Rafa Benitez

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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.

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 NBCSports.com) 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

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Newcastle

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  • Sides drew 1-1 at St. James’ Park on Oct. 1
  • Liverpool leads all-time 81W-42D-49L
  • Reds have beaten NUFC once in five tries
  • NUFC manager Benitez won FA Cup, Champions League with Liverpool

Newcastle United is hoping manager Rafa Benitez can harness some Anfield magic of old when he leads the Magpies against former club Liverpool on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will hope to keep up a remarkable league run which has seen Liverpool lose just one match since late October.

Benitez will be without playmaking midfielder and former Liverpool man Jonjo Shelvey, while ex-Newcastle man Georginio Wijnaldum should be available for the Reds.

What they’re saying

Benitez on squaring up with his former club“The main thing for me is to try to win. I wish Liverpool all the best, but after this game. We have to do our best. [My staff and I] won so many things there. Six years, four trophies. We enjoyed every minute. Their fans and our fans are very similar. The connection is there.”

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain credits LFC teammate James Milner“He is the workhorse and engine, but a lot of his technical ability and things he’s been doing have gone unnoticed. In games where we’ve maybe scored seven goals and the front three have scored maybe two or a hat-trick [he’s contributed to it]. I even think Millie was playing left-back in a Champions League game and got three assists in the second half or something silly. That stuff goes unnoticed.”


Newcastle has performed well against several of the big boys this season, beating Manchester United while drawing Liverpool and hanging tight with Man City and Arsenal. Doing it at Anfield feels like a bridge too far. Liverpool 3-1.

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.”

PL Preview: Manchester City vs. Newcastle

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  • Newcastle has lost 8 PL away matches in a row
  • Man City last lost at home in PL play to Chelsea in Dec 2016
  • Newcastle has picked up 1 of a possible 30 points vs. PL top half this season

Manchester City has a great chance to rebound from its first loss of the season as they host struggling Newcastle at the Etihad on Saturday, live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC or live online at NBCSports.com.


The Magpies have picked up their terrible mid-season form of late, but still remain just three points above the drop. They are unbeaten in three, with a win and two draws, and have lost just once in their last five.

Through Newcastle’s losing streak, the Magpies struggled to keep the ball out of their own net, with defensive issues all over the place. They suffered through a nine-game winless run where they conceded 19 goals. However, of late, the roles have reversed, and suddenly they can’t score. In their last four games, they have just two goals.

City, meanwhile, have a few injuries to deal with on the defensive side of things, where they cannot afford them. Fabian Delph went down in the last match and could be out for significant time, along with Vincent Kompany who continues to show his age and history of fitness issues.

INJURIES: Manchester City – OUT: Fabian Delph (knee), Benjamin Mendy (knee). QUESTIONABLE: David Silva (illness), Vincent Kompany (fitness). Newcastle – OUT: Jesus Gamez (ankle). QUESTIONABLE: Dwight Gayle (knock).

What they’re saying

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on build-up of injuries: “In these situations, it always depends on the mentality of the players, if they can make a step forward. If they can they play in positions that are not natural positions and the other guys help them, everything is going well.”

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez on not having a full squad: “When you have a short blanket, if you pull it to your face, your feet are cold, if you cover your feet, your top half is cold.”


Newcastle has been ok of late, but not nearly enough to keep Manchester City out of the back of the net. This could get ugly, with the Citizens looking to rebound from their season’s first loss. 3-0 Man City with the possibility that it could get much worse if Newcastle gives up.