Rafa Benitez

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Everton must think bigger than retread replacement for Silva

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Marco Silva is out as Everton manager, the Toffees turning the page on a disappointing execution of their ambitious vision.

Despite plenty of investment, Silva’s Everton wasn’t able to do much of anything good and now sits in the Premier League’s Bottom Three after 15 match days.

[ MORE: Everton sacks Silva ]

Silva’s men finished eighth in the league during his first season, but the best he can say about his truncated sophomore campaign is that the club are into the League Cup quarterfinals.

So what will Everton do now? Well, Duncan Ferguson is in charge for the Toffees’ Saturday visit from Chelsea, though the club has vowed to “swiftly” find their next full-time boss.

Frankly, the club could do its next man a favor by taking its time, as the post-Chelsea fixtures are Manchester United, Leicester City in the aforementioned cup fixture, and Arsenal.

Back on topic, what the Toffees should do is appoint a man with vision. While it would be tempting to slide into the comfortable slippers that are David Moyes, appointing him or some Sam Allardyce or Mark Hughes type would be another step in the wrong direction.

That’s because this is truly an opportunity for the right coach to take the club in a tremendous direction. Everton might be in the drop zone, but its talent is a mile ahead of true relegation candidacy.

Whoever is hired — and this is why Big Sam is probably holding aloft a boombox outside Goodison Park — is going to “save the Toffees” and earn another season at the helm. Allowing that to be some retread would be a mistake.

Rafa Benitez isn’t going to come to Goodison Park because of his relationship with Liverpool, but a a manager of his ilk should very much be in play. The Toffees boast a still-improving star forward in Richarlison and two proper fullbacks in Lucas Digne and Djibril Sidibe.

Richarlison is 22, Alex Iwobi is 23, and Moise Kean just 19 and adapting to a new country. Defenders Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate, and Michael Keane are all under 26. A manager who can develop and fine tune talent will have a field day with this roster. Imagine Dominic Calvert-Lewin reaching his potential.

Their 9.1 shots allowed per game is a figure bettered by only Man City and Chelsea. The side has been prone to allowing those shots to be dangerous ones, but there’s every reason to believe that fixing their fourth-worst goals conceded total should happen soon given some adequate goalkeeping performances.

Jordan Pickford is England’s No. 1, but hasn’t been right for the Toffees. Logically, he’ll get back to at least average and start stealing some points. The goals are going to keep coming, and likely increase with the wins; Everton is eighth in the xG table.

The Premier League is better when Everton is a good side. The Toffees are not going to be relegated this season, and need to approach that hiring with that mindset. Get someone worth believing in, not just blind hope and a nod to the past.

Is Jose Mourinho the right man for Tottenham?

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The “Special One” has returned. The circus is back in town.

At this point in his career, it’s no secret what Jose Mourinho is. The fiery, outspoken manager who has battled with reporters, sparred with club officials, and worn his emotions on his sleeve has made a triumphant return to the Premier League, waiting in the wings for the perfect job to emerge before pouncing like a jungle cat.

In true Mourinho fashion, he was appointed Tottenham manager less than 12 hours after Mauricio Pochettino‘s shocking dismissal. Before fans could even grasp the firing of their beloved boss who took the club to new heights, they were served with more head-spinning news: the club had called in The Greatest Show on Earth.

[ MORE: Pochettino pays for Levy mistakes ]

So is signing up for the Mourinho Redemption Tour the right move? It’s certainly left a lot of folks scratching their heads. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is most known for his shrewd transfer market dealings and ability to milk every last drop from the club coffers, but if there’s one thing the head man loves to maintain, it’s control. Many reports spoke of minor feuds with Pochettino that may have hastened his demise as results began to spiral out of control.

So, after dismissing a manager who Levy seemed to  There is no controlling Jose Mourinho, that has never been a secret. The Portuguese boss has feuded with the best of ’em – Roman Abramovich (twice), Florentino Perez, Massimo Moratti, and Ed Woodward all asked for his help, and all eventually had enough. Levy must know his days of true authority at Spurs are behind him.

There were other solid options on the market. Massimiliano Allegri, a manager Spurs had quite openly courted multiple times over the last decade – including while Pochettino was in his early days as Tottenham boss – is out of work and seemed like the most logical option. His defensive prowess would likely help patch this floundering Spurs squad, and his pragmatic approach at Juventus seems most similar to what Pochettino brought to the table, meaning there would be as little upheaval as possible while still providing the change Levy desired. Carlo Ancelotti is under fire at Napoli and likely could have been convinced to join. Rafa Benitez is looking for his next top-level job. Julian Nagelsmann may have been convinced to leave RB Leipzig at the end of the season. Eddie Howe has been a rising Premier League star for years.

It is thanks to Pochettino that these names are even considered a possibility, that Spurs is considered a very coveted job – certainly far more than just five-and-a-half years ago when they hired an Argentine who had only previously led the likes of Espanyol and Southampton. Now, those in line to replace him bring already trophy cabinets already bursting at the seams.

Yet with all those options, it took Daniel Levy 12 hours to push the big, red button labeled “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.”

Levy knows what he’s getting himself into – he has to, right? Because there’s no secret what Jose Mourinho is. It’s hard to say Mourinho is “wrong” for this job, but it’s most certainly not what anyone expected Levy to want for his club, or for himself. Clearly, he was frustrated with Pochettino’s inability to secure a trophy – for all his hard work building the club, Pochettino still could not get his hands on the hardware. Mourinho is good for silverware, of that there is no question – and Levy clearly craves silverware, more than we thought – but if this goes south all too soon, there will be nobody else to blame.

Daniel Levy has welcomed in the Ringling Brothers. Jose Mourinho is the Greatest Show on Earth. He asked for this. Things are about to change in North London.

Bruce calls Newcastle thumping at Leicester City ‘complete surrender’

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Steve Bruce did not hold back after his Newcastle side was obliterated 5-0 at the hands of Leicester City.

The Magpies boss called the defeat “a complete surrender” and blasted his team’s effort on the field in the loss.

“We have to apply ourselves better than what I’ve just witnessed there because it was a complete surrender too quickly and too easily,” he said after the defeat. “Too many felt sorry for themselves. Yes, we made mistakes and we got badly punished but to react in that way was the disappointment for myself, the players and the traveling support, which was quite unbelievable.”

Bruce, who took over for the departed Rafa Benitez despite heavy fan protest, said his players were soundly beaten in the second half and failed to respond to any of the adversity faced.

“Effort is a big, big part of the game and we have not done enough,” Bruce said to BBC Sport after the match. “The nitty gritty is we have not laid a glove on Leicester in the second half and the white flag came out too early.”

Most shockingly, Bruce seemed to admit the job might be out of his depth. He took responsibility for the defeat, but said that the best coaching would not have saved the players on the day.

“Being a manager or coach, I ultimately accept the responsibility because it’s as bad an afternoon as I can remember,” Bruce said. “I have heard lots of nonsense about tactics but the big thing is about showing pride and having a go. We have let everybody down today. I always knew it was a challenge, I was delighted to take the challenge but let us hope we can turn it around. I have the appetite to do that.”

Newcastle sits 19th in the Premier League table, with only the defensively challenged Watford below them. They next face Manchester United on Sunday, followed by a visit to Chelsea and a match against Wolves.

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.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ] 

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.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

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.