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 ]

Watch Live: Tottenham vs. Newcastle

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Tottenham aims to keep Chelsea at bay in the race for top four as Spurs host Newcastle United (Watch live at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela will start on the bench for Spurs.

Meanwhile, DeAndre Yedlin is appearing in his 33rd Premier League match of the season, and returns to the starting XI after coming off the bench in Newcastle’s 2-1 defeat to Watford.

LINEUPS

Tottenham: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. Subs: Vorm, Rose, Alderweireld, Foyth, Lamela, Lucas, Llorente.

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

Benitez non-committal on Newcastle future, saying team needs to buy

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Rafa Benitez has earned some chatter as a Premier League Manager of the Year candidate after guiding Newcastle United to safety one years after leading them back from the Championship.

Many thought he wouldn’t follow the team down a division after rallying Newcastle but falling two points shy of safety in 2015-16, but the Magpies won the Championship and are now in position to fight for a top half finish in this season’s Premier League.

[ MORE: Mourinho rips forwards after loss ]

But owner Mike Ashley hasn’t inspired confidence in his club in some time, and struck a confusing figure when big Benitez fan Amanda Staveley tried to buy the club late last year with the aim of leading the Magpies back into the European conversation.

Now the toast of the town, Benitez holds a lot of the momentum when it comes to his position at St. James’ Park. He’s not sure what’s coming next, even with the two sides discussing a new deal, and here’s what he said when asked whether he wants to stay next season.

“That is a tricky question. I said in an interview the other day I decided to stay because of the potential, the fans and the city. Then we have to do what we have to do.”

“But if you want to go to another level, you need more quality.”

Ashley has sold many of Newcastle’s best assets dating back to James Milner and including Yohan Cabaye, Andy Carroll, and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Benitez arguably would’ve had Newcastle competing for seventh if Ashley had sanctioned a striker purchase greater than the $6 million Joselu buy in August, then Islam Slimani on loan in January.

He’s coaxed career seasons out of Mohamed Diame, DeAndre Yedlin, Paul Dummett, and Kenedy (the last name on loan from Chelsea). It would be interesting to see what he’d be able to do with a nice transfer kitty.

Newcastle United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion: Not dead yet

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  • West Brom stays alive
  • Phillips continues NUFC mastery
  • Magpies outshoot WBA 17-8

West Bromwich Albion earned itself a stay of relegation with a 1-0 win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Matty Phillips scored for the Baggies, who have 28 points and sit five points behind 17th place Swansea City. Interim manager Darren Moore has collected eight points in four matches.

Newcastle remains 10th with 41 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chances both ways early, with James McClean ripping a shot wide for West Brom and Dwight Gayle sending a low shot into the arms of Ben Foster.

The Baggies went ahead through a net-battering shot from Phillips, who took advantage of Jake Livermore‘s lid-opening pass cooking Paul Dummett.

Kenedy looked to have leveled the score in the 34th minute, trading passes with Ayoze Perez but dinking his shot off the outside of the post.

Mo Diame had a close shot deflected over the bar, and Newcastle were refused shouts for a penalty kick off the ensuing corner kick. Foster also made an outstanding in-tight save prior to the uncalled foul.

The counter attack saw Martin Dubravka make a fine save on Jay Rodriguez.

West Brom stayed stingy in the second half, hoping to avoid formalizing its Championship status for another week.

Diame had a second shot deflected out for a corner, and Jamaal Lascelles couldn’t get on the end of Jonjo Shelvey‘s attempt.

DeAndre Yedlin served a second ball into the mix, and substitute Joselu nodded his attempt wide in the 86th.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Watch Live: Newcastle United vs. Arsenal

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Arsenal’s first away Premier League match in more than a month sees Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette together up top in a visit to Newcastle United at St. James’ Park (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Joe Willock, 18, will make his Premier League debut in his 10th senior appearance for the Gunners.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Newcastle’s XI is as it’s been for some time, the Magpies unbeaten at home in 2018 and seeking a fourth-straight win.

LINEUPS

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

Arsenal: Cech; Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Willock, Iwobi, Aubemayang, Lacazette. Subs: Ospina, Maitland-Niles, Mertesacker, Kolasinac, Nelson, Welbeck, Nketiah.