Newcastle United vs Everton

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Newcastle United vs Crystal Palace

Miguel Almirón’s long-awaited first goal for Newcastle United gave Steve Bruce’s men a late 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

It was largely a game to forget, as both sides struggled to find much of a rhythm on a chilly afternoon at St. James’ Park which took until the 83rd minute to liven up.

But when it did, the roof came off as Almirón’s controlled first-time strike – which came thanks in part to Andy Carroll’s cushioned knockdown – won it for the hosts, and extended United’s unbeaten home record in the Premier League to eight games.

That fine run, which stretches back to August, has helped Newcastle up to ninth in the table at Christmas – just three points shy of the top five.

Much of the early running in a drab contest was made by the hosts. Almirón’s delicately-weighted through ball found Isaac Hayden, who rounded Vicente Guaita but lost his footing, recovering only when the angle was too narrow to finish.

Guaita held onto shots from Almirón and the returning Florian Lejeune, playing his first game in eight months after overcoming the cruciate ligament injury he suffered against the Eagles back in April, while Christian Benteke headed a fine cross from Patrick van Aanholt wide at the other end.

It was a half of few openings, but quite a few half-chances. Cheikhou Kouyate headed over before Wilfried Zaha, who was generally well handled by the Magpies, found space in the box and fired low across Dúbravka, who got a strong arm to it before gathering.

The visitors’ captain Luka Milivojevic curled a free kick wide and then, after the restart, James McArthur’s clip was blocked by Dúbravka, who was again in outstanding form. The Scot pulled the trigger again minutes later, but his drive was always swerving well wide of the upright.

From there, after the hour, Palace pressed. Van Aanholt’s corner was turned wide by James Tomkins, who almost immediately had to race back to halt Joelinton’s burst into the box. Once more, with 15 minutes remaining, the Magpies were indebted to Dúbravka, who got down quickly parry Benteke’s powerful shot.

Bruce sent on Dwight Gayle in the closing stages and the frontman partnered Carroll, who had shown his worth in his own penalty area in the second half as he helped Newcastle defend a wave of attacks from the Eagles.

And inside the final ten minutes, Carroll’s presence was felt in the Palace box, and it led to the winner. Fabian Schär hooked a high cross over to the far post where the towering forward was lurking, and his delicate knockdown shunted the ball back into the path of Almirón.

After almost a year of waiting, his first goal for Newcastle finally arrived. Guaita got a hand to it but it was always heading for the corner of the net and, when it did, St. James’ Park erupted, the Paraguayan’s shirt came off, and the game was won.

Match report originally posted here.

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Newcastle United vs Southampton

Newcastle United fought back from a goal down to beat Southampton at St. James’ Park and move into the top half of the Premier League table.

The Magpies rode their luck at times – offering little in the first half and falling behind to Danny Ings’ strike early into the second – but they came to life in the final quarter of the game.

Jonjo Shelvey capped off a remarkable eight-day spell by notching the leveller, before defender Federico Fernández fired home an 87th-minute winner after substitute Sean Longstaff’s strike was parried.

Crucial defensive interventions at either end of the pitch provided the only moments of note during the opening quarter of an hour. Following a period of possession from Southampton, the Magpies were the first to really threaten, with Allan Saint-Maximin embarking on a typically marauding run down the left. He looked to tee up Miguel Almirón inside the penalty area, but Jan Bednarek slid in to deny the Paraguayan a shot at goal. The Saints countered quickly, and only a fine headed clearance from Fernández stopped Ings from meeting Cédric Soares’ teasing cross.

Newcastle nearly shot themselves in the foot after 18 minutes, with Jetro Willems’ mis-hit pass cut out by Nathan Redmond in a dangerous position. The Southampton forward soon found himself one on one with Martin Dúbravka but the Magpies’ stopper held firm, frustrating Redmond for a second time just seconds later after United failed to deal with the resultant corner.

That was as close as either side came prior to the break. The Saints continued to get into one or two inviting positions but lacked a final pass. Moussa Djenepo’s wayward ball with 40 minutes on the clock largely summed up their efforts, the winger having had plenty of time to pick out a teammate further forward after Willems again ceded possession deep inside his own half.

Newcastle looked a little more purposeful as the second half began – Shelvey seeing a shot blocked by Redmond 20 yards out – but Steve Bruce’s side found themselves trailing after being sliced apart by a long ball. Jack Stephens delivered it, Ings ran onto it, and after shrugging off Fernández’s challenge the former Liverpool frontman coolly slotted home.

