Dzeko

Newcastle 0-2 Manchester City: Controversial decision leaves Magpies empty-handed as City go top (video)

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Alan Pardew and the Newcastle supporters at St. James Park were left shaking their heads as a first-half equalizer was controversially ruled out by referee Mike Jones, and they never recovered.

Edin Dzeko struck City ahead and Alvaro Negredo finished it off for a 2-0 win, pulling the Citizens into the Premier League lead, but the decision to disallow Cheick Tiote’s goal will be the most talked-about storyline.

Newcastle attacked first in the opening minutes, but the visitors soon inserted their superiority and it would immediately bear fruit.

Some pinpoint passing saw David Silva link with Aleksandar Kolarov overlapping on the left flank, and the defender sliced the ball between two Newcastle men to find Dzeko streaking through the box for the finish.

source: AP
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew had choice words for ref Mike Jones at halftime about Cheick Tiote’s disallowed goal.

The eighth minute lead was just what the doctor ordered for City as they looked to put road struggles behind them.

Kolarov continued to be a menace on the left touchline, as he again got an opening and nearly found Alvaro Negredo in the box for an identical chance just four minutes later, but his cross went inches out of Negredo’s reach.

After nearly going down 2-0, Newcastle began to peg the City wingers back and build themselves into the match. They’d press for an equalizer, and would get it after a half hour of hard work…or so they thought.

In the 34th minute, a corner bounded around the penalty area before falling to Tiote outside the left corner of the box.  He lashed at goal, a brilliant strike that a whizzed past Joe Hart and nestled into the top corner.

But as Newcastle celebrated, referee Mike Jones was called over to the touchline by his assistant referee, and after a conversation they ruled the goal out for offsides.  Replays showed two Newcastle players in obvious offsides positions, but the pair had nothing to do with the blistering strike that came fizzing through and into the goal.

It was a controversial decision for sure, and Alan Pardew was livid.  Nonetheless, the decision stood, and Newcastle’s frustrations brewed immediately.  Moussa Sissoko was booked immediately for kicking the ball away in anger, and Pardew had a few choice words for both Manuel Pellegrini and the officiating crew before the halftime whistle blew.

Boos rang around St. James Park, but the break served to help ease the pressure and Newcastle came out firing to start the second half.  Tim Krul also made an important save early on, keeping out an on-target header from Alvaro Negredo with a great reflex save.  Joe Hart on the other end saved well on a bending distance strike from Yohan Cabaye.

Manuel Pellegrini made a pair of early substitutions and the game slowed.  City again worked their excellent passing in the 71st minute.  Jesus Navas backheeled for Kolarov who remained a menace on the left flank, and his cross found Nasri but his first-time volley was lashed right at Krul.

The game came to a halt for several minutes as Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa hacked down Nasri in the 75th minute, and the Frenchman was stretchered off in tears as Pellegrini can only hope he receives good news on his electrifying winger.

A spell of pressure from City in the 87th minute saw Fernandinho hit the crossbar with a header. Nasri’s injury meant seven minutes of stoppage time, but that just served to give Manchester City the seal they needed.

Alvaro Negredo on a breakaway shot at Tim Krul, and the ball rebounded back to the winger who slipped past the grounded goalkeeper and tapped in for a 2-0 lead.

Manchester City returned to the top of the table, passing Chelsea with Arsenal still to play tomorrow.  Newcastle meanwhile fail to keep pace with Manchester United and remain four points back of seventh place.

GOALS:

Manchester City – Dzeko 8′, Negredo 90+4′

LINEUPS:

Newcastle United – Krul; Santon, S.Taylor, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa (Haidara 82′); Anita (Cisse 73′), Tiote, Cabaye; Sissoko, Remy, Gouffran (Ben Arfa 82′).

Manchester City – Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Toure (Garcia 61′), Nasri (Milner 79′), Silva, Negredo; Dzeko (Navas 52′)

Too early for Guardiola to concede Premier League title?

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Pep Guardiola suffered his worst-ever league defeat as a manager on Sunday as Manchester City were hammered 4-0 at Everton in the Premier League.

Post-game he was understandably glum.

[ MORE: Klopp slams United ]

Guardiola even appeared to concede the Premier League title, as the preseason favorites for the crown have now fallen 10 points behind leaders Chelsea with 17 games to go.

When asked if City’s title hopes were over after a fifth defeat of the season, the Spaniard’s answer was emphatic.

“Yes. Ten is a lot of points,” Guardiola said. “The second one [Tottenham] is three points. We have to see. I spoke to my players the last three weeks or a month, forget about the table. Focus on the next game and try to do our best to win the games and after that at the end of the season we are going to evaluate how our level and performance was — how was the coach, how was the players and after we are going to decide.”

It seems like Guardiola has already decided that the title race is over for City, but has he thrown in the towel too early?

With just five points separating second-place Tottenham with sixth-place Manchester United, it appears City’s primary focus will now be to finish in the top four as a mammoth battle ensues in the final third of the season.

