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How will Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield get on?

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The three newly-promoted teams are gearing up for life in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Comparing PL/NFL stars ]  

Newcastle United have only been away for a year, but for Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town, this is their first-ever foray into the PL.

Brighton were last in the top-flight in 1983, while Huddersfield last graced the big time in 1972. Needless to say excitement is building around both clubs as they prepare to do battle with the big boys.

Below we take a look at how each of the newcomers is shaping up ahead of the new season.


Newcastle United

Rafael Benitez has been frustrated with the lack of signings he has been able to make in the summer transfer window despite owner Mike Ashley telling him he could spend all of their added income from promotion back to the PL. That side, Murphy and Atsu will add plenty of pace out wide, while Manquillo brings plenty of experience in defense. Newcastle will no doubt be a tough team to beat, especially at home, and Rafa is a master tactician when it comes to setting teams up to grab a draw. When Tottenham come to a fired-up St James’ Park on Sunday it could spur the Magpies on to pick up a tidy opening weekend draw. There’s no doubt becoming a perennial top 10 team is the main aim, but making new additions between now and the end of the transfer window is a must for that to become a reality.

Premier League opener: vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

Transfers in:  Jacob Murphy (Norwich City, $13.3 million), Florian Lejeune (Eibar, $11.7 million), Christian Atsu ($9 million), Javier Manquillo (Atletico Madrid, $5.9 million), Mikel Merino (Borussia Dortmund, Loan)


Brighton & Hove Albion

The Seagulls added Davy Propper for a club-record fee and the Dutchman will add plenty of class in midfield. Brighton have steadily added to their squad over the summer with Matt Ryan coming in as a starting goalkeeper, plus Pascal Gross and Markus Suttner experienced campaigners joining from the Bundesliga. Chris Hughton is a steady hand and he will set up Brighton to be tough to beat as they aim to avoid relegation. That said, the man who can unlock opposition defenses is back fit and ready to roll with Anthony Knockaert recovering from an injury he picked up in preseason. A 3-2 friendly defeat to Atletico Madrid last weekend shows they can score goals but also suggests there will be plenty of gaps for Manchester City’s attackers to exploit at the AmEx on the opening day of the season.

Premier League opener: vs. Manchester City (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com)

Transfers in: Pascal Gross (Ingolstadt), Izzy Brown (loan, Chelsea), Josh Kerr (Celtic), Mathew Ryan (Valencia), Markus Suttner (Ingolstadt), Mathias Normann (Bodo/Glimt), Steven Alzate (Leyton Orient), Davy Propper ($13 million, PSV Eindhoven)


Huddersfield Town

David Wagner has added nine players over the summer with Steve Mounie and Tom Ince catching the eye in preseason. The Terriers will rely on their high-pressing style in the Premier League and that may unsettle plenty of teams early on in the season. However they may try and settle their way into the top-flight and they are equally capable of sitting back, soaking up pressure and launching counters just as they did against Reading in the playoff final. They may actually be the favorites at Palace on the opening day with plenty of optimism in the air despite a season-long battle against relegation awaiting Wagner and Co.

Premier League opener: at Crystal Palace (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com)

Transfers in: Steve Mounie ($15 million, Montpellier), Tom Ince ($11.2 million, Derby County), Aaron Mooy ($10.5 million, Manchester City), Laurent Depoitre ($4.6 million, FC Porto), Scott Malone ($6.6 million, Fulham), Mathias Jorgensen ($4.6 million, Copenhagen), Danny Williams (Free, Reading), Elias Kachunga ($1.4 million, Ingolstadt), Jonas Lossl (Loan, Mainz 05), Kasey Palmer (Loan, Chelsea)

West Ham to friendly neighbors Dag & Red: “Will help save our club”

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English Conference Premier side Dagenham and Redbridge has seen better days, and is getting a hand from a Premier League pal.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

West Ham United will pay a visit to Dag & Red as part of the latter’s #SaveTheDaggers campaign, and the March 21 date will cost fans between $7 and $21 to see a top flight side at 6,000-seat Victoria Road.

Dagenham and Redbridge chairman Paul Gwinn said, “It really will help save our club.”

“So please come on down to the Chigwell Construction Stadium for an additional night of football. Bring a friend, or two, or more and we can use the gate takings to help get us back on track,” reads a press release.

Dag & Red was founded in 1992 and climbed as high as League One in 2011, and plays just 2.5 miles from West Ham United’s training ground. Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are among Dag & Red alums in the Premier League.

