Swansea City v Newcastle United - Premier League

Swansea City 3-0 Newcastle United: Dyer, Shelvey bring end to Magpies’ unbeaten run (video)

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At the expense of Newcastle and the Magpies’ four-game winning streak, Swansea City are in the win column for the second time in three matches, with Nathan Dyer’s first half strike, an own goal from Mathieu Debuchy, and an 81st minute chip from Jonjo Shelvey giving the Swans a 3-0 win at the Liberty Stadium.

Dyer, who came on in the 29th minute after Álvaro Vázquez’s injury, hammered home a failed Tim Krul clearance just before halftime, with Debuchy’s pursuit of a Jonjo Shelvey breakaway in the 66th minute giving Swans second half insurance.

Nine minutes from time, Shelvey got a goal for his down, chipping a ball rolled in from the right over Krul from 24 yards out, the slightly curling shot catching the Dutch keeper out as Swansea confirmed their three-goal win.

With their fifth victory of the season, Swansea climb two spots in the table to 11th place, overtaking Hull City and West Bromwich Albion. Newcastle, who had a chance to move third if Wednesday’s results fell in their favor, only slide one spot, sitting seventh thanks to losses from Southampton and Manchester United.

Despite being deprived of the ball for most of the initial 10 minutes, Newcastle generated the first chance of the match, with a cross from Debuchy headed on goal by Loïc Rémy forcing a diving save from Michel Vorm. Though Swansea would continue controlling most of the ball, the Magpies were unrelenting at the edge of their defensive third, Swansea’s initial shot on target coming 26 minutes in (and from 36 yards).

Moments before halftime, Swansea generated their second shot of the half, using their first set piece opportunity to create the game’s first goal. From a restart 28 yards out on their right flank, Swans played to the middle of the box only to see the cross headed out to the edge of the penalty area. Unable to clear, Newcastle soon saw the ball coming back in from the left, with goalkeeper Tim Krul left flailing to push a ball back into the penalty area. Even with the right post, Dyer saw the ball fall at his feet, his putback from just outside the six-yard box giving the home side an unlikely lead.

While Swansea still controlled possession at the onset of the second half, Newcastle continued pursuing chances against the run of play, something that came back to bite them in the 66th minute. Then, a quick transition out of Swansea’s end found Jonjo Shelvey streaking between Debuchy and Mike Williamson just inside the Magpies’ half, the Swans midfielder running onto a ball threaded behind the defense to go in alone on Krul. Slowed up by a pursuing Debuchy, Shelvey never got a shot off before being closed down by the Newcastle keeper, but when the resulting deflection went off the defender and toward the net, the France international was given unfortunate credit for Swans’ second goal.

In the 81st minute, Shelvey got onto the scoresheet, his somewhat nonchalant chip from just above the arc coming good when when Krul was caught off his line. Curling over the keeper and under the bar, Shelvey’s seemingly speculative try found nylon, ending whatever hopes Newcastle held of continuing their unbeaten run.

Those hopes seemed to end long before Shelvey’s goal. After Swans went up two, most of the visitors’ energy dissipated, with Swansea able to move the ball with very little resistance. Though the three-goal margin exaggerates the teams’ difference in quality, by full time, Swansea were deserved winners, Newcastle’s early resilience having faded by the final whistle.

Goals

Swansea City: Nathan Dyer 45+1, Mathieu Debuchy (o.g.) 66, Jonjo Shelvey 81

Lineups

Swansea City: Michel Vorm; Dwight Tiendalli, Chico Flores, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies; José Cañas, Jonathan de Guzman; Álex Pozuelo (Wayne Routledge 84), Jonjo Shelvey, Pablo Hernandez (Roland Lamah 71); Álvaro Vázquez (Nathan Dyer 29)

Unused Substitutes: Gerhard Tremmel, Jordi Amat, Neil Taylor, Leon Britton

Newcastle: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Wililamson (Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa 77), Fabio Coloccini, Davide Santon (Massadio Haïdara 58); Moussa Sissoko, Chiek Tioté, Yohan Cabaye, Yoann Gouffran; Shola Ameobi (Gabriel Obertan 67), Loïc Rémy

Unused Substitutes: Rob Elliot, Vurnon Anita, Sammy Ameobi, Papiss Cissé

Sean Dyche says Joey Barton should have a TV show

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Joey Barton of Burnley (L) and Matt Rhead of Lincoln City (R) exchange words during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Burnley and Lincoln City at Turf Moor on February 18, 2017 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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Burnley manager Sean Dyche says Joey Barton‘s life is chock full of fascinating moments, so much so that he should have his own TV show.

Except when he’s behind closed doors at Burnley, of course. Then he’s a stand up individual. Right, sure.

“It could be a TV series,” Dyche said in his pre-match press conference ahead of an away tilt with Hull City. “Being Joey. It’d be interesting. Never a dull moment.”

But of course, immediately after that, Dyche switched gears. “Unless he’s in here, training with me,” he backtracked. “I think it’s pantomime stuff. I’ve seen a lot more controversy around Joey than that. If that’s as far as it goes, I’ll be a happy man.”

“That” referred to Barton’s embarrassing dive in the FA Cup loss to non-league opponents Lincoln City where the midfielder play-acted after nothing more than a brush of the elbow from Matt Rhead, falling to the ground and clutching his head. Barton was involved in a number of heated moments during that match, adding to his already massive list of controversial moments in a mercurial career.

“Joey’s been terrific,” Dyche said. “I thought by a mile, by an absolute mile, he was the best player on the pitch last weekend. So he’s been absolutely fine. He’s in good nick – as you can see – and he’s definitely up for the challenges that come in front of us.”

