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December 13 2018 2.16pm

Player ratings: Palace v Newcastle

February 5 2018

Patrick van Aanholt

Patrick van Aanholt

Crystal Palace came from behind to get a point against Newcastle with a Luka Milivojevic penalty at Selhurst. Mike Scott looks at how the the players performed…

Both sides could have finished the day in the lofty heights of 11th position with a win, but the bottom half of the table is now even tighter after the honours were shared.

The Eagles started slowly and some sloppy defending saw Roy Hodgson’s men go behind, before a strong second half display saw the home side go close a number of times without getting the winner..

Wayne Hennessey - 6

With Vicente Guaita signing a pre-contract deal to join in the summer and Palace failing to land Frederik Ronnow from Brondby for a second consecutive window, Hennessey will remain Hodgson’s number 1 for a while yet. Early on in this one he was tested with a couple of routine saves and did well. For the goal, there was nothing at all he could do with his defence having left Mohamed Diame totally unmarked on the back post and, soon after, he denied Kennedy to keep Palace in the game with a fine save.

As the game progressed, Newcastle provided less and less of a threat and he didn’t have much to do, although on a couple of occasions Mamadou Sakho and others were crying out for a short pass to begin a move, but he insisted on putting his laces through it.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah - 5

It takes a lot for a player to come out on Twitter after a game and criticise their own performance, but Fosu-Mensah did just that. He was out of position and yards from Newcastle’s threats for the goal and you could see the players telling him as much after the ball went in the net.

He had a tough afternoon dealing with Kennedy, who for much of the game was the visitors’ main threat. He went to ground on a couple of occasions and the Brazilian made him look foolish for doing so. Some excellent forward runs in the second half were the silver lining for the Dutchman.

James Tomkins - 6

Palace’s slow start before growing into the game and finishing strongly couldn’t be better personified than through Tomkins’ performance. Early on he and Kelly gave too much space to Dwight Gayle, who chested a high ball down, swivelled round and was allowed to get his shot in too easily. For the goal, Tomkins seemed to misread the threat and was too late in trying to cover the back post. But as the game went on, he looked much more assured and little came through the middle in the second half.

Martin Kelly - 6

Kelly, like Tomkins, had a tough opening period and ex-Palace man Gayle caused him plenty of problems. He was caught in a mass of bodies at the near post for the goal and was totally turned inside out soon after by Kennedy, who should have put the visitors two up. After that, things settled down, until a hamstring issue just before half-time put an end to his afternoon.

That injury meant the return of Sakho (6) after nine games out with a calf issue. He looked to be close to full match fitness based on the evidence of the second half, although the majority of play was up the other end of the pitch.

Patrick van Aanholt - 7

Van Aanholt was at the centre of a lot of events throughout the game, despite Newcastle providing little in the way of threat down his flank. A shot early on from the edge of the box saw the first save from Karl Darlow; the Dutchman got in plenty of crossing positions too. Half-time tactics changes saw him link up with Zaha to great effect and it became a real box to box second half for him.

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Luka Milivojevic - 7

After the goal, Milivojevic looked solid in front of the central back pairing and, as a result, all of Newcastle’s forward play (of which, there wasn’t all that much) was restricted to their wide players, with Jonjo Shelvey forced to play out to them. He, like the others, was uncharacteristically caught off guard for the goal, but he more than made up for it with a penalty that Karl Darlow could do nothing about, even though he got a hand to it.

Yohan Cabaye - 6

A really unlucky day for the Frenchman, who saw little go his way against his former employers even though he saw plenty of the ball and had a big say on proceedings. On at least two occasions was he left flat on his back after chances inside the six yard box didn’t go in. A great opportunity to equalise just before half-time was poorly finished too.

He seemed to play further up the field due to Newcastle’s lack of threat in the second half and was involved in some fine moves, including a link-up with Fosu-Mensah that dissected the defence, but without result. Perhaps still not enough penetration from set pieces, either.

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James McArthur - 7

A real game of two halves from the Scotsman saw him provide an anonymous first half an hour or so, before jumping into life before the break and then causing havoc in the second half after the tactical changes from Hodgson. His link up play with Van Aanholt and Zaha caused a lot of headaches and he seemed to create a lot of space on the counter. Was desperately unlucky to put an excellent shot just over that would have put the home side ahead with 20 minutes to go. Just the kind of open game that he thrives in; will be unhappy he wasn’t on the score sheet.

Andros Townsend - 5

Paul Dummett and Kennedy on the Newcastle left were a strong pairing and Townsend had little joy going up against them. Even after his cross that saw Benteke score in midweek against West Ham, the lingering criticism of lack of crosses from him will continue, with virtually none of the 21 Palace shots in this game coming from a ball from his flank. Defensively, he put in a shift to cover Fosu-Mensah, but (even after the half-time tactics change), he was frozen out to a large extent.

Wifried Zaha - 6

Sometimes, the ratings out of ten system doesn’t work for Zaha. It’s like you actually rate him out of 15, such is the high standards he sets himself, but he will have been frustrated by the game and will have felt he could have carved out a winner. Newcastle gave him more space that West Ham or Arsenal did recently, but he had a quiet first half. A couple of decent efforts aside, he only really came to life after Hodgson changed things around at the interval, with Van Aanholt and Zaha working overlaps excellently to take advantage of the space of the left. He missed a great opportunity to get on the score sheet himself, looping a menacing shot just over and right of the Newcastle upright.

Christian Benteke - 6

First and foremost, Benteke won Palace the penalty that got the point. He caused Newcastle a lot of issues in the box, especially close range and it was incredible that Ciaran Clark managed to clear a late effort off the line from the Belgian. Hodgson said in his press conference after the game that Benteke was gutted not to have scored, but he still looks low on confidence and you can only see his next goal coming from his head.

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