Newcastle United 0-0 West Ham United: Stalemate at St. James’ Park (Video)

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Newcastle and West Ham United played out a hard fought 0-0 draw at St. James’ Park.

But the game lacked real quality in the penalty box, with only one shot on target between both teams as defensive solidity ruled in the North East.

The best chance of the game fell to Newcastle’s Yoan Gouffran in stoppage time but he somehow blazed over from five yards out following Sammy Ameobi’s hopeful cross-shot that hit the inside of the post.

The draw will sit much better with former Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce, as his West Ham side were comfortable throughout despite not creating many clear cut chances.

As for Alan Pardew, he will be disappointed that his team didn’t make the most of long periods of pressure, and he again left French midfielder Yohan Cabaye out of the squad as Arsenal ready a second bid for the Magpies main man.

The game started off slowly, with the long ball approach of each team cancelling each other out. However Papiss Demba Cisse was working the flanks well and created plenty of problems for West Ham’s full backs.

source: Reuters
Gouffran misses from four yards out in stoppage time.

It took until the 36th minute to get the first real chance of the game, which fell to West Ham. Winston Reid flicked his shot just over following a delicious in-swinging cross to the back post. Three minutes later, Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko headed over in the box under pressure, as set pieces seemed to be the best way either team would score.

However in the 41st minute a great run down the left from Matt Jarvis saw him cross towards Stewart Downing who headed down and across goal but really should have buried the Hammers best chance of the first half.

After the break the Hammers once again had a great chance when Downing put in a tempting cross from the right and former Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan arrived by missed a terrific chance after 59 minutes.

But just as West Ham began to build pressure, Newcastle hit back and put the Hammers on the back foot for the final knockings in front of a partisan home crowd at St. James’ Park.

Yet there wasn’t too much to shout about until the three minutes of stoppage time arrived.

In the 90th minute, West Ham thoguht they’d snatched a late win, as Modibo Maiga tapped in from five yards out following a blocked shot. But the Mali international was in an offside position, much to the relief of Newcastle’s fans.

Then the Magpies went straight down the other end and almost grabbed a last-gasp winner in dramatic circumstances.

In the 92nd minute winger Sammy Ameobi cut in from the left and over hit his cross that looped over West ham ‘keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen before rebounding off the post and straight to Yoan Gouffran.

However the Frenchman somehow put the ball over from four yards out, and the game finished 0-0.

Lineups

Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini (c), Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita, Marveaux (Sammy Ameobi 66); Shola Ameobi, Cissé (Gouffran 72) Subs not used: Elliot, Bigirimana, Dummett, Gosling, Vuckic.

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O’Brien, Collins, Reid, Noble, Diame (Morrison 75), Nolan, Downing (Cole 64), Jarvis, Maiga. Subs not used: Adrian, Rat, Tomkins, Diarra, Vaz Te.

Report: Bayern Munich scouted Walker, Alexis this weekend

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German publication Kicker says Bayern Munich technical director Michael Reschke attended both of this weekend’s FA Cup semifinals and had his eye on two players in particular.

Reschke apparently wants to bring players from both North London Derby rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to the Allianz Arena.

[ MORE: Liverpool’s Top Four plight ]

In the case of Spurs, that man is right back Kyle Walker. The 26-year-old has also played right mid in 8 of his 35 matches for Tottenham this season, and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. It’s hard to believe Spurs would have interest in selling Walker, who would help fill the role of retiring Philipp Lahm.

On the other side is Alexis Sanchez, the embattled but electric Arsenal attacker who Arsene Wenger described as an “animal” and “always ready to kill the opponent” this weekend. Wenger says Sanchez isn’t going anywhere, but Bayern does boast Chilean teammate Arturo Vidal and former Barca mate Thiago Alcantara.

Walker is signed at Spurs through 2021, while Sanchez’s contract ends after next season.

Roma lands sporting director Monchi, a reported Arsenal target

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AS Roma has found its new sporting director, and it’s a man with a keen eye for talent.

Ramon “Monchi” Rodriguez Verdejo, 48, has spent the last 18 years as the sporting director at Sevilla, which won five UEFA Europa League titles under his watch.

Monchi was discussed in the media as a target for the same job at Arsenal and was a target for other Premier League clubs, but Roma sealed the deal with the former goalkeeper.

