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Fewer touches than Pope: Newcastle’s 6-pass passenger let Howe down vs Crystal Palace – opinion

Newcastle United shared the spoils with Crystal Palace on their trip to South London last night and although the side have taken the most draws in the entire Premier League, Eddie Howe will surely be thrilled that his side have climbed back into third.

The Magpies continue their unbeaten run in the top flight tallying up just one loss over the season and haven’t conceded a defeat since the end of August which is an incredibly impressive achievement considering just 12 months ago they were battling relegation.

Over the tight clash with Patrick Vieira’s side, Newcastle had 61% possession, more shots on goal (16 v 6), more big chances created (2 v 0) and more accurate passes completed (380 v 202), however, Howe’s outfit were unable to break down their opponent’s resilience.

Both halves were extremely uneventful in terms of opportunities at each end of the pitch, however, referee Craig Pawson was the busiest man on the pitch handing out six yellow cards with Marc Guehi, Kieran Trippier, Will Hughes, Joelinton and Michael Olise all getting booked over the clash.

Since the World Cup, Newcastle have played five league games with three ending in 0-0 stalemates with Callum Wilson, in particular, unable to find the back of the net since returning from his England duties over the prestigious international tournament last month.

Yet again tonight, Wilson failed to offer anything to the team on Saturday evening and let Howe down by not getting stuck into the game to take the opportunity to steal all three points from the Selhurst Park meeting.

Over his 69-minute performance, the Newcastle passenger had fewer touches of the ball than Nick Pope, managed just six accurate passes, lost seven of his duels combined, failed to make any dribble attempts and lost possession of the ball every 2.3 touches.

The 30-year-old centre-forward is not doing himself any favours with these uninspiring performances as Alexander Isak is now fit and available to compete for his position in the team.

Although Howe has been playing the Swedish striker off of the bench it may now be time for the Newcastle boss to start handing the starting opportunities to Isak.

With that being said, Howe will now have two weeks to solve the dry spell in front of goal that Newcastle appear to be experiencing of late and it will be interesting to see if the manager gives Isak a more consistent starting role when they return to action against West Ham United.

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