It’s a terrific gesture from West Ham, and is even more impressive in the United States where the growing club game is increasingly cutthroat (especially between non-synced leagues).

Angry Di Francesco extremely quotable after Roma loss

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AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco absolutely roasted his charges after i Lupi tossed aside a Cenzig Under-inspired lead to fall 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

Di Francesco had praise for Edin Dzeko, who assisted Under’s goal, as well as goalkeeper Alisson, but was mostly enraged by his side.

[ MORE: Recap + Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Rather than construct a narrative, we’re going to point out our five favorite selections from Di Francesco’s post-match talk.

4) “The difference was that in the first half we tried to hurt them while in the second we were looking to hold on – to what? I don’t know.”

— “To what? I don’t know” is hilarious. Di Francesco’s side has posted some serious wins this season, including killing off Chelsea 3-0 at home and coming back from 2-0 to draw the Blues at Stamford Bridge. He doesn’t preach sitting back.

3) “There were far too many schoolboy errors – even by players with a wealth of international experience.”

— Schoolboy errors!

2) “I saw two completely different teams out there today. There were lots of players I should have taken off after we conceded the first goal.”

— Again, one mistake by a number of players on Facundo Ferreyra is enough for Di Francesco. He’s not just happy to be here.

1) “I can’t imagine we’d get arrogant just because we’re winning an important game. It’s not as if Roma are used to reaching the final every year.”

— When you’re willing to essentially rip an entire club’s history — Roma’s been to just two UCL quarterfinals since losing the final to Liverpool in 1984 — you’re putting your footprints in new cement.

Europa League preview: Rating every second leg

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Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund are one of many teams with their UEFA Europa League fates realistically in the balance come Thursday’s second legs of the Round of 32.

[ MORE: Sevilla 0-1 Man Utd | Mourinho reacts ]

Aside from a sextet of big teams posting blowouts, there’s still hope for the Round of 16 and a step closer to an automatic berth in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League.

Basically done

Atletico Madrid 4-1 Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Sporting Lisbon 3-1 Astana — 1 p.m. ET
Arsenal 3-0 Ostersund — 3:05 p.m. ET
Milan 3-0 Ludogorets Razgrad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Spartak Moscow — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga 0-3 Marseille — 3:05 p.m. ET

In four of these cases, the heavy favorites emerged with multiple goal leads and at least three away goals.

Actually done

CSKA Moscow beat Red Star Belgrade 1-0 on Wednesday to win 1-0 on aggregate.

Unlikely, but big club lurks

RB Leipzig 3-1 Napoli — 1 p.m. ET
Villarreal 1-3 Lyon — 1 p.m. ET

In the case of Napoli, their 3-1 home loss to Leipzig was stunning but it’s impossible to rule out a club with such firepower. Villarreal trails by two to Lyon, but is home and dangerous.

Advantage one side, but anyone’s guess

Lokomotiv Moscow 3-2 Nice — 11 a.m. ET
Lazio 0-1 FCSB — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit Saint-Petersburg 0-1 Celtic — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg 2-2 Real Sociedad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Atalanta 2-3 Borussia Dortmund — 3:05 p.m. ET

Salzburg’s two away goals in a draw feels like a one-goal lead, and the one-goal matches are especially interesting. In the case of Atalanta, 1-0 to the Serie A side could undo Michy Batshuayi‘s first leg heroics for BVB.

Wide open

Plzen 1-1 Partizan Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 AEK Athens — 1 p.m. ET

Yes, nil-nil will get it done for the hosts, but there wasn’t a 0-0 in the entire group of first legs.

De Gea remarks on that save after Man Utd draws Sevilla

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It was probably the save of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16’s first legs, as David De Gea slapped away Luis Muriel’s bid to give Sevilla a halftime lead over Manchester United on Wednesday in Spain.

[ MORE: Recap | Mourinho reacts ]

Playing in his home country, De Gea had a massive outing in the scoreless draw.

The defiance of Muriel was De Gea’s second big save of the first half’s closing moments, and one of eight in the match.

“It was a good moment, a good save of course, especially because of the moment in the game. It was the last minute of the first half, it was important to not concede a goal. We defended well. They had control of the game, but it remains open.”

Watch the save below, and then catch De Gea against Chelsea on Sunday as two of the Premier League’s biggest clubs duke it out for Top Four positioning at Old Trafford (Watch live Sunday at 9:05 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com).