Newcastle Hold Man City In Thrilling Draw

Newcastle United’s English midfielder Jonjo Shelvey celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, northeast England on November 30, 2019.
Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Manchester City’s Premier League title hopes faltered once more as the champions twice blew a lead to draw 2-2 at Newcastle on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s men were frustrated for long spells after Jetro Willems quickly cancelled out Raheem Sterling’s first-half opener, but seemed to have found the moment of magic they needed thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s sensational strike eight minutes from time.

However, City’s defensive flaws were soon exposed once more as Jonjo Shelvey swept home a well-worked free-kick six minutes later.

City have now dropped points in five of their 14 league games this season and could end the day 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Guardiola was without Sergio Aguero who has been ruled out for a couple of weeks by a thigh muscle injury and City missed his predatory instincts as they failed to make nearly 80 percent possession count.

Sterling has usurped Aguero so far this season as City’s major source of goals and was clinical 22 minutes in after a lovely backheel from David Silva set the England international up for his 15th goal of the season.

However, the lead lasted just three minutes as the normally goal-shy Magpies produced their own moment of quality when Miguel Almiron teed up Willems to slot past Ederson into the far corner.

When City lost on their last visit to St James’ Park back in January the title seemed lost, only for a 14-game winning streak to end the campaign to pip Liverpool to the post.

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The Reds’ relentless form at the top of the table meant City started the day nine points behind and with precious little margin for error even before November is out.

But the sharpness and accuracy of passing that has characterised City’s two title triumphs under Guardiola was lacking as the visitors’ struggled to unlock the mass ranks of the Newcastle defence.

City finally began to work Martin Dubravka in the Newcastle goal in the final quarter as De Bruyne’s shot from a narrow-angle was turned away before Gabriel Jesus had a huge chance to make his mark in Aguero’s absence.

The Brazilian was played clean through on goal by Silva but shot straight at Dubravka before De Bruyne’s follow-up effort was blocked.

Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden were called upon from the bench to make an impact in the final 20 minutes and with his first touch, Bernardo dragged wide another glorious chance on his normally trusty left foot.

De Bruyne was the one constant threat for City and looked to have won the game when he chested down a looping clearance before smashing the ball in off the underside of the bar.

Newcastle had barely mustered a single attack in the second half, but after Fernandinho conceded a needless foul and was lucky to avoid seeing a second yellow card, Christian Atsu picked out Shelvey unmarked on the edge of the box to find the bottom corner.

City still had one more chance to take all three points in stoppage time when De Bruyne picked out Sterling, but his shot lacked the power to beat Dubravka and with that opportunity may have gone their chances of a third title in a row.

AFP

Alonso Strike Gives Chelsea Victory Over Newcastle

Chelsea’s Spanish defender Marcos Alonso (R) shoots to score during the match on October 19, 2019. Oliver GREENWOOD / AFP

 

Chelsea climbed to third in the Premier League as Marcos Alonso clinched a 1-0 win that silenced the Newcastle fans who jeered the Spanish defender at Stamford Bridge.

Alonso’s blistering strike ended Newcastle’s stubborn resistance with 17 minutes left and provided the perfect riposte to the taunts from the stands.

The Chelsea left-back spent the second half of the 2013-14 season on loan at Newcastle’s arch-rivals Sunderland and played in a derby win at St James’ Park.

The Magpies supporters clearly hadn’t forgotten as they booed him throughout Saturday’s match.

But Alonso’s first goal since April gave him the last laugh as Chelsea made it five successive victories in all competitions.

After winning just two of their opening eight games under Frank Lampard, the Blues are beginning to find their stride.

The mature way Lampard’s young side kept probing and found a way to beat obdurate Newcastle bodes well for the future.

And for only the second time in Lampard’s 13 games in charge, Chelsea kept a clean sheet as the Blues boss celebrated just his second home league.

While a title challenge is likely to be beyond Chelsea, they look well equipped to challenge for a top-four finish.

Alonso celebrates after scoring the goal which helped Chelsea climb to third place in the Premier League. GREENWOOD / AFP

 

Newcastle have now won just one of their last 26 league visits to Chelsea after a defeat that punctured the momentum from their 1-0 win against Manchester United before the international break.

Fikayo Tomori, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham all featured for Chelsea, making it five English players in their starting line-up in the Premier League for the first time since February 2013.

