Premier League
Newcastle1Crystal Palace0

Newcastle United 1-0 Crystal Palace

Mikel Merino
Newcastle have made their best Premier League start since 2011-12

Substitute Mikel Merino scored a late winner as Newcastle beat Crystal Palace to keep Roy Hodgson's side rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez described it as "another step forward" as his side climbed to sixth in the table.

Palace are five points from safety after nine games, but former England boss Hodgson remains confident his side can beat the drop.

"Why should I not believe that?" said the 70-year-old. "I shall stop believing when the number of points that we are behind doesn't match the number of games that are left.

"That's not going to happen in October. That could happen some time in March, April, I would think, at the earliest, so there's a lot of work to do before then."

Palace had scored their first goals and got their first win of the campaign against champions Chelsea last week, and looked more likely to take the three points for much of the afternoon at St James' Park.

But Merino headed in four minutes from time in a game that did not see a shot on target until the final 20 minutes.

"We have beaten the champions and we have come here to St James' Park against a Newcastle team doing very well and once again matched them," added Hodgson.

"(We) even were the stronger team through large periods of the game, so why should I not have belief?"

Yohan Cabaye's late tackle on DeAndre Yedlin was a flash point, but the Palace midfielder escaped with a yellow card against his old club.

The victory lifts Newcastle into the top six and above Arsenal and Liverpool, who visit Everton and Tottenham respectively on Sunday.

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'Rafa Benitez is capable of winning Premier League title with Newcastle'

Newcastle impress amid takeover talk

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley put the club up for sale this week and several potential suitors are reported to be interested in a takeover, but while there is uncertainty surrounding the Magpies off the pitch, on it the club have now made their best start to a Premier League season since 2011-12.

Ashley said he hopes to conclude a deal by Christmas - music to the ears of boss Rafa Benitez, who felt he did not get the backing he needed in the transfer market this summer following promotion from the Championship, and has been quick to talk up the club's potential.

The Spaniard's side have made a promising start to their first year back in the top flight, but they looked void of ideas in attack for large parts of the game against Crystal Palace, and Benitez will no doubt be asking for reinforcements in January.

The former Liverpool boss brought midfielder Merino on 10 minutes into the second half and it was the Spain Under-21 international who provided the Magpies' spark.

He rose highest in the box to meet Matt Ritchie's corner and head into the roof of the net, earning the hosts their fourth Premier League win of the season.

Lack of striking options costs Palace

Zaha and Townsend
Crystal Palace lacked a focal point in the defeat to Newcastle, with front two Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend tending to drift wide, as shown in the pair's heat map above

Crystal Palace lost their opening seven Premier League games without scoring a goal, before earning a shock victory over champions Chelsea last time out.

Boss Roy Hodgson warned the Eagles they would be "foolish" to get carried away by that result, and the former England manager proved correct as his side had the better of the game against Newcastle but failed to come away with even a point.

Palace's lack of fit striking options saw Hodgson stick with Zaha and Andros Townsend as his front two, but the visitors lacked a focal point as the forward pair tended to drift wide into their more natural positions.

The visitors' best chance came when Townsend and Zaha linked up, however, with the former Newcastle man crossing from the right for striker partner Zaha to head wide at the back post.

That came moments after Eagles midfielder Cabaye had caught Newcastle defender Yedlin late. The Frenchman was quick to apologise for a poor tackle, and referee Stuart Attwell opted for a yellow card.

Ultimately, Palace failed to record an effort on target and an inability to capitalise while they were on top cost Hodgson's outfit, who are four points adrift at the bottom of the table.

Yohan Cabaye
Yohan Cabaye was booked for a late tackle on DeAndre Yedlin in the first half

Man of the match - Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace)

Andros Townsend
Andros Townsend was the liveliest player on the pitch in an otherwise drab game. The Crystal Palace forward made five key passes, more than any other player, and registered a game-high seven crosses - the visitors just lacked a striker to convert them.

'We are in a good position' - Benitez

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Rafa Benitez says victory is 'another step forward' for Magpies

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez: "It is important to get three points in a difficult game. They had confidence and were working hard.

"It is another step forward. The main thing is we keep pushing and winning games.

"We have a very clear idea and have to take one game at a time. At the moment we are in a good position."

