Paul Merson slaughters Newcastle United in Palace aftermath

paul merson

Paul Merson was given the task of watching Crystal Palace v Newcastle on Saturday by Sky Sports.

In the aftermath he spoke to Jeff Stelling about what he had seen over the course of the 90 minutes.

Paul Merson absolutely scathing about Steve Bruce and his team for the performance.

Saying that ‘Newcastle played worse than what they did against Arsenal’ when they lot 4-0 six day earlier.

On this occasion I can’t disagree at all with Merson, Newcastle were really that bad and outplayed and very very lucky not to lose by a far few goals.

Paul Merson thinks Dubravka would have saved van Aanholt’s free-kick if he hadn’t gambled and taken a step, thinking he would go for top right corner.

However, he has no doubt that the keeper saved Newcastle from a hammering, saying he ‘made at least three world class saves’ to keep NUFC in the game.

As for Steve Bruce’ tactics, Paul Merson saw Newcastle’s Longstaff and Bentaleb outnumbered three to two and ‘got run riot and the keeper kept them in the game…kept them in the game’, Merson baffled as to why Bruce couldn’t see this and quickly change tactics.

As for Lazaro, Paul Merson thinks he has got ability but will need time to adjust to the Premier League, which is made even more difficult by Steve Bruce playing him as a wing-back rather than on the wing, his best position.

This further shows the folly of bringing him in on loan with only 14 games remaining, when he has played only three first team league games in the last eight months. Bentaleb hadn’t started a league game for almost 11 months before coming in on loan.

Paul Merson pointed to the Palace finishing as the other main reason Newcastle escaped a hiding, the only two NUFC shots on goal were from 25-30 yards.

Despite the terrible performance and nine PL games with only one victory, Paul Merson still thinks Steve Bruce and his team will ‘fall over’ another couple of wins from the remaining 11 games to be safe.

I hope he is right but difficult to see where the next win and even goal is coming from, it is now over four and a half hours of PL football since Newcastle last scored a goal.

Paul Merson speaking on Sky Sports:

“It was a good strike, a great free-kick by van Aanholt, but if the goalie didn’t take that step (to his left) and gamble, he catches the ball virtually but…

“He (Dubravka) made at least three world class saves, so it was a one goal game but on another day they could have won four or five.

“Good result for Palace but they played so well and only won 1-0 and that is why they are where they are in the league.

“The two in the middle (for Newcastle) were just overrun, Longstaff and Bentaleb, I thought Steve Bruce should have changed it.

“They got run riot and the keeper kept them in the game…kept them in the game.

“Some real bad finishing (by Palace), Beneteke missed from four yards. Ayew had a couple he should have done better with.

“Big result for Palace and that will be it (safety).”

Jeff Stelling:

“A lot of eyes on a striker at the other end, Joelinton, was he starved of service?”

Paul Merson:

“Yes he was.

“He had a great shot from about 30 yards which the keeper made a meal of but yeah he looked…Newcastle were never really in the game.

“If I’ve got to be honest, Saint-Maximus (ASM) was the only one that looked a threat, even Amiron was quiet. He (Almiron) got back and cleared a certain goal from Zaha in the first half, so when you are having to do that…what chance have you  got of getting forward and trying to score goals?

“I would probably say Newcastle played worse than what they did against Arsenal.

“Sometimes when you watch Lazaro you think ‘wow’, like the first 30 minutes against Arsenal, I thought he was good against Aubameyang. Then in the second half he went.

“It was a bit like that today. 

“A ball came in and he went to head it and you would have thought it was a Woolworths ball (penny floater), he was saying it was moving in the air.

“I heard on the commentary that there were eight teams after him, so he just has to get used to it, it is a hard league.

“He will have a bit of time now (after his red card) to just watch and see what he should do.

“Newcastle will fall over a couple of wins  I think (and be safe).”

Stats from BBC Sport (Half-time stats in brackets):

Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 22 February 2020 3pm

Goals:

Crystal Palace:

Van Aanholt 44

Newcastle United:

Lazaro red card 90+5

Possession was  Palace 44% (44%), Newcastle 56% (56%)

Total shots were Palace 18 (11) Newcastle 8 (5)

Shots on target were Palace 9 (6), Newcastle 2 (1)

Corners were Palace 7 (3), Newcastle 5 (3)

Crowd: (2,800 Newcastle)

Referee: Peter Bankes

Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:

Dubravka, Lazaro, Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar, Rose (Ritchie 70), Sean Longstaff, Bentaleb, Almiron (Gayle 70), Saint-Maximin, Joelinton

Subs

Darlow, Matty Longstaff, Lejeune,  Yedlin, Hayden

(Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce reaches new levels of embarrassing with comments after defeat at Crystal Palace – Read HERE)

(Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0 – Watch official match highlights here as Dubravka keeps the score down – Watch HERE)

(Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s lucky one goal defeat – Read HERE)

(Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0 – Incredible Steve Bruce luck as Newcastle United escape a real hiding – Read HERE)

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