Homegrown charge

Hudson-Odoi led the charge of Chelsea’s homegrown youngsters when he cleverly worked space for a cross that Willian headed wide.

Mount was next to contribute when the midfielder collected Hudson-Odoi’s pass and spun for a fierce shot that was pushed away by Martin Dubravka.

Alonso earned a yellow card for a crunching challenge on DeAndre Yedlin, prompting a barrage of abuse from the Newcastle supporters crammed into one corner of the Shed End.

Willian drilled wide from a tight angle as Chelsea monopolised possession without delivering the knockout blow.

Chelsea suffered a blow when Barkley limped off with a leg injury just before half-time.

But Lampard’s team continued to push Newcastle back after the interval and came close to taking the lead through Abraham.

With nine goals already this term, Abraham was inches away from getting into double figures when his header from Willian’s corner crashed against the bar.

Frustrated by Chelsea’s failure to make the breakthrough, Lampard sent on Christian Pulisic for Mount just after the hour.

Abraham was narrowly off-target with a towering header from Chelsea’s eighth corner.

Hudson-Odoi was a constant menace with his mesmerising bursts and when his cross found Pulisic, the United States winger was denied by Dubravka’s fine scrambling save.

Dubravka kept out Willian’s near-post drive as Chelsea poured forward.

The pressure finally told in the 73rd minute when Hudson-Odoi teed up Alonso, unmarked inside the Newcastle area, for a powerful effort that flashed under Dubravka’s hand into the far corner.

It took a superb block from Yedlin to stop Abraham increasing the lead, while Ciaran Clark looped a header just over as Newcastle nearly snatched a draw that would have been cruel on Chelsea.

AFP

Leicester Climb To Third After Thrashing 10-Man Newcastle

 

 

Leicester powered into third place in the Premier League with a 5-0 demolition of 10-man Newcastle that piled pressure on Magpies boss Steve Bruce on Sunday.

Brendan Rodgers’ side maintained their impressive start to the season as they romped to a fourth win in their last five league games.

Ricardo Pereira opened the scoring in the first half before Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden was sent off for a dangerous tackle.

Leicester ran riot in the second half as Jamie Vardy struck either side of Paul Dummett’s own goal.

Wilfred Ndidi rounded off Leicester’s biggest league win since Rodgers arrived from Celtic to replace Claude Puel in February, leaving them just two points behind second placed Manchester City.

Rodgers’ appointment has proved an inspired move and Leicester look capable of challenging for a top four finish, especially given the inconsistent form of Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea.

Newcastle were the only team to win a league game at the King Power Stadium since Rodgers took charge.

But that success was during Rafael Benitez’s reign last season and they are a far less obdurate side under Bruce.

After this woeful display, Newcastle sit second bottom of the table and have won only once in their first seven league matches.

Mike Ashley’s decision to hire Bruce from Sheffield Wednesday was greeted with disdain by Newcastle fans and the under-fire 58-year-old already appears to be fighting to save his job.

With Ashley still being linked with a deal to sell Newcastle, Bruce could be gone before a regime change or very soon after unless results improve quickly.

James Maddison was absent for Leicester because of an ankle injury, with the midfielder’s place going to Dennis Praet in the only change from last week’s 2-1 win over Tottenham.

Even without Maddison, Leicester were quickly into their stride as former Newcastle winger Ayoze Perez tested Magpies keeper Martin Dubravka.

Newcastle could have been ahead against the run of play when Hayden drilled a low cross towards Yoshinori Muto, but the Japanese forward scuffed woefully wide.

Rodgers’ team made the most of that escape to take the lead in the 16th minute.

Newcastle in disarray

Portugal right-back Pereira has earned a reputation for lung-bursting surges that can unhinge opposing defences and once again he was too hot for Newcastle to handle.

Playing a one-two with Perez, Pereira surged towards the Newcastle area unchecked by the visitors’ defence before firing a fine finish into the bottom corner for his second goal in his last two games.

As rain lashed down, Bruce already cut a bedraggled figure on the touchline.

But Bruce’s day got even worse in the 43rd minute when Hayden was sent off for a reckless studs-up lunge on Praet that left the Leicester midfielder crumpled on the turf.

Leicester had already beaten Newcastle on penalties in the League Cup this season and Rodgers’ side were on course for a far more convincing success by the 54th minute.

