking.

Cruelly, though, switching styles worked, and the status quo was restored within minutes. Moments before making an attacking substitution, the Magpies earned a corner which Callum Wilson – in a rich vein of form – swung home via a bicycle kick similar to Benteke’s.

Forced level after just six minutes, Palace returned to their earlier task, but this time with the help of Wilfried Zaha.

The Ivorian made a swift impact, driving at the hosts from the right. But it was again Benteke who found Selhurst’s 25,000 staring at him most intently; running one-on-one under pressure and sliding the ball just wide.

With time slipping away from them, Palace showed their resolve and continued to create chances. The “concentration and determination” Patrick Vieira spoke about pre-match shone through with four minutes remaining as Benteke powered home another header, but his second was ruled out for what VAR adjudged to be a foul in the buildup.

Frustration built in the dying exchanges, and by full-time Palace were forced to accept a harsh result, one they may have started coming to terms with much earlier.

Palace: Guaita, Mitchell, Andersen, Guéhi, Ward, Milivojevic (Schlupp 73), McArthur, Gallagher (Mateta 86), Olise (Zaha 66), Benteke, Edouard.

Subs not used: Butland, Tomkins, Clyne, Hughes, Kouyaté, Ayew.

Newcastle: Darlow, Clark, Lascelles, Ritchie, Hayden, Krafth, Manquillo, Fraser (Almirón 66), Longstaff (Willock 66), Saint-Maximin (Joelinton 81), Wilson.

Subs not used: Gillespie, Schär, Lewis, Hendrick, Murphy, Gayle.