Newcastle United beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at home courtesy of Miguel Almiron’s stunning finish, moving to the crucial 40-point mark in the process.
Miguel Almiron scored the only goal of the match as Newcastle United beat frustrated Crystal Palace 1-0 in the Premier League on Wednesday evening. The victory was the Magpies’ ninth win in their last 13 Premier League games as their renaissance since the turn of the year under Eddie Howe continued. It was also a sixth straight home victory for Howe’s men, a feat that has happened for the first time since the famous Sir Bobby Robson era.
It was a special atmosphere from the start at St. James’ Park, with the Gallowgate End saluting their out-of-form entertainer, Allan Saint-Maximin. Newcastle were in charge throughout the first half against a Crystal Palace side that seemed to be hungover from Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final defeat and seldom threatened the home goal.
The Magpies were in full flow from the outset, and the only surprise was that they did not seize the lead sooner. Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes, and Allan Saint-Maximin all had their chances. However, it was not until the half-hour mark that they carved out their best chance of the game which eventually resulted in a goal.
It came after Bruno Guimaraes, fresh from his match-winning brace against Leicester City on Sunday, chested down a throw-in and volleyed over a long ball, which sent Almiron racing down the right-wing before picking out the top corner to put the home side into ascendancy.
😲 Only Liverpool (35) have earned more points than @NUFC‘s 29 in 2022!
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2022
Then, Newcastle weathered a Crystal Palace storm in the second half with some gritty resilience and a pinch of fortune when Wilfried Zaha also curled narrowly over in stoppage time to grab all three points and maintain their Premier League status ahead of an exciting summer. The Hard Tackle will now rate both sets of players after an intense affair at St. James’ Park.
Martin Dubravka: 7/10
Dubravka was largely untroubled on the day, especially in the first half but was never seriously tested despite Crystal Palace pushing hard in the second half. The Slovakian shot-stopper was composed with the ball at his feet and made a couple of routine saves from Edouard.
Emil Krafth: 7.5/10
Krafth was solid at the back and neutralised the Crystal Palace attack with elegance. His positioning was impeccable and helped Newcastle remain solid. Considering he was up against the dangerous Wilfried Zaha, he did extremely well to contain the threat. He completed three tackles, two interceptions, one clearance and won three aerial duels to mark a solid display at the back.
Fabian Schar: 7/10
Schar got off to a rough start after gifting possession to Edouard. Fortunately for the defender, Matt Targett was on hand to save the day by intercepting the lethal ball to Gallagher. Thereafter, the Swiss defender truly marshalled the Newcastle backline, playing sleekly out from the back and intercepting Palace’s passes. He was able to control Edouard very well.
Dan Burn: 7/10
Another solid performance from the Blyth-born defender, who made some crucial interventions as Crystal Palace’s threat built after the interval. He got a vital touch on the ball as Mateta raced in on goal in the 62nd minute. Dominant in the air, Burn won a series of headers and made a match-high nine clearances.
Matt Targett: 7.5/10
A faultless display. Targett was very strong defensively and a real threat from set-pieces. He knocked Michael Olise out of the game after 40 minutes when Vieira rushed on to replace him. And Ayew, his substitute, did not even get a whiff either. Passed well and dictated the play from the full-back position brilliantly. He has completed 4 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 2 clearances and is playing his way into a permanent move.
Bruno Guimaraes: 8/10
Bruno Guimaraes has already appeared in eight Newcastle league victories in 2022.
Newcastle won just eight league games in all of 2021. pic.twitter.com/P4ZWyb78QZ
— GOAL (@goal) April 21, 2022
Bruno was not quite as classy as he had been in Sunday’s late victory over Leicester. But he still conjured the creative moment of the first half when his wonderfully weighted over-the-top ball sent Almiron through for the opener. His touches, flicks, and turns in the middle of the park were often too quick for the Crystal Palace midfield to deal with, resulting in free-kicks to release the pressure put on by Palace.
Jonjo Shelvey: 6/10
A neat performance in the middle of the park from the stand-in captain. Shelvey remained calm and collected under pressure in the second half. He sat deep, won his tackles, recycled the ball well and covered plenty of ground. However, his passing was a bit shabby and he would have liked more control of the ball in the second period.
Yet again, Joelinton put in another solid shift in midfield alongside Shelvey and Bruno, covering a lot of ground and really imposing himself on the opposition. He did a lot of the dirty work as a midfield enforcer and looked sharp from the start. That said, he almost undid all of his hard work off the ball by gifting Palace’s first sight of goal with a hesitant pass on the outside of his own box.
Miguel Almiron: 8/10
Almiron rounded off an excellent all-round display with a superb finish. Not only did the Paraguayan have to race down the right side, but he also had to get the ball under control and shrug off Tyrick Mitchell before curling into the far top corner. A fantastic finish for his first goal since February 2021.
Chris Wood: 6/10
Although he did not score, Wood did make some important defensive contributions, in particular, from corners. He helped run down the clock when it was needed. He struggled to get engaged from an attacking standpoint. Held the ball up well with his back to goal and worked tirelessly at pressing from the front, but struggled to link the play on occasions.
