Premier League Preview: Hull City vs. Newcastle United

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  • There have been 19 goals in the last five Premier League meetings between these teams.
  • Hull have won just two of their last 12 Premier League home games (D3, L7).
  • The Magpies have gone 10 league games without a clean sheet and they have conceded two or more goals in each of their last five league matches. (BBC Sport)

John Carver did just enough in his four games as caretaker manager.

Following the departure of former Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, who left for the managerial vacancy at Crystal Palace, the 50-year-old led the Magpies to one draw and three losses.

The defeats came against Chelsea, Southampton and Leicester City, and the first two results against top Premier League squads certainly were not detrimental to Carver’s incumbent status at the helm.

Now, the Englishman will remain manager until the summer, and he will face his first challenge in this role vs. Hull City on Saturday, where Newcastle will look to improve their mid-table 11th place spot.

[RELATED: Newcastle name John Carver interim manager until end of year]

Hull City haven’t mustered their best form lately, dropping three straight matches up to this point after an excellent victory over Everton on New Year’s Day.

The Tigers sit in danger of relegation at 18th place in the league tables, and any points in this match would help guide Steve Bruce’s side away from the depths of demotion.

[RELATED: Current Premier League standings | Premier League stats]

One target area of Hull in the transfer window has been the forward position, with the aim to bolster depth and scoring possibilities, and rumors linking the club to veterans Diego Forlan and Demba Ba attest to that intention.

Newcastle has trained their transfer eyes on youngsters, while also monitoring the possible departure Moussa Sissoko.

The upcoming match between these two outfits will be available for viewing at 7:00 AM ET on NBCSN, or online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

What they’re saying

Hull City manager Steve Bruce on players recovering from injury for match (Tigers official website): “It looks like we might have some back. We’ve been away for four or five days and managed to get some training into [Nikica] Jelavic, [Abel] Hernandez and [Andrew] Robertson. You can add [Gaston] Ramirez to that list too…It’s not ideal and we’d like another week for all of them if we’re being honest, but as long as they come through training today it looks as though they’ll be ok.”

Newcastle United interim boss John Carver on aims for season in charge (ESPN FC): “I’ve got enough belief in my ability…I think Lee [Charnley, chief executive] has come out and said our goal is to finish in the top 10. If we get ninth, eighth, or seven at a push, why not? We’ve got 16 games left and I’ve seen enough in the last three or four games, taking the cup game out of it, for us to go on a run.”

Match injuries/ absences

In some capacity, Hull City strikers Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez are ready to take the pitch following injury absences. Andrew Robertson and Gaston Ramirez should also be available, while Alex Bruce (thigh) and James Chester (shoulder) are sidelined.

If fit enough to go, Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse will join his side after his country was knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations. The Toons have Mehdi Abeid, Davide Santon and Gabriel Obertan back from injuries, too, as left-back Paul Dummett will probably sit out due to hamstring trouble.

Prediction

Assuming that Hernandez and Jelavic see limited roles in this one, the pacey Magpies have their best opportunity to snag three points since their contest against Burnley at the start of 2015. Hull City 1-2 Newcastle.

Serie A roundup: Napoli falls to Parma in debut for Gattuso (video)

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Napoli’s last-minute loss to Parma in Gennaro Gattuso’s debut highlights Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Napoli 1-2 Parma

Napoli remains in a dark place as Gennaro Gattuso debut with Gli Azzurri ended in a last-minute 2-1 loss to Parma.

The defeat marks eight consecutive games without a win in Serie A play for Napoli, who dismissed Carlo Ancelotti earlier this week despite punching a ticket in the last 16 of the Champions League after a win over Genk.

After their fifth loss of the season, Napoli are currently eighth on the table with 21 points, seven behind sixth-placed Atalanta and 17 behind league leaders Inter Milan.

 

 

In the third minute of stoppage time, Gervinho – experienced as anyone else in tightly-contested situations – received a simple pass from Dejan Kulusevski, carefully striking it into the back of the net inside the six-yard box. The 32-year-old Ivorian has five goals in Serie A this season, and Saturday’s was his most important yet. 

For Gattuso (and hopeful Napoli supporters), Saturday was the antithesis of dreamy start, but with time and a change of mentality the situation may change.

“I don’t believe in bad luck. Right now we’re not good mentally,” the 41-year-old manager said following the match. “The team is paying for the fact that it has not won (in the league) for 50 or more days.”

“The first 10 minutes also prove it,” he added. “It’s tough as are the whistles of the fans. There’s a lot of work to do.”

