Graeme Jones’ Newcastle side struggled to cope with the dominant Christian Benteke in the 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
The powerful Belgian put the hosts ahead in the 56th minute with a towering header before Callum Wilson brought us level nine minutes later with a spectacular overhead kick.
The former Aston Villa and Liverpool striker thought he had clinched the winner in the 87th minute, but his bullet header from a corner was ruled out by VAR following a foul by Marc Guehi.
Despite playing with a back three, Jones’ three centre backs were bullied by Benteke and, on that evidence, it’s a massive relief that Benteke’s compatriot Romelu Lukaku won’t be available for Saturday’s clash at St James’ Park.
Newcastle too weak against Benteke
In the 21st minute, despite being the only Palace player in the Newcastle penalty area, Benteke got in between Emil Krafth and Javier Manquillo, but his header came back off the post.
Benteke gave Patrick Vieria’s side the lead after he nodded home Tyrick Mitchell’s lofted cross.
Palace’s number 20 was too strong for Ciaran Clark and headed the ball past Karl Darlow into the bottom corner.
Only seven minutes after his goal, Benteke was causing mayhem in the Newcastle box once again. Another cross from Michael Olise saw a Benteke glancing header, clip the top off the bar.
Benteke had a great chance to restore the Eagles’ lead just seven minutes after Wilson brought the scores level, but despite being in on goal he put his left-footed effort wide.
The chance came after a Odsonne Edouard dummy fooled the entire Newcastle defence. It was far too easy.
Benteke finished the match with seven shots, which was more than Newcastle mustered up as a collective (WhoScored).
The 30-year-old also made three key passes, more than any other player on the pitch.
Highlighting his dominance, the Belgian international won seven aerial duels, again the most in the match, in what was a bruising afternoon for the Newcastle backline.
After struggling to contain Raul Jimenez in Steve Bruce’s last away game in charge, Newcastle remained shaky at the back under Jones and didn’t know how to deal with the superior Benteke.