A Javier Manquillo foul provided a rare chance for Spurs, but Harry Kane‘s heading a free kick bounced harmlessly to Magpies backstop Rob Elliot.
Newcastle was sloppy with its touches and passing, but its relentless pressure allowed the hosts most of the ball through most of the first half and a significant amount of corner kicks.
Rafa Benitez was forced into his second substitution when new signing Florian Lejeune was injured from a rash tackle from Kane — the Spurs man saw just yellow — and a second center back came off the bench in Chancel Mbemba.
Spurs found their footing around the 41st minute, and Elliot had a little work to do when Christian Eriksen curled a shot from outside the box.
Jonjo Shelvey was given a red card after the break. Dele Alli handled the ball after a foul and would not release it. As Shelvey stepped over Dele to gather the ball, he stepped on the Spurs’ player’s ankle and was sent off.
Newcastle would have to play 42 minutes down a man.
Harry Kane made a sliding point-blank shot that Elliot foiled for a corner as Spurs mounted their attack.
It was Dele the villain who put Spurs ahead, rightly so, with a sliding finish off Christian Eriksen’s feed. Kane started the play, and Lascelles was victimized on the finish. 1-0, Spurs.
The Magpies held firm for less than 10 minutes, and this time it was Davies with a stylish finish of more fluid play from Dele, Kane, and Eriksen.
Christian Atsu put a shot into the outside of the netting in the 83rd minute as the Magpies sought a goal. A late free kick then saw Ciaran Clark hit a partial clearance right into Hugo Lloris‘ arms.
Kane, who doesn’t have a PL goal in any August, battered the post in the first minute of stoppage time then scored an offside goal in the second.
With the Champions League final complete, the club season has officially come to a close. One more month remains until the transfer window officially opens, leaving us to dig through all the rumors until then.
The biggest rumor of Sunday morning saw The Times reporter Duncan Castles say that Manchester United’s priority this summer is to keep David De Gea, but they are resigned to the possibility of losing him, and therefore have price-tagged him at $85 million, which would be a world-record for a goalkeeper transfer fee.
Castles also reports that after losing the possibility of signing Antoine Griezmann, United values Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata highly as a replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With De Gea most likely to move to Real Madrid than anywhere else, the possibility of a swap deal remains. According to the report, Morata’s inclusion in a move for De Gea would for United discount the price by about 2/3, meaning Madrid would still need to throw in cash to complete the deal.
A few days ago, reports linked Roma winger Mohamed Salah with Liverpool. Those rumors are still at full strength as talks appear to be ongoing. According to Sky Italia, the clubs have come to an agreement on a fee of $45 million and the player’s agent has flown to discuss personal terms.
However, according to David Amoyal of GianlucaDiMarzio.com, the two sides are still in discussions for a fee, and Roma is hoping to secure a better deal. Despite the discrepancies in reporting, it still sounds like this is one of the stronger transfer rumors of the early summer, and Salah looks likely to pair up with Sadio Mane on the wings at Anfield.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has claimed he will fight for his place at the Emirates and will not leave the Gunners this summer. According to the man himself, he has been approached by a number of French clubs, most notably Marseille.
“I am not insensitive to the approaches of the French clubs and especially that of Marseille,” Giroud told French program Telefoot. “But my future is in the Premier League. I still have titles to win. After the FA Cup, we will go for the league title. That’s my goal.”
Giroud scored a hat-trick for France in their 5-0 friendly win over Paraguay on Friday.
According to the Newcastle Chronicle, Premier League newboys Newcastle are hoping to lure central defender Florian Lejeune from Eibar to the English top flight. The report states that Lejeune, a 26-year-old French international, has an $11.2 million release clause that Newcastle is willing to meet.
Newcastle had the joint-best defensive record in the Championship last season along with second-place Brighton, but are still young in central defense. Their four most-used central defenders last season in Jamal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, Chancel Mbemba, and Grant Henley have all been major parts of relegated squads in the past.
As posted yesterday, Rafa Benitez met with the media after Newcastle United confirmed that the trophy-winning manager has decided to stay with the club despite relegation, and said this is his ship now.
This is huge news for the Magpies.
The 56-year-old Spaniard couldn’t rescue the sinking ship he inherited from Steve McClaren, and is tasked with lifting Newcastle back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
For years, Newcastle’s managers have been subject to the approval of chief scouts, managing directors and owner Mike Ashley. What Benitez has now is assurances that no player is being sold without his permission, and none being bought without his approval. Which means no midseason sales of Yohan Cabaye because the iron is hot, or unrequested purchases like Xisco.
Of course that could mean we’re headed for a huge August or January bust-up when Ashley or Lee Charnley pulls the rug out from some big acquisition that could firm up Newcastle’s standing in the top flight, but we’ll stay on the sunny side for now and assume Benitez’s people made that part of his contact air tight.
It means Newcastle could line up, basically, the same as last season. There are plusses and minuses to that, of course, as the club was relegated thanks to woeful form and players who were perhaps rightfully accused of only showing up for primetime matches.
— Newcastle took as many points from Manchester United (2) as Aston Villa.
— The Magpies went 2-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, grabbed four points from Liverpool, beat West Ham and drew both Manchester City and Chelsea.
— They also lost to relegation rivals Norwich, drew Sunderland twice and were swept by Watford.
There’s no certainty there, and one of the main things that helped Newcastle bounce right back up to the PL in 2009-10 was a crew that got its footing in the Championship by Week 13 and never looked back: the Magpies lost just once in the league from Oct. 24 onward thanks in large part to heart-and-soul players who stuck around after the drop (Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez, Fabricio Coloccini, Andy Carroll and others).
Among those who fit the bill for understanding the task at hand are Andros Townsend, Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Colback, Chancel Mbemba and Coloccini. Others, like Sissoko and Siem De Jong, risk poisoning the well. That’s not to say they shouldn’t be kept around, but Benitez will need to know transfer rumor and agent hijinks aren’t in the offing.
Make no mistake about it, Benitez in control is better than anything the Magpies have had in ages and Newcastle is far more likely to replicate the instant promotions of West Ham and itself than the divisional drops of Leeds United and Portsmouth.
For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now we are looking at the individual teams alphabetically and analyzing how they fared.
Here’s a look at the 10 teams from Newcastle United down to West Ham United.
Position: 18th High: Georginio Wijnaldum scored four goals against Norwich in a 6-2 win. Low: Being relegated for the second time in a decade. A club of this size?!? Star man: Andros Townsend — With respect to Chancel Mbemba, who also missed plenty of time, Townsend’s arrival in January reinvigorated a miserable attack. Coach: Steve McClaren proved that many who wander are lost, and Rafa Benitez would need to have almost zero missteps to save the club. He had one big one, a 0-0 draw against Villa. Grade: F
Position: 19th High: The 3-2 win over Newcastle on April 2 had the Canaries feeling ready for safety. Low: The 3-0 loss to Sunderland three weeks later all but ruined those plans. Star man: Robbie Brady — Their season could’ve been as poor as Aston Villa’s, honestly, had Norwich not bought the Hull City star. Coach: Alex Neil didn’t save the Canaries, but he came close despite a lack of top-end talent. Grade: D
Position: 6th High: Thumping Arsenal on Boxing Day or Spurs on the season’s penultimate match day. Low: Bouncing out of the Europa League at the hands of Midtjylland. Star man: Virgil Van Dijk — There were a lot of wonder workers at St. Mary’s this season, but the former Celtic center back was stout, strong and fearsome. Coach: Ronald Koeman was absolutely the right man to take over for Mauricio Pochettino, even if many of us scratched at our heads at the hiring last season. Grade: A
Position: 9th High: Beating Manchester United 2-0 on Boxing Day. Low: Allowing 12 goals over three-straight losses in April. Star man: Jack Butland — It’s no coincidence that Stoke’s turn in form was very close to coinciding with his season-ending injury. Coach: Mark Hughes‘ defense fell apart after a very promising smart. Injuries certainly hurt his chances, but better is needed to take the next step. Grade: B-
Position: 12th High: Battering West Ham and Liverpool in successive May fixtures. Low: Getting two points between Halloween and Dec. 20. Star man: Gylfi Sigurdsson — Andre Ayew was the new shiny toy, but Icelandic star Sigurdsson had plenty of big moments in lifting Swans out of its relegation-threatening funk. Coach: Garry Monk felt like a hard-luck sacking with Swans in the drop zone, but Francesco Guidolin’s work proved that a fresh take in the team room was all the talented Swans needed to thrive in the PL. Grade: C+
Position: 17th High: Beating up on miserable Everton to seal PL safety with a 3-0 win in May. Low: Going winless from Opening Day until October 25 Star man: Lamine Kone — Jermain Defoe caught fire and scored some massive goals, but Kone stabilized a very leaky back line. Coach: Big Sam Allardyce isn’t much of a tactician, but his work in the January transfer market kept the Black Cats up. Grade: C-
