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Premier League preview: Everton vs. Newcastle United

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  • Everton currently 12th in the PL (28 points)
  • Newcastle a worrying low 18th (21)
  • Everton 17th in home form; Newcastle 18th away
  • First meeting (Boxing Day): Newcastle 0-1 Everton

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Wednesday’s clash between Everton and Newcastle United (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET, on Live Extra) seems a safe bet to feature goals, goals and more goals, as two with a pair of of the Premier League’s worst defensive records face off at Goodison Park.

Few teams in the PL possess worse defenses than Newcastle (just two, to be exact), who have conceded 41 times on the season, and Everton (five), whose 34-in-23 games record actually looks stellar in comparison. Their defensive frailties have been the cause for nearly all of Everton’s problems this season, as Roberto Martinez, now in his third year in charge, has yet to address his own Toffees side’s porousness at the back (Everton conceded 50 goals last season – one away from being well into the bottom half of the league defensively). On the bright side, Romelu Lukaku finally looks like a $40-million player, having scored 15 goals in 23 league games this season, though the goals have dried up of late (zero in his last three appearances).

[ MORE: Transfer grades — How did each PL club fare in January? ]

While the Magpies have been shambolic in defense, they’ve been equally inept in attack, having scored just 25 goals in 23 games (15th-most in the PL) this season. In response, first-year manager Steve McClaren was allowed to splash a little cash during the recently completed January transfer window, when he snapped up Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend for a combined $35 million and brought in Ivorian striker Seydou Doumbia on loan from Roma for the rest of the season. On paper, Newcastle are much better during the final 15 games of the regular season and should avoid relegation with ease. This is Newcastle, though, remember.

On the injury front, Everton will be without midfielders Kevin Mirallas (knee) and Muhamed Besic (lower body), while goalkeeper Tim Howard will undergo a fitness test to determine his status. For Newcastle, the injury list is a mile long and much simpler to have a look for yourself.

What they’re saying

Everton manager Roberto Martinez: “We’ve got three important league games in a short period of time and it’s true our points return at home hasn’t been good enough. We have conceded too many goals at home compared to our away performances and we know our fans deserve better and deserve more from us. That’s where we want to work and where we rely on our fans – we can correct that. We’re facing the opportunity of fighting for a lot of points – seven home games offers 21 points at Goodison.”

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren: “We’ve kept very quiet about our business and gone about it very quietly, but we have recruited very good players, and it is a statement of intent on what we want to do. We go forward now with some very good players and a good squad. With these new players coming in, it ups the level in training, and we’ve noticed that. There’s been a spring in the step.”


While Everton haven’t been great at home, Newcastle have managed to be even worse away from home this season. A total inability to find and hold any semblance of defensive shape on the road, combined with the fluidity Everton possess going forward, is a disastrous combination for Newcastle. Everton 3-1 Newcastle.

Red Bulls handle Atlético Pantoja to start CCL campaign (video)

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The New York Red Bulls didn’t need to leave it late (like DaMarcus Beasley and Houston), nor did the MLS side forget how to play (like Toronto FC).

[ MORE: Nashville gets its MLS logo ]

RBNY scooped up a 2-0 first leg defeat of Dominican Republic side Atlético Pantoja in CONCACAF Champions League play in Santo Domingo on Wednesday.

Daniel Royer inspired a first half Pantoja own goal, but it was Kaku’s looping assist to Royer that stole the show with an insurance marker in the 67th minute.

Academy product and former Wake Forest midfielder Omir Fernandez, 20, made his senior debut off the bench in the 75th minute.

Nashville SC to keep its name, unveils logo for MLS 2020

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Nashville SC will remain Nashville SC when it moves into Major League Soccer next season, the USL club announced on Wednesday.

Nashville SC’s logo is an N wearing headphones — I apologize if I’m wrong here, but that’s what I see — as the Music City becomes a welcome addition to the United States’ top flight.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Stunningly The fans wanted to keep the name of the club they’ve been supporting for a few years, and former Liverpool executive Ian Ayre announced that the club will keep a color from its crest as well.

