Dwight Gayle

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Premier League preview: Leicester City v. Newcastle

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  • Leicester City five points behind second-place Man City
  • Newcastle United 19th through six games
  • Leicester have lost their last two home games against Newcastle

In Sunday’s lone match, Leicester City have the clear-cut opportunity to move behind Liverpool and Manchester City, but Newcastle United will look to make things difficult for the home side when they face-off at 11:30 a.m ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

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It’s late September, and there’s no way around it: Brendan Rodgers has done well for the Foxes so far this season. In six games, Leicester have gathered three wins, drawn twice and lost once – to Manchester United at Old Trafford in a game that could have gone either way. In other words, in position to move into the top three with a win on Sunday.

From the looks of it, Jamie Vardy has held on to the Midas touch, and the departure of Harry Maguire is a thing of the past thanks to the emergence of 23-year-old Çağlar Söyüncü. James Maddison, who took a hit to the ankle against Tottenham is doubtful, but all things point to Rodgers having a near-healthy squad to choose from.

As far as things go for Newcastle, their situation is polar opposite. The Magpies have won only a game – a 1-0 victory over Tottenham – this season under Steve Bruce. And to no surprise, as the weeks go by, the pile continues to pile on the 58-year-old manager.

The serious hamstring injury Jonjo Shelvey suffered does Bruce and company zero favors; although, there is a break in the clouds for Newcastle as USMNT fullback DeAndre Yedlin is expected to be back on the bench after months of inactivity. Still, there is lots of work to be done for Bruce, who can really buy himself time with any positive result.

Injuries/suspensions

Leicester City: OUT – Daniel Amartey (ankle), Matty James (calf); QUESTIONABLE –  James Maddison (ankle)

Newcastle United: OUT – Matt Ritchie (ankle), Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring), Florian Lejeuene (knee), Dwight Gayle (calf); QUESTIONABLE – Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring), DeAndre Yedlin (groin)


Projected lineups

Leicester City: Schmeichel; Chillwell, Söyüncü, Evans, Pereira; Maddison, Tielemans, Ndidi; Barnes, Vardy, Perez.

Newcastle United: Dubravka; Dummett, Lascelles, Schär; Willems, Longstaff, Hayden, Manquillo; Almiron, Joelinton, Atsu


What they’re saying

Leicester City manager Rodgers on facing Newcastle: “For us, we expect a very tough game,” he added. “They set up well, defend low, set deep and we have to be at our best to get the result.”

Newcastle United manager Bruce on their counterparts: “They’re a good side, and they’ve evolved into a very, very good side over the years. We know if we’re going to get something we’ll have to be at our best. We certainly have to be better in terms of goals – we understand that – and let’s hope that we can be with the players we’ve got coming back.”


Prediction

Newcastle performed well in Leicester under Rafa Benitez. He is no longer around, and the Magpies’ fortunes have turned upside down under Bruce. The visitors’ dire state and Leicester’s recent fine form put Newcastle’s chances bleak at best. Leicester City, 3-0.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle v. Brighton

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  • Early-season relegation battlers meet on Saturday
  • 18th-place Newcastle to host 16th-place Brighton
  • Brighton won at Newcastle, drew at home last season

Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion, a pair of Premier League sides with just two wins from the first five weeks of the season between them, will meet at St. James’ Park on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) for what could prove to be a retrospective relegation six-pointer when May rolls around.

Each side replaced its manager — Steve Bruce for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle; Graham Potter for Chris Hughton at Bright — in the summer and neither of the new bosses has had a particularly enjoyable start to the 2019-20 campaign. Brighton won on the opening day of the season, but have taken just two points from the following four games. Newcastle lost their first two games, won their third, and have drawn and lost again since. It’s the kind of form that’ll see both sides stuck in the high-teens of the PL table if they don’t find their footing in the coming weeks.

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Things are particularly worrying for Newcastle, who didn’t they’d be without Benitez until the end of June and didn’t appoint Bruce until mid-July. Key players had already left the club and reinforcements for few and far between. Forward Joelinton joined for $50 million and is one of four players with a single goal scored thus far.

Last week was nearly fruitful for the Seagulls, until the conceded a stoppage-time equalizer and settle for a point at home against Burnley. Summer signing Neal Maupay bagged his second goal for Brighton earlier in the game, giving Potter a potential trump card over a handful of other relegation-threatened sides without a consistent goalscorer.

