Southampton v Newcastle United - Premier League

Southampton 4-0 Newcastle United: Rodriguez brilliant in commanding win (video)

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Jay Rodriguez was a world-class striker in Southampton’s 4-0 demolition of Newcastle United at St. Mary’s on Saturday, as his brace paced the Saints to a big win and eighth place in the table.

It was no Krul, no Remy, no Debuchy, plenty of problems for Newcastle in an embarrassing, at times listless, 90 minutes on the road. The club had no answers all afternoon as Southampton threatened at will and asserted itself as a bigger threat to move up the table; Southampton surpassed the Magpies for eighth place with the win, earning a two-point lead with 48 points.

Rodriguez nearly opened the game’s scoring in the eighth minute, getting behind Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to collect a tremendous long ball. He fired off the side of the net behind Rob Elliot. A couple minutes later, Rodriguez rose over the same defender but headed wide left again.

(MORE: Premier League Roundup: Chelsea slip up, Man United respond, relegation drama)

Southampton was largely in control of the first half and looked dangerous for the duration. Elliot made a jaw-dropping save just before halftime, when Rodriguez looked to tap home but the fully-extended keeper got pushed it aside.

Moments later, Southampton found its way to a 2v0 — or 1, counting Elliot — which ended with Rodriguez collected a FIFA-style side pass from Rickie Lambert to tap home. It was 1-0 at the half, and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew likely counted his blessings from the stands as he serves a touchline ban; The scoreline probably should’ve read at least 3-0.

The Saints doubled their advantage right after the break when Lambert darted past the Newcastle back line to tap in a lofted ball from Adam Lallana. It was 2-0 in the 49th and, with the way Newcastle was attacking, it looked hopeless for the visitors.

Lallana turned scorer as the clock hit 69, moving at will through open field to try a bending ball that tricked Elliot to leave this one all but finished.

Then, it was a goal post and save from Elliot that denied Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse within seconds, as 4-0 nearly arrived. Rodriguez found the fourth in the 90th minute, dancing around Mike Williamson in the six before firing home.

LINEUPS

Southampton: Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork, S. Davis (Schneiderlin, 70′), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Gallagher, 90′), Rodriguez, Lambert (Ramírez, 83′).

Goals: Rodriguez 2 (45, 90), Lambert (49), Lallana (70)

Newcastle United: Elliot; Yanga-Mbiwa (Santon, 46′), Williamson, Coloccini, Haïdara; Anita, Tioté; Sissoko (Dummett, 79′), Ben Arfa (de Jong, 46), Gouffran; Cissé

VIDEO: 70-yard volley from Chile is nearly impossible to believe

Alejandro Camargo, Universidad de Concepcion
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His name is Alejandro Camargo, and he scored what might just go down as the best goal of 2016 on Sunday: an impossibly perfect volley from well beyond the halfway line.

[ MORE: PL roundup — Chelsea top Man City; Arsenal, Spurs win big ]

Miguel Pinto is the opposing goalkeeper whose long-range clearance, which covered about 50 yards during the final seconds of Universidad de Concepcion’s clash with O’Higgins in the Chilean first division, was taken off the fly, first-time, by the Argentine midfielder to seal a 3-1 victory for the home side.

[ MORE: Serie A roundup — Roma, AC Milan win, still tied for 2nd ]

“The coach told us Pinto was always playing in advance of his goal, so I closed my eyes and hit it,” Camargo said after the game.

“Hit it and hope” has never looked so good.

Roma fans stay away from derby to protest new security barriers

A view of a huge section of empty seats as Roma fans desert derby in protest over security barriers, during a Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Roma, at the Rome Olympic stadium Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
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ROME (AP) Roma’s most ardent supporters stayed away from the derby match against Lazio in protest at barriers introduced at the start of last season in their area.

Normally filled with supporters waving huge banners, lighting flares and singing, half of the “curva sud” — southern end — of the Stadio Olimpico was left empty for Sunday’s match.

[ MORE: Serie A roundup — Roma, AC Milan win, still tied for 2nd ]

Three of Roma’s locally born standouts held a meeting with the “ultra” fans during the week. Captain Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi asked the supporters to return, and the club itself has also tried to resolve the matter.

But the appeals had no effect.

In contrast, Lazio fans filled the northern end of the stadium as usual.

The plexiglass barriers were put in place by city officials for security reasons.

VIDEO: “Behind The Badge: Watford FC” — Episode 2

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In Episode 2 of Behind the Badge: Watford FC, watch the players’ recovery after a win against Leicester, a look at the club’s one-of-a-kind internship program and a flashback to a memorable moment in Watford’s history.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

To watch past episodes of Behind The Badge, including last season’s edition featuring a look inside Crystal Palace, head over to the full archive by clicking here.

[ MORE: PL roundup — Chelsea top Man City; Arsenal, Spurs win big ]

First episode: Watch full episode, here
Second episode: Above video
Third episode: Sunday, Dec. 11, 2 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Fourth episode: Sunday, Dec. 18, 2 p.m. ET – NBCSN

Pardew saves his job, says Palace owners “don’t know a lot about football”

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Alan Pardew, Manager of Crystal Palace thumbs up prior to the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Southampton at Selhurst Park on December 3, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
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While some may advise that keeping a low profile would best suit Alan Pardew right now, Crystal Palace’s embattled manager is of a totally different mindset.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Following Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Southampton, in which Pardew’s side saved his job (for the time being), the 55-year-old Eagles boss and former player chose the first bright moment, Palace’s first Premier League win since Sept. 24, to hit out at the club’s new American owners with a scathing assessment of the footballing prowess, or perhaps lack thereof — quotes from the Guardian:

“The chairman got a bit edgy this week, as you’d expect. We have a lot of serious investors at the club who perhaps don’t know a lot about football so the chairman has been defending me.

“I always think as a manager at any level, particularly in the modern era, expect the sack. Just expect it; it’s coming at some stage, so just do your job as best you can. Every week, that’s what I try to do.

“Sometimes it’s hard to dress up six defeats when you’re the owner of the club and you have investors. Obviously there are things he’s got no control over but he’s tried to offer me all the assistance that he could. He’s been brilliant for me and I just want to say thank you to him really.”

With various reports linking Sam Allardyce and Roberto Mancini to a job which he still holds, it’s understandable that Pardew would be slightly on edge, quick to thump his chest and restake his claim as the right man for the job, but perhaps alienating and borderline embarrassing the new investors, who are now responsible for signing your paychecks, wouldn’t have been my go-to move.

[ MORE: PL roundup — Chelsea top Man City; Arsenal, Spurs win big ]

On the other hand, as Pardew rightly stated in the above quotes, his day of reckoning will eventually arrive, so what’s he really got to lose?