The home side recorded 33 shots throughout the night, but Parma proved to be more clinical, scoring at death and opening the scoresheet just four minutes in. In the 64th minute, Napoli were able to get one go their way, as Dreis Merten’s lofting cross with force was headed home by Arkadiusz Milik. 

Gattuso and his men will be tested once as they travel to Sassuolo in a weeks time, while Parma look to trim their four-point gap with Atalanta when they host Brescia.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Brescia 3-0 Lecce

Genoa 0-1 Sampdoria

Hertha’s under-16s stop playing after alleged racist abuse

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BERLIN (AP) Hertha Berlin’s under-16 team stopped playing a game at regional rival Auerbach after its players were allegedly subjected to racist abuse from their opponents on Saturday.

The Bundesliga club says in a statement on its website that “several players from our team were racially abused by their opposing players.”

Hertha officials informed the referee of the alleged abuse and decided to stop playing in the 68th minute while leading 2-0 “because we as Hertha BSC condemn racism and discrimination in every form,” the club said.

Hertha executive board member Paul Keuter called it “the only correct decision, not to continue with the game.”

On Twitter, the club said: “There are times when football doesn’t come first. Racism has no place in our society.”

Hertha under-23 player Jessic Ngankam said he was targeted with monkey chants and called an “ape” by an opposing player during his side’s fourth division game against Lokomotive Leipzig on Dec. 6.

“Insults are unfortunately an everyday occurrence in football, and I can put up with them. But racist abuse is a no-go,” the 19-year-old Ngankam told broadcaster MDR.

Both Hertha and Lokomotive condemned the alleged abuse.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

La Liga roundup: Sociedad hold leaders Barcelona to draw (video)

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A stunning draw from top-of-the-table Barcelona highlight La Liga’s Saturday action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Real Sociedad 2-2 Barcelona

If Real Madrid manages to walk away from Mestalla with three points, they’ll dethrone nemesis Barcelona and become clear-cut leaders of La Liga.

Just days before El Clasico itself, a rare 2-2 draw from Barcelona against hosts Real Sociedad is the reason behind Los Blancos’ prime opportunity.

 

Former Borussia Dortmund starlet Alexander Isak tapped in his fourth goal of the season in the 62nd minute, leveling the score for Sociedad and sending the home fans into a frenzy.

In true Barcelona fashion, Real Sociedad, ironically hit the ground running first. 

After earning a foul inside the box from a corner kick set piece, Reala captain Mikel Oyarzabal converted from the spot, putting Sociedad, who have exceeded expectations this season under first-year manager Imanol Alguacil, up against the defending champions. 

It wouldn’t take long before the visitors responded, however.

A familiar face and experienced goalscorer at Anoeta, it was the ideal scenario for Antoine Griezmann to shake off some pressure that has been a key talking point surrounding the Frenchman lately. Darting inside the box with only Alex Remiro to beat, No. 17 – like in the old days – carefully chipped the ball over Remiro and into the back of the net the ball wandered. 

If the second half indicated anything early on it was that it was going to be difficult for Barcelona to drop points on Saturday. Unselfish as ever before, Lionel Messi laid off the ball to an unmarked Luis Suarez, who his team up 2-1 four minutes into the second half.

A lack of control of possession and, most notably, an unstable defensive line, would end up costing Barcelona two points.

Next for Barcelona is the game of the season: a league bout against Real Madrid on Wednesday, while Real Sociedad travel to Becerril in the second round of Copa del Rey. 

Elsewhere in La Liga

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Osasuna

Granada 1-2 Levante

Atheltic Bilbao 0-0 Eibar

South Florida officials seeking more international soccer

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) More than two dozen political leaders in South Florida have written letters to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s board of directors, urging them to allow top-tier international matches to take place in the Miami region.

Relevent Sports, the soccer-promoting group owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, filed suit against the USSF earlier this year saying that the sport’s governing body in this country was helping to prevent them from hosting certain matches.

The letters were released Friday to media outlets, including The Associated Press.

The USSF did not respond to a request for comment.

Ross’ group and top Spanish league La Liga have been working for some time to bring a regular-season match to Hard Rock Stadium, the facility Ross owns and is the Dolphins’ home.

The politicians – ranging from city mayors, county mayors, county commissioners and one state Senator – all essentially said the same thing, that bringing major international soccer to South Florida only will help the region’s tourist-dependent economy.

“Doing so will demonstrate a genuine commitment to our communities and the growth of the game, which you, as the United States Soccer Federation, are charged with promoting,” wrote Dean Trantalis, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale. That’s the city where David Beckham’s new MLS team, Inter Miami, will begin play next March.