Newcastle United 0-0 West Ham United: Stalemate at St. James’ Park (Video)

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Newcastle and West Ham United played out a hard fought 0-0 draw at St. James’ Park.

But the game lacked real quality in the penalty box, with only one shot on target between both teams as defensive solidity ruled in the North East.

The best chance of the game fell to Newcastle’s Yoan Gouffran in stoppage time but he somehow blazed over from five yards out following Sammy Ameobi’s hopeful cross-shot that hit the inside of the post.

The draw will sit much better with former Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce, as his West Ham side were comfortable throughout despite not creating many clear cut chances.

As for Alan Pardew, he will be disappointed that his team didn’t make the most of long periods of pressure, and he again left French midfielder Yohan Cabaye out of the squad as Arsenal ready a second bid for the Magpies main man.

The game started off slowly, with the long ball approach of each team cancelling each other out. However Papiss Demba Cisse was working the flanks well and created plenty of problems for West Ham’s full backs.

source: Reuters
Gouffran misses from four yards out in stoppage time.

It took until the 36th minute to get the first real chance of the game, which fell to West Ham. Winston Reid flicked his shot just over following a delicious in-swinging cross to the back post. Three minutes later, Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko headed over in the box under pressure, as set pieces seemed to be the best way either team would score.

However in the 41st minute a great run down the left from Matt Jarvis saw him cross towards Stewart Downing who headed down and across goal but really should have buried the Hammers best chance of the first half.

After the break the Hammers once again had a great chance when Downing put in a tempting cross from the right and former Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan arrived by missed a terrific chance after 59 minutes.

But just as West Ham began to build pressure, Newcastle hit back and put the Hammers on the back foot for the final knockings in front of a partisan home crowd at St. James’ Park.

Yet there wasn’t too much to shout about until the three minutes of stoppage time arrived.

In the 90th minute, West Ham thoguht they’d snatched a late win, as Modibo Maiga tapped in from five yards out following a blocked shot. But the Mali international was in an offside position, much to the relief of Newcastle’s fans.

Then the Magpies went straight down the other end and almost grabbed a last-gasp winner in dramatic circumstances.

In the 92nd minute winger Sammy Ameobi cut in from the left and over hit his cross that looped over West ham ‘keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen before rebounding off the post and straight to Yoan Gouffran.

However the Frenchman somehow put the ball over from four yards out, and the game finished 0-0.

Lineups

Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini (c), Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita, Marveaux (Sammy Ameobi 66); Shola Ameobi, Cissé (Gouffran 72) Subs not used: Elliot, Bigirimana, Dummett, Gosling, Vuckic.

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O’Brien, Collins, Reid, Noble, Diame (Morrison 75), Nolan, Downing (Cole 64), Jarvis, Maiga. Subs not used: Adrian, Rat, Tomkins, Diarra, Vaz Te.

Four-star Manchester United wins Europa League group

Manchester United Mata Greenwood
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Manchester United is in fine feather and showing it, smashing AZ Alkmaar in a stylish 4-0 win at Old Trafford in Europa League play on Thursday.

Juan Mata had a goal and set up two others, while Mason Greenwood scored twice after Ashley Young opened the scoring in a group-claiming victory.

[ MORE: Saka leads Arsenal comeback ]

United wins the group with 13 points, conceding just twice in six matches.

The Red Devils have won three-straight matches, as AZ joins Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the loss column. Up next is a Sunday visit from Everton in the Premier League before Wednesday’s League Cup quarterfinal visit from Colchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed starts to James Garner, Brandon Williams, and Axel Tuanzebe, bringing youngsters Ethan Laird and Tahith Chong off the bench.

Greenwood, 18, now has six goals in 22 senior appearances, while Mata, 31, gets on the score sheet for the first time this season.

For his career, the award-winning Spaniard is doing okay, though: 125 goals and 149 assists in 542 senior appearances.

Ljungberg hails ‘amazing’ teen Saka after game-changing performance

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Arsenal phenom Bukayo Saka‘s big day spurred the Gunners to a top seed in the Europa League knockout rounds.

Arsenal went behind on two deflected goals in the second half’s first 25 minutes, but Saka answered with a goal and an assist in three minutes to take a point from Belgium in a 2-2 draw at Standard Liege.

[ RECAP, VIDEO: Standard Liege 2-2 Arsenal ]

Saka was at the heart of it of all good things Arsenal, the 18-year-old handed plenty of responsibility. despite his tender age.

“He was amazing,” said interim manager Freddie Ljungberg. “He was a bit upset with me before the game that he had to play wing-back and full-back. He’s a tremendous talent.”

Saka had four key passes to go with his goal and assist, winning six of eight duels while producing two tackles and an interception.

Ljungberg said Arsenal hasn’t sent its young players on loan enough, though that hardly applies to Saka given he was 17 until September.

The injured Gunners used Konstantinos Mavropanos, Emile Smith-Rowe, Joe Willock, and Reiss Nelson in the Starting XI, and brought Gabriel Martinelli off the bench.

“I feel sorry for our young players,” he said. “A lot of them haven’t been on loan, they’ve not had that exposure to men’s football. Some of them made mistakes but they’ll learn from those mistakes and won’t do them again.”

Smith-Rowe was loaned to RB Leipzig last season and Nelson starred on loan at Hoffenheim. Mavropanos played first team football for Greek Super League side PAS Giannina in his late teens.

Arsenal joins Premier League sides Wolves and Manchester United in the knockout rounds, having lost the Europa League final to rivals Chelsea at the end of last season.

The Gunners beat West Ham on Monday and host Manchester City at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

Arsenal uses thrilling comeback to win Europa League group

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Nothing Arsenal-related is allowed to be easy, it seems.

The Gunners used a goal and an assist from Bukayo Saka to come back from a two-goal deficit and draw Standard Liege 2-2 in Belgium on Thursday, winning its Europa League group when Vitoria came back to beat Eintracht Frankfurt on a wild afternoon of soccer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Arsenal trailed on second half goals from Samuel Bastien and Selim Amallah, but rallied behind Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette to score a second-straight win for interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Saka sent in a laser cross in the 78th minute and Lacazette did quite well to power it under the bar.

He’s loving this competition, having made a serious entrance earlier in the tournament versus Eintracht Frankfurt. The 18-year-old now has two goals and five assists across all competitions this season.

The Gunners needed just three more minutes to tie the score on a day they outshot the hosts 15-11.

Saka showed his nose for goal to tie the score five minutes later with a dribble to the top of the 18 and a sly finish to the keeper’s left.

This was all happening around the same time Vitoria scored twice in three minutes to take a 3-2 lead on Eintracht Frankfurt.

Standard Liege goes from the knockout rounds to nothing in a blink, while Eintracht goes from winning the group to second.

The field for the Europa League is looking fierce, with Inter Milan, Benfica, Ajax, Club Brugge, Olympiacos, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, and Red Bull Salzburg joining the competition via transfer from the UEFA Champions League.

Arsenal joins Premier League sides Wolves and Manchester United in the knockout rounds, having lost the Europa League final to rivals Chelsea at the end of last season.

The Gunners beat West Ham on Monday and host Manchester City at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Matchweek 17 is here in the Premier League as the games continue to come thick and fast during the festive season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Liverpool 3-1 Watford – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM] 

Crystal Palace 3-1 Brighton – (Monday, 2:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Leicester 3-0 Norwich – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Southampton 1-1 West Ham – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

Sheffield United 2-1 Aston Villa – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Man United 2-1 Everton – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Arsenal 3-3 Man City – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Wolves 1-2 Tottenham – (Sunday 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Burnley 1-2 Newcastle United – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM