Premier League Preview: West Ham United vs. Newcastle United

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  • Newcastle haven’t scored in last four versus West Ham.
  • Magpies lead all-time series 
  • Andre Mariner’s your referee

It wasn’t that long ago that Andy Carroll was a Geordie boy living out his childhood dreams on the pitch for Newcastle United while getting into boatloads of trouble off the field (Watch at 10am ET on on NBC Sports Live Extra). On Saturday he’ll look to play the role of villain as his West Ham United club host the Magpies at Upton Park.

Carroll’s pulled the Hammers out of the drop zone for now and will attempt to avoid the fate that befell him as a 20-year-old striker at St. James Park, though the demotion to the Championship is what kickstarted his professional and international career as he scored 17 goals as the Magpies earned instant promotion one year later.

Of course the rest is history, a crazy money transfer to Liverpool after another outstanding half-season at SJP and on to West Ham on loan, where he reunited with Kevin Nolan and eventually found himself transferring to the London club. He was to be their savior, their marquee offseason signing.

But injury and the challenge of, as The Telegraph puts it so well, “not when but how he’d play football again.”

His return last week buoyed the Hammers to a 2-0 road win at Cardiff, the club’s first win away from home in the Premier League since an Oct. 6 triumph over Spurs.

Could Big Sam’s Hammers be ready to make a run toward the middle of the table? Well, the former Newcastle man will look into the other coach’s box and see a former West Ham manager aiming for a victory in Alan Pardew.

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Newcastle has fallen a bit back toward the pack with consecutive losses but still are comfortably in the top half, closer to Europe (eight points away) than 10th place Hull City (10 points distance).

The Magpies have lost three-straight games, 1-0 at home versus Arsenal, 1-0 at West Brom and 2-0 to Manchester City in the Tiotegate.

West Ham and Newcastle have battled evenly in recent history aside from the Magpies 5-0 shellacking of the Hammers at St. James Park about this time in 2011. They drew earlier this year and, in fact, their last two games were scoreless draws.

This one seems destined to be anything but, as Newcastle is still missing top defenders Fabricio Coloccini (injury) and Mathier Debuchy (suspension) while West Ham will be without Kevin Nolan (suspension), Guy Demel (concussion) and perhaps James Collins (injury).

What They’re Saying

West Ham’s Carroll on his English World Cup dreams: “Of course the World Cup is massive and everybody wants to be in it. I’ve just got to perform well here to get into the squad and it’s in my head that there is a chance for me to go. I’d be devastated if I missed out to be honest.”

Newcastle gaffer Pardew on the match: “We’ve lost the last four and in three of them we’ve been very very good. You need the breaks to go your way sometimes. We obviously got a bad break in that game in terms of that decision but we are playing well. We need to take that to West Ham. They’re off the back of a win. They’ve got Big Andy probably coming back into the side. It’s now the time to turn the corner for West Ham so we’re coming up against a wall of new positivity and we’re going to have to try and get a victory.”

Prediction

Pardew’s teams are usually well-prepared but rarely moreso when the confident manager is going up against one his former sides. Simply put, he carries a grudge. Will that move to the field without Debuchy and Coloccini? I tend to think so. Expect goals! Newcastle 3, West Ham 2 in a thriller.

Day Four: All the action from the U20 World Cup

Hong Hae-in/Yonhap via AP
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South Korea and Venezuela clinched berths in the knockout rounds of the U-20 World Cup on Tuesday, while Germany and Argentina have surprising work to do after two matches in South Korea.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

South Korea 2-1 Argentina

Barcelona B man Lee Seung-woo helped South Korea take a 2-0 lead, then hold on for the win and group lead over England.

England 1-1 Guinea

Chelsea youngster Fikayo Tomori scored a wild long range own goal to cost England the three points, but the Blues are still well-positioned to advance out of the group stage. Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook scored for England, and it was a beaut.

Venezuela 7-0 Vanuatu

Seven different Venezuelans have scored through a pair of shutout wins, with Caracas’ Sergio Cordova the only one to bag a pair.

Mexico 0-0 Germany

Germany has just one point through two matches, thanks largely to Pachuca’s Abraham Romero’s seven saves. Mexico was outshot 12-6.

Porto, Watford, Hull? Marco Silva in demand

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Marco Silva is one of the hottest properties in management, months after eliciting cries of “Who?” following his appointment at Hull City.

While those cries may have been a tiny bit myopic given his time at Sporting CP and Olympiacos, the 39-year-old is now visible to the world despite Hull’s relegation.

[ MORE: Real Madrid nabs $50m teen ]

Silva will be back in England to meet with Hull on Wednesday, but a clause in his contract that said he could leave if the club was relegated gives the Tigers very little hope.

Rumors have him wanted at Watford, and he’s also been linked with a number of other jobs including Southampton (should the club part ways with Claude Puel).

However, the former right back is also reportedly a target of one of the biggest clubs in his home country: Champions League side Porto.

UEFA Europa League Final preview: Manchester United vs. Ajax

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Jose Mourinho’s big European gamble takes center stage on Wednesday in Sweden, when Manchester United attempts to topple young Ajax in the UEFA Europa League Final.

United’s chances for UEFA Champions League qualification, a magnificent opportunity, are overshadowed by the pall cast over Manchester by sinister terrorist attacks at a pop concert that killed and injured many on Monday night.

Alas, there’s soccer to be played, and Mourinho is looking to make it a trio of shiny items in his first year on the job. United beat Leicester City for the Community Shield, then topped Southampton in the EFL Cup Final en route to Sweden.

United’s well-documented dearth of healthy defenders will march out one more time on Wednesday, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones tasked with manning the center of the back line. Expect Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian out wide.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Despite the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s attack is going to give Ajax fits. Marcus Rashford has been next level for most of the second half of the season, and United will also likely feature Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba atop Ander Herrera.

If someone is going to break United down, it could be midfield wizards Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone. The creative middle men have a variety of options to find with the ball, including on-loan Chelsea man Bertrand Traore and Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg.

But how will they deal with United’s attack? Sure Ajax has stopped Lyon, Schalke, Copenhagen, and Legia Warsaw, but United and Mourinho? That’s another challenge for Peter Bosz and his men.

Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup, and this is United’s first ever trip to this particular final. The Red Devils are heavy favorites, and we expect United to prevail. Don’t sleep on Juan Mata heroics. Call it 3-1.

Allardyce resigns, opening up intriguing vacancy at Palace

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Sam Allardyce is walking away on top outside the relegation zone.

The veteran Premier League manager, 62, resigned his post as Crystal Palace on Tuesday, weeks after leading another team to safety.

The move ends a tumultuous eight months for Allardyce, who was fired as England manager after an undercover sting exposed unethical dealings with agents.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

It also comes about an hour after somebody wrote that Crystal Palace should move on from Allardyce. What a jerk, that somebody.

Rarely at a loss for words, here’s Big Sam from cpfc.co.uk:

I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager.

This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.”

All kidding aside — and I’m far from a Big Sam fan — congrats to the man on walking away to enjoy the finer things in life. He had a heck of a run, and we’ll see how long he can resist being away from the fray. Cheers, Sam.