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PL roundup: Man Utd best Liverpool; Newcastle safe?

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Get caught up on all seven Premier League fixtures from Saturday…

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Manchester United 2-1 LiverpoolFULL RECAP

It wasn’t pretty — is it ever with Jose Mourinho? — but Man United rode a pair of early Marcus Rashford goals to all three points and reclamation of the steering wheel in the race for second place. Rashford scored after 14 and 24 minutes, at which point United gladly handed over the vast majority of possession (Liverpool finished with 68 percent, at Old Trafford), but the Red Devils held firm outside of Eric Bailly‘s own goal in the 66th minute. With eight games still to play, United lead Liverpool by five points (Tottenham Hotspur could get back to within four with a win on Sunday).

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal PalaceFULL RECAP

Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea snapped a two-game losing skid with a narrow home victory over Crystal Palace, courtesy of a slow roller from Willian and a Martin Kelly own goal inside the first 32 minutes at Stamford Bridge. Patrick Van Aanholt brought the visitors back to 2-1 in the 90th minute, the Blues held on to win for just the second time in six PL outings. They trail Tottenham by two points, having already played one more game than Spurs.

West Ham United 0-3 BurnleyFULL RECAP

West Ham’s season has gone from bad, to worse, to this has to be the worst it can get, right? Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat to seventh-place Burnley saw the London Stadium devolve into a set of truly ugly scenes, as fan violence and protests became the main storyline. Chris Wood scored twice in the second half, to go with another goal from Ashley Barnes, all in the span of 15 second-half minutes.

Newcastle United 3-0 SouthamptonFULL RECAP

Back in August — and September, and October, and probably November, too — Newcastle United seemed a surefire lock for relegation from the PL. Fast-forward to early March, and Rafa Benitez has somehow — masterfully — managed to guide the Magpies to 13th place in the league table, a full five points clear of 18th place. Southampton, on the other hand, are just one place and one point clear of the drop zone after a brace from Kenedy and a third from Matt Ritchie dropped Saints to four games without a win on Saturday.

West Bromwich Albion 1-4 Leicester CityFULL RECAP

West Brom aren’t likely to realize the same rescue from relegation that Newcastle have enjoyed, as Alan Pardew‘s side currently sits bottom of the league, eight points away from safety, after another humiliating defeat at home, this time to eighth-place Leicester. Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Kelechi Iheanacho and Vicente Iborra got the goals after Salomon Rondon had put the Baggies 1-0 up after eight minutes.

Everton 2-0 Brighton & Hove AlbionFULL RECAP

Speaking of sides who managed to rebound after a torrid start to the season, Everton have reclaimed their (apparent) birthright as a top-half side following Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Brighton. Gaetan Bong put the Seagulls behind with an own goal on the hour mark, followed by an insurance goal for the Toffees courtesy of Cenk Tosun.

Huddersfield Town 0-0 Swansea CityFULL RECAP

15th-place Huddersfield and 14th-place Swansea played to perhaps the most lopsided 0-0 draw in the history of soccer after Jordan Ayew was sent off in the 11th minute.

Sunday’s PL schedule

Arsenal vs. Watford — 9:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and
Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 12 p.m. ET, on

Monday’s PL schedule

Stoke City vs. Manchester City — 4 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and

Newcastle United 3-0 Southampton: Magpies seal big win

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  • Magpies take 2-0 halftime lead
  • Saints’ Pellegrino job in danger
  • Ritchie adds insurance

Kenedy scored two first half goals and Newcastle United went a long way toward saving their Premier League status with a 3-0 win over Southampton at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Matt Ritchie also scored for the Magpies, who got one of Jonjo Shelvey‘s good days in winning the match.

Newcastle moves five points clear of the drop zone, into 13th, while Saints remain 17th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Jonjo Shelvey started the opener, sending a long ball to Kenedy that the Brazilian chested down, turned Cedric Soares and grounded a shot past Alex McCarthy inside the far post.

Dwight Gayle had a pair of chances to make it 2-0. His first was saved, and his second would’ve been better left to Ayoze Perez. Gayle instead his a tame effort to McCarthy.

It was 2-0 when Perez was played down the middle of the pitch and used a slowing of the pace and a deft feed to Gayle, who cut across for a Kenedy tap-in.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The Magpies weren’t finished, thanks largely to some baffling defense from Southampton.

The third goal came courtesy of some passive defending atop the 18, with Shelvey given seemingly hours to operate and find a screaming and unmarked Ritchie. The Scotsman beat McCarthy to the far post for 3-0.

Martin Dubravka made a fine save as Saints had a 77th minute chance, and credit to them there wasn’t a let-off despite the three-goal hole.

PL AT HALF: What a goal, Jamie Vardy; NUFC’s Kenedy buries a pair

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Newcastle United has again started well in its bid to avoid relegation, and Jamie Vardy has an outstanding goal for Leicester City as five 10 a.m. ET matches have reached halftime.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Newcastle United 2-0 Southampton

Kenedy has a pair of goals on loan from Chelsea, and the Magpies have the home crowd roaring with a two-goal lead at St. James’ Park.

West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Leicester City

Jamie Vardy has answered Salomon Rondon’s opener with a spell-binding first touch goal at the Hawthorns.