Praet picked out Harvey Barnes and cushioned a first-time pass over the top into the path of Vardy, whose low shot evaded Dubravka’s weak attempt to save at his near post.

Vardy’s fourth goal of the season was followed by Leicester’s third of the day three minutes later.

Praet advanced down the right and his shot was turned into his own net by Newcastle defender Dummett.

With Newcastle in disarray, Vardy netted again after 64 minutes when he met Marc Albrighton’s cross with a clinical header at the far post.

Leicester showed no mercy to Bruce and Ndidi turned swiftly to fire home in the 90th minute.

Mane, Salah Hand Liverpool 3-1 Victory Over Newcastle

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane celebrates after he scores the team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 14, 2019.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah ensured Liverpool maintained their 100 per cent start to the Premier League season by coming from behind to beat Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield on Saturday.

The European champions have a history of starting slowly in early kick-offs under Jurgen Klopp and only arose from their slumber after the Magpies took a shock lead through Jetro Willems on seven minutes.

Mane turned the tide before half-time with a sumptuous finish into the top corner before profiting from an error by Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka for his second.

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Dubravka redeemed himself after the break with a string of fine saves to keep the final score down but was helpless when Salah finished coolly from Roberto Firmino’s cute backheel.

Klopp’s men open up a five-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table, but the champions can cut that gap back to two with victory at Norwich later on Saturday.

Newcastle sprung a huge surprise by claiming their only win of the season so far at Tottenham three weeks ago. They followed the same script as they frustrated the hosts in the early stages before stunning Anfield by going in front.

Willems turned inside Trent Alexander-Arnold before drilling a fierce shot past the helpless Adrian.

Liverpool trailed at home for the first time since March but quickly rallied to record a 14th straight Premier League victory.

Mane was furious with Salah after being substituted in a 3-0 win away to Burnley before the international break, accusing the Egyptian of being too greedy in his eye for goal.

But it is the Senegalese who has more goals so far this season and he arrowed into the far corner from Andy Robertson’s pass to get Liverpool back on level terms.

Firmino had been rested from the start after his travels to the United States with Brazil during the international break, but he was soon called into the action as Divock Origi limped off injured.

And Firmino made an instant impact as his pass towards Mane was spilled by Dubravka for the Liverpool number 10 to roll into an empty net.

Liverpool had only one scare once they were in front as Emil Krafth blasted over a great chance to bring Newcastle level again at the back post.

However, it was only a matter of time before the Reds made the game safe as Dubravka saved brilliantly from Robertson and twice denied the excellent Firmino, who was named man-of-the-match despite only coming on eight minutes before half-time.

The Brazilian bagged another assist when his flick freed Salah, who took his time before leaving Dubravka grounded and placing the ball into the far corner.

Mane was denied his hat-trick and Firmino a triple of assists by the offside flag, but Liverpool cruised through the final stages with one eye already on the start of their defence of the Champions League away to Napoli on Tuesday.

AFP

Newcastle Stun Insipid Spurs With Helping Hand From VAR

 

 

Tottenham were involved in more VAR controversy as this time Mauricio Pochettino’s men were denied a late penalty and Newcastle held on for a shock 1-0 win away to the Champions League finalists on Sunday.

Joelinton’s first goal for the Magpies gave Steve Bruce’s men a first-half lead to defend and they did so manfully to pick up their first points of the season.

Spurs were saved by VAR to claim a fortunate 2-2 draw away to Manchester City last weekend as the champions had a late goal ruled out, just as they did in a dramatic Champions League quarter-final between the pair last season.

However, it was Tottenham’s turn to feel aggrieved as Harry Kane was felled by Jamaal Lascelles inside the area, but VAR did not overturn Mike Dean’s initial decision to wave play on.

Newcastle had suffered a terrible start to the season with defeats by Arsenal and Norwich, the latter of which forced Bruce to cancel a day off for his players for extra training.

That work clearly paid off as a disciplined and dogged Newcastle frustrated a Spurs side lacking in invention without Christian Eriksen — who was again left on the bench with his future at the club in question.

Tottenham dominated possession early on as expected, but it was Hugo Lloris who was forced to make the first significant save as the French number one acrobatically tipped over Sean Longstaff’s rising drive.

Newcastle fans continued to voice their displeasure with Mike Ashley’s ownership of the club for a lack of investment that contributed to Rafael Benitez not extending his contract to remain in charge this season.

