Jones lauds ‘unique’ Newcastle star after Palace draw

Newcastle came from behind to earn … The post Jones lauds ‘unique’ Newcastle star after Palace draw appeared first on Football365.

Jones lauds ‘unique’ Newcastle star after Palace draw

Graeme Jones talked up the finishing of Callum Wilson after he struck to earn Newcastle a point at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Magpies number nine produced a sensational overhead kick with his back to goal in the 65th minute to earn a share of the spoils in the capital after Christian Benteke had opened the scoring nine minutes earlier in the half.

F365 Says: Newcastle on the defensive at the start of new era

It saw Newcastle earn a first point since Amanda Staveley’s Saudi-backed consortium completed its takeover of the club and ensured Jones’ debut in the dugout – after Steve Bruce was sacked on Wednesday – ended in a 1-1 draw.

The 51-year-old said: “With Cal he is a unique striker. In training he is a good finisher, he works and is a fantastic professional but on matchday there is a stimulation that comes out of him that he has the mentality to perform for Newcastle United.

“He is the best matchday finisher I have worked with and that is not even half a chance and it’s in the back of the net which tells you everyone about Callum Wilson.”

While the North East club left London with a point, it was a ninth Premier League game of the season without a win and they remain in the relegation zone.

Jones went with five at the back at Selhurst Park and insisted it was important they went back to basics.

“We came here to win. That was the intention. We didn’t so the next best thing is a point,” the Gateshead-born interim boss added.

“Off the ball I was pleased with the organisation and understanding of the runs. I think we limited Palace to one chance in the first half and in the second half they have had two. It is a base for us to start.

“I would like for us to be better on the ball but that doesn’t come overnight. It takes time and we’ve concentrated on trying to shore up a little bit and not concede as many goals. I think that worked.”

Newcastle only had 25 per cent possession and could have lost had Benteke’s 87th-minute header not been ruled out for a foul by Marc Guehi in the penalty area while the Belgian also hit both a post and the crossbar in addition to firing wide when one on one.

Jones admitted: “We have to improve, we have to be better but I have to give the lads credit mentally and physically. Tactically we were excellent today, especially with defensive aspect of the game. As I have said… lots of work to do, loads of work to do… but it is somewhere to start.”

After a sixth draw out of nine matches, Palace boss Patrick Vieira admitted they must turn their dominance into victories soon.

“It was of course frustrating because we did enough to take those three points,” he said.

“We have to work on a lot of aspects of the game because obviously we don’t win enough games but on the other side when you look at how we defended set-pieces today it was much better than previously.

“The goal that we concede, in the first contact you are looking at the ball bouncing back to the Newcastle player and it was a fantastic goal. Nothing I can be frustrated about.”

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Strikerless City thrill again with Foden through the middle

Would we have seen Phil Foden … The post Strikerless City thrill again with Foden through the middle appeared first on Football365.

Strikerless City thrill again with Foden through the middle

Would we have seen Phil Foden up front or Bernardo Silva at all if City signed Harry Kane? The champions are better for missing out…


Manchester City‘s best attacking performance of the season on Tuesday night came with a caveat: ‘It was only Club Brugge’.

That, of course, wilfully ignores the fine Champions League form the Belgians were in prior to being . PSG, with Neymar, Mbappe and Messi in their front three, were repelled by Brugge, while RB Leipzig were turned over on their own patch.

So, to prove it was no fluke, City turned it on again to pick apart one of the Premier League’s best defences. Only City and Chelsea had conceded fewer goals than Brighton before the champions turned up at the AmEx to win inside half an hour.

The common denominator between Tuesday’s battering of Brugge and tonight’s Seagull shoot was the presence of Phil Foden as the spearhead of City’s attack.

A fortnight after the clamour came for the England star to play in a deeper midfield role, now it appears Foden is a born centre-forward. Such is the Stockport Iniesta’s genius, however, Pep Guardiola could probably play him at centre-back and he’d prompt comparisons with Franco Baresi.

You could hardly call this Foden’s breakout season but it certainly seems that Guardiola has taken the reins off the 21-year-old. In the wake of the goalless draw with Southampton, which supposedly offered proof that City would suffer for the absence of a goalscoring centre-forward, Guardiola’s response was to thrust Foden through the middle. It has proved to be a masterstroke.

Foden was outstanding in even if the scoreline did not reflect their control, and though he was sublime on the left at Liverpool, he reverted to the middle against Burnley and Brugge. The goals did not flow, but it did not matter.

Foden was too clever for either opponent, knowing exactly when to play on the shoulder of the centre-back, and when to drop back closer to his own defenders to take the ball and create with his laser-guided long passing.

At the AmEx, Foden showed the other side of a natural-born striker’s game, grabbing a poacher’s brace. His first, City’s second came after a lung-bursting run to keep up with Jack Grealish, while his second owed more to his whereabouts than his wherewithal.

The only blot on Foden’s copybook: the failure to take a late chance that would have earned him a first senior hat-trick. That was one of eight shooting opportunities Foden carved out for himself, not that he was goal-hanging, as if Guardiola would stand for it. No player on the pitch covered more distance than City’s genuine false nine.

Of course, we might not have seen Foden thrive in this role had City signed Harry Kane in the summer. The prospect of what a fit Kane could do in this City side still stirs the senses but the deeper we go into the season, the more it seems shrewd judgement to leave the England striker at Tottenham.

Had Kane been signed, it almost certainly would have meant Bernardo Silva being sacrificed. The fact he remains at City may be more by luck than judgement since Guardiola seemed content to let the Portuguese schemer depart, but Silva’s form means the champions should consider themselves fortunate that he wasn’t sold to part-fund a deal for Kane.

Silva laid on City’s opener after latching on to Robert Sanchez’s dropped bollock, and played major roles in Foden’s brace even if he won’t be credited with an assist for either. “The club that gets Bernardo is going to take one of the best players in the world,” Guardiola said in the summer before he won the jackpot by default.

What of Brighton? They certainly gave City a helping hand. All the visitors’ goals came from errors, even if they were mercilessly punished. Once they had pulled their trousers back up and regathered some composure at the break, Graham Potter’s man rallied somewhat in the second half, just enough for this defeat to be attributed to an out-of-character half-hour of nonsense in addition to City’s ruthlessness.

They aren’t the first team this season or even this week to have all their vulnerabilities exposed and preyed upon by this City side and they certainly won’t be the last. Certainly not with Foden living up to every ounce of hype he ever generated.

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