After a very long day on the ale which had away day confusion written all over it, I’ll try to piece together a match report.
Early doors drinking before 10am for a 3pm KO usually results in some mishap or other. A few pints in O’Neill’s first was followed by a few more in Norwood and managing to lose half of our party before the Portmanor Public house and an interrogation by the bouncer once inside as to our South London credentials. Try asking that of a Durham Mag from Sherburn Village, another based in Cumbria and another with 24 years in Aberdeen. We got away with it as well. They were punting fried chicken and gratis too. Nice place.
With Palace enjoying a revival under our old adversary Tony Pulis, I think we all anticipated a difficult 90 mins. However, amongst the wind and never ending rain, United strolled over a wet through Palace outfit to what was our easiest win this season.
The first 25 minutes or so was pretty poor to be honest and I texted my thoughts to that effect right before Cabaye coolly slotted home from 10 yards via a slight deflection following a Sissoko cross. The away end in pissed up and celebratory fashion went nuts as I was struggling to stay on two feet. Cabaye and Anita were beginning to dictate the midfield with the former in the best form since he arrived here from Lille 3 years ago. What impresses me about Cabaye most is he’s now stringing together a series of good performances and there was a question mark as to whether he fancies matches such as this as much as Man Utd away. Today he provided that answer. Shortly after, Williamson, who recently has been a rock in Defence, relapsed and blundered the ball to United’s goal after Krul had completely missed a cross leaving Anita to hack it away.
Five minutes before Half time, United went 2-0 up when Gabbidon somehow deflected Debuchys cross past Speroni and just summing up the poverty of Palace’s overall play despite Remy nowhere to be seen when the cross came in. He’s been excellent this season but in the last 3 or 4 matches he’s been pretty anonymous. He needs to find that dynamism from the previous matches which made him so lethal. There not a lot behind him in the team bar Ameobi who can’t score and Cisse who can barely trap a medicine ball at the moment.
At the break, there was nothing in Palace’s approach which suggested United’s stranglehold in midfield would be challenged and we were walking this match. Anyone who has been to Selhurst Park will recognise the al fresco drinking and smoking area and it’s utterly set against standard PL grounds. Not being a football hipster for the sake of it but it’s my kind of ground.
Cabaye continued his excellence in the 2nd half with a 25 yard free kick and another shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box. Palace picked up their game in the second half but only had Jerome blasting over the bar near in as a credible effort. Gouffran too hit the bar before Ameobi was clearly scythed down with 4 minutes left. HBA, who had been full of running and intent after coming on, did the rest with a penalty into the right hand top corner.
This is another excellent win (6 in 8!) and again justifying Pardew’s decision to keep HBA on the bench for a solid team structure. Ben Arfa will doubtless feature more later but why tamper with something that works! He is really dangerous off the bench running at a tiring defence.
The heavens opened after the match and with my battery dying the phone had me trawling up and down Norwood trying to find the post-match pub. Sod this, I’m off for a couple of lagers and a Chinese takeaway back home lads!
A long day but a very very good one. Enjoy your Christmases! The club, on the pitch at least, is in a far better place than we’d have feared back in August!
Newcastle United: Krul 6; Santon 6, Coloccini 7, Williamson 6, Debuchy 8; Gouffran 7, Tiote 7, CABAYE 9 (Ben Arfa 7) Anita 7, Sissoko 8; Remy 5 (Ameobi 6)
Unused subs: Elliot, Haidara, Yanga-Mbiwa, Obertan, Cisse.
Ref: Swarbrick. 6. Nothing of contention that I can remember.
Ours: 9. Proper decent no nonsense Mag following making the most of the last away before Christmas
Palace: 6. I’m beginning to like them. The boozer was Home fans only but there wasn’t a nasty atmosphere at all. Like the multi-cultural vibe to the place as well. Not much to shout about today though.
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THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – A Winter’s Tale – 22/Dec/13