But there was finally some reward for the club-record £40 million ($49 million) splashed on Joelinton as the Brazilian striker pounced on some awful defending from Davinson Sanchez to fired Newcastle in front on 27 minutes.

Even going behind could not rouse Spurs into a response.

Son Heung-min was making his first appearance of the season after serving a suspension hanging over from a red card last season and the South Korea was far from his brilliant best.

Son did at least force Martin Dubravka into a save from a narrow angle and Lucas Moura should have done better when the Slovakian flapped at a Kane cross with the last action of the first half.

Spurs continued to probe without much cutting edge after the break and Eriksen was eventually called for, along with Giovani Lo Celso for his home debut just after the hour mark.

Not ‘clear and obvious’

Eriksen’s contract expires at the end of the season, meaning Tottenham will have to sell him before the transfer window closes across Europe on September 2 or run the risk he leaves the club for free next summer.

Just like on the opening day of the season when the Dane helped overturn a surprise 1-0 deficit against Aston Villa, Eriksen’s introduction sparked Spurs into life.

Kane should have had a chance to level from the spot when he was wiped out by Lascelles as the defender stumbled in the box.

Referee Dean turned down the appeals and the decision was not overturned after a VAR review as it was deemed not a “clear and obvious error”.

However, the Premier League’s high bar to not overturn referees’ original decisions will be scrutinised as it seemed a certain penalty.

Moments later, Lucas spurned the hosts’ best opening of the game by firing over Moussa Sissoko’s low cross and Newcastle saw off a bombardment during six minutes of stoppage time for a vital victory.

Aubameyang Gives Arsenal Winning Start At Newcastle

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) chips the ball over Newcastle United’s Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to score the opening and only goal of the game against Newcastle United. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired Arsenal to a 1-0 win at Newcastle in their Premier League opener on Sunday, providing hope of an improved run this season for Unai Emery’s side.

The Gunners finished last season in turmoil after blowing their bid for a top-four place with a disastrous spell in the final weeks.

Adding to Emery’s woes, Arsenal were crushed by Chelsea in the Europa League final to shatter their dreams of Champions League qualification.

But Arsenal have enjoyed a profitable close-season, with a host of new signings raising morale around the Emirates Stadium.

And Aubameyang gave Arsenal fans renewed belief they can get back in the top four this term with a typically predatory second-half finish to give the north Londoners a winning start.

Arsenal had a wretched away record last season, keeping just one clean sheet on their travels, so taking three points without conceding was the perfect way to turn over a new leaf.

Their often-criticised defence held firm, with centre-backs Calum Chambers and Sokratis keeping Newcastle at bay.

Aubameyang’s strike ruined Newcastle manager Steve Bruce’s first match in charge of the club he supported as a boy.

Bruce left second-tier Sheffield Wednesday to join Newcastle in the close-season following the departure of fan favourite Rafael Benitez, who had grown tired of a lack of backing from controversial owner Mike Ashley.

Bruce’s appointment was hardly greeted with widespread joy on Tyneside and the season started with Newcastle fans staging a protest against Ashley in the streets and then boycotting the match in large enough numbers to leave numerous empty seats around St James’ Park.

Emery’s decision to leave new signings David Luiz, Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe on the bench was rewarded by a determined, if only sporadically cohesive, display from his team.

There were starts for 19-year-old academy graduates Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock, but Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac were absent after two men were arrested following a fresh incident after the pair were the victims of an attempted car-jacking in July.

Cool finish

Joelinton made his first Newcastle start after his club-record £40 million switch from Hoffenheim and the Brazilian striker needed to impress to lift the gloomy mood on a rainy day in the north-east.

He had his first sights of goal when he flicked a header just wide from Matt Ritchie’s cross and then blasted straight at Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno.

Jonjo Shelvey went even closer for Newcastle as the midfielder hit the outside of a post with a stinging strike.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan squandered a golden chance to give Arsenal the lead, the unmarked midfielder firing wildly over the bar from 10 yards.

After a quiet start, Arsenal star Aubameyang, the joint top-scorer in the Premier League last season, sprang to life when he tested Martin Dubravka with a powerful strike after superbly controlling Mkhitaryan’s long pass.

It was a warning that Newcastle failed to heed as Aubameyang put Arsenal ahead in the 58th minute.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the provider, making a timely interception of Paul Dummett’s under-hit pass to Jetro Willems and surging away from inside his own half.

