Cardiff 1-2 Newcastle: Visitors hold on to grab a much needed victory (video)

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Alan Pardew will be sleeping a bit easier tonight, after his Newcastle side held on in the face of a late onslaught from Cardiff to take all three points home from Wales. Loic Remy scored a brace inside ten minutes, but the Bluebirds came roaring back in the second half. Only Peter Odemwingie managed to get in a goal, however, and Cardiff take 12th — for now, anyway.

After two successive league losses, the visitors were desperate for a win. When Remy scored his first goal on the half hour mark, one could almost see the weights lifting from Pardew’s shoulders. The Frenchman charged up the left, cut inside and drove his shot low and into the far corner. David Marshall managed to get a hand to it, but could do nothing to keep out Remy’s fine solo effort.

Not even ten minutes had passed before Remy managed another. This time Papiss Cisse put in the effort, but Marshall parried away. Unfortunately for the Cardiff keeper, the ball fell to Remy, who easily slipped in the rebound.

Perhaps Pardew buoyed his side up a bit too much during the halftime interval, or perhaps Malky Mackay really is that good at the halftime pep talks, but Cardiff came back determined to find at least a point. Jordon Mutch, last week’s goalscorer, came on for Bo-Kyung Kim and quickly got into the swing of things, putting one effort wide before setting up Peter Whittingham for his own scuffed attempt.

The third try’s the charm, though, and it was Mutch’s through ball that set up Cardiff’s goal. Odemwingie latched on to the end of it, leaving Newcastle defender Mike Williamson scuffing at air before drawing out Tim Krul. With the goal clear, Odemwingie easily slotted home.

Cardiff very nearly got their equalizer moments later, with Odemwingie playing the set up man this time, but Frazier Campbell sent his shot wide. The hosts continued to press for the equalizer, enjoying the majority of the possession in the second half. Mackay might do well to put Mutch on from the start next time, as he proved to have an excellent touch and fine way of weaving through the Newcastle defense.

Cardiff Starting XI: Marshall; Taylor, Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Medel, Whittingham, Kim (Mutch 46) Gunnarsson, Odemwingie (Maynard 81); Campbell (Bellamy 66)

Substitutes not used: Lewis; Hudson, Noone, Cowie

Goals: Odemwingie 58

Newcastle Starting XI: Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Cabaye (Ben Arfa 85), Tiote, Sissoko; Gouffran, Cissé, Remy (Gutierrez 71)

Substitutes not used:  Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Dummett, Anita, Sammy Ameobi

Goals: Remy 30, 38

Top Premier League storylines — Week 17

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The title is looking more and more like it’s heading to Manchester, so will Tottenham be able to slow the Premier League leaders on Saturday?

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

 

Here are the four biggest storylines ahead of this weekend’s action.

Can anyone stop the Cityzens?

Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

Nobody has found a way to halt Pep Guardiola‘s side yet this season in PL play, so why would that change this weekend? City remain unbeaten through 17 matches, and while Spurs enter the weekend unbeaten in its last four, Mauricio Pochettino and Co. have their work cut out. The City attack, which has scored 52 goals this season, has shown no signs slowing down during the first four-and-a-half months of play, giving Tottenham a big test defensively. Harry Kane and his 12 goals will surely have a say in the get together, but Spurs has been lacking thus far in another go-to finisher.

Will the Toffees keep rolling under Big Sam?

Everton vs. Swansea City — 3 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

It’s been quite the turnaround recently at Goodison Park, and Everton has the chance to extend its unbeaten streak to six games on Monday. Sam Allardyce has brought life to the Toffees as of late, with Everton scoring 11 goals over the last five matches.

Foxes aim to climb higher, while Palace shoots for safety

Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace — 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

The Foxes have found their footing this season, and dare I say there are some glimpses of the team that won the title two years ago? Since Leicester’s 2-0 defeat to Man City, the Foxes have looked the part of a top-tier PL side, winning four of five matches, including victories over Tottenham and Burnley. Meanwhile, Palace has made the relegation battle a very intriguing one, as Roy Hodgson and Co. sit just a point inside the bottom three. Amazingly, Palace is unbeaten in seven of its last eight matches, but the club remains in 18th place.

