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


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.


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


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

$280m? Who cares? Salah is the rare “unsellable” player


The gossip reports are out there, with lofty claims that Real Madrid and Barcelona are willing to pay as much as $280 million dollars for Mohamed Salah.

Normally that figure triggers something in my brain that screams, “Sell! Sell! Sell before they realize what they’ve offered!”

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That’s not happening with Mohamed Salah.

This isn’t an inflated fee for a young English player like Ross Barkley or John Stones, nor is it a club throwing a lofty and desperate figure at a very good but supremely overvalued player like Philippe Coutinho. Even Raheem Sterling, who I advocated selling, has proven replaceable.

In the case of Salah, his Golden Boot figure is likely to dwarf any in the Premier League era. He’s at 28, three behind Luis Suarez’s 31. Cristiano Ronaldo has bagged 31 once Alan Shearer and Andy Cole hold the modern record with 34.

Salah needs six to tie Shearer. Here’s Liverpool’s run-in: Crystal Palace (A), Everton (A), Bournemouth (H), West Brom (A), Stoke City (H), Chelsea (A), Brighton and Hove Albion (H).

Five of those teams absolutely hemorrhage goals. Would you bet against Salah?

By the way, Salah has 10 assists, too. Sure Jurgen Klopp deserves credit for buying and deploying the Egyptian wizard, but

When Klopp argued that Liverpool was not a selling club, this is the exact example to follow. Selling Coutinho — again, not trying to poke the bear that is ornery overvaluing fan — is fine in a world where your club has Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah

But selling one of Europe’s leading scorers is almost never okay for a club challenging for a Champions League crown and with the clear caliber of a Premier League title hunter.

I’d argue that for this club, one who has sold Coutinho and Suarez, there is not a fee that meets Salah straight-on.  He’s 25 and living in the air just below Lionel Messi and Neymar.

The Messi comparisons I keep reading are fun but still unbelievably premature by every stretch of the imagination. By the time Messi was Salah’s age he had league seasons of 34, 31, 50, and was en route to a 46-goal mark. He posted 68 combined assists over those four seasons.

If this is somehow an aberration, and Salah cannot find this form ever again, well, that’s bad luck and a risk worth its weight in standard setting.

There is not a replacement player.

There is no fee.

Say it again now.

Dangerous playmaker Silva joins Montreal Impact (video)

Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

Alejandro Silva’s got a creative mind, and that’s something Montreal will welcome with open arms.

The Uruguayan signed with the Impact this week, joining Ignacio Piatti and Saphir Taider as playmakers in Quebec.

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Silva, 28, is a right-sided and forward-playing attacker who can also play right back if necessary.

The Impact lost two of three to start the season, winning this weekend’s 401 Derby versus Toronto FC to put a number in the win column.

Lanus has been a fertile ground for Major League Soccer clubs in recent years, with Lucas Melano (Portland Timbers) and Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United) making the move to North America.

The South American club has also sent Gustavo Gomez to AC Milan and Oscar Benitez to Benfica.

Kante squashes PSG rumors: “I am at home” with Chelsea

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
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At least one and erhaps two big Premier League clubs are going to finish outside of the UEFA Champions League this year.

As it stands now, those clubs are Arsenal and Chelsea. The former could still seal a spot in the UCL via winning the Europa League but Chelsea needs wins and help from the field to find a way into the fray.

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An absence for either side will send UCL-bound vultures over the rosters of the failed clubs, hoping to woo the best players with Champions League dreams.

N'Golo Kante has been a name bandied about as a potential departure should Chelsea miss its mark, with the French star mentioned as high atop Paris Saint-Germain’s wish list.

The midfielder, who turns 27 at the end of the month, has moved to squash those rumors (from The London Evening Standard):

“I am at home. It is my club, I am a Chelsea player.

“We will fight until the end to finish in the top four and to get in a Champions League position. We also have the FA Cup to play for – it is a good competition. Last season we failed in the final. It is the only trophy we can win this season, so we have to give everything to get to the final and win it.”

