Insert mercy rule joke here (and hope that mercy translates to Alan Pardew’s job).
Liverpool just finished posting a 6-0 on Newcastle at St. James Park. Daniel Sturridge cornered twice. Daniel Agger got a goal. Jordan Henderson bagged a brace and Fabio Borini, after 13 appearances, finally has a Premier League goal. Even without Luis Suárez, thought to be the only real goal scoring threat on this Liverpool team, the Reds pasted the Magpies.
Then again, Suárez is probably the only scoring major threat on this Liverpool side. Let’s not give them all the credit without devoting some attention where it’s deserved: Newcastle and their defense. The backline abandoned Rob Elliott on Agger’s third minute opener, Liverpool quickly tore them open for Henderson in the 17th minute, and after half, the rout was on:
- 54′ – Hatem Ben Arfa gave the ball away, allowing Philippe Coutinho to set up Sturridge off the ensuing counter;
- 60′ – Steven Gerrard allows Henderson and (the goal scorer) Sturridge to beat a high line to make it 4-0;
- 74′ – Stewart Downing and Borini combine for a goal. (Go ahead. Read that again.);
- 76′ – What looks to be a dead ball cross from Henderson ends up in the back of the goal. How? Newcastle.
This is the type of performance that gets coaches fired, especially when they’re only recently removed from a big derby loss. Now the Magpies have the worst defense in the Premier League (66 goals allowed), are five points off the drop, and have played one more game than both Aston Villa and Wigan. And their goal difference is now -23 – as bad as Wigan’s.
Oh, by the way: This team has mid-table talent. At worst. You could see a team with these players competing at the edge of Europa League. Instead, they’re on the edge of the Championship.
Whether a coach should be fired isn’t for us to say, but the seat under Alan Pardew is going to heat up, and justifiably so. Coaches are routinely fired for less. In their last eight games, Newcastle has one victory, and unable to forge a defense over the season’s first 35 matches, Pardew’s left his team to fight off relegation in their last three.
Sixteen teams remain in the battle to clinch the Premier League’s first European place of next season’s tournament, and we have some tremendous battles on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday in the EFL Cup (formerly the League Cup).
Today we focus on the 24 hours ahead of us, focusing on Tuesday’s five matches and allowing the Manchester Derby, West Ham-Chelsea, and Southampton-Sunderland to percolate a bit.
[ MORE: Finland’s “Leicester” gets it done ]
That’s not to say we don’t have a pair of giants dueling on Tuesday. Liverpool is three wins away from a return to the final, where the Reds fell in penalties last season. Standing in their way is Tottenham Hotspur, a deep squad which won’t have to worry much about a quick turnaround from Saturday.
That said, the Reds didn’t have to play at all last week, while this will be Spurs third match in a week. Spurs have been to the EFL Cup final thrice since 2008, and one of two teams (Chelsea) to make three finals this decade. Liverpool will start Simon Mignolet between the sticks.
The remaining four EFL Cup matches include at least one team outside the Premier League.
— Arsenal will host USMNT midfielder Danny Williams and Reading.
— Hull City is off to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City.
— Newcastle United is leading the Championship, and will get a visit from Preston North End in the first of two matches between the two sides this week.
— Norwich City will pay a visit to Elland Road and Garry Monk‘s Leeds United.
FC Dallas has two jewels of its triple crown all set, having claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.
One of the key reasons the club was able to sustain its pace this season was Mauro Diaz, 25, who shone even as Fabian Castillo shockingly left the club before the stretch run.
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A River Plate product, Diaz gave FCD seven goals and 15 assists over 32 appearances before tearing an achilles tendon last week.
Diaz underwent season-ending surgery, but his teammates made sure he was a part of the champagne celebration by heading to his very nice-looking house for an early morning visit.
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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.
Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.
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The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.
The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.
HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.
“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.
Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.
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Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.
Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.
Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast