Matt Ritchie

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Benitez praises debut hero Dubravka after upset win

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Rafa Benitez was feeling quite good after his Newcastle United side held on to beat Manchester United 1-0 at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

And why wouldn’t Rafa in a good place? Newcastle kept their stay in the Premier League’s Bottom Three to just over two hours. And in doing so, Benitez one-upped longtime rival Jose Mourinho, who is yet to win a match at St. James’ Park.

Matt Ritchie‘s second half goal did the trick, but the goalkeeper Benitez landed on loan just before the January transfer window closed was the star of the show.

Martin Dubravka made a number of fine saves in his first start for the Magpies.

“He can buy the lottery and win today. He was composed and that gave confidence to the team. All the players worked hard, so it is not fair to say just the goalkeeper played well.”

He also knows he got a bit lucky with goal mouth clearances and substandard finishing from Mourinho’s men.

“They are dangerous, but the teamwork we showed to fight for every ball was amazing,” Benitez said. “I am pleased for the players and the fans. Because we won here at home.

Here’s what Dubravka said, courtesy the BBC:

“It was an amazing game. It was important for us that we got the three points. Everybody is super happy. I tried to focus on the game and just think about helping the team in critical situations.”

Newcastle stuns Manchester United

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  • Dubravka shines in debut
  • Ritchie scores off set piece
  • Mourinho winless at St. James’ Park

Matt Ritchie‘s second half goal led Newcastle United to a 1-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday at St. James’ Park to ensure their stay in the Premier League’s drop zone was a shade over two hours.

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka made a number of huge saves as Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial were continually flummoxed by the hosts.

The win boosts Newcastle into 13th place with 28 points, while Manchester United remains second with 56.

Paul Pogba was pulled in the 66th minute after losing his mark on Newcastle’s goal.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chris Smalling gave away a free kick on the edge of the 18 with a handball, and Kenedy stared down David De Gea before letting Gayle blast one into the wall. De Gea stopped Jonjo Shelvey on the rebound before DeAndre Yedlin ended the chance by shooting over the goal.

A Manchester United giveaway allowed Diame to cue up Ayoze Perez for a half-chance that zipped wide of the goal.

The Red Devils settled into possession but couldn’t find the target, with Newcastle backstop Martin Dubravka making a few handy plays on debut. At the other end, Kenedy his a hard shot right at De Gea.

Moments after Dwight Gayle held up a potentially strong Newcastle break, Anthony Martial nearly made them pay but for a Dubravka save.

Lukaku crossed for Martial, who got in front of Paul Dummett but drove his header wide.

Chris Smalling chopped down Gayle at the corner of the 18, but no penalty call came for the English striker.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The second half saw Matt Ritchie’s penalty shout denied by the offside flag, and United started to assert control soon after through a Lukaku goal pulled back for a foul and an Alexis Sanchez penalty shout that ended with his shooting into the side netting.

Sanchez then flubbed a chance to make it 1-0 with an extra touch after dancing past Dubravka. The superfluous move allowed Florian Lejeune to slide in front of him and block the shot.

Newcastle won a free kick when Smalling dove inside his own half, and Shelvey’s free kick was headed into Ritchie’s path by

Jose Mourinho pulled Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard for Michael Carrick and Juan Mata after the goal, and the Red Devils were back at it. Dubravka stopped an Ashley Young rip in the 68th minute.

Newcastle showed steel as the Red Devils kept attacking, with Martial seeing two shots from the top of the six blocked by Gayle and Yedlin.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Newcastle United: Magpies swipe point

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  • Newcastle leads through Diame
  • Palace levels, then dominates
  • Palace with points in 13 of 15
  • Magpies host Man Utd next

Luka Milivojevic‘s second half penalty was all Crystal Palace could manage despite a dominant second half which saw them draw Newcastle United 1-1 on Sunday at Selhurst Park.

Mohamed Diame scored for Newcastle in the draw which has the Magpies in 16th, a point above the drop zone.

Palace is 14th, three points above 18th place Stoke City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Wilfried Zaha had an early chance provided by Luka Milivojevic, but Jamaal Lascelles and Newcastle backstop Karlo Darlow stopped the 2nd minute opportunity.

Jonjo Shelvey presided over a fifth minute free kick, dead center from 35 yards out, and a decent ball led to Wayne Hennessey collecting a Dwight Gayle shot.

Kenedy found Matt Ritchie in the 13th minute, but the Scot popped a tepid shot into Hennessey’s arms. The goalkeeper had to make a better save when DeAndre Yedlin‘s cross was sliced on goal by Ayoze Perez.

The Magpies went ahead through Diame after the 20 minute mark, and Palace will not enjoy the replays of Kenedy’s corner kick sailing through the 18 for the Senegalese midfielder to slot home.