Things almost got worse very quickly for United as the Saints attacked in their numbers two minutes later. With options either side, Shane Long chose to play in Cédric down the right, and the full back stung the palms of Dúbravka with a fizzing drive.

At that point, a first home defeat since the opening weekend of the season looked a real possibility for the Magpies. However, they managed to steady the ship, and after 68 minutes they restored parity. The move which led to their equaliser was started and finished by Shelvey, sparked by a foul from Cédric on Almirón just to the left of the area. Shelvey’s set-piece was headed away but the attack was kept alive by substitute Andy Carroll, who did superbly to dig in a cross from the right byline for the in-form midfielder to nod in at the far post.

The game now appeared to be there for United’s taking, though head injuries to both Fabian Schär and Paul Dummett halted any momentum they might have been able to build after drawing level. Southampton still posed a threat themselves, full back Ryan Bertrand heading off target from a decent position after Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side won successive corners.

With just two and a half minutes of normal time remaining, though, Newcastle grabbed the goal which continued their upward trajectory in the Premier League. Longstaff had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes when he let fly from 20 yards, and his effort was too powerful for goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to gather. Cue Fernández, who was on hand to smash the loose ball into the roof of the net to complete a fine United comeback.

Match report originally posted here.

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Newcastle United vs Manchester City

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Newcastle United vs AFC Bournemouth

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Newcastle United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Newcastle United missed the chance to pull clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone after conceding a second-half equaliser against Wolverhampton Wanderers at St. James’ Park.

The Magpies led at the interval through Jamaal Lascelles’ emphatic header – just their sixth goal in the top flight so far this season.

Visitors Wolves – who played away in Slovakia in the Europa League in midweek – offered little during the first hour, but restored parity through wing back Jonny, who capitalised on a Martin Dúbravka error to volley home.

United ended the game with ten men after Sean Longstaff was shown a straight red card but, despite coming under concerted pressure late on, managed to secure the point which maintained their unbeaten home sequence in the Premier League.

There was little in the way of goalmouth action at either end of the pitch during a listless opening half hour. João Moutinho shot tamely at Dúbravka two minutes in, while Miguel Almirón directed a mis-hit effort wide of the upright after Joelinton had flicked Sean Longstaff’s free kick into his path. Then, Allan Saint-Maximin – who was, not for the first time this season, the Magpies’ liveliest asset early on – saw a right-footed strike blocked by Romain Saïss on the edge of the visitors’ penalty area.

The first moment of real quality took 34 minutes in coming. Matty Longstaff provided it, spraying a superb pass into the channel for Almirón to run onto. The Paraguayan found himself in on goal but, with the angle narrowing, could only fire into the side-netting.

United were starting to up the ante, though. Saint-Maximin saw another strike from range blocked, before Sean Longstaff watched as a right-footed shot trickled wide via a deflection. Wolves managed to deal with the midfielder’s resultant corner, but it was during the same passage of play that the Magpies took the lead. Federico Fernández kept the ball in play on the right and delivered a superb cross into the heart of the danger area, and Lascelles – who, like the Argentine, had still to retreat back – rose high to plant a powerful header into the net.

Much like the first, the second half took some time to get going. Wolves started to probe but only asked serious questions of the Magpies’ backline in fits and starts. The pacey Adama Traoré looked the most likely to make something happen, and on 57 minutes, the wide-man embarked on a marauding run before crossing for Diogo Jota, who headed off-target.

It was only as United started to drop deeper, though, that the visitors really started to fancy their chances of drawing level. The equaliser came with 72 minutes on the clock, Dúbravka palming Matt Doherty’s cross into the path of Jonny 12 yards out, who duly picked out the bottom corner.

Jetro Willems twice threatened to restore the Magpies’ lead, firing viciously wide of the far post with a quarter of an hour remaining before heading a DeAndre Yedlin cross at Rui Patrício two minutes later. However, United’s hopes of a second straight home victory were dealt a hammer blow moments later when the elder Longstaff was given his marching orders for a mistimed challenge on Rúben Neves near the halfway line.

Steve Bruce’s side did at least manage to hold out for a point, though. The closest Wolves came to rubber-stamping their numerical advantage with another goal came during five minutes of stoppage time, when Doherty – who scored a last-gasp winner for the visitors in the same fixture a year ago – flicked Raúl Jiménez’s dinked cross just wide of the far post.

