Aleksandar Mitrovic

AP Photo/Rui Vieira

PL roundup: Reds, Blues, Spurs draw

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Manchester City didn’t play Saturday, but sure must’ve felt like it won.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Only one Top Four contender found a win on Saturday — second place Manchester United — as Chelsea, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur all drew.

Not one will feel like a winner (though the Blues will be pleased to have equalized at Anfield).

Liverpool 1-1 ChelseaRECAP

Jurgen Klopp rolled the dice by keeping Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino out of his Starting XI, and Chelsea obliged him by letting a fairly dominant first half end without a Blues goal. Liverpool went ahead through red-hot Mohamed Salah, but Willian‘s late cross drifted over Simon Mignolet and gave the Blues a share of the points.

Newcastle United 0-3 WatfordRECAP

Marco Silva‘s Watford is dedicated from end line to end line, and Newcastle badly needs a finisher atop its attack. Joselu, Dwight Gayle, and substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic could not find the goal, while Watford struck through Andre Gray, Richarlison, and a DeAndre Yedlin own goal. Is it January yet, Newcastle supporters?

Swansea City 0-0 BournemouthRECAP

Embattled Swans boss Paul Clement hasn’t seen his team score in three matches, and hasn’t won in six after a scoreless draw at the Liberty Stadium. Wilfried Bony had a goal disallowed for Swans, who sit just a point ahead of victorious 20th place side Crystal Palace.

Manchester United 1-0 Brighton and Hove AlbionRECAP

The visiting Gulls were quite good on Saturday, and this one could’ve gone either way. It turned on a wrongly-awarded corner kick to the hosts, and Ashley Young‘s shot from outside the 18 took a wicked turn off Lewis Dunk for an own goal that gave United all three points.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke CityRECAP

Roy Hodgson’s Eagles are 2-2-2 in their last six to go from zero to eight points and give themselves a look at Premier League safety. Stoke took a lead on a Xherdan Shaqiri goal, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek quickly answered for Palace. Mamadou Sakho claimed the winner at the death to boost Palace within three points (and a swing in goal differential) of 17th.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

Caretaker boss Gary Megson looked to have unleashed the dogs when Salomon Rondon gave West Brom a stunning fourth minute lead, but the Baggies got real stingy real quick against Spurs. Harry Kane could only rescue a point for Tottenham, and West Brom remains winless since August.

Newcastle United 0-3 Watford: Magpies crushed at home

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  • Hornets rampant
  • Yedlin concedes own goal
  • Hughes, Gray score
  • Newcastle drops 13th

Marco Silva‘s Watford posted an impressive and complete 3-0 win over Newcastle United at St. James Park on Saturday.

Will Hughes and Andre Gray scored for Watford, and Newcastle conceded an own goal off USMNT back DeAndre Yedlin.

The Hornets sit 8th with 21 points, while the Magpies four points above the drop zone.

It’s the fourth-straight defeat for Newcastle United, who looked starved for strike options.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Magpies’ 4-4-2 still aimed to find Joselu as if it were a one-man strike force, and the Spaniard mishit an early chance while another Jacob Murphy offering just missed him.

Matt Ritchie also missed with a left-footed offering, while at the other end Rob Elliot made a nice stop on Richarlison.

Jonjo Shelvey scythed down Miguel Britos in the 16th minute which was a foul of the “orange card” variety, so the midfielder was happy to accept a yellow.

Hughes put the Hornets ahead on a nice cut back toward the spot from  Zeegelaar in the 19th minute.

Joselu then had a shot blocked by Adrian Mariappa in a 23rd minute bid to level the score. Matt Ritchie sprung Joselu in the left of the box, but no one was back post to meet his inviting pass.

Newcastle controlled the match following Watford’s first, but DeAndre Yedlin redirected a Zeegelaar cross past Elliot in first half stoppage.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Andre Gray should’ve put the match to bed in the 48th minute with an unimpeded 40-yard dribble on goal, but his left-footed effort was way off the mark.

Gray converted after a spell of Newcastle possession when Richarlison was able to sweep a cross over Ciaran Clark and onto the path of the striker.

Heurelho Gomes made a 67th minute stop on Joselu as Newcastle tried to find an unlikely way back.

Snakebit Newcastle could not buy a goal, and substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic was stymied several times.

Brazil hammer Japan; Serbia, South Korea win

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There are plenty of friendlies taking place across the globe this week as teams step up their 2018 World Cup preparations.

Five teams who have already booked their spot at the tournament in Russia next summer were in action early on Friday with Brazil, Serbia and South Korea all grabbing wins.

Below is a roundup of the games which took place, with plenty of other international friendlies to come in the next few days.


Japan 1-3 Brazil

The Seleceao were purring in Lille, France as Neymar scored from the penalty spot early on (with the help of VAR giving a decision against Southampton and Japan defender Maya Yoshida) but the PSG star then missed a second spot kick in the first half. Not to worry as Marcelo smashed home to make it 2-0 and and Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus finished off a flowing team move to make it 3-0 before half time. Japan pulled a goal back in the second half through Tomoaki Makino but Brazil dominated as they now face England at Wembley next Tuesday. Japan face Belgium in Brugge on Tuesday.

South Korea 2-1 Colombia

Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son scored twice for South Korea as they beat much-fancied Colombia in Suwon. Cristian Zapata pulled a goal back for a strong Los Cafeteros side who had James Rodriguez and Davinson Sanchez in the starting lineup, plus Carlos Bacca and Edwin Cardona jumped off the bench with Juan Cuadrado an unused sub. Colombia travel to Chongqing to face China on Tuesday.

