Crystal Palace 2 Newcastle 0: Eberechi Eze puts himself on Gareth Southgate's mind with dazzling display

Eberechi Eze battles with Anthony Gordon. Credit: GettyEberechi Eze battles with Anthony Gordon. Credit: Getty
Eberechi Eze battles with Anthony Gordon. Credit: Getty | Getty Images
Jean-Philippe Mateta scored a brace in a comfortable Crystal Palace victory over Newcastle, but Eberechi Eze was the star of the show.

Eberechi Eze surely put himself front and centre in Gareth Southgate’s mind with another sparkling performance 

Reinvigorated by Oliver Glasner, every match he plays feels like an audition for England and Euro 2024. On television, Eze looks like a special player, but you have to watch him from the terraces to truly appreciate him.

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If you only looked at the statistics of Crystal Palace’s 2-0 victory over Newcastle, Jean-Philippe Mateta would have appeared the star man with another brace at Selhurst Park. However, Eze was at the centre of everything the Eagles did well.

He tortured Newcastle all game, dropping into pockets of space behind Bruno Guimarães and Sean Longstaff and gliding forward. Eze dribbles as if he was born with a ball at his feet, with supreme balance and dexterity. 

At times it appeared as if Eze was playing five a side, as he flicked the ball past the outstretched legs of defenders with ease. It was his ball which broke the lines to Mateta, who combined with Jordan Ayew before slotting past Martin Dúbravka in the 54th minute.

After that Eze toyed with Newcastle, at one point nutmegging Emil Krafth who tumbled to the ground. He departed on 82 minutes to a standing ovation, doing everything but score a goal. Now that Southgate can take 26 players to Germany, it significantly increases Eze’s chances of getting on the plane. Mateta finished off a comfortable win for Palace, by slotting his second goal of the game with three minutes left on the clock.

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Glasner told reporters after the game: “It was a great performance and all the credit to the players today. The energy, the intensity, the offensive way of playing, always trying to score goals ... I hope the players get addicted to the feeling of winning games.”

Speaking about the first goal, he said: “We won the ball back four or five times in the opposition half. Ebs gets the ball and then playing as a unit, playing connected.”

Newcastle started brightly, with interplay between Anthony Gordon and Alexander Isak threatening to unlock the Palace back four. A quick first-time ball from Sean Longstaff played Harvey Barnes through, but he dallied on the ball in the box and the chance was snuffed out.

At the other end, Palace began to assert themselves. Glasner has awakened the Eagles from the torpor of the end of Roy Hodgson’s reign. After the 5-2 demolition of West Ham, both players and fans oozed confidence. 

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January recruit Adam Wharton quickly shifted the ball from side to side, as the Eagles steadily built pressure. Eze whipped a shot just wide after a trademark dance, while a cross from Palace’s number 10 resulted in Mateta flashing the ball over.

Eddie Howe’s men looked dangerous on the counter attack, with Bruno almost slotting Isak through. He took the ball brilliantly past Joachim Andersen with a header, but Dean Henderson was able to smother the ball. Gordon was finding pockets of space, but Newcastle were too slow with the incisive ball to fashion a clear chance.

It took until the 55th minute for Palace to take the lead. A swift ball from Eze found Mateta, who exchanged passes with Ayew, and fired into the net. Newcastle had a penalty shout, as Longstaff tumbled down in the box - but never really looked like equalising. Then with three minutes to go, Mateta put the game beyond doubt.

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