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  • By Alessandro Schiavone at Selhurst Park

The Tops and Flops at Selhurst Park as the Eagles draw 1-1 against winless Newcastle United

Crystal Palace failed to win the game despite largely outplaying a passive Newcastle United side.

Striker Christian Benteke put the Eagles ahead at the third time of asking before Callum Wilson stunning overhead kick ensured another game between these two sides contained fewer than two goals. Here ALESSANDRO SCHIAVONE gives his analysis on the afternoon's Tops and Flops


Callum Wilson’s killer instinct

Callum Willson had two chances and put one of them away when he cancelled out Benteke’s strike in the 65th minute with a spectacular overhead kick. He showed Benteke how it’s done and impressed the new Saudi-led consortium. Will he be one of only few current Newcastle players to still be around in a couple of years’ time? He certainly has what it takes to force his way into the new ownership’s thinking. Unlike most of his teammates…

Crystal Palace’s found confidence and attacking identity

The personality and confidence shown at Arsenal on Monday weren’t a flash in the pan. This Palace side plays an exciting brand of football, takes the game to the opposition, attacks in numbers and carves out plenty of goal chances throughout the game thanks to their new identity. They respond to Vieira and execute his game plan. If the Eagles had a striker of Robert Lewandowski’s ilk then they would find themselves in the top-six without any shadow of a doubt. Under Vieira’s predecessor Palace were substance and lacked style. Now it’s the complete opposite. If they can mix the two, they will be an exciting side to watch until the end of the season.

Dominate games even without Zaha

Michael Olise lacks decision-making at times but had Benteke been more clinical he would have racked up a number of assists. For the second game in a row the Eagles were the dominant side and this without talisman Wilfried Zaha. Close your eyes and cast your mind back to Hodgson’s reign. If Zaha had a day off or sat out a game, the whole Palace team struggled as a consequence. With Olise and Conor Gallagher, Palace have the youthful exuberance to think long-term in case they decide to cash in on the local Ivorian superstar sooner rather than later. Those young kids get the fans out of their seats.


Christian Benteke: He scored one, missed three and to his despair he had a late towering header disallowed after Marc Guehi pulled a Newcastle defender’s shirt in the build-up to the goal from a corner. If the Belgian had been more clinical throughout the encounter, the Eagles would have been out of sight long before Newcastle got back on level terms through Wilson. The 30-year-old missed a series of chances. He sent a free header against the post in the first half. Sure, had his acrobatic effort with his back to goal come off it would probably have outshone the spectacular scissor kick he scored for Liverpool against Manchester United in September 2015. He then scored at the THIRD time of asking before seeing a towering header clip the outside of the crossbar. Had that one gone on it would have been game over and truth be told it was harder to put that over than into the roof of the net. The former Aston Villa man then fired wide after being through on goal. Nobody disputes his ability to run in behind the defenders, get himself into dangerous areas, attack the space and beat the opposition’s defenders to crosses. But a striker is paid to score goals and win games for his team. While he ticked the first box, he cost his team the three points.

Inability to translate chances and dominance into goals and points

Another draw. Their sixth this campaign. From the opening nine games. This reflects how tough they are to break down and beat but it also tells you everything you need to know about their inability to translate possession into goals. Today’s stalemate against Newcastle is another missed chance to climb up the table. There are no doubts that Palace got a new identity under Patrick Vieira, who has carved the team in his image, but if they don’t transform these draws into victories then they won’t go places. Just like the draw at Arsenal, this share of the spoils feels like a bitter defeat. Not only do they need to learn to close games out when they are ahead but killing off the opponents is another area they should look. Worryingly, Palace’s backline failed to pick up Wilson from a corner and the former Bournmouth man made them pay. Palace opened Newcastle out on a number of occasions but couldn’t cash and even the most die-hard Newcastle fan may admit that this draw feels like daylight robbery after sitting deep, hanging on and defending for most of the game.

Allan Saint-Maximin

When Palace were taking the game to Newcastle, the Frenchman should have been better in transition and allowed his teammates to breathe. He was anonymous, pedestrian and on the periphery of the game. The former Nice star decorated the game although he had all the tools in his locker to dictate and affect it.


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