Jonjo Shelvey

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Premier League Preview: Newcastle United v. Chelsea

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Chelsea visits surprising Newcastle United in a marquee match Saturday at St. James’ Park (Watch Live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The hosts have scrapped their way to 26 points, five points both clear of the drop zone and back of seventh place. A draw at Wolves last weekend snapped a three-match league losing streak.

Chelsea maintains a five-point gap over Manchester United in its bid to claim a Top Four place, with the Red Devils meeting unbeaten Liverpool this week. The Blues are seeking back-to-back league wins for the first time since Nov. 9.

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Newcastle has had a fair bit of success against the big boys this season, beating Manchester United and Spurs while drawing Man City.

Christian Pulisic stole the ball en route to Marcos Alonso‘s late goal in a 1-0 win when the two sides met at Stamford Bridge in October.

Pulisic, of course, is still out injured for Chelsea and Lampard says the American could return near the club’s February break. Newcastle has electric winger Allan Saint-Maximin back in the fold after more than a month on the sidelines. Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey are also available.


Injuries/suspensions

Newcastle United: OUT — Paul Dummett, Dwight Gayle, DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Schar, Jetro Willems, Javi Manquillo. QUESTIONABLE — DeAndre Yedlin, Yoshinori Muto.

Chelsea: OUT — Ruben Loftus-Cheek, N’Golo Kante, Pulisic. QUESTIONABLE — Marcos Alonso.


Probable lineups

Newcastle United: Dubravka; Willems, Clark, Lascelles, Fernandez, Ritchie; Hayden, Shelvey; Saint-Maximin, Joelinton, Almiron.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger, James; Jorginho, Willian, Mount, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi; Abraham.


What they’re saying

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce on his meeting with owner Mike Ashley: “It went very well. We showed what we are trying to do, and he was fully supportive. We have plates spinning and hope to add to the squad by the end of the month. We have said that the targets have to improve us. He has been fully supportive of the remit. He agrees we buy quality not quantity. That has to be the mantra.”

Chelsea’s Frank Lampard on Newcastle’s many injuries: “It is still an opportunity, but this is vital. Every game brings challenges, going to Newcastle, the emotion of the crowd and they are an organized side. We won’t take it lightly. We have to take every game head-on. We don’t underestimate there. Bournemouth were down to the bare bones and we lost, it can bring out a different feeling. They have done very well and I don’t look at the bare bones.


Prediction

St. James’ Park has been a tough place to play, but the Blues shake off any travel to collect a 2-1 win over the Magpies.

Bruce: USMNT’s Yedlin possible broken hand amongst five Newcastle injuries

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Newcastle had a historically bad day with injuries, and it’s affected their American right back.

DeAndre Yedlin may have broken his hand in the Magpies’ 3-0 loss to Leicester City on Wednesday, which saw the Magpies play almost a full half with 10 men despite not seeing a red card.

“In the next week or so we hope to get some back (but) we have 10 out of 22 outfield players injured,” he grumbled. “It’s horrendous.”

Newcastle used all three of their substitutions by the time the second half kicked off. Jonjo Shelvey, Javi Manquillo, and Jetro Willems limped off the pitch, and Fabian Schar joined them just after halftime.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

And it was worse than we knew, as Yedlin played through the pain despite his injury. The Magpies were already without Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, and Matt Ritchie.

“It’s ludicrous, three players with hamstring injuries in a game and it’s because they have to play tired. I said before Christmas that the amount of games is ludicrous and this is the result.”

Gorgeous goals lead Leicester City at Newcastle

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James Maddison and Hamza Choudhury scored audacious goals as Leicester City smashed injury-ravaged 10-man Newcastle 3-0 on Wednesday at St. James’ Park.

The Magpies were down to 10 men shortly after halftime due to three injury-forced substitutions by half and a Fabian Schar 46th minute leg ailment.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ayoze Perez also scored for Leicester City, who move onto 45 points. That total is 20 better than the 12th place Magpies.


Three things we learned

1. Magpies mistakes again put them under fire: Former Newcastle striker Perez scored 42 Premier League goals for Newcastle, and the Florian Lejeune made sure the Spaniard felt right at home. The Frenchman made a horrible mistake to gift Perez his opener, then another bad pass that set up Maddison for his remarkable goal. Speaking of which…

2. Talisman Maddison delivers: Maddison’s sixth goal of the season and first six matches was sensational. The Foxes are now 7-1-1 in league play when the 23-year-old ex-Norwich City man scores or assists.