Unfurling a pin-point pass that curled over the back-tracking Newcastle defence, Maitland-Niles found Aubameyang in space and the Gabon striker took a touch before clipping his cool finish past Dubravka.

Ivory Coast winger Pepe, Arsenal’s £72 million club-record signing, and Spanish midfielder Ceballos, on loan from Real Madrid, came off the bench for the last 20 minutes.

The new boys didn’t make much of an impact as Arsenal’s much-maligned defence took the plaudits.

 

Rafael Benitez To Leave Newcastle

Newcastle United’s Spanish manager Rafael Benitez.                                                     Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Rafael Benitez will leave Newcastle United after three years as manager when his contract expires next week, the Premier League club confirmed on Monday.

Benitez was a hugely popular figure among the Newcastle support after stabilising the Magpies in the Premier League and the news is likely to spark more protests aimed at the club’s owner Mike Ashley.

“It is with disappointment that we announce manager Rafael Benitez will leave Newcastle United upon the expiry of his contract on 30th June 2019,” Newcastle said in a statement.

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“We have worked hard to extend Rafa’s contract over a significant period of time, however, it has not been – and will not be – possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives.”

Despite failing to keep Newcastle in the top flight shortly after taking over in March 2016, Benitez earned hero status on Tyneside as he led Newcastle back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. He then comfortably secured survival by finishing 10th and 13th in the last two seasons.

However, the Spaniard did not hide his displeasure at the lack of backing he was afforded by Ashley and was believed to be seeking assurances over the budget he would have to work with before committing his future to the club.

“I have been trying to win titles everywhere, in different countries, and we have to have a team that can compete,” the former Liverpool, Inter Milan and Real Madrid manager told Sky Sports in April.

“The city, the club, everyone in Newcastle is supporting the team so it’s massive. I’m not saying £200m but doing a little bit more, doing the right things, we can compete against the teams that are now maybe between seventh and 12th. But we have to do things right.”

Benitez, who won the Champions League when in charge of Liverpool in 2005, has been reportedly offered a contract worth £12 million-a-year at Chinese club Dalian Yifang.

British retail tycoon Ashley bought Newcastle in 2007, but has been a deeply unpopular figure among fans, largely due to a lack of investment in the playing squad that has seen the club relegated twice during his reign in charge.

The signing of Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United for £20 million in January finally broke a transfer record that had stood since Michael Owen’s arrival at St James’ Park from Real Madrid in 2005.

Last month representatives of Dubai-based Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a relative of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, said they had “agreed terms” with Ashley for a potential takeover of the club.

AFP

Everton Manager Fined £12,000 For Newcastle Outburst

Everton’s Portuguese manager Marco Silva arrives for the English Premier League football match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on March 17, 2019.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Everton manager Marco Silva has been fined £12,000 ($16,000, 14,000 euros) for confronting match officials on the pitch following his side’s 3-2 defeat at Newcastle earlier this month, the Football Association announced Tuesday.

“The Everton manager accepted an improper conduct charge from the FA, which resulted from his behaviour on the field of play at the end of the Premier League fixture against Newcastle United on March 9,” the FA said in a statement.

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The Portuguese was furious at Newcastle’s winning goal being allowed to stand despite what he saw as “five Newcastle players in the same line in offside positions”, and confronted referee Lee Mason on the pitch before angrily questioning the linesman who had not raised his flag.

After the match, Silva tore into the officials, saying that for “the third goal it was a big mistake by the assistant, it was a clear offside.”

But it was his move onto the pitch that led to the charge by the FA, English football’s governing body, and the fine by an independent regulatory commission.

Everton are 11th in the Premier League after responding to the Newcastle defeat by beating Chelsea 2-0 at the weekend.

AFP

Tottenham Hopeful Of League Title After Newcastle Win

Tottenham Hopeful Of League Title After Newcastle Win
Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (R) shoots but doesn’t score during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at Wembley Stadium in London, on February 2, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Tottenham have the belief in themselves to be Premier League champions, insisted manager Mauricio Pochettino after his side found the mental and physical resources to net another late winner to beat Newcastle 1-0 and leapfrog Manchester City into second place.

In the absence of the injured Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Spurs turned to Son Heung-min for inspiration and the South Korean struck seven minutes from time with the help of a goalkeeping error from Martin Dubravka.