Position: 3rd High: Walking all over Manchester United 3-0 in a Top Four tilt on April 10. Low: Throwing away a 2-0 halftime lead and any remaining title chances in a messy, card-filled 2-2 draw at Chelsea in May. Star man: Harry Kane — Lots of worthwhile players here — Mousa Dembele is criminally underappreciated — but Kane is so much more than a finisher and took his game to new heights this season. Coach: Mauricio Pochettino should be lauded for a wonderful season, but fans will be licking their wounds after Arsenal passed them on the final day. Twenty-one straight seasons below their rivals. Woof. Grade: A-
Position: 13th High: Clobbering Liverpool 3-0 in December at Vicarage Road, or upsetting Arsenal in the FA Cup. Low: Losing 4-0 to that same Arsenal side two weeks later. Star man: Troy Deeney — For scoring and captaining the side, the big man gets the nod over electric striker Odion Ighalo and shotstopper Heurelho Gomes. Coach: Quique Sanchez Flores did a fantastic job, and is not coming back. Safety first, stability when? Grade: B-
West Bromwich Albion
Position: 14th High: Beating Arsenal on Nov. 21 at the Hawthorns. Low: Upset in the FA Cup by Reading. Star man: Johnny Evans — Slim pickings here, but Evans was huge given what Tony Pulis wants from his charges. Coach: Tony Pulis kept his side safe again… at the expense of entertainment. And it’s not like he doesn’t have talent! This is a personal beef of mine, but the Baggies supporters I know expect better football from their club. Grade: D
West Ham United
Position: 7th High: Winning a London Derby 2-0 at Arsenal on Opening Day was nice, but the final match at the Boleyn Ground was a night for the ages. The fact that it was a thrilling win over Manchester United helped, too. Low: May 7’s loss to Swansea City cost the Hammers dearly in the race for the Top Five. Star man: Dimitri Payet — Quite simply sensational. Coach: Slaven Bilic is that rare breed to make the transition from club playing hero to club managing hero. A near impeccable job from the granite-jawed Croatian, who showed West Ham that their “We can do better than Big Sam” theories were fair. Grade: A
Newcastle United has no silver lining in its relegation cloud after sinking into the second tier for a second time.
There will be no awakening, no excuses that they were unlucky. There isn’t going to be a series of veterans lining up to stay and instantly guide the team back to the top flight, as proud players Kevin Nolan, Fabricio Coloccini, Jonas Gutierrez and Andy Carroll did in 2009-10.
Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend showed great heart during the relegation battle, but will they be content to help the Magpies in the Championship. Chancel Mbemba and Aleksandar Mitrovic would be stars in the second tier, but will they be okay staying one year after arriving from a Champions League outfit?
The good news is that all of those players have some too much value on the transfer market, and Newcastle is a rich club.
Much maligned owner Mike Ashley is almost certainly not selling the club at a loss. In the past he’s said that he’s “wedded” to the club for better or relegation. Well here’s the latter, and Ashley has had seven managers oversee 20 or more matches since buying the team in 2007. Their win percentages?
Not too good. By comparison, some of the worst percentages amongst active PL bosses belong to Sam Allardyce (30 percent), Tony Pulis (33 percent) and Mark Hughes (38 percent). Only Pardew even comes close to flirting with those marks… and those are, again, among the worst.
Then, there’s the current manager: Rafa Benitez. He almost certainly is interested in executing his out-clause, and most of their pre-Benitez hires have been at-best yes men or long shots: Alan Pardew, John Carver, Steve McClaren, Joe Kinnear (!!)… these were not inspired hires. Lucking out with Chris Hughton over promotion in 2009-10 was another story altogether.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Youngsters Adam Armstrong and Ivan Toney were on loan this year, the Magpies played most of the season with a second or third string keeper after Tim Krul and then Rob Elliot were hurt, and really did have a poor run of injuries.
The Magpies have a good chance for instant promotion, though probably not the 102-point run they pulled in 2009-10. A lot of it hinges on having the right manager, whether Benitez surprisingly decides to stay or a new face is brought to Tyneside, and fans will have trouble trusting Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley with making the right choice.