Injuries/suspensions

Newcastle: OUT – Matt Ritchie (ankle), Florian Lejeune (knee), Dwight Gayle (calf); QUESTIONABLE – DeAndre Yedlin (groin)

Brighton: OUT – Leandro Trossard (groin), Jose Izquierdo (knee), Ezequiel Schelotto (knee)


Projected lineups

Newcastle: Dubravka – Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems – Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu – Joelinton

Brighton: Ryan – Duffy, Dunk, Webster – March, Stephens, Propper, Burn – Gross, Maupay, Murray


What they’re saying

Joelinton, on Andy Carroll: “It’s always great to have experienced players in the group, and he’s one of them. He can help the club, he can help the young players. Andy Carroll has scored a lot of goals in the Premier League, and it’s great to be playing alongside him. He’s a calm guy. I still haven’t spoken to him a lot because my English isn’t great! But every day he’s trying to help. He’ll help me before the games, he’ll give me positional advice and suggest what I’ve done both good and bad.”

Graham Potter, on the trip to Newcastle: “Newcastle away is a tough game just like all the others. We don’t target particular matches — it’s about what we need to do to get a positive result. They have an experienced manager who I came across last year and he’s someone I have a lot of respect for. They have good quality players and we know it can be a hostile environment, it’s a big club and we know we have to play well to get something.  Steve has a lot of games under his belt – he’s had a lot of success and he’ll understand the challenge that lies ahead.


Prediction

Newcastle haven’t scored multiple goals in a game yet this season, and they’ve conceded twice as many as they’ve scored (four). It’s hard to trust them to be anything resembling consistent from game to game. It wouldn’t be surprising if they battled to a boring 0-0 draw, or conceding three times before halftime. It’ll probably be closer to the former, a 1-1 stalemate.

Preview: Liverpool v. Newcastle

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  • Liverpool unbeaten in 23 home games v. Newcastle
  • Newcastle have won 3 of last 5 PL away games
  • Bruce has just 4 defeats in 17 PL games v. Liverpool

Liverpool host Newcastle United on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the international break is over and the Premier League action resumes.

Hurrah!

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Jurgen Klopp‘s men have a 100 percent record so far and sit top of the table, where they hope to stay all season long. On paper this should be a comfortable home win for the Reds but Steve Bruce‘s Newcastle have already won on the road at Tottenham Hotspur this season and will sit back, soak up pressure and look to hit Liverpool on the counter.

In team news Liverpool are still without goalkeeper Alisson, while Naby Keita has returned to training but won’t be ready to play this weekend.

Newcastle are without promising midfielder Sean Longstaff who turned his ankle in training, while DeAndre Yedlin, Florian Lejuene, Matt Ritchie, Allan Saint-Maximin, Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle are all still out.


Possible lineups

Liverpool: Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Newcastle: Dubravka; Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems; Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu; Joelinton.


What they’re saying

Klopp on Alisson’s calf injury: “Funnily enough, we had lunch together [just now]; he looks good and he is improving, but we cannot put any pressure on it. It was a really serious injury in the calf. It is now much better, of course, and that’s good for us and good for him, but we don’t know exactly [how long it will be]. The target was always after the next international break [that] he could be ready, but we don’t know. So, as I said, there is no pressure and hopefully everything will be fine for the rest of the season, that’s the plan.”

Steve Bruce on facing Liverpool: “They have been together for a couple of years. The core are really really honest and a genuine group of players. When you’ve got that, you’re capable of doing anything. Let’s go and have a crack and enjoy the occasion and see if we can pull off a shock.”


Prediction

Liverpool may chop and change a few players due to their UEFA Champions League game at Napoli on Tuesday, but Klopp will be focused that his side continue their great start to the season. This should be an easy home win. I’m going for 3-0, and more importantly I think Mohamed Salah will pass to Sadio Mane…

PL Sunday preview: Man City visit Bournemouth; Spurs host Newcastle

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After six Premier League fixtures on Saturday, and one on Friday, three more remain in Matchweek 3. Roll on, Sunday…

[ MORE: Liverpool bests wobbly Arsenal at Anfield | Player ratings ]

Bournemouth v. Man City — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Manchester City’s directive for the 2019-20 season is clear, and comes from 31 miles west of Manchester: if you’re not perfect — or very, very close to it — Liverpool will win the title. After dropping a pair of points at home to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, Man City find themselves in the chaser’s position, though it’s far from foreign to them after trailing the Reds by 10 points at one point last season. A trip to Bournemouth appears to be just what the doctor ordered: since the Cherries returned to the PL four seasons ago, City have trounced the south-coast side, winning all eight contests by a combined score of 25-3.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is trying to see his side’s dismal record in a slightly more positive light.

“I think we know historically that if we perform our very best, we’ve got a chance of beating anybody. I think that’s been the story of our Premier League journey. We’ve had to play very well to get anything from the top teams. Every time we’ve played against them, and I’ve said this before, we’ve come from the pitch learning more about ourselves. And what we have to do to grow and become better.”

