How Michael Olise kept his celebrations to a minimum on Wednesday night is anybody’s guess, as the Eagles starlet produced a magnificent free kick in second-half stoppage time to ensure that Palace would deny Man United the chance to go second in the Premier League table.
The Red Devils made the breakthrough just before half time, with Bruno Fernandes curling home from Christian Eriksen’s pass, but Olise fired an unstoppable free kick in off the crossbar with minutes remaining to rescue a well-earned point for Palace.
One point could have even become three for the Eagles if David de Gea did not tip Odsonne Edouard’s effort onto the bar, but Vieira took pleasure in once again haunting Man United, although that point sees Palace still languishing in 12th place and five points off the top half.
Wednesday’s stalemate with the Red Devils ended a three-game losing run in all tournaments for Crystal Palace, whose February fixtures are daunting to say the least, with Man United to come again alongside showdowns against Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool.
The Eagles could very well find themselves slipping down the table as spring approaches, as Vieira’s side are now winless at home in three Premier League contests, and the superstitious fans among us will be interested to hear that Palace have suffered eight consecutive defeats in Premier League games at Selhurst Park kicking off at 5.30pm on a Saturday.
What could have been a dream return to St James’ Park for Aleksandar Mitrovicquickly turned into a nightmare, as the ex-Newcastle striker thought he had given Fulham the lead from the penalty spot last Sunday, only for replays to show that the Serbian had touched the ball twice as he slipped.
Having been handed a bizarre reprieve, Newcastle called upon the cavalry and waited until the 89th minute to get the job done, as substitute Alexander Isakheaded home to settle a tight contest in which the patience of Eddie Howe’s men was tested to the limit.
While any talk of a title challenge may be premature, Newcastle are very much in the Champions League mix at the halfway point of the season, clinging onto fourth place in the table and lying just one point behind Man United and Manchester City, as well as being five clear of Tottenham Hotspur after the Lilywhites lost to the champions on Thursday.
Entering Saturday’s clash on a 14-game unbeaten run in the top flight, Newcastle’s staunch rearguard have kept clean sheets in their last five Premier League matches and have still conceded just 11 goals all season long – unsurprisingly the best defensive record in the league.
Furthermore, four of the visitors’ last six Premier League games on the road have ended in victory, and they have played out a pair of goalless draws with Palace already this season – the most recent of which ended in a penalty-shootout win in the EFL Cup third round.