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Magpies cruise to victory at rain-soaked Selhurst Park
Final Score: Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle 3
ALAN PARDEW made a dream return to Selhurst Park after watching an impressive Newcastle United cruise to a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Yohan Cabaye struck in the 25th minute before an own goal by Danny Gabbidon and a late Hatem Ben Arfa penalty sealed the three points.
The result cements the Magpies’ place of sixth in the table and they lie only six points behind table toppers Liverpool going into Christmas.
Pardew named the same team that was victorious at Manchester United with Yohan Cabaye returning from suspension.
Both sides struggled to get a grip on the game in treacherous conditions, but the Magpies had the first effort on goal with Davide Santon’s long-range shot going wide.
Palace replied with Barry Bannen’s curling free-kick forcing Tim Krul into action even if it was a straightforward catch.
But it was the Tynesiders who grew into the game and took control with some excellent fast-flowing breaks causing the Palace defence problems.
Mathieu Debuchy enjoyed having plenty of space down the right in particular and he forced Adrian Mariappa into a last-ditch clearance with Yoan Gouffran waiting in the area.
The right-back should have put Pardew’s men ahead moments later, but his glancing header from Cabaye’s corner went agonisingly wide in the 19th minute.
Six minutes later Newcastle did take the lead and they had Moussa Sissoko to thank for some brilliant play on the right. The Frenchman cut inside and went past Marouane Chamakh before he pulled the ball back to Cabaye, who was waiting to dispatch his low shot inside the near post, although it did take a deflection of Mile Jedinak.
It was as much as the Magpies deserved and it could have been two minutes later when Sissoko again found space on the right to cross in but Gouffran produced a stunning air-kick.
Palace did respond to going behind and could have been level when Santon gifted the ball to Cameron Jerome in the area, but Krul produced a fine save with his feet to keep the hosts out.
The Magpies keeper made another good save not long after when Mike Williamson almost diverted a cross into his own net on in the 31st minute, but eight minutes later it was a Palace defender that was left red-faced.
Debuchy found space on the right to send in a dangerous cross and Gabbidon could only slice the ball into his own net when attempting to stop the ball reaching an oncoming Loic Remy.
Pulis made two changes at half time with Jonathan Parr and Yannick Bolasie replacing Dean Moxey and Bannen, and his side made a much better start to the second half.
Jason Puncheon saw a shot blocked before Chamakh’s looping header went over the bar, but their best chance fell to Jerome.
Jedinak did well to head Bolasie’s free-kick back across goal, but Jerome could only send his volley high over the bar.
Cabaye missed a great chance to put the game to bed when he was played in inside the area, but Speroni saved his weak shot.
Pardew introduced Shola Ameobi and Hatem Ben Arfa in search of a third goal and the Frenchman almost made an instant impact when he skipped three Palace challenges and teed up Gouffran on the edge of the area, but his shot rattled off the post.
A third Magpies goal did come in the 86th minute when Ben Arfa finished from the spot after Parr brought down Ameobi.
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