Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace thrash his former club Newcastle
Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace inflicted a hugely damaging 5-1 defeat on his old club Newcastle to heap yet more pressure on beleaguered Magpies manager Steve McClaren.
Yannick Bolasie struck twice as Palace claimed their first Premier League win over Newcastle at Selhurst Park, with the visitors a structureless, defensive shambles.
James McArthur's brace and Wilfried Zaha's strike completed the hosts' goal glut as the Eagles rammed home just why Pardew chose to trade Newcastle for the south Londoners in January.
Papiss Cisse bagged a goal on his first Newcastle start since September, but this capitulation to former boss Pardew only serves to underscore McClaren's widespread problems at St James' Park.
McClaren tore into his failing Newcastle charges in a midweek training-ground altercation following the 3-0 home drubbing by Leicester: that rant had singularly zero impact on his abject squad.
The visitors slipped back into the relegation zone with a seventh defeat in 11 Premier League games, leaving owner Mike Ashley under pressure to splash yet more cash in the January transfer window.
Newcastle shelled out £13million on Aleksandar Mitrovic in the summer, but the former Anderlecht striker has fired just two goals in 14 turns for the Tyneside club.
The north-east outfit remain toothless in attack despite Cisse's early goal, leaving the close-season decision not to sign QPR's Charlie Austin all the more baffling.
Neither Newcastle nor Palace seized the chance to snaffle Austin in the summer, and so the man who claimed 18 Premier League goals in a relegation season stayed put at Loftus Road.
The 26-year-old's current QPR deal expires in the summer, making Premier League suitors hard pushed to rival the kind of contracts that will be on offer for Austin as a free agent.
Just as pressing as the front-line shortcomings, however, are Newcastle's rearguard woes, allied to a defensive midfield cordon more sieve than shield in front of the calamitous back four.
Cisse handed Newcastle the perfect start, and the kind of front-line play so missing for the majority of the campaign.
The Senegal hitman ghosted onto Daryl Janmaat's chipped ball into the box, and nodded past the stranded Wayne Hennessey.
Just when the visitors thought they could cling to Cisse's foothold opener, their defence and midfield evaporated in alarming fashion.
First Fabricio Coloccini's poor misread allowed Connor Wickham to feed McArthur, the midfielder's shot looping home via a huge deflection off Paul Dummett's back.
Then Wickham's poor, trickling attempt at a low cross somehow bobbled past Newcastle's six statuesque defenders, gifting Bolasie Palace's second goal.
And on the stroke of half-time the hosts capitalised on yet more horrendous Newcastle defending, Chancel Mbemba diving in horribly to allow Wickham to float a deep ball right across the box to Zaha.
The former Manchester United winger kept his shape to stay over the top of the ball, but so much so that his strike bounced straight off the turf - and past the hapless Rob Elliot.
Pardew's men turned around three goals to the good, and with Wickham claiming all three assists by little more than default thanks to Newcastle's ineptitude.
The second half was hardly under way when Palace captain Damien Delaney headed former Newcastle star Yohan Cabaye's free-kick into Bolasie's path.
The Democratic Republic of Congo forward tiptoed round Newcastle's porous defence and prodded home, ending any shred of a Newcastle comeback.
And at the death McArthur tapped in his second after Elliot's weak parry gifted him the chance to seal Palace's rout.
Tweet of the match:
"Palace lead Newcastle by 4 goals to 1. Not sure even an umbrella can protect Steve McClaren from the inevitable downpour of criticism." - Gary Lineker predicts a tough tide ahead for Steve McClaren.
WAYNE HENNESSEY - 6 (Out of 10)
JOEL WARD - 7
SCOTT DANN - 7
YOHAN CABAYE - 7
YANNICK BOLASIE - 8
WILFRIED ZAHA - 7
JAMES MCARTHUR - 8
CONNOR WICKHAM - 8
PAPE SOUARE - 7
DAMIEN DELANEY (c) - 7
JASON PUNCHEON - 7
PATRICK BAMFORD - 5 (sub for Wickham)
CHUNG-YONG LEE - 6 (sub for Cabaye)
MILE JEDINAK - 6 (sub for Zaha)
ROB ELLIOT - 5
FABRICIO COLOCCINI - 4
PAUL DUMMETT - 3
JACK COLBACK - 4
GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM - 5
MOUSSA SISSOKO - 4
VURNON ANITA - 4
PAPISS CISSE - 6
AYOZE PEREZ - 5
CHANCEL MBEMBA - 4
DARYL JANMAAT - 6
SIEM DE JONG - 4 ( sub for Colback)
YOAN GOUFFRAN - 5 (sub for Wijnaldum)
JAMAAL LASCELLES - 4 (sub for Perez)
Connor Wickham: A number of players could have been picked for the Eagles including Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie but Connor Wickham had an all-round impressive game.
Moment of the match:
Wilfried Zaha: Had been running rings around the Newcastle defence from early on in the game and In the 40th minute another pin-perfect cross from Wickham found Zaha who volleyed the ball into the ground, over Fabricio Coloccini and in.
View from the bench:
Newcastle manager Steve McClaren lost his patience with his players during training this week and promised changes. Aleksander Mitrovic was dropped and Papiss Cisse came in from the cold, but even his opener could do no good. McClaren can expect plenty of criticism, while in the home dugout, it's fair to guess Alan Pardew will enjoy soaking up a big win over the fans who once called for his head.
Moan of the match:
Newcastle's defence: The back line had a shocker and they continue to ship goals at an alarming rate.
Who's up next?
Everton v Crystal Palace (Barclays Premier League, Monday December 7)
Newcastle v Liverpool (Barclays Premier League, Sunday December 6)