Newcastle United's Remy celebrates with team-mates after scoring a goal against Chelsea during their English Premier League soccer match at St James' Park in Newcastle

Newcastle 2-0 Chelsea: Magpies surprise with fine second-half performance


Jose Mourinho still doesn’t have a league win at St. James Park, with Newcastle trotting out 2-0 winners after some brilliant late-match finishing. The win lifts the Magpies into ninth in the Premier League, at least temporarily, while Chelsea must wait to see how Liverpool and Spurs fare to know where they stand.

The first half was a rather dull affair. Alan Pardew’s mission seemed to be to frustrate the visitors, but Chelsea did a good job of that all on their own, misplacing passes and not doing much to threaten Tim Krul’s goal. The best moment came around the 40th minute. A corner kick from Chelsea forced a goal line clearance from Davide Santon, which set Newcastle on a fast break. The ball came up the middle to Moussa Sissoko on the left. He threaded his shot through the legs of Ramires, but a diving Petr Cech was able to save.

The second half, however, literally brought a tear to Pardew’s eye. Yohan Cabaye sent in a positively delightful free kick. Yoan Gouffran escaped the Chelsea defense, diving in to get his head on the ball. Cech was rooted to the spot, only able to watch as Newcastle celebrated the opening goal.

With twenty minutes left to play, it seemed likely Chelsea would be able to get themselves back into it. The visitors had a great chance — make that chances — in the 80th minute, when Krul did well to save an attempt from substitute Willian. Samuel Eto’o, also on as a substitute, got a foot on the rebound, but Mathieu Debuchy did well to knock it out for a corner. Immediately after, Chelsea’s final sub, Andre Schurrle, went just wide with a header.

Instead of the mighty Blues pulling out a late game result, Newcastle managed to double their lead. Vurnon Anita, running up the left hand side, slid the ball over to Loic Remy in the center. The Frenchman put in a lovely curling shot, which hit the post and bounced into the back of the net. Once again, Cech had no chance.

Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Sissoko, Tiote (Anita 53), Cabaye, Gouffran (Obertan 85), Shola Ameobi (Cisse 62), Remy

Subs not used: Elliot, Tavernier, Sammy Ameobi, Ben Arfa

Goals: Gouffran 68; Remy 89

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, D Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Ramires, Lampard (Schurrle 70); Mata (Willian 62), Oscar, Hazard; Torres (Eto’o 62)

Subs not used: Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Mikel

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.