Three things we learned from Newcastle vs Aston Villa: VAR in Villa Park

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  • Final score: Aston Villa 2, Newcastle 0
  • Goals scored: Ings (45’+3), El Ghazi (pen 62′)
  • Shots: Villa 10-9
  • Possession: Newcastle 53%
  • Newcastle vs Aston Villa’s score put the VAR in Villa Park.

    Aston Villa built on an outstanding overhead kick goal from Danny Ings with a VAR-awarded penalty, and the Video Assistant Referee took a penalty away from Newcastle United in a 2-0 win for the home team at Villa Park on Saturday.

    [ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

    Anwar El Ghazi converted Villa’s penalty in the win, as the Villans rebound from a 3-2 opening day loss to Watford while Newcastle adds a second loss to the column following a defeat at home to West Ham last weekend.

    Newcastle hosts Saints next while Villa stays home for Brentford.


    Three thINGS (and MINGS) we learned from Aston Villa vs Newcastle

    1. Villa nabs first post-Grealish win: This storyline is going to be around a while, but is this team already under new leadership following the departure of nine-figure man Jack Grealish (who scored his first Man City goal on Saturday)? Danny Ings looks the same line-leader who delivered Southampton from the drop last season and Burnley before that, while Tyrone Mings was an absolute force with the armband. This is going to be all about Ings and Mings, with a little bit of McGinn(s?).

    2. VAR bites Newcastle again (twice): The Villa Park faithful were twice signing “V-A-R” to the tune of  “Kum Ba Yah” after the Video Assistant Referee spotted Tyrone Mings’ header glancing off the arm of Jamaal Lascelles, whose arm was outstretched as he bid to kick the ball at the same time Mings’ headed it. Somehow, Lascelles was supposed to kick with his arm planted at his side, as Newcastle was hit by a questionable VAR penalty for the second time in two weeks.

    Wait, a third: Wilson had a penalty taken off the board by VAR for the thinnest offside (even with thicker lines). Steve Bruce was bound to be apopletic (again. Twilight Zone stuff here), even if the calls have all been borderline.

    3. When Wilson, Saint-Maximin struggle: Granted Callum Wilson probably would’ve won a penalty on any other day of the year but he could’ve scored early on a breakaway to change the direction of the game, and Newcastle struggled to get the ball to playmaker Allan Saint-Maximin (credit to Villa there). The Magpies have little depth and Sean Longstaff’s entry for Isaac Hayden hurt the game. Ryan Fraser and Matt Ritchie continue to be non-factors (at least in a positive sense) and Freddie Woodman might be a fine young goalkeeper but he is decidedly not Martin Dubravka and was caught before Lascelles’ handball.

    Still, the Magpies played open early and will look at both of their opening losses to claret-based teams as results that could’ve gone either way. They finished a game with a rare advantage in possession and were basically shot-for-shot with the victors.

    Man of the Match: Tyrone Mings

    It could easily be Ings, but Mings was instrumental in both goals and very good in his own end as well.


    Aston Villa vs Newcastle score, recap

    Villa 2, Newcastle 0: Callum Wilson beat Emiliano Martinez but missed wide of the far post as Newcastle got a glorious chance in the fifth minute, and the Magpies fired another pass into a dangerous area only to see a Villa clearance in the sixth.

    Newcastle was energetic and the better side for the first half hour but the hosts took over as the match neared halftie.

    That’s when Ings, the $41 million Aston Villa striker went airborne for an overhead kick that carried real venom on its way into the Newcastle goal for a 1-0 halftime lead.

    Ings now has two goals in two Premier League matches as a Villan after scoring in a 3-2 loss at Watford to open the season.

    VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

    Villa went up 2-0 when VAR reviewed a Mings header that went off Jamaal Lascelles’ arm, and El Ghazi smashed home his penalty.

    Joe Willock tried to answer right away and his shot was saved by Emiliano Martinez and the assistant referee’s flag was raised. Soon after, Matt Ritchie blazed a shot over goal.

    The Magpies appeared to get their chance from the spot when Martinez clobbered Callum Wilson in the box and the thicker lines of VAR were tested in front of our eyes. No penalty.

USMNT reportedly opens contract talks with Gregg Berhalter; Good or bad idea?

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Gregg Berhalter may be sticking around the United States men’s national team program, giving the USMNT coaching continuity as it moves from 2022 World Cup Round of 16 member to 2026 World Cup co-host.

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle says that Berhalter is beginning contract discussions with the United States Soccer Federation but also interested in taking a job in Europe with his profile having risen alongside the USMNT at the World Cup.

Berhalter’s current contract ends at the end of the calendar year, and the Yanks have scheduled a domestic camp in January and friendlies against Serbia and Colombia.

[ MORE: USMNT transfer rumors for Musah, Dest ]

Berhalter has done some good things for the program, most notably winning the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup with two different groups. He also straightened out the defending, for the most part, and got out of the World Cup group.

Berhalter successfully recruited Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah, two of the program’s stars at the World Cup. He also convinced Malik Tillman, Gaga Slonina, and Jesus Ferreira that the U.S. was the right place for their national team futures.

