Newcastle United went looking for an early Christmas present as they took on Crystal Palace at St James' Park.
The Magpies were hoping to exorcise the demons of last weekend's woeful reverse at Burnley in front of their own fans and hit the 25-point mark before the Christmas festivities got underway.
Steve Bruce made changes as Florian Lejeune returned and Andy Carroll started at St James' Park in black and white for the first time in nearly a decade. Jetro Willems missed out through injury, meaning Paul Dummett was deployed at wing-back.
The Magpies made a decent start as they fashioned chances for Isaac Hayden and Miguel Almiron, but they lacked composure in the final third. Jonjo Shelvey tried a shot from his own half but Newcastle were missing cutting edge.
Palace created little but Luka Milivojevic flashed a free-kick wide as they improved as the half wore on.
Here's how Lee Ryder rated the players.
Martin Dubravka 8
Untested for long periods. Watched Benteke and Kouyate’s headers sail before keeping out Zaha’s stinging drive.
Javier Manquillo 7
Not a bad opening 45 minutes, kept things tight and got a couple of crosses in.
Fabian Schar 7
Often reverted to long balls forward.
Federico Fernandez 7
Cool and calm with a host of clearances.
Florian Lejeune 8
Newcastle look much more assured with the Frenchman in the back five. Dominated the first half with 55 touches.
Paul Dummett 7
Very much an outlet with a series of balls into the box in a slightly more advanced position.
Isaac Hayden 6
Missed a great one on one chance.
Jonjo Shelvey 7
Inventive with an audacious chip and a pop from the halfway line but yet to find the breakthrough.
Miguel Almiron 7
Worked hard and created a couple of chances, also curled one straight at the keeper.
Not too convincing.
Andy Carroll 6
Not his usual self so far.