Clarets aim for third consecutive victory

Brighton vs. Burnley — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Gold (Watch online at NBCSports.com)

The Clarets don’t boast a bonafide goalscorer, but Burnley looks like a well-oiled machine as Sean Dyche‘s side sits on the edge of the top four. Although the side likely won’t be pulling off a Leicester-sided feat in 2017/18, what the Clarets are accomplishing is quite amazing given the squad currently in place. Brighton has gone through its share of struggles recently, going winless in its last six matches, and scoring just three goals in that span. They’ll likely have a hard time breaking past Burnley’s tough backline.

NYCFC busy on Thursday with Abdul-Salaam, Stuver additions

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New York City FC is moving on from the club’s first-ever MLS SuperDraft selection, but they’ll be acquiring a solid defensive piece as the team continues to rebuild at the back.

[ SOURCE: LAFC finalizing deal to make Sporting CP’s Geraldes third DP ]

On Thursday, NYCFC announced a trade sending former 2015 first-round pick Khiry Shelton to Sporting KC in exchange for defender Saad Abdul-Salaam.

Shelton, who spent three seasons with NYCFC, struggled to find playing time under manager Patrick Vieira, particularly once the organization drafted England youth international Jack Harrison in 2016.

Vieira and Co. will be getting back a player also selected in the 2015 SuperDraft in Abdul-Salaam.

With the departures of Ethan White, RJ Allen and Andraz Struna this offseason, the move certainly makes sense for NYCFC, who were severely lacking at the right back position heading into this week.

NYCFC signed Malmo defender Anton Tinnerholm on Wednesday to help improve the backline.

The Eastern Conference side also added goalkeeper Brad Stuver from the Columbus Crew on Thursday, with the 26-year-old presumably serving as the backup to Sean Johnson in 2018.

LAFC confirms second DP signing with Uruguayan Diego Rossi

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It’s been a fast and furious few days for Los Angeles FC, and that continued on Thursday with the signing of the organization’s second Designated Player.

LAFC announced the addition of Penarol forward Diego Rossi, joining manager Bob Bradley and the club’s first DP — Carlos Vela.

[ MORE: Christian Pulisic named USMNT Player of the Year ]

Rossi, 19, became the second-youngest DP signing in Major League Soccer history upon completing his move from Uruguay’s first division, with only former FC Dallas attacker Fabian Castillo younger (18).

“Diego is a young and exciting attacking player,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “His experiences at Peñarol and his ability fit perfectly with our vision of the team we are building at LAFC. We believe Diego will mature into a top-class player.”

The expansion side’s current roster is now up to eight players, following a busy few days of MLS’ offseason. Rossi will join Vela, Egyptian international Omar Gaber, as well as Walker Zimmerman, Laurent Ciman, Tyler Miller, Latif Blessing, and Marco Ureña.

Source: LAFC finalizing deal to make Sporting CP’s Geraldes third DP

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Los Angeles FC has been wheeling and dealing over the last several days, and Bob Bradley‘s side looks to be close to making another significant splash.

[ MORE: Christian Pulisic named USMNT Player of the Year ]

An MLS league source has confirmed to Pro Soccer Talk that Sporting CP’s Francisco Geraldes is close to becoming LAFC’s third and final Designated Player signing ahead of the club’s inaugural 2018 season.

[ MORE: LAFC confirms signing of young DP Diego Rossi ]

PST has learned that LAFC is in the final stages of acquiring Geraldes, who is currently on loan from Sporting with fellow Portuguese side Rio Ave.

LAFC announced the signing of Diego Rossi on Thursday, with the 19-year-old Uruguayan becoming the second-youngest DP in league history. Meanwhile, Carlos Vela occupies the club’s other DP slot, after an agreement was struck back in August to be the team’s first signing.

Geraldes has started 11 matches this season for Rio, and scored one goal in league play.

The 22-year-old came up through Sporting’s academy system, and made his professional debut with Sporting B in 2013, before signing a contract with senior side Sporting CP two years later.

The young Portuguese midfielder has worked his way up the international ladder over recent years, making appearances with the Under-18, U-20 and U-21 national teams.