“Gold is our primary club color, and we need to own that color in the sport. As we grow as a team we want to be recognizable by our color, our name and our values as a club.”

What do you think? It certainly could’ve been worse! We look forward to the building up of a regional rivalry with FC Cincinnati, Atlanta United, Sporting KC, and maybe one day Saint Louis FC.

Sarri, Emery face 2nd leg challenges at home

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Sevilla clinched the first Round of 16 spot with a Europa League win over Lazio on Wednesday, and the other 15 berths will be settled by late Thursday.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings ]

That includes home second legs with varying degrees of difficult for a pair of London sides from the Premier League.

Maurizio Sarri looks like he’ll need to win the Europa League in order to get Chelsea back into the Champions League, and Chelsea needs to bounce back from another poor showing while also preparing for a hardware tilt; The FA Cup loss to Manchester United was three days before Thursday’s match with Malmo, which is three days before the League Cup final against Man City.

Chelsea holds a 2-1 lead after one leg. From ChelseaFC.com:

“We have to solve a big problem because we stayed in the other half for 75 minutes out of 90, and we were not able to score. They played only 15 or 16 balls into our box and they scored two goals. We have to solve this problem. It is probably a problem of aggression, determination in both boxes.”

Arsenal has an even bigger fish to fry than recent form, down 1-0 after one leg in Belarus.

Unai Emery is hoping the North London faithful can be the difference.

“It is also very important to play in our stadium with our supporters, and we need their support for this match and I hope there is a big atmosphere for us. Together, with their support, I know our players can play and give their all. The supporters want to watch our team play with the best performance possible.

“For this reason, I think we need good feedback between the supporters and us. … We need to listen to them supporting us and the players must give them the best performance in our stadium.”

The full schedule is below.

Thursday’s Europa League second legs
All times ET

12:55 p.m. ET
Arsenal v. BATE Borisov (BATE leads 1-0)
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Shakhtar Donetsk (2-2)
Villarreal v. Sporting Lisbon (Villareal leads 1-0)
Dinamo Zagreb v. Viktoria Plzen (Plzen leads 2-1)
Zenit Saint-Petersburg v. Fenerbahce (Fener leads 1-0)
Red Bull Salzburg v. Club Brugge (Brugge leads 2-1)
Valencia v. Celtic (Valencia leads 2-0)
Napoli v. FC Zurich (Napoli leads 3-1)

3 p.m. ET
Chelsea v. Malmo (Chelsea leads 2-1)
Benfica v. Galatasaray (Benfica leads 2-1)
Rennes v. Real Betis (3-3)
Inter Milan v. Rapid Vienna (Inter leads 1-0)
Dynamo Kiev v. Olympiakos (2-2)
Bayer Leverkusen v. Krasnodar (0-0)
Racing Genk v. Prague (0-0)

Juve: ‘No use crying over spilt milk’ after ‘ugly’ first leg loss

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Max Allegri and Juventus look set to fall short of a UEFA Champions League title again, and this time are staring down an exit before the quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

The club has two things going for it after a 2-0 first leg loss to Atletico Madrid in Spain: The 90 minutes or more of the second leg, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The player has already made his feelings known by setting the second leg stage with a very Patrick Roy (for you hockey fans out there) title rip.

Allegri is a bit more diplomatic, ripping Juve’s “ugly” second half at the Wanda Metropolitano but also demanding the club move past it immediately. From Football-Italia.net:

“Now we have the chance to turn this around, we must have faith, we’ll have some players back and there’s no point crying over spilt milk. We knew it was going to be tough, that Atletico Madrid force you to play badly, with a slow tempo. We moved the ball quicker in the first half, but not in the second.

“We got the approach wrong in the second half. It’s that simple. These things can happen, there will be great disappointment after this 2-0, but we can turn it around. It won’t be easy, we need a great second leg, but it can be done and we must have faith.”

And there’s Ronaldo, Dybala, and a number of world class players on his side. An inspired, spiteful Ronaldo is one thing, but take into account the man clearly carries his legacy on his hip pocket and the Portuguese hero is going to be flying come March 12 in Turin.