That’s good, because we’re looking forward to seeing what a midfield with Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko could do with an offseason together.

Yet is there anyone out there doubting Kante’s intentions?

Who’ve been the most impactful Premier League summer buys?

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It’s been a heck of a season for Premier League transfer buys, and that includes a bevy of intra-league purchases.

So who’ve been the best imports? Probably a safe bet to set some parameters.

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We won’t count players like Aaron Mooy, who’s Huddersfield Town purchase was formalized after a loan, or those who returned from loan like Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen or Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.

We’ll also opt against a couple Chelsea loanees signings, if just to whittle our list. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was magnificent before a long-term injury at Palace, and Kurt Zouma probably just sits beyond the Top Ten.

Mainz loanee Jonas Lossl of Huddersfield Town fits the bill, too. And for injuries: Who knows how high  Benjamin Mendy would’ve surged up this list?

Stats culled from WhoScored and Squawka.

Honorable mention – Antonio Rudiger, Mario Lemina, Richarlison, Alexandre Lacazette, Mat Ryan, Bernardo Silva, Steve MounieKyle Walker, Alvaro Morata, Florian Lejeune.

10. Jordan Pickford, Everton — Under siege at Sunderland for most of last season, Pickford probably expected smoother sailing than this: the Everton backstop has been forced into making the most saves in the Premier League (95). Fifty-four of those required him to dive. Only four teams have allowed more goals than Everton, which explains why some of you might be scratching your head at his inclusion.

9. James Tomkins, Crystal Palace — I thought the signing was silly, but Tomkins is nearly unrivaled in terms of interceptions per game in league play. Palace hasn’t been a defensive powerhouse, but his former club West Ham looks terrible since he moved across London.

8. Davinson Sanchez, Tottenham Hotspur – There have been bumps along the way — Sanchez is 21 — but he’s blessed with the speed to make up for his and others mistakes. A fine passer, Mauricio Pochettino should only further benefit from his career progression.

7. Ahmed Hegazi, West Bromwich Albion — Hegazi’s 2757 minutes played are the most amongst field players in the Premier League (though Alfie Mawson, Harry Maguire, Jack Cork, and Lewis Dunk could pass him by playing more than an hour in their match-in-hand).

6. Harry Maguire, Leicester City — The Foxes badly needed to lower the age of their center back corps, and can count their purchase of Maguire from Hull City as a coup. Perhaps no player other than Wilfred Ndidi has been as influential for Claude Puel‘s bunch.

5. Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United — Lukaku started dispelling myths about his production versus big teams when he was one of the lone stars in United’s Super Cup loss to Real Madrid. While he’s been up-and-down in terms of goals in said contests, his hold-up play and work ethic have been better than expected. His 21 key moments (14 goals, seven assists) are even with Roberto Firmino and trail only Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, and Leroy Sane. Anthony Martial is the closest United comparison, and he has 14. Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard have 12.

4. Pascal Gross, Brighton and Hove Albion — The Ingolstadt transfer’s promise was quickly realized, and he’s posted five goals and eight assists. On a team with the fourth-lowest goal total in the league, that’s impressive. The only players with more PL assists: De Bruyne, Sane, Dele, David Silva, Salah, Pogba. Gross also ranks third in the league in crosses per game.

3. Nemanja Matic, Manchester United — It’s hard to fin the numbers to meet the eye test, but Matic flat out makes his team better. Maybe it’s organization, maybe it’s toughness, but there’s little doubt United is better in the middle of the park while former club Chelsea has struggled to find the same form since he skipped town. Advantage: Mou.

2. Ederson, Manchester City — Look only to last season’s status of City net minders to know how important the sweeper-style passing keeper is to Pep Guardiola‘s side. The Brazilian has pushed himself into competition for the starting gig at one of the World Cup favorites.

1. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool —  There is no other answer here, and Harry Kane’s injury essentially gift wraps the Golden Boot to the Egyptian. There was a question as to whether he’d bring his Serie A flourish over to England, and that seems absurd now.