West Ham United 0-0 Burnley
Huddersfield 0-0 Swansea — Swans down to 10-men (J. Ayew)
Everton 0-0 Brighton and Hove Albion

Premier League Preview: Newcastle vs. Southampton

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  • Last Newcastle win in this fixture came in 2013
  • Saints have won just once in last 16 PL matches
  • Only seven goals have been scored at St. James in last six games

Newcastle hosts Southampton from St. James’ Park on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via as the two bottom-half sit in the midst of a heavy relegation battle.

The Magpies currently sit two points above the bottom three in the Premier League, while the Saints are a mere point above Crystal Palace.

Rafa Benitez and his club will have the luxury of Jonjo Shelvey‘s return from injury, however, Islam Slimani remains sidelined with a thigh injury.

Southampton is still without Steven Davis and Maya Yoshida, but the club doesn’t appear to have any new injuries to cope with.

What they’re saying

Rafa Benitez on importance of match: “Every game is important for us. This is the most important because it is the next one. But until the end we must keep going. I hope we win, but until the last one that is what we will do. Every game is a final. We have a lot of games to play. The target is 40 points. Southampton are around us in the table, sometimes you can win even making mistakes. The Manchester United game was excellent, the atmosphere was great with the fans behind the team, we want to replicate that.”

Mauricio Pellegrino on Newcastle’s strengths“They are a very compact team, their fans always lift the team. They will be difficult to manage. Really good defensively and on the counter. But I think we are in a good moment and our players have been training very well, it will be a tough game for Newcastle too. It is interesting because both teams need to win. I can’t imagine they will be comfortable with just one point.”


The Liverpool defeat was expected for Rafa Benitez and his club, but Newcastle has managed to play well over the last month with results against Manchester United (win) and Bournemouth (draw). Newcastle 1-0 Southampton

Is this the craziest Premier League relegation battle in recent history?

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Another match week gone, and barely any more clarity from the muddled Premier League relegation battle.

We say barely because West Bromwich Albion’s latest loss, even given its soft schedule, felt like a bit of a death knell (if you can have a ‘bit’ of a death knell).

[ MORE: Palace-Man Utd recap | Matic, Mourinho react ]

The Baggies are now eight points back of safety with nine matches to play, and sit seven points behind 18th and 19th. Making up more than two wins on one team is difficult, let alone three. But again, Baggies supporters, there is that schedule.

As for the rest, it still feels a bit absurd. Swansea City moved up to 13th with a win after starting the weekend in the relegation zone. Three points separate 19th from 13th place, and there’s a threat that 10th, 11th, and 12th could still get drawn into the fray.

So is this really crazy compared to other years? We went back to the turn of the century and traced three seemingly important statistics:

  • Teams relegated with the most points
  • Teams relegated with the best goal differential
  • The highest in the table a club finished within two wins (six points) of the drop zone.

Relegated with top points

As it stands, there’s nothing special about the pace of current 18th and 19th placed teams, Crystal Palace and Stoke, who are on pace to drop with 35 points (35.3, actually).

  • 42 — West Ham United 2002-03
  • 39 — Birmingham City -and- Blackpool 2010-11
  • 38 — Sheffield United 2006-07
  • 37 — Newcastle United 2015-16
  • 36 — Wigan Athletic 2012-13
  • 36 — Bolton Wanderers 2011-12
  • 36 — Reading 2007-08
  • 36 — Ipswich Town 2001-02
  • 35 — Hull City 2014-15
  • 35 — Birmingham City 2007-08

Relegated with best goal differential

This one seems the most telling, because the names on this list are largely recognizable and so-called yo-yo clubs. The best teams to go down are the ones that suffer from bad bounces. Put in perspective, the 11th place PL side (Everton) has a minus-16 goal differential this season.

Assuming at least five losses adding goals to the differential, Newcastle and Southampton stand a chance to be relegated with the best goal differential ever. That’s also an argument for why both teams will find safety, but we digress.

  • -16 — Birmingham City 2007-08
  • -17 — Leicester City 2003-04
  • -17 — West Ham 2002-03
  • -18 — Hull City 2014-15
  • -19 — Newcastle United 2008-09
  • -21 — Newcastle United 2015-16
  • -21 — Birmingham City 2010-11
  • -21 — Crystal Palace -and- Southampton, 2004-05
  • -22 — Birmingham City 2005-06
  • -23 — Blackpool 2010-11
  • -23 — Sheffield United 2006-07
  • -23 — Ipswich Town 2001-02

Highest team within two results of 18th

We went with six points because of the likelihood that a team would enter May still very much concerned with relegation if they were six. To boot, a team a win above the drop could win their final match and finish six clear.

As it stands, 12th place Bournemouth is six points clear of the drop zone. The next two teams up, Everton and Brighton, are seven points above.

The last 17 seasons have seen just eight in which 15th place was as close as six points. In that time, only five teams have finished that close to the drop zone and as high as 13th. No team has finished higher than that, and it seems this could be the year that mark goes down.

  • 13th place Stoke City 2012-13
  • 13th place Middlesbrough 2007-08
  • 13th place Newcastle United 2006-07
  • 13th place Birmingham City -and- Fulham 2002-03
  • 14th place West Brom 2015-16
  • 14th place Leicester 2014-15
  • 14th place Sunderland and Aston Villa 2013-14
  • 15th place Blackburn 2010-11