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Roy Hodgson says Eagles did enough for at least a point

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson: "There were some very good performances from us in particular. The quality of our play was very good.

"We needed more than a goal to take one point and set plays are always a problem. It was unfortunate as our player got his head to the ball but headed it against the Newcastle bloke.

"I cannot criticise our performance. From the first minute to the last it was everything I expected and under normal circumstances would have got us a result."

Palace firing blanks on the road - the stats

  • Rafael Benitez has never lost a home league game in English football against a coach who has also managed the English national team (W17 D4).
  • Crystal Palace have failed to score in their last seven Premier League away games - their longest such run in the top flight.
  • Mikel Merino scored his first ever Premier League goal in what was his ninth appearance in the competition.
  • The Magpies have lost only one of their last 10 Premier League games on home soil (W6 D3 L1).
  • It is the second time Crystal Palace have failed to register a shot on target since Roy Hodgson took charge (also v Man City).
  • Newcastle have not lost a home Premier League game against a side starting that day bottom since March 1998, winning seven and drawing five.

What's next?

Newcastle visit Burnley in the Premier League a week on Monday (20:00 BST).

Crystal Palace travel to Bristol City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday (19:45), before hosting fellow strugglers West Ham on Saturday (15:00).

Line-ups

Newcastle

  • 1Elliot
  • 22Yedlin
  • 6LascellesBooked at 29mins
  • 20LejeuneBooked at 21mins
  • 19ManquilloBooked at 60mins
  • 14HaydenSubstituted forMerinoat 56'minutes
  • 8Shelvey
  • 11Ritchie
  • 17PérezSubstituted forDiaméat 66'minutes
  • 30Atsu
  • 21JoseluBooked at 66minsSubstituted forMitrovicat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Clark
  • 7Murphy
  • 10Diamé
  • 23Merino
  • 26Darlow
  • 27Gámez
  • 45Mitrovic

Crystal Palace

  • 1Speroni
  • 2Ward
  • 6Dann
  • 12Sakho
  • 3van AanholtBooked at 29mins
  • 18McArthurSubstituted forSakoat 88'minutes
  • 7CabayeBooked at 28mins
  • 4Milivojevic
  • 15Schlupp
  • 10Townsend
  • 11ZahaSubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 77'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Tomkins
  • 8Loftus-Cheek
  • 13Hennessey
  • 24Fosu-Mensah
  • 26Sako
  • 42Puncheon
  • 44Riedewald
Referee:
Stuart Attwell
Attendance:
52,251

Match Stats

Home TeamNewcastleAway TeamCrystal Palace
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home7
Away10
Shots on Target
Home3
Away0
Corners
Home3
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Newcastle United 1, Crystal Palace 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Newcastle United 1, Crystal Palace 0.

Foul by Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United).

Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Scott Dann (Crystal Palace).

Foul by Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United).

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United).

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Bakary Sako replaces James McArthur.

Foul by Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United).

Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Goal!

Goal! Newcastle United 1, Crystal Palace 0. Mikel Merino (Newcastle United) header from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal following a corner.

Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Andros Townsend.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Scott Dann (Crystal Palace).

Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Patrick van Aanholt.

Mohamed Diamé (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).

Attempt missed. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jeffrey Schlupp.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Newcastle United. Aleksandar Mitrovic replaces Joselu.

Delay in match Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) because of an injury.

Attempt blocked. Christian Atsu (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mohamed Diamé.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces Wilfried Zaha.

Foul by Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United).

Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Christian Atsu.

Mikel Merino (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace).

Attempt saved. Mohamed Diamé (Newcastle United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Joselu.

Mikel Merino (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).

Foul by Joselu (Newcastle United).

James McArthur (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Christian Atsu (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).

Booking

Joselu (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Joselu (Newcastle United).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City98103242825
2Man Utd96212241820
3Tottenham85211551017
4Chelsea95131710716
5Watford94321517-215
6Newcastle9423108214
7Arsenal84131210213
8Liverpool83411312113
9Burnley934289-113
10Southampton933389-112
11Huddersfield9333710-312
12Brighton9324910-111
13West Brom9243710-310
14Leicester92341214-29
15Swansea9225610-48
16Everton8224513-88
17West Ham9225817-98
18Stoke92251020-108
19Bournemouth9216613-77
20Crystal Palace9108219-173
View full Premier League table

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