Pochettino’s men also scored late on to beat Fulham and Watford in their last two league outings and are now just four points off leaders Liverpool, who are in action at West Ham on Monday.

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“It is a massive result to be in a very good position in the table,” said Pochettino.

“We don’t need to be in some position like today to convince ourselves about our capacity or potential. We believe in ourselves.

“It is a different thing to say if we are going to be capable to fight until the end to be champion. Today I think we are there because we deserve to be there.”

In keeping with a season of struggle, Tottenham were forced all the way by a dogged Newcastle, buoyed by a stunning 2-1 win over Manchester City in midweek that carried the Magpies five points clear of the relegation zone.

Lucas Moura headed a glorious early chance wide, Erik Lamela hit the crossbar and Christian Eriksen was denied by a remarkable goal-line clearance from Fabian Schar.

However, Spurs got the break they needed for another vital three points when the tireless Son’s powerful effort slipped beneath Dubravka’s grasp to undo all of Newcastle’s good work in holding out for 83 minutes.

“For me the most important is that the team are in a great level of belief, character and mentality,” added Pochettino. “With a lot of (adverse) circumstances we are showing we can win in any stadium and against any club.

“It’s about now praising the squad or players to be in the position we are in the Premier League. A position no one believed at the beginning of the season we would be.”

Son’s tally is now 14 for the season and continuing his scoring streak of nine goals in nine games for Spurs either side of his departure to the Asian Cup will be even more crucial in the coming weeks with Kane and Alli still some way off a return.

And Pochettino lauded Son’s stamina to keep performing after three international tournaments in the past eight months on top of his club commitments.

“Sonny is like a battery that you have that you work, work, work, work but when the battery is gone, it’s gone,” added Pochettino.

“He gives you everything and then when he is exhausted he says he needs to be changed or needs to rest. When he’s on the pitch he always gives 100 percent with or without the ball. That is a very good example for everyone to follow.”

Newcastle played without club record £20 million signing Miguel Almiron as the Paraguayan did not have international clearance to make his debut, so Rafael Benitez named the same side that started against City with the same gameplan to defend deep and frustrate their opponents.

However, the visitors had chances of their own to spring another surprise as Salomon Rondon hit the post and Hugo Lloris made a flying save from Ayoze Perez early in the second-half.

“It was a pity because we had some chances in the first-half and the beginning of the second-half we had two clear chances when we hit the post,” said Benitez, who bemoaned the fact one error had cost his side.

“The goal we could avoid and is something we were not expecting.”

AFP

Chelsea Tighten Grip On Fourth Place As Willian Sink Newcastle

Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Willian (R) vies with Newcastle United’s Spanish striker Ayoze Perez during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in London on January 12, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Maurizio Sarri warned his Chelsea stars to improve their mentality after Willian’s sublime strike sealed a hard-fought 2-1 win over struggling Newcastle on Saturday.

Sarri’s side took the lead through Pedro’s early goal, but Ciaran Clark snatched a shock equaliser before half-time.

With Chelsea fans beginning to lose patience at their team’s latest spluttering home display, Willian lifted the mood in the nick of time with his superb second-half curler.

Fourth-placed Chelsea have won five of their last seven league matches and sit six points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, who lost at West Ham earlier on Saturday.

But, while Chelsea remain in control of the race to qualify for the Champions League, this was a far from convincing performance.

Labouring to beat third-bottom Newcastle showed how far Chelsea have to go to bridge the gap in class to leaders Liverpool and champions Manchester City.

Sarri admitted he was frustrated with the way Chelsea took their foot off the gas after the opening goal.

“We started well for 10 minutes but after the goal we thought ‘now it is easy’, but it wasn’t,” Sarri said.

“We slept for 25 minutes and then we were in trouble. We were better in the second half but we need to improve the mental reaction.

“It is very difficult to understand. We stopped playing and then we had problems.”

Sarri also revealed he has told Chelsea’s hierarchy he needs a new midfielder to replace Cesc Fabregas, who joined Monaco on Friday.

“Jorginho was in trouble and on the bench there wasn’t a player for that position. I need an option for that position,” he sad.

“The club knows very well my opinion. It depends on the club decision. I cannot do anything more.”

Another winter of discontent is brewing for Newcastle, wo have won only once in their last nine league games.

The Magpies’ 18 points is their lowest tally after 22 matches of a top-flight season since they were relegated in 1988-89.

