Ciaran Clark

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Premier League preview: Chelsea vs. Newcastle United

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  • Newcastle winless at Chelsea since 2012
  • Home team unbeaten in last six between them
  • Chelsea leads all-time 67W-40D-52L

Newcastle United heads to Chelsea with a bit more confidence than many expect for Saturday’s encounter at Stamford Bridge (Watch live at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via

For one thing, the Magpies have matched up well with Chelsea this decade. Newcastle has five wins and three draws from 13 matches against the Blues since the start of the 2010-11 season.

[ MORE: Top Premier League story lines ]

The Magpies are still without defensive lynchpin and captain Jamaal Lascelles, but are coming off a come-from-behind 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Tuesday.

Antonio Conte will be there, but a suspension may be looming following his being sent to the stands for arguing with referees in a 1-0 win over Swansea City.

What they’re saying

Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger on competition at Chelsea“We have some momentum and that is why we also have to rotate and everyone needs to get in their best form. We have to keep going and winning. Football is about competition and I know we have good players like Christensen, Cahill, Azpilicueta and David Luiz, and it is important if I get the chance to try to help the team like this. I am very happy because my aim is always to help the team and if I get a goal like this it is always very good.”

Newcastle’s Ciaran Clark on the fight for safety“We’ll fight, and we’ll keep going no matter what the situation is. We’ll never give up, and I think we showed that [at West Brom]. We started the season really well, and being promoted, there is maybe a little bit of pressure. But we just try to do the best we can, that’s all we can do as players. As players, and as a club, we try to do the best we can each week, and hopefully it will be good enough.


Chelsea has too much for Newcastle, and scoops up a pair of goals and three points in a 2-0 home win.

Newcastle rallies to draw West Brom 2-2

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  • Baggies take 2-0 lead
  • Field scores first PL goal
  • Magpies score off two set pieces

A late West Brom own goal helped Newcastle United come back from a two-goal hole to draw 2-2 at the Hawthorns on Tuesday

Ciaran Clark scored Newcastle’s other goal after Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Field staked the Baggies to a 2-0 lead.

The draw keeps West Brom winless since August, but it pulls the Baggies above Everton and into 16th place. Newcastle is three points and four places higher.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A sleepy start to the match was brought to life when Salomon Rondon had a go from 30 yards that bounced off the top of the cross bar.

That unfortunately was not a harbinger of what was the come, and the match crawled through the first half hour.

Isaac Hayden recorded a rare shot on target for Newcastle when Ben Foster collected a bounding 35th minute shot through traffic.

Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow rescued a looping header from Hal Robson-Kanu from the goal line.

Robson-Kanu would get his goal before the break, darting in front of Chancel Mbemba to nod Kieran Gibbs‘ cross over the line. The play was started by a fantastic Johnny Evans ball.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Newcastle threatened with an early corner kick, but Ciaran Clark couldn’t turn Matt Ritchie‘s service on frame. A free kick followed, but was poorly executed.

The hosts went up 2-0 in the 56th minute through Field, who raced to the back post to meet typical service from crossing wizard Matty Phillips.

The Magpies tried to answer off a pair of corners, and this time Clark headed Ritchie’s corner home. It was 2-1 in the 59th.

Darlow stopped a Robson-Kanu shot four minutes later. At the other end, Ayoze Perez turned and fired and Foster collected the ball in the 80th.

James McClan fouled DeAndre Yedlin on the edge of the 18 in the 82nd minute after a fine pass from Jonjo Shelvey.

That foul cost the Baggies, as Ritchie’s free kick was backheeled into his own goal off Evans by Rondon.

Newcastle United 3-0 West Ham United: Magpies soar

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  • Joselu scores 1st NUFC goal
  • Clark, Mitrovic score
  • West Ham now 0-3
  • Magpies nab first goals, win of season

Newcastle United poured misery on West Ham United’s slow start to the season in breaking out for a 3-0 win at St. James Park on Saturday.

Joselu, Ciaran Clark, and Aleksandar Mitrovic scored for Rafa Benitez‘s embattled Magpies, who posted their first win in any competition this season and first August win in three seasons.

[ MORE: Rafa, Joselu react ]

West Ham falls to 0-3, increasing pressure on manager Slaven Bilic.

Matt Ritchie was Man of the Match for the Magpies, the Scottish midfielder pulling the strings on multiple occasions.

The win helped Rafa Benitez became the fourth-fastest manager to 500 points in Premier League play

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle spent time in the West Ham end to start the match, but the first 15 minutes were more cagey than promising for either side.

Javier Hernandez was given a yellow card for an off-the-ball incident with Matt Ritchie, and Newcastle came close to breaking its season duck off the restart. Isaac Hayden blazed over the bar.

Andre Ayew injured himself on a slide tackle and cause a five-minute delay as the bloodied striker was given treatment and a new shirt.

The Magpies found their opener in attractive fashion. An incisive through ball from on-loan Borussia Dortmund man Mikel Merino helped Christian Atsu into the left of the box, and Joselu met the diminutive Ghanaian’s pass for a 1-0 lead.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The Magpies buzzed into the second half, forcing Joe Hart into a solid save within the first two minutes.

Hernandez was warned over a 51st minute foul, but remained in the match and nearly leveled the match only to see Rob Elliot and Ciaran Clark conspire to keep Newcastle’s clean sheet in tact.

Ritchie’s daring dribble ended with Hart slapping his shot away, eventually leading to an unsuccessful corner.

Clark made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute when he rose to head Ritchie’s cross home with authority.

Substitute striker Aleksandar Mitrovic had two good chances, heading the first over and stymied by Hart on the second.

He’d find the net when an Ayoze Perez flick left him 1v1 with Hart. Mitrovic froze the England keeper and rounded him for a tap-in. 3-0.

Tottenham 3-1 Aston Villa: Dembele, Alli, Kane send Spurs 5th

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  • Dembele scores in back to back PL games
  • Alli’s 2nd career PL goal
  • Kane’s 5th PL goal (4 in two games)
  • Spurs up to 5th; Villa stay 20th

Sunday’s North London Derby (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) is officially a meeting of the Premier League’s two most in-form sides following Tottenham Hotspur’s (14 points from last six league games; Arsenal – 15 points from six games) 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on Monday.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Moussa Dembele gave Tottenham an early lead, three minutes on the clock, with a bullish run and fortunate finish. Danny Rose played the Belgian down the left touchline, where Ciaran Clark made his initial challenge. Dembele held off the challenge from Clark, bullying his way past the defender and into the penalty area with only Brad Guzan ahead of him. Dembele’s left-footed finish nutmegged Guzan and bulged the back of the net.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Dele Alli doubled Spurs’ lead shortly before halftime. Rose sent in a cross from the left wing, which was headed away by Joleon Lescott, but only as far as Alli at the top of the 18-yard box. His first touch was with his thigh to control and settle the ball, the second was a low, volleyed strike to the far post that left Guzan rooted to the ground.

Villa pulled their goal back through Jordan Ayew, whose long-range strike took a severe deflection off Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen, wrong-footing goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and sneaking just inside the Frenchman’s right-hand post.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Harry Kane scored Spurs’ third goal, curling a right-footed blast into the top corner of Guzan’s far post. Christian Eriksen freed Erik Lamela down the right wing in the build-up, Lamela cut the ball all the way across the penalty area and Kane rifled the ensuing shot into the back of the net for a comfortable final score.

With their victory, Spurs (20 points) are up to fifth in the league table, five points back of Arsenal, their north London rivals and joint-leaders of the PL. One point separates Spurs from fourth-place Manchester United in their bid to once again claim an UEFA Champions League place. Spurs remain one of two teams (Leicester City) to have lost just once on the season (opening day defeat away to Manchester United). Meanwhile, Villa remain bottom of the league, two points off the pace of 19th-place Sunderland and four points from safety in 17th (Bournemouth).

Big Spenders: Which Premier League clubs must go all-in on transfer deadline day?


Before we get to the business at hand — discussing which three Premier League clubs must spend money in a wild and irresponsible manner during tomorrow’s transfer deadline day proceedings — let’s take a moment to discuss how ludicrous it is that “Christmas Eve shopping” is still a modern-day practice.

[ MORE: All of the latest transfer news ]

In terms of running a football club, we’re talking about billions of dollars at play. Not hoping you’ll get lucky and snag the last Turbo Man action figure to give to your kid the next morning. Billions — with a B — of dollars. If I’m the chairman of a club — say, Everton — and another club — say, Chelsea — wants to buy one of my most-prized possessions — say, a center back named John Stones — there’s no way I’m giving the buying club any sort of cut-rate price just because the transfer window is winding down.

Not only do you have little or no time to reinvest that incoming cash, but an entire preseason of preparation and planning is thrown out the window with four months still to pass before you can do a thing about it.

[ JPW’S PL Playback: It’s time to change the rules of the transfer window ]

With that being said, the cash will be flowing once again tomorrow. Here’s a fair guess at who could be writing most of the checks:

3. Sunderland

Disclaimer: It was quite difficult to pick a third team that needs to make waves on transfer deadline day, so I ended up with Sunderland. You might look at their transfer activity this summer and think, “They’ve already net spent $24 million,” which yes, is true. But let’s examine the manner in which they did so.

Fabio Borini for $15 million — risky; Jeremain Lens for $12 million — completely unproven in a major European league; Younes Kaboul for $4.5 million — he’ll be out for three months soon enough; Sebastian Coates for $3 million — never played more than 10 games in a Premier League season; Adam Matthews for $3 million — this ain’t the Scottish Premiership.

What I’m saying is, Sunderland finished last season in 16th place, just three points clear of relegation — and that only happened after another “great escape” in the season’s final weeks. There’s still work to be done for Dick Advocaat’s side, which currently sits bottom of the league with 10 goals conceded through four games, or they’ll be praying for yet another miracle.

[ DONE DEALS: Recapping Man United (and others’) very busy Monday ]

2. Aston Villa

In short, I don’t believe Tim Sherwood has been given enough free reign to spend like the second coming of Harry Redknapp that we all know he is. I need from him a net spend greater than $9 million in his first transfer window as a permanent first-team manager. But more importantly, he needs players capable of keeping the Villans in the Premier League.

Let’s have a look at the backline Sherwood trotted out in their most recent league game, a 2-2 draw with Sunderland: Jordan Amavi (21 years old), Ciaran Clark, Micah Richards and Alan Hutton. That’s a defensive unit capable of resigning even the league’s most prolific of attacks — which they don’t have — to a bottom-third finish, as evidenced in that very game.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday’s officially confirmed transfers ]

1. Arsenal

Let’s count all the areas in which Arsene Wenger should have been strengthening his squad in the 99 days since last season ended: 1) defensive midfield — are we to assume Francis Coquelin can play 38 games without incident? 2) another central midfielder — Jack Wilshere has already missed the season’s first four games; 3) center forward — Olivier Giroud and…who?

If the goal is, as the Gunners said again and again all summer long, to challenge for the title, they don’t just need players to fill those positions. They need genuinely world-class players to do so — the kind of players you don’t acquire in a last-minute deal at a cut-rate price, both of which being characteristics on which Wenger seems intent. Outside of Petr Cech, not a single signing will play a meaningful part in Arsenal’s 2015-16 season.

Not a single one of Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani or Zlatan Ibrahimovic — all players “linked” to the Gunners this summer — are walking through that door on Tuesday.