Isaac Hayden

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Newcastle splits spoils with Watford

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Newcastle United overcame a second minute concession to draw wasteful Watford 1-1 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Will Hughes had Watford ahead, but Fabian Schar leveled the score line and both squads had to be bailed out by goalkeepers.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford remains dead last with just one point through four matches, while Newcastle climbs out of the drop zone.


Four things

  1. Bruce’s men wobble early (again) — For as many redemption songs were sung about Steve Bruce following the sturdy defeat of Spurs, his team again came out of the gates as if they thought the darn things were locked. Terribly sloppy, they conceded after 90 seconds and were lucky not to be down 2 or 3 by the time they equalized. Credit Bruce for the tactical changes that swung the tide, but a poor start.
  2. Hughes rewarded again — The former Derby County prodigy has been the bright spot of Watford’s poor start to the season, and got his first goal of the season. Also of note: His wayward blonde beard. You do you, Will.
  3. Joelinton a menace — You can see why Newcastle was tempted to break the bank for big Brazilian striker Joelinton, who scored in the win over Spurs and works harder than your typical center forward. Magpies supporters would probably trade a little bit of industry for classier control and finish, but hopefully that will come to the hopeful star. Given Newcastle’s formation, Joelinton may end up being the most fouled player in the Premier League (if they are whistled).
  4. Almiron still struggling — There was more flair from Miguel Almiron, deployed in a more natural wide position, but he was again offside multiple times from a wide position, wasteful in dangerous attacking positions, and probably should’ve seen at least one yellow card for diving. Shades of his promising second half of 2018-19.

Man of the Match: Joelinton


Newcastle was down within 90 seconds of kickoff, Hughes played through with acres of space defy Martin Dubravka. 1-0.

Atsu found Miguel Almiron for a potential equalizer in the fourth minute, but the ex-Atlanta United man butchered his stomach settle and bounded it right to the keeper.

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The Magpies very much grew into the game from that point, with Isaac Hayden particularly influential and dangerous. His 59th minute rip was parried out for a corner by Ben Foster.

Watford was content to counter in the final half hour, and Dubravka made a terrific intervention to deny Isaac Success but conceded a corner.

Yoshinori Muto was played through by Joelinton after a fine tackle by the forward, but the Japanese striker could not find his angle.

League Cup: Everton survive scare; Foxes beat Magpies

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A roundup of all of Wednesday’s League Cup action…

[ MORE: Third-round draw results | Tuesday’s League Cup roundup ]

Lincoln City 2-4 Everton

Everton went 1-0 down to League One side Lincoln after 21 seconds, but Marco Silva‘s side turned things, but the Toffees then just about threw it all away, only to survive and advance to the third round via Alex Iwobi‘s 81st-minute winner.

Harry Anderson put the home side ahead right after kickoff, and the Imps remained out in front for more than half an hour. Lucas Digne pulled Everton back to level terms in the 36th minute. Gylfi Sigurdsson converted from the penalty spot in the 59th minute, at which point the disaster appeared to have been averted. Not so fast.

Bruno Andrade pulled Lincoln back to 2-2 in the 70th minute, but the underdogs’ bid for the massive upset was undone by Iwobi in the 81st and Richarlison in the 88th.

Burnley 1-3 Sunderland

Speaking of League One underdogs taking on Premier League sides, Sunderland made light work of Burnley with three goals in a red-hot, 15-minute sprint to the third round.

Jay Rodriguez put the Clarets ahead in the 11th minute, but Will Grigg (35th), Tom Flanagan (47th) and George Dobson (50th) turned the narrow deficit into a wide advantage in next to no time.

Newcastle United 1-1 (2-4 PKs) Leicester City

James Maddison scored a stunning free kick in the 34th minute and Yoshinori Muto scored the other side of halftime, canceling one another out and sending Newcastle and Leicester to a penalty shootout at St. James’ Park.

Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden failed to convert for Newcastle, both denied by Kasper Schmeichel.

Bournemouth 0-0 (3-0 PKs) Forest Green Rovers

League Two side took PL big boys Bournemouth to penalty kicks, but failed to convert any one of their three attempts from the spot. Joshua King, Dominic Solanke and Philip Billing were successful during the penalty shootout, while Jordon Ibe was the lone Cherry to be denied.

Elsewhere in League Cup action

Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Portsmouth
Swansea City 6-0 Cambridge United
Rotherham United 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Wolves rock Newcastle in Premier League Asia Trophy

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A rough summer continued for Newcastle as the Magpies were hammered in Nanjing by a first-choice Wolves lineup 4-0 in Premier League Asia Trophy action.

Diogo Jota scored a pair, and England youth international Morgan Gibbs-White added a third as Wolves took a commanding 3-0 lead into the break. As both sides rung changes in the second half, an Allan Thomas own-goal with five minutes remaining finished the scoreline and doomed Newcastle to yet another summer misstep.

WATCH PL ASIA TROPHY LIVE

For Wolves, it was a promising start to preseason play as the lineup featured a host of regulars, with only Mexican international Raul Jimenez, still resting after a successful Gold Cup campaign, missing from the starting eleven. Jota was particularly spectacular, with a brilliant touch in the buildup to his first goal rewarded with the finish, plus his second – Wolves third – where he snatched the ball straight off the feet of Newcastle defender Isaac Hayden in the penalty area.