Allan Saint-Maximin: 6/10
— FUN88 (@fun88eng) April 20, 2022
Buoyed by that pre-match tribute at the Gallowgate, which made up a special display of flags and a giant gold No 10, Saint-Maximin looked desperate to impress. However, despite his best efforts, it was another night when things did not quite come off for the Frenchman, although he still made a couple of devastating breaks forward with twists and turns to keep Crystal Palace on the back-foot in the first half.
Jacob Murphy: N/A
Came on in the second half and had very little to do.
Joe Willock: N/A
After coming on in the second half, Willock could not make as much of an impact as Sunday, but he played his part and dug deep later on in the game.
Sean Longstaff: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Vicente Guaita: 6/10
Guaita produced numerous fine saves to keep the score at 1-0 in what was a poor first-half from the visitors, particularly holding onto a Saint-Maximin shot well, but he could not have done anything to prevent Almiron’s curling attempt from flying into his top corner. Following the goal, he did not have much to do in goal for the visitors and was only called upon to claim crosses and corners.
Nathaniel Clyne: 5/10
Clyne was confined to a defence-first position after tucking inside to practically form a back three in possession. He had few options to move the ball forward and appeared frustrated as a result. With Olise or Ayew in front of him, he did not have much of an influence going forward.
Joachim Anderson: 5/10
Anderson sprayed the ball around from the back but offered little incision and urgency in the midst of Palace’s lacklustre performance. He was not as dominant as he could have been while defending and in a physical battle from set-pieces against Chris Wood, Joelinton and Dan Burn.
Marc Guehi: 7/10
Guehi could have positioned himself better in a covering stance to help Mitchell prevent the opening goal. Otherwise, he was up to the mark in every department and was one of Crystal Palace’s best players on the night. He made a crucial intervention to block Almiron’s left-footed goal-bound strike early in the first half and also ushered the ball out of play well several times while being pressed by Newcastle players.
🏴 Marc Guehi vs. Newcastle
• 4 clearances
• 2 blocked shots
• 2 fouls won
• 6 duels won
• 7 accurate long balls
• 130 touches
• 90% passing (104/116)
• 100% ground duels won (2/2)
His 22nd match this season where he won 100% of his ground duels.
Exemplary 🌟 pic.twitter.com/CxWbx6LPEs
— Matchday365 (@Matchday365) April 20, 2022
Guehi was composed in possession and had the most touches of anyone on the pitch, while also attempting a match-high 118 passes at around 90% accuracy.
Tyrick Mitchell: 4/10
Mitchell endured a difficult night and struggled to deal with the speed of Almiron for the opener, as he was easily brushed past before the goal. He grew into the game in the second half and got involved in the forward play when Palace got on the front foot a little more.
Cheikhou Kouyate: 4/10
Kouyate was quiet and made little effort in the press. His touches were poor, and his passes, too, were not up to the mark. The Senegalese midfielder did break up play a couple of times in an otherwise sluggish first half. Substituted by McArthur on the hour mark, with Crystal Palace trying to control the midfield tempo.
Jeffrey Schlupp: 4/10
Schlupp won a team-high five tackles and did a good job of rotating the ball but had little influence on the proceedings from midfield in the first half as the Crystal Palace midfielder struggled to stamp his authority on the match.
Conor Gallagher: 4/10
Gallagher was bullied in aerial battles against Joelinton, and he failed to impose himself on the midfield proceedings with his customary enthusiasm and intensity. The game bypassed him as Crystal Palace could not get a foothold in the game at all while he was on the pitch.
Michael Olise: 5/10
Olise endured a rather ineffective game with no exciting runs or sharp movement. Owing to his high standards, he had a poor outing and was rightly subbed off five minutes before half-time for Jordan Ayew. He was usually eager to get the ball and have a run at Targett, but he did not always get it from his teammates.
Odsonne Edouard: 5/10
After spending much of the game isolated, Edouard grasped at a clean sight of goal at the end of the first half, but it was low and straight at Martin Dubravka. He looked a tad rusty with several loose touches and mistimed passes that halted a few Crystal Palace assaults in the first half.
Wilfried Zaha: 6/10
Zaha had little to no influence in the first half since Crystal Palace were outplayed in every department. Following their formation change, the Ivory Coast international grew into the game, but he was rarely able to beat the clever and robust Krafth. He had many chances to beat his early man, but he squandered them before hitting his first effort of the match wide of Dubravka’s post after being set up by Edouard.
Jordan Ayew: 5/10
Ayew was brought on to halt Newcastle’s domination on the flanks in the first half, but he did not do an awful lot on the ball to help Crystal Palace move forward. On the rare occasions when he found himself in space behind Newcastle’s backline, Ayew was more of a storm into bewilderment than finesse.
Jean-Philippe Mateta: 7/10
Mateta made an immediate impact by winning a corner following a good strong run to jolt Crystal Palace into life and acted as a focal point for the other attackers. He asked questions from Newcastle’s backline.
James McArthur: 7/10
At his introduction, McArthur added a bit of bite, urgency, and grit to Crystal Palace’s uninspiring play. He buzzed all around the pitch and saw lots of the ball in midfield. The veteran midfielder always looked to play it forward and helped Palace move at a faster pace in midfield.