Newcastle United owners get transfer message as Jason Tindall reacts to PIF jibe – Crystal Palace moments
Newcastle United were held to a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday evening – here are some moments missed from the match.
Eddie Howe sends transfer ‘message’ with team selection
Just three days before Newcastle United’s first major semi-final in 18 years, Eddie Howe refrained from rotating his squad from the previous week’s 1-0 win over Fulham. Bruno Guimaraes had made a miraculous recovery from an ankle injury to not only make the squad, but the starting line-up.
Callum Wilson also kept his place in the side as he looked to end a run of six games without a goal.
It was arguably United’s strongest line-up, but one that could risk them leaving fatigued for the trip to Southampton on Tuesday night (8pm kick-off).
Newcastle’s previous Carabao Cup match against Leicester City saw Howe rotate his side significantly and keep key players fresh. A move that may have cost them a place in the FA Cup but ensured progression to the Carabao semi-final with a comfortable 2-0 win over The Foxes.
But the Magpies boss refrained from such changes this time as his side continued their top four charge. Whether it was intentional or not, Howe not making any changes reinforced the message that Newcastle’s squad is not as strong as it could be heading into the final week of the transfer window.
Signings are needed, particularly after the loss of Chris Wood to Nottingham Forest. And Newcastle’s squad needs more depth in order to compete convincingly in both the league and the cup without having to rely on good fortune when it comes to player fitness.
“The last thing we wanted to do, or I wanted to do, is leave ourselves light of players,” said Howe. “In our current position, still in the Carabao Cup, and still got half the season to go, it’s an important time, so we need a strong squad for what’s to come.”
Over three weeks into the transfer window and United are still yet to make a major signing.
Newcastle United co-owners see transfer need first-hand
Newcastle co-owners Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Jamie Reuben were in attendance at Selhurst Park as the visitors failed to make their chances count.
The Magpies had 61% possession and 16 shots on goal without really testing Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal. Joelinton twice hit a shot straight at the Eagles’ goalkeeper while Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak both headed the ball into his arms.
A lack of cutting edge risks becoming a problem for Newcastle, if it isn’t already.
Wood’s departure left a big, albeit unprolific, hole in Newcastle’s squad. But with it comes an opportunity to bring in a fresh striker to rejuvenate United’s miss-firing forward line.
Newcastle’s hierarchy will be well aware of the situation having witnessed it first-hand at Selhurst Park. The win over Fulham papered over some cracks in an attacking sense, but Saturday’s draw stressed just how big a risk the club would be taking were they not to bring in sufficient attacking reinforcements over the next week.
Newcastle's next Premier League match will be against West Ham United on February 4 – after the transfer window shuts. A new striker simply has to be in the building by then.
Gareth Southgate watches England’s ‘No. 1’ in action
For the first time since the World Cup, England manager Gareth Southgate was in attendance at a Newcastle match. After scarcely been seen watching the Magpies previously, it was the fourth time this season the Three Lions boss seen Howe’s side in person.
With Newcastle having several well-performing English players in their starting line-up, it's easy to see why. But it was Nick Pope who continues to stake his claim for the England No. 1 spot ahead of Jordan Pickford.
Pope didn’t play a minute of football in Qatar but is statistically the best performing goalkeeper in the Premier League so far this season. It was a quiet evening for the 30-year-old until the closing stages of the match as he had to display remarkable reactions to tip Jean-Philippe Mateta’s powerful strike over the bar.
It was a save of the season contender which would have surely left Southgate impressed.
But what is even more impressive is Pope’s remarkable clean sheet record for Newcastle. Saturday’s match was his ninth shut-out in a row and 15th in total so far this season.
It's been over 13-and-a-half hours since Pope last conceded a competitive goal. It’s a club record run that he’ll be hoping to continue on Tuesday night at Southampton – which just so happens to be the last place he conceded.
Crystal Palace taunt Newcastle United and PIF as Jason Tindall 'responds’
Throughout the evening, chants of ‘F the Saudis’ from the Palace fans could be heard. It was a clear taunt aimed at Newcastle and the club’s Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund owners, and it’s not for the first time.
Last season, Palace fans displayed an anti-Saudi Arabia flag during their 1-1 draw with Newcastle at Selhurst Park. It was The Magpies’ first away match since the takeover and one of the first real signs that the club would not be very popular moving forward.
This Saturday’s gesture was less creative, but it still appeared to get a reaction from Newcastle assistant manager Jason Tindall, who half-cupped his ear before making his way down the tunnel at full-time.
Eddie Howe breaks another record at Newcastle United
Newcastle’s 15 game unbeaten run is the club’s longest ever in the top flight.
In addition, Howe has become the first English manager to go 15 games unbeaten in the English top flight this century, moving clear of Alan Pardew who set a 14 game record at Newcastle over a decade ago.
The point sees The Magpies move back up to third in the Premier League table, six points inside the Champions League places with 18 games to go.