[ JPW: Oriol Romeu — The Perfectly Poised Destroyer ]

He is considered to have a big role in discovering and developing Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas, and Dani Alves.

Read more from ASRoma.com.

Liverpool’s murky Top Four path depends on Manchester United

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Liverpool is a historic club with incredible presence. Jurgen Klopp is a celebrated manager with a strong reputation as a players’ coach.

Those two facets will always make the club attractive to players. Missing out on the UEFA Champions League is another thing altogether and would put a huge dent in Klopp’s ambitious recruitment goals.

And right now, the Reds look destined to drop out of the Top Four.

[ JPW: Oriol Romeu — The Perfectly Poised Destroyer ]

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Chelsea 32 24 3 5 65 27 38 13-0-2 11-3-3 75
 Tottenham Hotspur 32 21 8 3 68 22 46 15-2-0 6-6-3 71
 Liverpool 34 19 9 6 70 42 28 11-4-2 8-5-4 66
 Manchester City 32 19 7 6 63 35 28 8-6-1 11-1-5 64
 Manchester United 32 17 12 3 50 24 26 7-9-1 10-3-2 63
 Everton 34 16 10 8 60 37 23 12-4-1 4-6-7 58
 Arsenal 31 17 6 8 63 40 23 10-3-2 7-3-6 57

Even if Manchester United and Manchester City draw Thursday’s derby, both will be poised to pass the Reds by winning the match-in-hand.

Injury-ravaged United is bothered by UEFA Europa League duty against Celta Vigo, and has a brutal run-in that includes Spurs and Arsenal in addition to City. Liverpool has to hope United falls off, because Man City is likely going to walk over the Top Four line even with a draw in the derby.

The worst case scenario for Liverpool, aside from continuing to flail against clubs outside the Top Seven, is United toppling City on Thursday.

As an aside, it’s extremely unlikely that Arsenal leaps into the fray but if the Gunners did it would come at the expense of United.

Really, Liverpool’s run-in is perfectly built for two of its supporters’ favorite things: Winning matches and rooting against Manchester United. Here’s how they finish:

May 1 — at Watford
May 7 — vs. Southampton
May 14 — at West Ham United
May 21 — vs. Middlesbrough

Liverpool battered Watford 6-1 at Anfield and Boro 3-0 at the Riverside Stadium, but drew both Saints and West Ham earlier this season in addition to losing to Southampton in an EFL Cup semifinal.

Say the Reds nab a perfect 12 points to finish with 78; They’ll need City to take less than 14 from six remaining matches and United to earn less than 15 from six. The latter is far more likely than the former, but will matter very little if Klopp can’t motivate and organize his men in the final four matches.

Schweinsteiger shares thoughts on MLS, much more in lengthy interview

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Ambassadors responsible for Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s move to America extend deep into the 1970s.

1977 to be exact. That’s when Franz Beckenbauer first came to the New York Cosmos from Bayern Munich, a three-season tenure that went so well he returned to New York for his final professional season after time with Hamburg.

[ PL PREVIEW: Chelsea vs. Southampton ]

Schweinsteiger said Beckenbauer’s words meant a lot to him, and admitted that he’s not imparting that wisdom to other overseas players who ask him about MLS.

From TSN.ca (Full video here):

“I remember when David Beckham was playing here or even I know when Franz Beckenbauer was playing here, and I was talking to him and he said he had his best life in America,” Schweinsteiger said. “We spoke about it and I was thinking about it a little bit.For me it was a little bit different because I love to play soccer and in Manchester I couldn’t play enough soccer so that was the problem.”

Among several interesting soundbites from the interview with Schweinsteiger also spoke about Germany’s memorable destruction of host nation Brazil at the 2014 World Cup:

“I remember the semifinal that we won 7-1. Everyone speaks about the 7-1, but we were not talking so much about it because we felt very, in a way, sad, because you saw your teammates like Dante and Luis Gustavo and the Brazilian supporters and the team crying, so you couldn’t really celebrate. Our focus was so much looking forward to the final. I remember things like this, sometimes more than the final.”

Not something you consider often. Winning a match 2-1 against your club teammates is one thing, but sending them to international humiliation is another.