Match report originally posted here.

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Newcastle United vs Manchester United

A fine strike from Premier League debutant Matty Longstaff gave Newcastle United a much-needed victory over Manchester United at St. James’ Park.

The teenage midfielder – whose only prior appearance for Newcastle came in the Carabao Cup in August – picked out the bottom corner midway through the second half to settle a closely-fought encounter and lift Steve Bruce’s side out of the relegation zone.

Lining up alongside his elder sibling, Sean, Longstaff nearly opened the scoring in the first half, seeing a rasping right-footed effort from a similar distance drop onto the woodwork.

A poor Man United side only fashioned one clear-cut chance across the 90 minutes – spurned by Harry Maguire just before the interval – and offered little after falling behind.

Smarting from last week’s thumping defeat to Leicester City, Newcastle got off to a purposeful start at a rain-soaked St. James’. Within 40 seconds, Red Devils skipper Ashley Young was forced into a crucial challenge to divert Miguel Almirón’s dangerous centre out for a corner, Allan Saint-Maximin having instigated the move with a marauding run. Two minutes later, Fabian Schär struck the wall with a 25-yard free-kick, before wide-man Saint-Maximin drilled off-target after skipping between two Man United defenders.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side started to get a foothold after that, but – out of nothing – the Magpies almost took the lead just before the half-hour mark. Saint-Maximin teed up the younger Longstaff 20 yards out, who took a touch to set himself before clipping the crossbar with a beautifully-struck shot. Longstaff yelled and clapped his hands together in frustration, with visiting stopper David de Gea almost certainly not getting to it.

It was Longstaff’s older brother, Sean, who created the Magpies’ other big chance of the half. He picked out Miguel Almirón’s run from deep, the Paraguayan just about holding his line to find himself one on one with de Gea. But Almirón dawdled, allowing Maguire the chance to sprint back and get in the way of a left-footed effort.

And yet, it was Man United who ought to have gone into the interval a goal in front. With 44 minutes on the clock, and Schär having gone perilously close to heading the ball into his own net to afford the Red Devils the chance, Maguire somehow nodded Ashley Young’s corner from the left down and wide of the upright from a completely unmarked position.

Maguire got his head to another corner shortly after the break as the visitors started the second half in a slightly more assured fashion than they did the first. Scott McTominay saw a right-footed shot blocked just after the hour mark before Martin Dúbravka clawed away another Young set-piece.

Newcastle’s first opportunity after the interval fell to Andy Carroll, who took over Joelinton’s role up top. The towering frontman got his head to Matty Longstaff’s in-swinging cross after 65 minutes but cleared the crossbar from eight yards.

With the game starting to open up, Swiss defender Schär made two vital interventions at the opposite end, blocking a low strike from Young deep inside the area before getting a crucial toe to a menacing cross from the right to deny Marcus Rashford a tap-in.

A goal, from somewhere, appeared to becoming, and sure enough – on 72 minutes – it did. Saint-Maximin – arguably the most threatening player on the pitch on the day – again played a key role by advancing with the ball and taking a couple of Man United defenders with him. He picked out Jetro Willems, who cut the ball back for Matty Longstaff. The Gallowgate End opened up for the Magpies’ rookie midfielder, and de Gea was powerless to stop his low-struck effort from just outside the penalty area from hitting the back of the net.

All the Red Devils – pedestrian in attack for the most part – mustered up in response were a couple of headers. Substitute Marcos Rojo flicked the first of those wide following a free kick from the right, before another player who had just entered the fray, youngster Mason Greenwood, called Dúbravka into action after meeting Young’s teasing cross.

Match report originally posted here.

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Newcastle United vs Brighton and Hove Albion

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Newcastle United vs Watford

Newcastle United was forced to settle for a point against Watford on Saturday, as the Hornets dug in to secure a 1-1 draw.

The winless visitors took an early lead at St. James’ Park when Will Hughes profited from a fortuitous deflection to fire home.

Fabian Schär’s leveller prompted some lengthy spells of pressure from Steve Bruce’s men, who were looking for a second Premier League win on the bounce after last weekend’s 1-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur.

But they couldn’t quite find a second goal against Javi Gracia’s resolute defence, who held on to take a share of the spoils.

Barely a minute had been played by the time Hughes bagged the opener, which came after a driving run from Roberto Pereyra and a deflected Tom Cleverley shot. Unfortunately for United, though, it fell into Hughes’ path as he arrived in the box, and the finish was low and decisive.

Bruce’s side looked to hit back immediately and when the impressive Christian Atsu’s cross dropped at Miguel Almirón’s feet it looked for a moment like an equaliser was imminent, but goalkeeper Ben Foster was quick off his line to slide in and whip the ball away from the Newcastle forward.

Almirón’s speed caused some early problems but the second real opening was created by Watford, with Andre Gray bringing the ball down in the area and dragging a shot wide of Martin Dúbravka’s upright.

Jetro Willems, on his first Premier League start for the club, saw a volley blocked and an Almirón breakaway – which left him one-on-one with Foster – was halted by the offside flag, but just before the break the hosts finally found a way through. Schär started the counter-attack and carried on running when the ball was played wide to Emil Krafth. Isaac Hayden met the Swede’s cross from the right, but the ball dropped invitingly for Schär, who swept home in front of the Leazes End.

After the break, the Swiss international met Sean Longstaff’s free kick but couldn’t direct his header towards goal and, after Jamaal Lascelles’ fine charge forward from the back, Almirón met Atsu’s cutback with a shot which was blocked on its way to goal.

United was gradually turning the screw, and Hayden was next to try his luck, stinging Foster’s fingertips with a swerving drive. Then Longstaff had a go, a low, well-struck effort which was held by the former England stopper, while Willems saw his inviting low centre just evade his teammates in the box.

Watford had their moments, with Abdoulaye Doucoure driving run causing some panic and forcing an important intervention from Dúbravka and substitute Isaac Success’ header drawing a vital stop from the Slovakian, while Cleverley’s drive took a deflection and fizzed just wide.

Pereyra then forced another save from the Magpies custodian with five minutes to go, before Yoshinori Muto – sent on from the bench after his goalscoring outing in the Carabao Cup defeat to Leicester in midweek – struck the side netting with what proved to be the final chance of the contest.

Match report originally posted here

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Newcastle United vs Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second half winner handed Arsenal a narrow opening-day victory over Newcastle United on Sunday.

Aubameyang struck just before the hour at St. James’ Park, capitalising on a defensive lapse and beating Martin Dúbravka.

Steve Bruce – in his first competitive game as the Magpies’ head coach – had seen his side apply plenty of pressure in the first half, with record signing Joelinton twice going close and Jonjo Shelvey striking the woodwork.

But in the end, Aubameyang’s delicate finish was enough to give the visitors three points – and condemn Newcastle to a first-day defeat.

Bruce’s charges made much the better start to the first half on a wet afternoon on Tyneside. Joelinton, handed a Premier League bow after his summer switch from Hoffenheim, glanced Matt Ritchie’s cross just wide before they went even closer 20 minutes in, with Shelvey rattling the post with a deflected shot from 18 yards.

The Gunners, meanwhile, offered little threat in the opening 45 minutes, despite enjoying some decent spells of possession. United seemed to pin them back at times, with countless errors gifting the hosts the ball. When they did get themselves into positions to ask questions of the Newcastle rearguard, nothing came of it; Henrikh Mkhitaryan blazed a shot over after Nacho Monreal had got into the box on the left, while Aubameyang tested Martin Dúbravka from a tight angle.

The Magpies didn’t fashion too many more clear-cut opportunities themselves, despite their industrious work in the middle of the park, though Joelinton did force Bernd Leno to parry his shot after he collected the ball on the edge of the area and drove forward.

Aubameyang’s speed allowed him a sight of goal after the restart, as he latched onto Granit Xhaka’s pass in behind the United defence before seeing his effort take a deflection and drop just over the bar.

But, 57 minutes in, the Gabonese frontman was presented with a chance he couldn’t pass up. The hosts lost the ball in their own half and the former Borussia Dortmund man sensed an opening, timing his run to meet Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s cross and lift the ball over Dúbravka and into the net.

Allan Saint-Maximin was introduced for the final 25 minutes as Bruce’s side sought a leveller, and the Frenchman made his presence felt immediately, taking on his man, winning a corner and raising the volume inside St. James’ Park.

But a chance to grab an equaliser wasn’t forthcoming despite the winger’s dynamic cameo – which included a low drive that Leno held onto in the closing stages – and Unai Emery’s men held on to take the points back to north London.

Match report originally posted here

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