Newcastle United smash listless Chelsea, finish 10th

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  • Chelsea winless in last 5 at St. James’ Park
  • Newcastle has won four of those
  • Perez scores twice
  • Gayle opens scoring

Ayoze Perez’s two-goal day led Newcastle United past listless Chelsea as the Magpies clinched a top-half finish with a 3-0 win at St. James’ Park on Championship Sunday.

Dwight Gayle also scored for the Magpies, who finish 10th with 44 points. Chelsea will end the season fifth with 70 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle’s fifth minute free kick came from a promising angle, but Chelsea cleared the effort with a powerful header.

Jonjo Shelvey stung a ninth minute effort at Thibaut Courtois, but the Belgian parried for Cesar Azpilicueta’s clearance.

And Mo Diame forced a similar save, though his rip appeared to be going wide of the goal. A short corner was sent away, but Newcastle came back.

Newcastle indeed opened the scoring, with Jacob Murphy‘s intense pressure forcing Courtois to slap the ball onto the path of Gayle for 1-0. And Shelvey sent a shot just wide moments later!

Joselu took Gayle’s place early in the second half. It was Chelsea who got its first shot on target of the match when Olivier Giroud forced Martin Dubravka into an outstanding tip save.

Shelvey’s long drive was deflected in by Perez to make it 2-0, and Newcastle made it 3-0 (!!!) on a free kick. Florian Lejeune headed to the back post to square for Perez’s tap-in.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Leicester City 1-2 Newcastle United: Magpies nearly safe

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  • Newcastle moves into top half
  • Shelvey dummies to open scoring
  • Perez with goal, assist

Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez scored on either side of halftime to give Newcastle United another three points with a 2-1 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Jamie Vardy scored late for Leicester, who remains eighth with 43 points.

The Magpies are 10th, ahead of Bournemouth on goal differential and 10 points clear of the drop zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The visitors looked good from the start, with Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel needed to stop Ayoze Perez and Dwight Gayle in the first 10 minutes.

The Magpies went ahead through Shelvey, who took a pass from Perez and cooked Harry Maguire en route to the right corner of the goal (with a small turn off a Leicester defender’s arm).

Maguire hit Gayle in the face moments later, but was saved with only a yellow card.

Leicester had a shout for a penalty when Paul Dummett‘s sliding tackle of Riyad Mahrez in the box caused the Algerian to hit the deck, but no whistle arrived for the Foxes.

DeAndre Yedlin was injured making a 72nd minute tackle on Fousseni Diabate.

Perez made it 2-0 with a classy and audacious finish, with Maguire and Wes Morgan allowing Florian Lejeune‘s clearance to hit the turf, and Perez chipping Schmeichel from 30 yards with the outside of his boot. Gorgeous stuff.

Vardy tapped in a Shinji Okazaki knockdown of a delightful Demarai Gray cross with seven minutes to play to make it game on at the King Power.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Who’ve been the most impactful Premier League summer buys?

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It’s been a heck of a season for Premier League transfer buys, and that includes a bevy of intra-league purchases.

So who’ve been the best imports? Probably a safe bet to set some parameters.

[ MORE: Alonso, Pedro have Morata’s back ]

We won’t count players like Aaron Mooy, who’s Huddersfield Town purchase was formalized after a loan, or those who returned from loan like Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen or Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.

We’ll also opt against a couple Chelsea loanees signings, if just to whittle our list. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was magnificent before a long-term injury at Palace, and Kurt Zouma probably just sits beyond the Top Ten.

Mainz loanee Jonas Lossl of Huddersfield Town fits the bill, too. And for injuries: Who knows how high  Benjamin Mendy would’ve surged up this list?

Stats culled from WhoScored and Squawka.

Honorable mention – Antonio Rudiger, Mario Lemina, Richarlison, Alexandre Lacazette, Mat Ryan, Bernardo Silva, Steve MounieKyle Walker, Alvaro Morata, Florian Lejeune.

10. Jordan Pickford, Everton — Under siege at Sunderland for most of last season, Pickford probably expected smoother sailing than this: the Everton backstop has been forced into making the most saves in the Premier League (95). Fifty-four of those required him to dive. Only four teams have allowed more goals than Everton, which explains why some of you might be scratching your head at his inclusion.

9. James Tomkins, Crystal Palace — I thought the signing was silly, but Tomkins is nearly unrivaled in terms of interceptions per game in league play. Palace hasn’t been a defensive powerhouse, but his former club West Ham looks terrible since he moved across London.

