Ayoze Pérez

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Premier League 2017-18 preview – Newcastle United

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Newcastle’s not your typical newly promoted side.

After bouncing straight back from relegation and returning to the Premier League, where they spent have spent every season except two since the league’s inauguration in 1992. Both times Newcastle were relegated, they won the Championship and came straight back up.

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This time, they have as experienced a manager as a newly promoted side can have along for the ride. Newcastle proved strong in their bid to keep Rafa Benitez after relegation, and he delivered on his promise to get them back to the top flight. Now, staying there will be another battle altogether.

Best, worst case scenarios – Best-case scenario is that Newcastle returns to its former pedigree as a perennial top-half finisher. That’s not out of the question at all, considering they have a strong side that pulverized the Championship at times. Newcastle can break down any defense, with attacking talent that could surprise the Premier League with its quality.

Worst-case, this team flops hard and battles relegation again. The Magpies’ biggest weakness is facing a team like them, that possesses the ball and storms forward. They lost twice to Fulham last season in Championship play, a team most comparable to Newcastle’s style at that level. Should teams look to replicate this strategy, Benitez would be powerless as he watches his team pinned back and unable to push forward. This team isn’t vastly changed from when they were relegated, and that could prove a major downfall.


Best possible XI is…

Elliott

Yedlin — Lascelles — Lejeune — Dummett

Shelvey — Diame

Ritchie — Perez — Murphy

Gayle


[ MORE: 2017-18 PL season preview hub ] 

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).

Transfers Out: Florian Thauvin (Marseille, $12.9 million), Daryl Murphy (Nottingham Forest, $2.7 million), Sammy Ameobi (Bolton, Free), Vurnon Anita (Leeds United, Free), Haris Vuckic (FC Twente, Free), Yoan Gouffran (Goztepe, Free).

Last season:

— 1st Place finish in Championship (Automatic promotion)
— FA Cup 4th Round (Lost to Oxford United)
— League Cup quarterfinals (Lost to Hull City)

Star player: Ayoze Perez — If asked for most important player, I probably would have gone with one of the two central defenders, who anchor this club. Florian Lejeune is a quality addition and will strengthen this defense considerably. However, it’s “star” player and that is without a doubt playmaker Ayoze Perez. The 22-year-old Spaniard can both create and score, and he racked up 12 goals and 7 assists last season in the Championship despite playing 1,400 less minutes than leading creators Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey. Perez will be a critical part of this Newcastle squad, and he’ll need to blossom this time around after misfiring in his first go at the Premier League campaign the Magpies’ relegation season.

Coaches’ Corner: Rafa Benitez is as experienced as they come for newly promoted sides. He is the only manager in history to have won the Champions League, Europa League, Club World Cup, and Super Cup titles, and he has Newcastle in good hands. While he fell from grace at Napoli and Real Madrid, taking charge of Newcastle is a completely different animal, and he passed the Championship meat grinder with flying colors. Back in the Premier League for a full season for the first time since 2010, Benitez has a quality squad to work with as Newcastle looks to continue its slow build back up.

PST predicts: This is a very deep team, which will be of utmost importance when the injuries inevitably hit. The attacking trio of Matt Ritchie, Ayoze Perez, and new signing Jacob Murphy have plenty of support in Christian Atsu, Siem De Jong, Henri Saivet (should he stay). In addition, the midfield is strengthened by Borussia Dortmund loanee Mikel Marino and Jack Colback. The quality in depth coupled with Rafa Benitez’s guiding means this squad should be comfortably in the Premier League, with a safe bottom-half finish. The only slip could be if the players who failed to keep the club afloat last time perform below standards a second time.

Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League

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Two sides have now booked their trips to England’s top flight after Newcastle United rattled off its 27th win of the season.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu — The perfectly poised destroyer ]

The Magpies earned a decisive 4-1 victory over Preston North End on Monday afternoon at St. James’ Park as the second-place side ensured its finish inside the top two in the English Championship.

Newcastle joins already-promoted club Brighton & Hove Albion, who currently sit atop the Championship on 92 points.

Ayoze Perez paced the hosts with goals on both sides of halftime, while Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie also converted for Newcastle.

U.S. Men’s National Team defender DeAndre Yedlin was on the bench for the Magpies but didn’t feature in Monday’s match.

The third and final team to be promoted from the Championship will be decided by the league’s annual promotion playoff, which is held at the end of the season and contested by four sides that finish third through sixth position.

As it stands, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Fulham occupy the four playoff positions.

Newcastle’s Perez issues lukewarm McClaren backing; Board holds talks

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As Newcastle fans issued a scathing takedown of current manager Steve McClaren, Magpies striker Ayoze Perez backed him.

Kind of.

[ MCCLAREN: Won’t step down | Loss was “going down material” ]

Relative to the lukewarm displays Newcastle has seen on the field, Perez stood by McClaren in a sense. He admitted that McClaren is his manager, and so he’s going to play for him.

He also said fans deserve better from the Magpies.

From the BBC:

“He is our manager, we have to be with him,” he added.

“If something changes, I don’t know what’s going to happen – but right now we are with him because he is our manager.”

The rumors from St. James Park are that Newcastle hierarchy is using Monday to decide whether to fire McClaren, who has won just 22 percent of his matches this year. He’s done far better in stints at Derby County and Twente, but these are dire times in Northeast England.

Reports in Newcastle say David Moyes and Rafa Benitez are among the managers who could be tapped to replace McClaren if he’s fired on Monday.

Newcastle is in 19th place in the Premier League, a point behind 17th place Sunderland and six back in goal differential. Whoever is in charge after this weekend’s match against Leicester gets consecutive matches against No. 18 Norwich and No. 17 Sunderland, the latter an almost unimaginably-high stakes Derby.

Do they want to trust McClaren in this spot?

Then again…

Premier League Team of the Week — Round 16

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There’s a sentimental story amongst this week’s Premier League Team of the Week.

Bournemouth’s Harry Arter had a tough week, dealing with the tragic passing of his daughter during childbirth.

[ MORE: But who was the Player of the Week? ]

But he dedicated his performance to his family in helping the Cherries to a historic win over Manchester Untied, one week after Bournemouth toppled Chelsea.

Premier League Team of the Week — Round 16 ARCHIVE ]

Goalkeeper: Rob Elliot (Newcastle United)

Defenders: Allan Nyom (Watford), Jonas Olsson (West Bromwich Albion), Leighton Baines (Everton)

Midfielders: Joshua King (Bournemouth), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace), Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace).

Forwards: Ayoze Perez (Newcastle United), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

Premier League Player of the Week — Round 16

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More often than not, the Premier League Player of the Week is a player who dominated a game, or at least contributed a great deal to the majority of a contest.

This week is an exception, because, oh my, what a goal at what a time.

[ MORE: Magpies “euphoric” after shock defeat of Spurs ]

Ayoze Perez subbed into Newcastle United’s game at White Hart Lane, and made it two-straight years of breaking Spurs’ supporters’ hearts.

Perez cooly collected a pass before slotting a fantastic ball past Hugo Lloris deep into stoppage time to give the Magpies a 2-1 win on Sunday.

Premier League Players of the Week

Week 1: Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City

Week 2: Romelu Lukaku, Everton

Week 3: Callum Wilson, Bournemouth

Week 4: Bafetimbi Gomis, Swansea City

Week 5: Steven Naismith, Everton

Week 6: Anthony Martial, Manchester United

Week 7: Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Week 8: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 9: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

Week 10: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 11: Arouna Kone, Everton

Week 12: Jesse Lingard, Manchester United

Week 15: Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City

Week 16: Ayoze Perez, Newcastle United