“We have to be better than three teams and if we play like today we can do it,” Benitez said of Newcastle’s relegation battle.

Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat against Tottenham in the League Cup semi-final first leg was the latest display of attacking impotence from misfiring Chelsea, who had failed to score in their last two home league games.

But it took only nine minutes for the Blues to go in front as Newcastle’s five-man defence was carved open with ease.

A fine long pass from Chelsea defender David Luiz caught Clark flat-footed.

Pedro timed his run behind Clark perfectly and held off the centre-back’s weak attempt to recover as he lofted a delicate chip over Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka for his seventh goal of the season.

Chelsea dominated possession in the first half-hour, but they switched off at the back as Newcastle almost snatched an equaliser.

Masterful finish

Salomon Rondon flicked a header towards Ayoze Perez and he accelerated away from Antonio Rudiger, only to shoot woefully wide with just Kepa Arrizabalaga to beat.

It was a warning that Sarri’s men failed to heed and in the 40th minute Newcastle were level.

Matt Ritchie curled over an out-swinging corner and Clark muscled past Luiz to power a superb header past Kepa from 12 yards.

Once again, Sarri stubbornly stuck to his experiment with Eden Hazard as Chelsea’s central striker despite the Belgian star’s dislike of the tactic.

Hazard has now scored just four times in his last 17 games, suggesting he is much more effective in his natural role on the flanks.

With frustration mounting, a misplaced pass by Jorginho triggered angry moans from Chelsea fans, who booed the team off at half-time.

The atmosphere was on the verge of turning even more toxic until Willian came to the rescue in the 57th minute.

Teed up by Hazard, at last, making an incisive burst, Willian cut back inside two Newcastle defenders on the left side of the area before curling a masterful finish into the far corner.

AFP

Mourinho’s Man United Overturn 2-0 Deficit To Beat Newcastle 3-2

Manchester United’s Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez (2R) scores the team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Newcastle at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 6, 2018. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Under-pressure Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho saw his side score three goals, including a late winner, as they beat lowly Newcastle 3-2 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday.

Amid newspaper speculation he could be sacked this weekend, Mourinho’s side fell 2-0 behind as early as the 10th minute after goals from Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto fired the visitors — who haven’t won in the league this season — into a shock lead.

But Juan Mata pulled a goal back in the 70th minute with a fine free-kick, Anthony Martial equalised six minutes later and Alexis Sanchez scored in the 90th minute to end United’s run of four games without a win.

Victory saw United move up into eighth place in the table but still left them six points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who are away to Liverpool on Sunday.

Newcastle Suffer Early League Cup Exit, Everton Roll On

Newcastle United’s manager Rafael Benitez.                                           Photo: Lindsey PARNABY / AFP

 

Newcastle’s miserable start to the season suffered another blow with a dramatic late 3-1 defeat to Championship side Nottingham Forest on Wednesday to crash out of the League Cup at the second round.

 

There was no such strife for Premier League high flyers Everton and Watford, who continued their unbeaten starts to the campaign with victories over Rotherham and Reading respectively to make round three.

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez had been fiercely criticised for his negative approach in defeat to Chelsea on Sunday that left the Magpies with just one point from their opening three league games.

Benitez made seven changes for the visit to the City Ground but those coming in did their case little good as Daryl Murphy headed the hosts in front inside two minutes.

That looked like being enough for Forest, until Salomon Rondon registered his first Newcastle with practically the visitors’ first decent chance two minutes into stoppage time.

However, Forest weren’t to be denied as Matty Cash and Gil Dias struck in six added minutes to reach the last 32.

“I don’t agree that Forest were the better team and I’m not concerned by how we played,” said a defiant Benitez.

“We did not create many chances so we need to improve in attack and keep working hard.

“It’s a long season, we knew it was going to be hard but we have confidence in ourselves.”

Everton got the job done much earlier as Gylfi Sigurdsson and a double from Dominic Calvert-Lewin eased Marco Silva’s men into the next round with a 3-1 win at Goodison.

Watford may be joint top of the Premier League with three wins from three, but the Hornets also have impressive depth as Javi Gracia made 11 changes for a 2-0 victory at Reading.

Isaac Success and Domingos Quina on his debut ensured it was a successful night for Gracia’s men.

Millwall also reached round three after twice coming from behind to beat Plymouth 3-2 thanks to Aiden O’Brien’s 89th minute winner.

AFP