Palace midfielder McArthur dissects draw with Newcastle United

BY ANDREW MCSTEEN

James McArthur reckons Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle was a significant improvement on their last Selhurst Park outing against Southampton.

The Eagles dominated against the Toon but are still without a league win at home this season after suffered losses to Liverpool and Southampton.

But McArthur, who recently signed a new long-term contract with Palace, was not downbeat after failing to take maximum points off Newcastle, who look set to be one of the Premier League strugglers.

“It was very positive, a lot better than Southampton at home,” said McArthur. “We upped our game, upped our intensity and got in their faces, making it hard for them. There was a lot of opportunities [to score], so it’s about trying to take them. It was a complete performance but [one] without a goal.

“The one positive is our performance – it was very dominant. I can’t remember them having a shot in the second half, but they were very organised and made it hard for us to break through them.

“We controlled the game and had the chances to put it away, but it’s a game we feel we should have won and [even though] there are positives to take, it is very disappointing not to take three points.”

McArthur missed a header in the opening few minutes, and later on just failing to connect with a Wilfried Zaha cross-shot. But the glaring open goal miss from Mamadou Sakho with under 10 minutes left was the main chance the Eagles had to grab three points and their 200th top-flight win.

“Mamadou knows he should put it away but there were opportunities throughout the game which we’ve not scored,” said McArthur. “If we get that goal we win, but it’s one of these things; you miss a chance, but no-one’s to blame – hopefully we will give someone a hiding [soon].

“I should probably score with the header in the first two minutes and it was so close [with Zaha’s cross] but the ball took a deflection – so close, but so far. I’m getting in the correct positions, but nothing seems to be going in for us just now. I just need to keep getting in those positions and hopefully they’ll go in.”

Next up for Palace in the league is Bournemouth away on Monday night. McArthur feels that a more clinical and dominant performance is coming, led by talisman Wilfried Zaha.

“Wilf is just a big part of the team,” said McArthur. “He’s got such special quality and comes up with the goods every single week. He takes that pressure [to perform] on his shoulders but we need to chip in and help him.

“We did look really solid against Newcastle and not at one point during the game did I feel under threat that they were going to get that goal and steal it away from us. The performance was good, and we go from here and try it make it right in the next game.

“If we can win and take seven points from these three league games (against Huddersfield, Newcastle and Bournemouth) it would be good, but it obviously puts pressure on us for Bournemouth.”

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