But word of Joey Barton apparently hasn’t reached London. A few weeks ago, ahead of Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at Burnley on February 12th, Blues manager Antonio Conte was asked if he was familiar with Burnley’s squad and Barton in particular – an admittedly leading question – and Conte was unable to give an immediate answer. He instead asked his press officer muttering, “Joey Barton?” under his breath. The press officer embarrassingly tried to save face before Conte stepped back in giving a generic answer that they had already played once and he was familiar with the squad.

Mourinho on Europa League Russia trip: “A bad draw in every way”

HULL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26:  Jose Mourinho manager of Manchester United reacts during the EFL Cup Semi-Final second leg match between Hull City and Manchester United at KCOM Stadium on January 26, 2017 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
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Jose Mourinho is angry.

The Manchester United manager singled out a trip to Russia before the draw as being something he hoped to avoid, and that’s exactly what he got.

“If you give me something like Krasnodar, or some very far destination, I would prefer Lyon – two-hour flight – I would prefer something close,” Mourinho said before the draw on Friday morning.

Sure enough, the Red Devils were drawn not against Krasnodar, but slight farther to fellow Russian side FC Rostov in the Europa League Round of 16, with United set to make the flight to southwestern Russia for a match on March 9th, and then will host Rostov for the second leg on March 16th.

“It is a bad draw in every aspect,” Mourinho said in his post-draw press conference. “It is far and difficult -and comes in a bad period.” That period Mourinho refers to sees the Rostov matches sandwich an FA Cup tie against Chelsea, and precedes an away trip to Middlesbrough in the Premier League before a pair of home matches against West Brom and Everton.

“They beat Ajax and Anderlecht in qualifiers, managed important results against Bayern and Atletico, got third position to knock PSV out,” Mourinho said of Rostov. “The team is very defensive and physical. A bad draw.”

Manchester United’s next match is on Sunday in the EFL Cup final against Southampton. They take host Bournemouth in the Premier League on March 4th, then have the away leg at Rostov five days later, followed by a four-day break until the Chelsea FA Cup match.

Report: Everton had bid rejected for Wayne Rooney in January

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United applauds supporters during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Hull City at Old Trafford on February 1, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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According to the Daily Mail, Everton submitted a bid for Wayne Rooney in January, which was rejected by Manchester United.

The report did not state an amount of the bid, but it did confirm that the club is now in discussions about returning for their former player in the summer.

Rooney came through the Everton youth system and played for the Merseyside club’s first team from 2002-2004 before his famous move to Manchester United for $37 million. Rooney has seen very limited time this season under Jose Mourinho, and at 31 years old, has looked to have lost the ability to keep up with the standards of the Premier League.

The Liverpool native was the subject of heavy speculation in recent weeks of a move to China, with the Chinese transfer window open until the end of February, but Rooney released a statement to confirm he will stay with Manchester United until the end of the season.

Key to these rumors are Everton manager Ronald Koeman‘s comments from Thursday, when he affirmed his respect for Rooney, claiming the former Toffee can still play at a Premier League standard. “Yeah I think Wayne Rooney is still on that high level to compete in a competition like the Premier League.”

Despite all this, it seems a deal for Rooney is unlikely. Everton is not known as a heavy-spending club, and they would likely need to compete with the money of the Chinese league on both the transfer fee and wage front. Rooney would be worth a heavy investment for a Chinese club due to his big name, while his performances on field would be less important there. In contrast, Everton’s justification for a bid would focus more on his ability to perform consistently on the field, an area of clear decline.

Santi Cazorla details his newest injury setback

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - AUGUST 07: Santi Cazorla of Arsenal during the Pre-Season Friendly between Arsenal and Manchester City at Ullevi on August 7, 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)
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Santi Cazorla hasn’t played since mid-October, and with just 619 minutes of first-team football in the last calendar year, the Spaniard has become more than a liability.

He’s also become increasingly frustrated.

After having ankle surgery in October, Cazorla has faced a multitude of challenges on the sidelines, with his body unwilling to cooperate. He went back under the knife in December, and has returned to the hospital again for yet another procedure, one that refuses to go away as he looks to keep himself as match fit as possible during his time on the sidelines.

Speaking to Spanish radio station Onda Cero, Cazorla gave them all the details – even the cringe-worthy ones – on his ankle problems.

“It was a small operation they just had to close a wound that had opened, so they reopened it and closed it again,” Cazorla said. “It wasn’t anything serious, but that’s why I’m in the hospital. They did a graft about a month and a half ago because the skin on my ankle was practically dead and had developed a wound that wouldn’t close, so they operated in Sweden. It was starting to feel better until I started to do a bit of cycling and other exercise and then the skin broke, opened and the stitches came out so they had to close the wound again. I’ve been injured about a year and a half now since the knee [problem] in November last season and now this year with the ankle injury.

And that’s not all. Aside from his ankle injury, Cazorla’s back has begun to flare up again, a problem he dealt with 2 months ago.

“It’s given me a lot of time to think, especially about the World Cup and how bad my back felt then,” Cazorla said. “My back is even worse now. Back then I was out for about six months and now it has been a year and I’m still not better. But that’s life. You gotta deal with it as best you can. I can’t do much, can’t walk, I have to use crutches and it’s frustrating day after day. But I don’t have any other option, just to deal with it as best I can and get better.”

With Cazorla at 32 years old and his contract set to expire this June, this most recent setback couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Gunners are known to be wary of giving contracts to players over 30 years old, even their most influential ones, and he will be desperate to prove his worth to Arsene Wenger ahead of the club’s decision. It has been reported that the club already activated its option for another year on Cazorla’s contract, but the team has not officially confirmed that.

Cazorla’s Arsenal future could be especially in doubt if Wenger were to leave this summer. A new incoming manager might not be so sentimental about Cazorla’s club status.