INJURIES: Bournemouth —  OUT: Lewis Cook (knee), Simon Francis (knee), Junior Stanislas (hamstring), Dan Gosling (hip), Lloyd Kelly (ankle); QUESTIONABLE: Arnaut Danjuma (foot) | Man City  — OUT: John Stones (thigh), Benjamin Mendy (fitness), Leroy Sane (knee)


Tottenham v. Newcastle — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Tottenham are set to put their undefeated start to the still-young season on the line when Newcastle United visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. A week after taking last weekend’s unlikely point, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side continues to get a little deeper and stronger with each passing day, with the exception of one fresh injury concern. Deadline-day arrival Giovani Lo Celso is yet to start for his new club, but the Argentine made his debut as a second-half substitute last weekend. Fast-forward a week and Lo Celso could be in line for that first start with fellow summer signing Tanguy Ndombele a doubt with what the club is calling a minor thigh injury. Son Heung-min, a double-digit goalscorer in three straight PL seasons, is also due back in the team after serving the final two games of his three-game suspension dating back to last season. So long as Harry Kane‘s ankle ligaments remain structurally sound, Pochettino has a real embarrassment of riches at his disposal (by Spurs’ standards), including the likes of Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen, both of whom started the first two games on the bench.

As for Newcastle, life under new manager Steve Bruce is off to a far worse start than Pochettino’s sixth season at Spurs. Not only are the Magpies without a point from their first two games, but they were roundly played off the park by newly promoted Norwich City in a 3-1 defeat last weekend. There’s also the small matter of the supporters’ discontent over owner Mike Ashley’s operation of the club, chief among their concerns being his failure to retain Rafa Benitez. Miguel Almiron and Joelinton, Newcastle’s headlining attacking duo, are yet to find one another on the same page and have managed just one shot on target between them through two games. Newcastle’s six shots on target rank second-to-bottom in the PL.

INJURIES: Spurs —  OUT: Dele Alli (hamstring), Juan Foyth (ankle), Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: Tanguy Ndombele (thigh) | Newcastle  — OUT: DeAndre Yedlin (groin), Florian Lejeune (knee), Andy Carroll (fitness), Dwight Gayle (calf), Jack Colback (groin)


Wolves v. Burnley — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSports.com

At this point, you’re probably wondering which is the only side with fewer shots on target than Newcastle. This might come as a shock to some, but it’s Wolverhampton Wanderers, last season’s seventh-place finishers and Europa League qualifiers. The night-and-day difference between the two sides being Wolves’ ability to still grind out results when they’re far from their very best. It’s true that Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side has scored just one goal through two games, but it’s also true that they’ve conceded just once as well, and they have two points to show for their efforts against the likes of Manchester United and Leicester City. After picking up a 3-2 victory away to Torino in Europa League action on Thursday, Espirito Santo is likely to once more rotate a handful of starters and make use of his rather deep, and expensive, squad.

After spending much of last season near, or inside, the relegation zone, Sean Dyche‘s Burnley has looked one of the most improved sides in the PL. They followed up an opening-day dismantling of Southampton with a hard-fought 2-1 defeat away to Arsenal last weekend. Ashley Barnes is in fine form with three of the Clarets’ four goals scored this season.

INJURIES: Wolves —  QUESTIONABLE: Matt Doherty (illness) | Burnley  — OUT: Steven Defour (calf), Danny Drinkwater (fitness)

Transfer rumor roundup: Maguire on record fee, Rondon to Newcastle

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We begin this post with a doozy.

This is just too much, but that’s the price you pay for English national team center backs in the Premier League.

Manchester United is said to be prepared to offer Leicester City a wild $113 million to bring Harry Maguire to Old Trafford, a bid almost $13 million more than Man City’s reported ceiling (itself an eyebrow-raiser).

Either fee would break the transfer record Liverpool set on Virgil Van Dijk, and just embarrass the $15 million Leicester spent to bring Maguire from Hull City two summers ago.

While the fee is insane, Maguire brings invaluable consistency in his performances and does have plenty of punch in the box on attacking corner kicks.

United was also said to be in on Wilfred Ndidi, and spending over $160 million on two players from the same club sure would say something. Do you think Brendan Rodgers prefers the players or the money?


Speaking of wacky transfer values…

Newcastle’s hopes of landing Salomon Rondon from West Bromwich Albion have been given a boost.

Why? Because Dwight Gayle‘s incredible Championship record has Slaven Bilic valuing the Newcastle man about as much as Rondon’s fee.

Gayle, 28, has twice scored 23 goals in a Championship season, once with Newcastle and once on loan to West Brom last season. He’s scored 7, 6, 3, and 5 goals in four Premier League campaigns.

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Rondon has scored 9, 8, 7, and 11 top flight goals in four seasons between West Brom and Newcastle.

For their values to deliver a straight swap is something Rafa Benitez or whoever’s in charge of Newcastle by the end of summer will love deeply.