Palace bungled a chance to level through Zaha, as he punched his shot off a player and out of play. It wasn’t quite Raheem Sterling’s Saturday miss at Burnley, but it was not good.

Hennessey then stopped Kenedy before making a quality flying stop on Perez.

Christian Benteke then couldn’t adapt when Darlow’s slapped save appeared near his lap in the goal mouth. It looked an awful sitter.

Cabaye cut a low shot to Darlow moments before the break.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Palace had a great start to the second half, though a Newcastle counter attack, 2v1 with Kenedy and Perez, was frittered away by the hesitant Brazilian.

Ciaran Clark had a hold of Benteke’s shirt, and the linesman awarded a penalty to Palace in the 54th minute. Milivojevic’s attempt was mostly blocked by Darlow, but the ball hit the bar and bounded across the line.

The momentum was fully in Palace’s favor from that point forward, Benteke a constant threat.

Christian Atsu set Isaac Hayden up for a rare Newcastle second half attempt, but Hennessey stopped to collect the low drive.

Palace looked to have won it, but Newcastle’s defenders made consecutive goal mouth clearances from Clark to bail out Darlow.

Atsu curled a shot wide against the run of play near the end of stoppage time.

Transfer rumor roundup: Schurrle to Newcastle, Spurs

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A new name has emerged on the loan market, as Borussia Dortmund forward Andre Schurrle is reportedly being made available for the second half of the Premier League season.

[ WATCH: Full PL match replays ]

Newcastle United reportedly leads the pack for the former Chelsea scorer, who is struggling to get time at BVB thanks to a glut of fantastic wingers including Christian Pulisic.

Magpies boss Rafa Benitez has a good relationship with the Westfalenstadion set, having taken Mikel Merino off their hands in August. Newcastle currently uses Christian Atsu on the left wing and Matt Ritchie on the right, but Schurrle can play center forward and Benitez may prefer to use the 27-year-old in the middle of his trident.

But they’ll face competition, and HITC says BVB is willing to pay half of his wages on an 18-month deal to keep him reasonable for some clubs. This could be a boon for Spurs.

Newcastle and Stoke City have also been linked with Galatasaray midfielder Papa “Badou” Ndiaye, with the Magpies said to have bid just a bit higher than the Potters but still under Gala’s buyout clause.

And here’s a wild one, according to ESPN: Chelsea’s rumored pursuit of current Premier League scorers now includes Marko Arnautovic. The audacious Austrian attacker cost West Ham around $35 million when his head was turned from Stoke City in the summer.

He didn’t perform well but Slaven Bilic, but David Moyes has been able to get some fine performances from the powerful Arnautovic. Chelsea has previously been linked with West Ham teammate Andy Carroll, Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, and Stoke’s Peter Crouch as it attempts to find a center forward to ease the burden placed on Alvaro Morata in his first Premier League season.

Newcastle United 1-1 Swansea City: Level at St James’

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  • Newcastle one loss in six
  • Swans score just 14th goal of season
  • Super sub Joselu levels

Joselu played the role of super sub to deny the visitors a rare win as Newcastle United drew Swansea City 1-1 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Jordan Ayew gave the Welsh visitors a surprise lead, but the concession has Carlos Carvalhal’s club last in the Premier League with 17 points. Newcastle moves three points above the drop before its visit to Manchester City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The hosts were all over the basement dwellers to start the match, but time and again the final pass was a bit off the mark.

When it was on, like when Ayoze Perez did dynamite work in the 12th minute to cue up a point-blank header, the finish was missing: Dwight Gayle headed nowhere near the goal.

Perez was very good early, denied by Lukasz Fabianski following a delightful feed from Matt Ritchie.

Christian Atsu was ripped down atop the 18, dead center, in what was dangerously close to a penalty area. Jonjo Shelvey ripped his effort over the goal, and it was Newcastle who were off the hook for a PK when a Mohamed Diame handball was deemed acceptable at the other end.

After a rare Swans chance, a lazy Gayle was offside to nod in what would’ve been an opener.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Perez intercepted a Sam Clucas miscue and set Gayle up for a 49th minute chance but the Englishman missed yet another opportunity.

Of course, Swans found the opener. Karl Darlow stopped Jordan Ayew’s opening header with a fantastic palm save, but cold only get a finger to the rebound on its way to goal.

Joselu tied the score through traffic at an acute angle after Shelvey sent Perez over the top with a diagonal ball. Fabianski was tight to his post and missed the shot.

Fabianski then thwarted Perez’s bid for a back post goal, and the ball went off the Spaniard for a goal kick.

It was mostly Newcastle without incisive threat for the final 20 minutes. That changed when Ritchie and Atsu lorded over an 88th minute free kick, but no one followed his offering to the back post.

Yet a stoppage time counter nearly defied the Magpies dominance but for Karl Darlow’s aggression and a DeAndre Yedlin clearance off the line.