Last night (April 24), two of the Premier League’s form teams went head-to-head, as Crystal Palace faced Newcastle at Selhurst Park.

Two second half goals from Palace striker Jean-Phillipe Mateta gave the hosts all three points.

Here we will look into how Crystal Palace got the better of a Newcastle side, who in their previous game dismantled Champions League chasing Tottenham 4-0.

Better use of the ball

Both teams had a similar share of the possession, with Newcastle just edging it, having 53% of the ball across the 90 minutes. But the difference in what they did when having the ball was drastic.

Crystal Palace were not afraid to get shots off at the goal. In the first half the Eagles were taking shots from anywhere, with seven out of their nine first half shots coming from outside the penalty area.

Your Local Guardian: Just one of Palace's seven shots from outsdie the box in the first halfJust one of Palace's seven shots from outsdie the box in the first half (Image: Sky Sports Premier League)

In the second half, there seemed to be more of an urge to get the ball into the box, before taking the shot, with only four out of 11 shots coming from outside the box. This also came with less of the possession, as Newcastle dominated the ball in the second half.

Over the course of the game, Palace managed to get 20 shots in at goal, compared to Newcastle’s seven, the Magpies only managing two efforts before Mateta’s opening goal in the 55th minute.

Despite less of the ball, Palace dominated the attacking momentum of the game, as seen in this graph.



No escape

Crystal Palace’s first goal came from the team stopping Newcastle from playing out from the back.

Across the 90 minutes, Newcastle’s three centre backs and two central midfielders had more passes than any Palace player, and only Daniel Munoz split the five Newcastle players for touches in the game.

For Palace’s opener, Newcastle were penned into their own half, with the only way out being a long pass forward down the line.

Four Palace players are closer to Emil Krafth, who has the ball for Newcastle, than the nearest Newcastle player, forcing Krafth to play long.

Your Local Guardian: Crystal Palace blocking all passes for Krafth before they take the leadCrystal Palace blocking all passes for Krafth before they take the lead (Image: Sky Sports Premier League)

From this position, the ball is won by Joachim Andersen on the halfway line. As Andersen wins back possession Newcastle’s defensive line is still in a similar position, just in front of the penalty area, giving Palace players space to move into and play the ball.

As Eberechi Eze takes the ball from Andersen, he finds himself with space to move into, then play the ball into Mateta, and after a brilliant one-two with Jordan Ayew, the Frenchman was able to get a shot off and make it 1-0.

Formation match-up

Although the two sides seemed to be playing the same formation out of possession, Newcastle’s Elliot Anderson would drift into the pitch from left wing back, leaving Dan Burn isolated on the left-hand side.

Newcastle did not manage to bridge the gap between their defence and midfield, with the average position of their back three well inside of their own half.

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Palace had Nathaniel Clyne, who was the right centre back, in a higher position than Will Hughes, keeping the Palace team tighter between the defence and midfield, limiting space for the Newcastle attackers.

Although late in the game, the above image is a great example of this gap between Newcastle’s defence and midfield, with four Palace players in that gap.