China 0-2 Serbia

Torino’s Adem Ljajic opened the scoring for managerless Serbia in Guangzhou and Newcastle’s Aleksandar Mitrovic made it 2-0 in the second half. Serbia play against South Korea in Ulsan on Tuesday. Good preparations for Serbia ahead of their first appearance at a World Cup since 2010.

PL Sunday preview: Newcastle shoot for top-4 place at Brighton

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures offers up a meeting of two newly promoted sides in the only game of the day.

[ PL ROUNDUP: Goals galore on a wild Saturday ]

Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Newcastle United — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Newcastle’s return to the PL had all the makings of another spectacular flame-out and an immediate return to the Championship — owner Mike Ashley promised manager Rafa Benitez a busy summer of signings, but that never materialized; Benitez’s discontent was widely reported, some going so far as to say he had considered stepping down; the Magpies lost their first two games of the season, failing to score in either — until Jamaal Lascelles decided he was having no more of it.

Lascelles, Newcastle’s 23-year-old captain and star center back, has helped Benitez’s boys to three straight victories, in which they’ve conceded just one goal (in last week’s 2-1 victory over Stoke City), has united a group of players which seemed headed for self-destruction just four short weeks ago. The key, according to Lascelles, is accountability evenly shared by every player in the dressing room.

[ MORE: Pochettino — “I am in love with Harry Kane” ]

“A couple of seasons back, we’d go a goal down or concede a goal and heads would drop,” Lascelles said. “We’d be looking at each other like, ‘who’s going to step up?’ But everyone steps up, the 11 of us. This group of boys are excellent, we just keep going.”

Three points on Sunday would see Newcastle leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, two sides level on 11 points and presently fighting over fourth place, to finish the weekend in the PL’s final Champions League place (after six of 38 games, of course).

[ MORE: Mourinho bewildered by sending-off; Man United beat Southampton ]

As for Brighton, returning home to Falmer Stadium is a welcome development after losing twice at Bournemouth (first in the PL, then in the League Cup) in the span of four days. In charge of Brighton is another former Newcastle manager, Chris Hughton, who guided his new club to promotion from the Championship last season (just as he did for Newcastle in 2010). Brighton held the league lead heading into the season’s final days before the Seagulls faltered and Newcastle pounced, but Hughton says there isn’t any ill will onto which to be held.

“There shouldn’t be, because they deserved it,” Hughton said. “We had opportunities in the last three games to clinch the title and we weren’t good enough at that particular moment to do that. All credit goes to Newcastle for doing it and certainly there’s no revenge. We are up against a good team that’s in good form at the moment.”

INJURIES: Brighton — OUT: Steve Sidwell (back), Sam Baldock (calf), Beram Kayal (leg); QUESTIONABLE: Izzy Brown (hamstring) | Newcastle — OUT: Aleksandar Mitrovic (suspended), Paul Dummett (hamstring), Florian Lejeune (ankle), Karl Darlow (ankle)

PL Sunday preview: Palace seek 1st point; Swansea vs. Newcastle

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures feature four sides currently sitting in the bottom half of the league table, a combined three wins and 11 points between them. To say points are precious to these sides would be a massive understatement.

[ PL ROUNDUP: Premier League’s big boys score big on Saturday ]

Burnley vs. Crystal Palace — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Frank De Boer could have never foreseen himself fighting for his job just three games into his Palace tenure, but ahead of Sunday’s visit to Burnley’s Turf Moor, that’s precisely the Dutchman’s reality after dropping all nine points to start the season, and doing so without scoring a single goal and conceding six. After losing his job at Inter Milan after just 14 games last season, De Boer’s reputation (and future employment prospects) could very well be on the line.

“We know it takes time and it is a long-term project we have here,” de Boer said at his Friday press conference. “I have a positive feeling from what I have seen in training this week. I want to start seeing the performances I am expecting and once we start getting results it will give us all the confidence we need.”

INJURIES: Burnley — OUT: Nahki Wells (ankle); PROBABLE: Jeff Hendrick (thigh) | Palace — OUT: Wilfried Zaha (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Jairo Riedewald (groin), James Tomkins (groin); PROBABLE: Mamadou Sakho (ankle)

Swansea City vs. Newcastle United — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The dark-cloud story at Newcastle remains the same in September as it was in March, April and May: Rafa Benitez might just up and walk away from the club any day now, due to his poor working relationship with club owner Mike Ashley. The Magpies started the season in poor form, losing to Tottenham Hotspur and Huddersfield Town, before trouncing a lifeless West Ham United side right before the international break. Recapturing that momentum will be vitally important against a Swansea side which is expected to figure in this season’s relegation battle, right alongside Newcastle.

To make matters worse, Benitez won’t be on the sideline for Sunday’s trip to the Liberty Stadium after Benitez underwent surgery for a hernia last week. Newcastle assistant Francisco de Miguel Moreno will take charge in Benitez’s absence.

INJURIES: Swansea — OUT: Ki Sung-Yueng (knee), Nathan Dyer (achilles), Kyle Bartley (knee) | Newcastle — OUT: Chancel Mbemba (groin), Aleksandar Mitrovic (suspension); QUESTIONABLE: DeAndre Yedlin (hamstring), Dwight Gayle (illness)