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  • Julian Taylor at Selhurst Park

Vieira pays tribute to Eagles as Newcastle left frustrated in forgettable Selhurst stalemate



Crystal Palace 0-0 Newcastle United


Julian Taylor at Selhurst Park



Patrick Vieira endorsed his battling Crystal Palace side following what was an often tetchy, scoreless encounter at Selhurst Park.


The Eagles managed to emerge with a point in the wake of a challenging period. A narrow defeat at Chelsea, a draw at home to Manchester United and now Newcastle, keeps them in mid-table consolidation.


Palace boss Vieira has seen his men play with much more vibrancy but, against a club on the rise, he feels a draw is noteworthy.

“You always want more but you have to realise the teams we played,” he said. “We played Chelsea, (Manchester) United and Newcastle at the other end of the table. You want to compete. I strongly believe we deserved the point.


“Today showed us that it is not just about playing nice football. It is also about defending well, working together, defending set pieces. That side of it we did well. But when we had the ball we didn’t do enough with it."


Chances


Neither side managed to break the deadlock – it seldom looked likely, certainly from Palace’s perspective - and the visitors should have capitalised on their large tracts of possession and a number of chances.

Palace had won just two out of 11 home league meetings with the Magpies before the clash in chilly south London, and they at least worked hard for their Selhurst Park clean sheet. There were plentiful niggles which spoiled any flow - and a frustrated Joelinton showed his frustration towards the end, Newcastle’s enigmatic Brazilian seeing yellow as Palace managed to close matters out.

Prior to kick-off, it was surprising to note that Michael Olise – hero of the last-gasp equaliser against Manchester United in midweek – was curiously dropped to the bench. Ultimately, this was a contest that could have been safely filed in the ‘forgettable’ category long before the end. At least Vieira saw his ever-alert keeper, Vicente Guaita, make a few smart saves from Dan Burn and Joelinton, which turned out to be significant in terms of the eventual outcome.

The lack of drive by the Eagles across the first half barely improved with no genuine surge or momentum forthcoming. In that sense, to take a point from a game against a side flying high represents victory of a kind. For Newcastle, they didn’t fashion as many opportunities as their overall degree of control and encampment in the Palace half merited. Such lack of ruthlessness when dictating tempo is certainly something for boss Eddie Howe to absorb.


Stuffy

An obdurate Palace were largely bereft of confidence going forward with Jordan Ayew and even Wilfried Zaha, for example, failing to showcase the sort of zip and bravado which troubled Chelsea in the latter stages of their 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last weekend. The hosts’ stuffy evening was rather encapsulated with Zaha limping off with a suspected hamstring injury midway through the second half.


Of course, without Zaha, the Eagles often fail to take flight, and this draw simply reinforces the club’s modest 12th place in the table.


Vieira, quite understandably, looked at the bigger picture as he assessed Palace’s opponents and their rise under Saudi ownership.


“When you spend millions you move faster to where you want to be – they are doing really well and have a strong team,” he added. “That is why I am very pleased in how we played against a team competing to go into the Champions League. I’m really proud and happy with how we answered.”


Palace were, admittedly, more tigerish in the second period, but in reality that would be to damn them and this meeting with the faintest of praise. Nevertheless, an outstanding tip over the crossbar from Newcastle keeper Nick Pope from a swivel and shot by home substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta was easily the best the Londoners had to offer. A rare flash of quality amid such studded brutality and torpor.


Palace will be certainly the more content. They may not have looked much of a threat in the final third but their submergence of Howe’s outfit – mainly due to Guaita and defender Marc Guehi – means a point from a rather vanilla showing is a welcome one.


Urgency


Newcastle, on the other hand, could not drill out a repeat of their late winner against Fulham at St James’ Park last Sunday, and despite this draw taking them to third in the table, there was a real sense of a couple of missed points for a side taking its Premier League ascension in stride. The Magpies kept knocking on the door with increasing urgency as events raced on, but the long trip back to the north-east will be one of introspection for Howe and his players.


Howe took an optimistic slant - and paid tribute to Palace’s determination.


“I thought we played very well and controlled the game,” said the Magpies chief. “We had a lot of chances that we should have done better with.


“Teams are respecting us in that they put a lot of men behind the ball, and credit to them and how they defended. You can never underestimate how difficult it is here as I know from throughout my career.”


Eagles: Guaita, Ward (Clyne 70), Mitchell, Guehi, Richards, Schlupp (Hughes 64), Doucoure, Eze (Mateta 64), Zaha (Olise 64), Ayew, Edouard (Ozoh 89)

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