Yet, we have seen some miraculous comebacks from teams in the past to win the title. These stats could give Pep hope.

In the 1997-98 season, Arsenal were 12 points behind United after 21 games of the season (United had played a game more) but roared back to win the PL by one point. And of course, City’s two PL crowns came courtesy of stunning late surges in the season with thanks to Sergio Aguero’s magic on the final day in 2011-12 and then Liverpool’s collapse in the closing weeks of 2013-14.

Pep, don’t lost the faith. It can be done.

However, if City lose to Tottenham next weekend and Chelsea extend their lead over Pep’s boys to 13 points by beating Hull City, it is curtains.

Such is the dominance of the big boys this season, City pretty much have to go unbeaten for the rest of the season to have a shot at winning the PL. Given their recent defensive displays that seems unlikely.

We all know Pep is an idealist when it comes to how he wants his team to play but now we are seeing he is a realist too.

Conte urges players “money is not everything” amid Costa rumors

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea reacts during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane on January 4, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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While new reports are suggesting that China will have to curb its massive spending, Antonio Conte has urged his players that they don’t have to be tempted by the Chinese Super League.

[ MORE: United, Liverpool finish level after late Ibrahimovic equalizer ]

Chelsea currently sits atop the Premier League — seven points clear of Tottenham and Liverpool — but the club has recently been at the center of controversy as star striker Diego Costa has been linked with a move away from the club.

[ MORE: CSL set to limit number of foreign players per team ]

Costa missed his side’s 3-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday after several outlets reported a rift between the Spaniard and Conte.

The Chelsea manager told reporters following the match that Costa wasn’t available due to a back injury he suffered in training, but there has been continued speculation that the 28-year-old could head to China.

Conte has made it clear to his squad though that the quality of competition in England supersedes the money offered abroad.

“The money is not everything,” Conte told reporters. “When you play for a great team like Chelsea, you must be pleased.

“I think we are a great club and it is a great honour to play for Chelsea. For this reason I don’t see [China] as a threat for my players.

The Blues have lost a number of high-profile players over recent seasons to the high spending of Chinese football, including Brazilian duo Oscar and Ramires, as well as John Obi Mikel.

Oscar departed Chelsea this month to join Shanghai SIPG for a reported $72 million.

“I have to look at the past,” Conte said. “Oscar played with us, had a good offer from China and he went.

“But this league is really competitive and every player wants to come and play in this league.

“This league is the first in the world because of a lot of positive things, so I don’t think these offers from China are a threat for our league.”

Report: Ian Harkes expected to sign with DC United

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D.C. United didn’t have a top 10 selection in the MLS SuperDraft, but the club is likely to end up with one of the most talented collegiate players in the game.

[ MORE: Robinson, Ebobisse headline latest U.S. U-20 roster ]

According to the Washington Post, D.C. United is expected to sign Wake Forest attacker Ian Harkes to a multi-year contract.

[ MORE: Galaxy keeper Rowe replaces Frei with USMNT ]

Harkes, 21, came up through D.C.’s academy system before playing all four years for the Demon Deacons. The midfielder has gained significant notoriety over his college career, which concluded with Hermann Trophy honors following his senior senior.

As a former member of the D.C. academy, Harkes didn’t have to declare for the SuperDraft and is expected to sign a Homegrown contract with D.C. United in the coming days.

Harkes has also been considering his options abroad, which included second-division sides in England, where he was born. Ian is the son of former U.S. Men’s National Team star John Harkes, who played both in the United States and England over his professional career.

Bayern Munich signs Suele and Rudy from Hoffenheim

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 15:  Sebastian Rudy of Germany controls the ball during the International Friendly Match between Italy and Germany at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on November 15, 2016 in Milan, .  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
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MUNICH (AP) German champion Bayern Munich has signed center half Niklas Suele and central midfielder Sebastian Rudy from Hoffenheim, with both players due to complete the season with their current club before joining on July 1.

[ MORE: Ibrahimovic rescues draw for United against Liverpool ]

Bayern said Sunday on its website that Rudy – who is out of contract in the summer – has signed a three-year deal until 2020 while Suele has agreed a five-year deal until June 2022.

[ MORE: Morata to Chelsea? Dybala staying put? ]

“Signing two Germany internationals is an investment in FC Bayern’s future,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. “Sebastian Rudy joins us on a free transfer. In the case of Niklas Suele we have reached a fair and serious agreement with Hoffenheim.”

The 26-year-old Rudy has played 177 league games for Hoffenheim since joining from Stuttgart in 2010, while the 21-year-old Suele is a homegrown talent and has made 90 league appearances with the club.

“In terms of it being a farewell I feel a little wistful,” Suele said on Bayern’s website, adding that the move gives him the chance of “maturing further with one of the best teams in the world.”

Suele’s signing appears to be linked to the form of long-serving Bayern defender Holger Badstuber, who has been sent on loan to Schalke to get more game time.

The long-serving center-back has struggled with injuries in recent years and is not in Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti’s plans, having played only three games this season, starting just once.