Gibbs-White also scored off a Newcastle turnover in its own defensive third, with Jonny picking the pocket of Jamie Sterry on the left flank and finding the 19-year-old alone in the middle for a powerful finish from outside the top of the box.

Newcastle has had a rough summer, with the club losing manager Rafa Benitez, selling leading scorer Ayoze Perez, and failing to secure second-leading scorer Salomon Rondon on a permanent basis. The club has yet to sign a single player and was forced to overpay for Steve Bruce, who was in charge for the match against Wolves.

Benitez on his future at Newcastle: We’ll meet this week

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Rafa Benitez has made no secret of his wish to receive substantial funds to improve Newcastle’s squad over the past few years, yet he’s been rebuffed time and time again.

This season almost proved to be a breaking point, and despite the thin squad, Benitez guided Newcastle to a 13th place finish in the Premier League table, with 45 points, one more than a year ago. Now, the big question is whether Benitez will remain. His response, basically – we’ll see what happens.

[READ: Newcastle routs Fulham at Craven Cottage]

“We meet hopefully this week and see where we are,” Benitez told BBC’s Match of the Day following Newcastle’s 4-0 win at Fulham on Championship Sunday, referencing a potential meeting with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley. “We have plenty of time to enjoy, I have been very clear about the potential of this club.”

Benitez and Newcastle were able to break the club’s transfer record with the $27 million signing of Miguel Almiron, and while the Paraguayan didn’t score, he did provide a boost to the squad and set up a few goals on Newcastle’s way to securing survival in the Premier League.

However, there’s plenty of improvement needed across the squad, from improving the backline, central midfield, and potentially even at striker. Solomon Rondon is only at the club on loan, at the moment, and while a talented player, he still only finished with 11 goals this season in 34 Premier League matches.

Additionally, Newcastle will likely lose holding midfielder Isaac Hayden this summer as he looks to move to a club in London where he can be closer to his daughter and family. Should Benitez leave, there could be further overhaul, something that may negatively impact right back DeAndre Yedlin and Almiron moving forward.

Newcastle’s Hayden on family struggles that nearly derailed season

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For more than a year, Isaac Hayden has been making regular trips down the English motorways between his current home Newcastle and his childhood home, London. The trips aren’t for him to see old friends or to have some fun in the big city. It’s to take care of his daughter.

In Newcastle’s match-day program, Hayden revealed how his daughter was born six weeks premature and has had a myriad of medical issues to deal with, a nightmare for any parent. In addition, Hayden’s fiance also has some medical issues of her own, putting more of the parenting work on Hayden. Had Hayden’s family been able to be in Newcastle, it may have been more manageable, but with Hayden’s daughter seeing doctors in London, it’s meant numerous five-hour drives and train rides down the length of England every week.

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“I did three trips to or from London in one day – I flew, got the train and drove,” Hayden said thinking back to a game against his former club Arsenal in December 2017. “I got back in at about 11 o’clock. The next day, I trained, got the flight back down and played 90 minutes against Arsenal. I was ******. Absolutely ******.”

Hayden added: “It’s not like normal work where you can go in and say, ‘I’m feeling down’ or ‘this has happened or that has happened so I can’t go into work’, or take a certain amount of leave – it doesn’t work like that in football,” he says. “You can say, ‘I’m not going to come in’, but at the weekend, someone else is going to play and take your position. They could do well, and then you’re out of the team. You always have that element of ‘you have to keep going’, even if you were knackered, like I was, or mentally drained.”

In the wide-ranging interview, with Hayden touching on the criticism soccer players endure without thinking of the human wearing the jersey, Hayden’s revelation makes it even more impressive for his form this season. The 24-year-old central midfielder has finally received a run of games in the Premier League, and his steel and strong aerial ability has been on full display this season.

Hayden has started 16 straight games for the Magpies since coming into the lineup in December, and is an integral part of the squad that could make a late run to avoid relegation from the Premier League, with a boost from Miguel Almiron.

Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Newcastle has picked up 21 points, including a win over Manchester City. Newcastle is currently seven-points clear of the drop zone, and are just five points away from the 40-point mark of safety.

However, no matter where Newcastle is playing next season, it looks unlikely that Hayden will still be there. He handed in a transfer request that was rejected last summer and he made it clear that he doesn’t want to continue commuting between Newcastle and London for his daughter’s doctor appointments.

“She’s a one-year-old who’s used to doing five-hour journeys,” Hayden said. “Most one-year-olds would be kicking and screaming after an hour, not happy at all. But she’s used to doing it. I’m sitting here looking at her thinking, ‘this isn’t fair on you anymore’.

“When I go home sometimes and we drive into London for the day, she’ll be in the car for an hour and then she’s looking at you when you stop the car, as if to say ‘are we not driving any further?’

“I think I’ve made it very clear to the club’s hierarchy, and the fans. I’ve got my side of the story out – I’ve made it pretty clear how things go,” he says. “I don’t think there’ll be too many questions. I don’t think the summer’s going to be an issue. It’s pretty well-documented how I feel.”