Vurnon Anita

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Newcastle’s Townsend: “Alive and kicking” after draw with Man City

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For the first time in a while, there’s a bit of room for laughter at Newcastle United.

The Magpies, still in the relegation zone, took a point from Manchester City on Tuesday, three days after skunking Swansea City 3-0.

[ MATCH RECAP: Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester City ]

The draw came when Vurnon Anita (above) scored his first Premier League goal in 54 outings, something that had Andros Townsend doubting the fullback’s intent.

Here was the exchange on NBCSN:

TOWNSEND: “Vurnon put a great cross in that somehow went in the far post.”

ANITA: “It was not a cross, it was a shot. I know my left foot is not the best, but it was a nice goal.”

Most importantly, it pegs the Magpies to within a point of Sunderland and two of Norwich City in the race for the PL’s final relegation spot.

And Townsend says the Magpies aren’t dead… not at all.

“Both teams had chances. It’s a point and we’re still alive and still kicking, and in there with a chance… We would’ve liked the win, but we’re still fighting and within touching distance. We’ll go into Liverpool and try to get three points.”

The Magpies will have an extra day’s rest on Liverpool, who could be cruising or crushed after Wednesday’s Merseyside Derby.

Does Tuesday’s point change your opinion on which of Newcastle, Sunderland or Norwich will stay up?

Newcastle spends again, splashing $18 million on Marseille midfielder Thauvin

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Newcastle United got its man.

Florian Thauvin has long been a target for Northeast England club, and Wednesday found him a member of it.

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup ]

It’s five-year deal for Thauvin, and the move reportedly cost the club $18 million and the services of last summer’s French flop, Remy Cabella, who wasn’t given much of a chance to shine under Alan Pardew and John Carver.

Now Thauvin, 22, brings his creative, attacking midfield flair into the unit to the tune of 13 Ligue 1 goals during two seasons at Marseille. And it brings notoriously-stingy Newcastle up to $75 million in net spending this summer, the highest in the Premier League.

From NUFC.co.uk:

“I am delighted to be a Newcastle United player,” said Thauvin.

“I have come from France to a really big club and am very happy to be here. It is a big honour to know that Newcastle have been after me for such a long time and that they wanted me that much. They have put their trust in me and I am looking forward to playing for the team.”

Newcastle United head coach Steve McClaren added: “Florian is a player the Club have been watching for a long time and I am delighted that we have been able to sign him.

“He is a perfect signing for this Club – someone who is young, with great potential and is one of the best young players in Europe. He is an exciting, creative talent who can score goals and make assists, and we believe he will have a very bright future at Newcastle.”

This could be a key move for Newcastle, which has a healthy dose of creative wingers and mids in Siem de Jong, Ayoze Perez, Sissoko and Giorginio Wijnaldum underneath Papiss Cisse and Aleksandar Mitrovic. Newcastle also bought Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba from Anderlecht this summer.

There’s been a heavy French and Dutch accent to Newcastle’s recent signings under Graham Carr, and Thauvin slides into a unit with Wijnaldum, Vurnon Anita, Tim Krul, Massadio Haidara and Moussa Sissoko (amongst others).

Cabella’s move is a loan with “an obligation to buy at the end of the season subject to certain criteria being met”.

Wednesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Balotelli for Gomez, Pedro to United, more for Magpies

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Liverpool, Newcastle, Arsenal and Manchester United are all involved with comings and/or goings in the most recent roundup of transfer gossip.

[ MORE: Latest transfer gossip ]

What will become of Mario Balotelli? The incredibly-gifted but mercurial Italian striker is not with Liverpool on their preseason tour, instead training back at club headquarters. Brendan Rodgers said the player’s future “is up to Mario“, and several sources say Inter Milan is not interested in bringing Balo back to Italy. But Fiorentina might want the striker, and Liverpool is interested in a swap for Mario Gomez.

Newcastle’s French revolution under Alan Pardew and Graham Carr had a Dutch taste with Daryl Janmaat, Vurnon Anita and Tim Krul in the fold, and the Carr/Steve McClaren combination has already seen Giorginio Wijnaldum arrive (and score last night against Timbers2). Twenty-one-year-old Feyenoord winger Jean-Paul Boetius could be in play, while newly-singed Aleksandar Mitrovic could be joined on Tyneside by ex-Anderlecht teammate Chancel Mbemba.

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique said he can’t do much if Manchester United triggers Pedro’s $33 million release clause. “If he wants to go, a club will have to meet his release clause. I have talked with Pedro to discuss his situation. I have told him how I think about it and he told me how he feels about it, but I obviously won’t reveal the exact content of the conversation we had.”

Could Wojciech Szczesny be a loan target for AS Roma? The young keeper is behind Petr Cech in the pecking order and the Italians are said to be interested.

Newcastle United 2-0 West Ham United: Sissoko, Jonas leave nothing to chance

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A finally-inspired Newcastle United kept control of its own destiny to beat their former manager and maintain Premier League status on Sunday at St. James Park.

Moussa Sissoko headed home a Jonas Gutierrez cross early in the second half to give the Magpies a 1-0 lead they would not give back, as Jonas added a goal of his own in the late stages.

West Ham finishes 12th with 47 points, a far cry from their lofty early season pace.

In an odd twist of fate, Newcastle finishes above its rivals at Sunderland.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Newcastle came out of the gates hard, taking 11 of the game’s first 13 shots and coming close to a first-half goal on several occasions. Both Daryl Janmaat and Emmanuel Riviere flat out missed the frame and producing good opportunities.

source: Getty Images

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Vurnon Anita sprung Newcastle on a 3-on-GK break with 10 minutes to spare, but inexplicably passed while very close to West Ham keeper Adrian and the score remained 1-0.

And then Jonas made St. James Park erupt when he added the insurance tally, months after returning to the team from a battle with testicular cancer. Newcastle was safe.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

LINEUPS

Newcastle United: Krul, Janmaat, Coloccini (c), Williamson, Dummett, Sissoko, Anita (Gouffran, 82′), Colback, Gutierrez, Rivière, Cissé. Subs: Woodman, R.Taylor, Gouffran, Ameobi, Cabella, de Jong, Perez.

Goal: Sissoko (54′), Gutierrez (85′)

West Ham United: Adrian, Jenkinson, Burke (Tompkins, 69′), Reid, Cresswell, Song, Nolan (c), Kouyate (Lee, 77′), Downing, Valencia (Amalfitano, 63′), Cole. Subs: Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, Tomkins, Amalfitano, Jarvis, Lee, Nene

Newcastle United 0-3 Everton: Ruthless transition vaults Toffees fifth in Premier League (video)

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Goals from Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku, and Leon Osman have lifted Everton into fifth place in the English Premier League, a 3-0 win over Newcastle United that allows Roberto Martínez’s team to renew its lingering Champions League dreams. Leveraging a transition game that countered the Magpies into submission, the Toffees moved within six points for fourth place Arsenal, with their convincing win in Newcastle revitalizing faint top-four hopes.

Barkley opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, capping a 65-yard run after a Newcastle corner to beat Tim Krul from close range. Early in the second half, Romelu Lukaku beat the Magpies’ defense to a ball rolled into the six-yard box by Gerard Deulofeu, his one-timed shot giving the Toffees their 16th win of the season. Three minutes before time, Osman scored from the middle of the Newcastle area to give the Toffees a convincing three-goal result.

The loss keeps Newcastle eighth, five points behind Manchester United, but deals a blow to their Europa League hopes. It also marks the seventh time in eight games the Toon has gone scoreless in the absence of striker Loïc Rémy.

A flurry of Newcastle chances near the second minute got the game off to an engaging start, with Luuk de Jong and Papiss Cissé drawing goal mouth blocks from James McCarthy before Yoan Gouffran whiffed on chance from 14 yards out. Everton quickly came into the match and was pushing toward Krul’s goal minutes later, foreshadowing a half of ambitious soccer from each side.

Newcastle’s nine shots over the first 45 minutes hinted the Magpies had the better for play, a deceiving figure in light of what happened in the 22nd minute. Off a corner to the right of Tim Howard’s goal, Everton broke out, eventually feeding Barkley as the young attacker first full speed going into Newcastle’s end. The aspiring England international took it from there, carrying the ball to the edge of the six-yard box before finishing high into Krul’s goal, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Early in the second half, Lukaku doubled that edge. Again executing in transition, Everton saw a ball sent in from the right by Gerard Deulofeu cross goal just inside the six-yard box. There Lukaku was able to beat the Newcastle defense to put home his 12th goal of the season, Everton having countered their way to a decisive lead at St. James’ Park.

Newcastle’s best chance to get back in the game came in the 78th minute when substitute Hatem Ben Arfa, dribbling through the Everton defense, rolled a ball far post for Vurnon Anita. Sliding at the right post, the Magpies’ midfielder pushed his shot wide, relegating the home side to being shutout.

In the 82nd minute, another transition opportunity ended any lingering hopes of a Newcastle comeback, with a break sparked by Steven Naismith ending when a ball played back for Osman was fired into in Krul’s upper-left hand corner. The midfielder’s third goal of the year gave Everton its final margin of victory, rekindling hopes the Toffees can still record their second top four finish in the Premier League era.

LINEUPS

Newcastle United: Krul; Yanga-Mbiwa (Marveaux 75′), Williamson, Coloccini, Dummet; Sissoko, Anita, Tioté, Gouffran (Shola Ameobi 90′); de Jong, Cissé

Everton: Howard; Baines, Distin, Stones, Coleman; Barry, McCarthy; Deulofeu, Barkley (Naismith 82′), Osman; Lukaku

Goals: Barkley (22′), Lukaku (52′), Osman (87′)