8. Davinson Sanchez, Tottenham Hotspur – There have been bumps along the way — Sanchez is 21 — but he’s blessed with the speed to make up for his and others mistakes. A fine passer, Mauricio Pochettino should only further benefit from his career progression.

7. Ahmed Hegazi, West Bromwich Albion — Hegazi’s 2757 minutes played are the most amongst field players in the Premier League (though Alfie Mawson, Harry Maguire, Jack Cork, and Lewis Dunk could pass him by playing more than an hour in their match-in-hand).

6. Harry Maguire, Leicester City — The Foxes badly needed to lower the age of their center back corps, and can count their purchase of Maguire from Hull City as a coup. Perhaps no player other than Wilfred Ndidi has been as influential for Claude Puel‘s bunch.

5. Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United — Lukaku started dispelling myths about his production versus big teams when he was one of the lone stars in United’s Super Cup loss to Real Madrid. While he’s been up-and-down in terms of goals in said contests, his hold-up play and work ethic have been better than expected. His 21 key moments (14 goals, seven assists) are even with Roberto Firmino and trail only Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, and Leroy Sane. Anthony Martial is the closest United comparison, and he has 14. Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard have 12.

4. Pascal Gross, Brighton and Hove Albion — The Ingolstadt transfer’s promise was quickly realized, and he’s posted five goals and eight assists. On a team with the fourth-lowest goal total in the league, that’s impressive. The only players with more PL assists: De Bruyne, Sane, Dele, David Silva, Salah, Pogba. Gross also ranks third in the league in crosses per game.

3. Nemanja Matic, Manchester United — It’s hard to fin the numbers to meet the eye test, but Matic flat out makes his team better. Maybe it’s organization, maybe it’s toughness, but there’s little doubt United is better in the middle of the park while former club Chelsea has struggled to find the same form since he skipped town. Advantage: Mou.

2. Ederson, Manchester City — Look only to last season’s status of City net minders to know how important the sweeper-style passing keeper is to Pep Guardiola‘s side. The Brazilian has pushed himself into competition for the starting gig at one of the World Cup favorites.

1. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool —  There is no other answer here, and Harry Kane’s injury essentially gift wraps the Golden Boot to the Egyptian. There was a question as to whether he’d bring his Serie A flourish over to England, and that seems absurd now.

Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle: No problems at Anfield

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  • Salah scores 32nd of season
  • Mane notches 14th
  • Reds reclaim second

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah led Liverpool to an easy-enough win in the Premier League.

This time it was a 2-0 win over Newcastle United at Anfield, sending the Reds second before Manchester United plays Crystal Palace on Monday.

Liverpool and Manchester United meet up on March 10 at Old Trafford.

Newcastle remains in the thick of the relegation race, and will play a huge six-pointer versus Southampton on March 10.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Liverpool started with heavy possession as expected, and Sadio Mane was on the doorstep to a goal within five minutes.

Mohamed Salah hammered a volley off Paul Dummett in the 12th minute as the Reds continued to knock at the door.

Salah then attempted a wild shot from an acute angle that nearly beat Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to the near post, but the backstop tipped it wide of the goal.

A horrific giveaway by DeAndre Yedlin looked to have set Liverpool up for its opener, but Florian Lejeune closed down Salah before the Egyptian could score yet another goal.

The Magpies had a moment or two around the half hour mark, including a lashing over the goal by Dwight Gayle, who’s had a moment or two himself versus Liverpool.

Salah got his goal in the 40th minute off an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain-led break, taking his feed and potting behind Martin Dubravka.

Loris Karius made an outstanding save on Mohamed Diame at the start of stoppage time.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Oxlade-Chamberlain remained a danger, and a 53rd minute break forced another timely intervention from Newcastle to thwart Roberto Firmino.

Mane soon put the Reds ahead by two, with a 56th minute goal, Firmino cueing up the Senegalese sensation for another Liverpool marker.

Aside from a Joselu penalty shout, there wasn’t much to cheer about the final 20 minutes for either side.

Watch Live: Liverpool vs. Newcastle United

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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Florian Lejeune and Jamaal Lascelles anchor Newcastle United’s effort to slow Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The Magpies held the Reds 1-1 at St. James’ Park, but away is another story against Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Co.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Dejan Lovren pairs with Virgil Van Dijk in the center of Liverpool’s back line as the Reds aim to go second.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Salah, Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Gomez, Moreno, Lallana, Solanke, Matip

Newcastle: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Murphy, Diame, Merino, Kenedy, Atsu, Gayle. Subs: Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Hayden, Ritchie, Perez, Joselu