3. Injuries hamper any comeback bid: It’s unlikely that Steve Bruce‘s preferred three subs to chase a result were two fullbacks and a tempo-keeping midfielder. Injuries to Jonjo Shelvey, Javi Manquillo, and Jetro Willems meant that the Magpies used all of their subs by the start of the second half. That’s when Fabian Schar pulled his hamstring. Scathing fixture list comments forthcoming, we’re sure.

Man of the Match: Maddison, with a nod to Wilfred Ndidi.


Leicester sounded the first alarm of the match, forcing Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka to make an in-tight save.

Dubravka made another save in the 15th on Youri Tielemans, and Federico Fernandez cleared the danger.

Joelinton ran onto a long ball and poked over Kasper Schmeichel, but the ball bounded off frame to add to the Brazilian’s near season-long frustrations.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The Foxes made another horrible defensive error to let Leicester in front. Florian Lejeune played a silly cross 18 pass that Perez picked off and put behind his former goalkeeper.

Lejeune made another huge mistake to set up Maddison with moments, though the English attacker had plenty to do in hammering the second goal past Dubravka.

Shelvey tried to help Newcastle answer with a terrific cross moments later, but Miguel Almiron’s header attempt was poor.

Kelechi Iheanacho should’ve had it 3-0, but Fabian Schar and Dubravka conspired to keep the ball out of the goal.

Youri Tielemans set up Ayoze Perez for a long break with Iheanacho, and Dubravka made superb saves on both players in succession to keep the Newcastle’s deficit at two.

Then, this. Please Hamza, don’t hurt ’em (Layers of meaning there, yeah?).

Pep has Wilder’s back on VAR: ‘Every weekend is a big mess’

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It’s not news that Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder doesn’t like the Video Assistant Referee system.

Wilder was fuming after the referee was in the middle of a Sheffield United giveaway that led to Man City’s opening goal in Sunday’s 2-0 City win over the Blades at the Etihad Stadium.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

And Man City boss Pep Guardiola has his fellow Premier League manager’s back.

From the BBC:

“I said many times I have a huge list to talk about with the guys from VAR. Every weekend is a big mess. In other games today it was a big mess. It’s happened every week, so hopefully next season it can do better.”

Wilder was furious when Jonjo Shelvey was able to score despite a raised offside flag earlier this month, and the decision on Sunday was even tougher to take.

That said, it’s very much in the rules. The referee didn’t touch the ball, which would’ve led to the play blown dead. He was just in the way (see video atop page).

Calvert-Lewin, Everton outlast entertaining Newcastle

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice to give Carlo Ancelotti a second-straight win as Everton boss following a 2-1 defeat of Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The two sides combined for 42 shots, 14 on target, in an entertaining draw.

Fabian Schar scored for Newcastle, who will feel aggrieved to only have a point.

Tenth-place Everton joins Newcastle on 25 points, ahead on goal differential.


Three things we learned

1. Ancelotti’s men weather the storm: Newcastle was all over the Toffees after Calvert-Lewin put them ahead, and Jordan Pickford helped them get to halftime. Ancelotti saw his team defend well enough while ahead, then right after conceding, and again after reclaiming the lead. It will be the most encouraging part of his day.

2. Magpies let down by lapses: Both goals weren’t wonders, but the Newcastle defending on the break for Calvert-Lewin’s winner was abhorrent. Fabian Schar, otherwise strong, totally lost track of the Englishman’s clever run and it was a straight-forward finish for 2-1.

3. Calvert-Lewin a powerful pest: Everton’s two-goal man was a menace to give him three goals in two matches under Ancelotti. His physical, on-edge play got the benefit of the doubt from referee Lee Mason, and he scored on two of this three shot attempts while adding five key passes to his stat sheet.

Man of the Match: Calvert-Lewin.


Everton was all over the Magpies early, but it’s goal came off a questionable foul on Miguel Almiron. The ensuing free kick was blocked and service then deflected to Calvert-Lewin for the opener.

Joelinton forced Jordan Pickford into a prone save as the hosts found their footing in the 18th minute. Jonjo Shelvey then dragged a 28th minute shot wide from 30 yards.

Jetro Willems set up Miguel Almiron for a blast off the post, and Andy Carroll had the ball in the goal but was offside. Carroll then came close to nodding home before Isaac Hayden blazed over the goal. Closer.

The Magpies were now in firm control of the ball, and Pickford made a fine save of Fabian Schar. Florian Lejeune curled over the bar as Everton needed the halftime whistle.

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Schar’s goal was a fine finish, but the hard work was done by Carroll’s knockdown.

Carroll stung a shot to Pickford minutes later, the hosts looking for more. It was Everton who next had the all in the goal, but Holgate was offside.

Everton reclaimed the lead on a counter attack, Richarlison steering a pass through the box for Calvert-Lewin to slide home.