Saturday morning kicks-off with the second installment of the fantastic Tyne-Wear derby where Sunderland can record their first double over Newcastle since 1967 (watch live on NBCSN at 7:00am ET and online at NBC Live Extra).
Newcastle lost 2-1 at Sunderland back in October making it two straight derby victories for the Mackems, who also won last spring with Paulo Di Canio’s sideline knee-slides forever etched in our memories. The Magpies head into Saturday’s match in a precarious situation having sold their best player Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this week and without star striker Loic Remy, who was hit with a three-match ban following his altercation with Norwich City midfielder Bradley Johnson in last Wednesday’s 0-0 draw.
Prior to Wednesday’s draw the Magpies comprehensively defeated West Ham United 3-1 at Upton Park to stop the bleeding on a three match losing streak (to Arsenal, Manchester City and West Brom). Alan Pardew is likely to hand a debut to on-loan striker Luuk de Jong but will be without Gael Bigiriama (ankle), Fabricio Colocinni (knee) and Ryan Taylor (knee), while Papiss Cisse (back) and Yoan Gouffran (knock) face late fitness tests.
Sunderland enters the match in their best form of the season, unbeaten in their last three matches. Since losing 0-1 to Aston Villa the Black Cats crushed Fulham 4-1, drew 2-2 with Southampton and beat Stoke 2-1, which was enough to put them two points clear of the relegation zone.
While Lee Cattermole (knock), Kieran Westwood (shoulder) and Carlos Cuellar (hip) are all out, Gus Poyet’s side will be boosted by the availability of new Argentine striker Ignacio Scocco and fellow compatriots defender Santiago Vergini and goalkeeper Oscar Ustari.
What They’re Saying
Newcastle striker Luuk De Jong: “I’m really motivated. The first half of the season hasn’t been nice for me because I didn’t play much. I just want to show my talent, score goals and be successful again. That is why I’m here.”
Sunderland winger Adam Johnson: “We’re confident, and if we can pick up some points away from home too we should be fine and there’s the cup final to look forward to. There’s plenty of positives.”
Sunderland have been playing some superb football of late, especially Adam Johnson who looks to be staking his claim on the England World Cup squad. The Black Cats do the double over their staunch rivals.
Ah, there you are Jamie Vardy. Good to have you back, and the old Leicester City, too.
Vardy, 29, had not scored in his last 16 matches for Leicester in all competitions going in to this weekend…
On Saturday Vardy scored a hat trick to lead reigning Premier League champions Leicester to a 4-2 demolition of Manchester City which gives Claudio Ranieri‘s side some breathing space from the relegation zone.
[ MORE: Leicester hammer Man City ]
The Foxes — who had one just one of their last nine games in the PL leading up to this game — raced into a 4-0 lead (Leicester was 3-0 up inside the first 20 minutes) and although City scored twice late on the scoreline doesn’t reflect Leicester’s dominance against Pep Guardiola‘s side who were all over the place in defense.
Click play on the video above to watch Vardy’s hat trick as the English striker only had two goals all season going into this game. Now he has five, and his partnership with Riyad Mahrez is finally showing signs of reigniting this season.
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The Vardy, and Leicester, we all fell in love with last season was back with a bang on Saturday. It took 15 weeks of the Premier League season.
The odds said a RB Leipzig hiccup was coming, and Bayern Munich took full advantage of its good fortune on Saturday.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
Bayern Munich 5-0 Wolfsburg
Thomas Muller finally scored his first goal of the Bundesliga season, the fourth marker in an out-and-out thumping of Wolfsburg (What’s become of them?!?). Robert Lewandowski netted a brace for the second-straight outing, while Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa also scored in the win.
Ingolstadt 1-0 RB Leipzig
The visitors were dominant, holding Ingolstadt to just 83 passes, but a 12th minute Roger goal was enough to send RB Leipzig to its first loss of the season. Their record is now level with Bayern at 10W-3D-1L, and Leipzig has scored 8 less goals than the table-topping Bavarians.
Koln 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
The hosts looked set to keep pace with the leaders via an Artjoms Rudnevs’ 28th minute goal, but Marco Reus netted a 90th minute equalizer to help BVB to its share of the spoils.
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-0 Hoffenheim — Friday
Freiburg 1-0 Darmstadt — Nils Petersen with lone goal
Hamburg 1-0 Augsburg — Hosts win despite first half red card
Hertha Berlin 0-1 Werder Bremen — Max Kruse scores
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Mainz — 9:30 a.m. EDT Sunday
Schalke vs. Bayer Leverkusen — 11:30 a.m. EDT Sunday
Jamie Vardy‘s hat trick led Leicester City to a surprising 4-2 win over visiting Manchester City on Saturday at the King Power Stadium.
Andy King scored in the first half, where Vardy scooped his first two of the day before adding a third in the 78th minute. Aleksandar Kolarov‘s 81st minute free kick dirtied the clean sheet, and Nolito redirected one home in the 90th minute.
Man City will finish the weekend at least four points back of the top, and currently sit in fourth with 30 points. Leicester rises rises to 14th on 16 points.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
Manchester City was in a horrible spot in two blinks, as Vardy and Islam Slimani took advantage of John Stones and Aleksandar Kolarov before the latter beat Claudio Bravo to make it 1-0 in the third minute.
Less than two minutes later, it was time for another. Andy King let loose with a shot from outside the 18 that a flying Bravo could only touch into his goal. 2-0 at the King Power. Scenes.
And Leicester saved its best for the third goal, as Riyad Mahrez made an otherworldly first touch assist on a diagonal ball over Stones’ head, and Vardy touched around Bravo to score it. Wow.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
Guardiola doubled down on risk-taking tactics as the second half wore on. And why not? He was down 3-0.
On came Yaya Toure and Raheem Sterling. Out went Kelechi Iheanacho and Jesus Navas. Yes, Yaya Toure as striker.
Yet it was Vardy who scored next, taking advantage of an out-to-lunch Stones to inch a tight-angled shot off the post and just over the line via Goal Decision System.
Kolarov made it 4-1 with a terrific free kick that curled to nestle inside the post behind the wall, then found Nolito for a goal in the final minute of scheduled time.
Matty James came into the match during stoppage time for his 100th Leicester experience, which came 570 days after an ACL tear ended his 99th.
Two USMNT veterans could have new MLS homes soon.
Jermaine Jones gambled on a one-year deal with Colorado in order to test the free agent market, and ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle is reporting that the man may find a match — in so many ways — in the City of Los Angeles.
Galaxy president Chris Klein told Carlisle that the two sides had a meeting regarding a potential fit in LA. Jones has helped change the fortunes of both New England and Colorado, and may welcome the need to fit in rather than revolutionize a club.
[ WATCH: Jamie Vardy torturing Man City ]
Meanwhile, Taylor Twellman says that Atlanta United is getting a goalie with U.S. national team experience, and isn’t talking about reports linking Sean Johnson to a Georgia trade.
Brad Guzan, 32, is said to be close to move to Atlanta United from Middlesbrough after the calendar turns to 2017.