He also, subjectively, was slow if not downright stubborn in acquiesing to certain points-of-view that made the team better. From Tyler Adams as a right back at the outset of his tenure to saying Tim Ream didn’t fit how he wanted to play about a month before the World Cup… then playing him every minute of the tournament.

But for the most part when lessons were learned, they stayed learned.

Should Gregg Berhalter continue as USMNT boss?

Let’s start here, because it’s necessary: It’s clear that Berhalter cared about his players and the project, whether you like the way he operated or not. This wasn’t a half-assed operation, but one with passion.

So does he still have that passion? Only he can answer that, and if he’d like to get more matchdays in his life then maybe he does want to go back to the club game.

And frankly, that’s fine either way, because his four years with the program were neither amazing nor pitiful. They can be described as anything from a slight disappointment to a minor success, depending on your perspective and expectations.

If you believe that picking up the pieces from the absolute travesty that was failing to qualify for the World Cup from the richest nation and one of the two most talented nations amongst CONCACAF men’s programs was really hard, then you think Berhalter getting the men to the 2022 World Cup and surviving the group with a young group was a solid step in the right direction and a minor success.

If you believe that the American soccer climate is such that you should always make the World Cup out of one of the world’s lesser confederations and that the Yanks progressed as the second team of a group in which they were the second-ranked team according to FIFA and Elo Ratings, well, you can have a different standard.

The Yanks will never again fail to qualify for the World Cup given the expanded field, but hosts have historically had a drastically-improved chance to reach the semifinals. THe federation would have to be confident that picking the best squad regardless of how it reflects on his previous selections — let alone a Best XI — is going to happen under a given coach.

Berhalter’s 49 and is far from the worst or best boss in USMNT history. Whoever’s in the job four years from now will have a chance to go down as either one. Choose wisely, fed. And Gregg! Who knows how far his star could rise with a solid run in Europe, and history says there will be the chance to reconnect with the USMNT job.

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Premier League table, 2022-23 season

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If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

We’re at the 2022 World Cup break, and the final few rounds of Premier League fixtures caused so many shocks.

Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

Almost at the halfway mark of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest.

The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.

Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester United are locked in a battle for the top four, while Liverpool have improved and will be back in the Champions League scrap and Chelsea are struggling.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Who are the early-season candidates for relegation?

Newly promoted Nottingham Forest moved off the bottom of the table with a win before the break, with Wolves and Southampton currently occupying the other two relegation places.

Leicester have picked up a few big wins, while West Ham, Everton and Leeds all find themselves within a few points of the bottom-three after a topsy-turvy start.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.


Premier League table – Matchweek 16

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England vs France: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Match 59 of the 2022 World Cup features a pair of European heavyweights duking it out for a place in the semifinals when England faces France on Saturday.

Didier Deschamps’ France is bidding to become a back-to-back World Cup winner, but Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions are tournament-hardened and have shown their explosive nature three times this tournament.

STREAM ENGLAND vs FRANCE LIVE

France beat Poland 3-1 in its Round of 16 match while England overcame a dodgy start to pound Senegal 3-0.

Neither team can say its faced a test like this in the tournament, and this could be a fantastic fight in Qatar.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for England vs France.


How to watch England vs France live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Saturday, December 1
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

England will look to Harry Kane, though the question remains who will flank the Tottenham center forward. Marcus Rashford’s been very good but Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden got the starting spots against Senegal and it paid off for Southgate.

Kylian Mbappe has been borderline unstoppable and will test Harry Maguire, John Stones, and friends and Antoine Griezmann pulls the strings in behind and Aurelien Tchouameni continues to strengthen his reputation in the center of the pitch.


England quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 5
World Cup titles: 1 (1966)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA
Coach: Gareth Southgate
Key players: Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Jordan Pickford

France quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 4
World Cup titles: 2 (1998, 2018)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group D)
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Key players: Kylian Mbappe, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann

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Croatia vs Brazil: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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World Cup-savvy Croatia stands in the way of stylish Brazil’s pursuit of a sixth World Cup crown, and the pair promise a complex match-up on Friday in Al Rayyan.

Match 58 of the 2022 World Cup kicks off the quarterfinals as Neymar leads Tite’s star-studded CONMEBOL powers into a match against the 2018 runners-up.

STREAM CROATIA vs BRAZIL LIVE

Croatia got past Japan in penalties and will now dream of the two wins that could set it back in the final where France could again be waiting for a juicy rematch.

Croatia needed penalties to get past Japan in the Round of 16, while Brazil pasted South Korea 4-1.  Croatia has never beaten Brazil in four meetings, losing at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Croatia vs Brazil.


How to watch Croatia vs Brazil live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Friday, December 9
Stadium: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic was fantastic in penalties versus Japan to get here, but Luka Modric continues to do the things that get Croatia out of trouble and puts the opponents into heaps of it. Josko Gvardiola has arguably been the defender of the tournament, and the 20-year-old looks to test his mettle again against the Selecao.

Pick a Brazil player who’s failed to impress and you’ve achieved a mighty feat. Neymar’s been fantastic when healthy while RIcharlison is in serious pursuit of the Golden Boot. Alisson Becker flexed his muscles once or twice versus South Korea and figures to be busier as the competition continues to heat up in Qatar.


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol

Brazil quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Follow @NicholasMendola