Late Boly goal saves Wolves in draw with Newcastle (video)

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  • Willy Boly‘s 95th minute header earned a draw for Wolves
  • Newcastle sit just one point above the relegation zone
  • Miguel Almiron made his Newcastle debut

Willy Boly saved the day for Wolverhampton Wanderers at home as they drew, 1-1 with Newcastle on Monday evening. The tall French centerback rose highest to head home a dramatic mistake from Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka in the fifth minute of extra time, saving a point for Wolves and denying the Magpies three vital points for the second consecutive match.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

With the draw, Newcastle sit just one point above Southampton and the relegation zone, with 25 points from 26 games.

Wolves meanwhile are in seventh place, with 39 points on the season.

Earlier in the second half, Isaac Hayden put Newcastle up front with a blast of a strike that Rui Patricio couldn’t keep out, and it seemed Newcastle were well on their way to victory against a Wolves side that seemed to be missing that cutting edge. Newcastle were later boosted offensively by the introduction of record signing from Atlanta United, Miguel Almiron, off the bench in the 72nd minute.

In the first half, Wolves certainly had more thrust and attacking vigor, working Newcastle’s right and left side early and often. However, the Magpies were resolute defensively, including the U.S. Men’s National Team’s DeAndre Yedlin at right back. Neither side was able to create too much on goal, but it seemed like whichever team tired or made the mistake first would be punished.

That happened when Wolves fell asleep in the 56th minute. Fabian Schär has acres of space to run into, and his through ball on the ground found the midfielder Hayden advancing into the box. Hayden fired on goal and perhaps surprised Patricio, scoring inside the near post to give Newcastle a lead.

With Almiron on, it seemed as if Newcastle may add to the lead. Almiron showed no fear in running at the Wolves defense but clearly isn’t at his sharpest after two months without a game.

However, it was a crucial mistake in the game’s final moments that saved a point for Wolves and stole two from Newcastle. Manager Rafa Benitez might rue this moment should Newcastle go down, missing out on four of the last six points available due to goalkeeper errors.

Agent: ‘Almiron did not leave Atlanta happy’ due to transfer process

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Taking into the consideration we’re taking an agent at his word, Daniel Campos had some parting shots for Atlanta United following Newcastle United’s purchase of Miguel Almiron for a club record fee.

Reporter Juan Arango translated a UnionFC800 interview with Campos transcribed by Roberto Rojas in Almiron’s home country of Paraguay.

[ MORE: Reasonable expectations for Almiron ]

Atlanta’s Darren Eales played the negotiations very well, in our eyes, knowing that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley needed to buy Almiron, a 24-year-old target Rafa Benitez long-identified as an answer to the Magpies’ attacking woes.

Eales also knew he (likely) had to sell Almiron to get past Major League Soccer’s limit of three Designated Players, and also because Almiron was ready to try his hand abroad and the Five Stripes have been clear they won’t hold players back.

But Campos says Eales figure of $30-plus million was not realistic, and that the market quickly set the price tag. As Newcastle fans in a relegation fight still wait for Almiron’s debut, Campos claims the sale price turned out to be the same figure proffered early in the transfer window, and that “bigger” clubs wanted Almiron but only on loan. From Newcastle’s Evening Chronicle:

“Atlanta United put up a lot of obstacles to sell Miguel and we did not expect this kind of attitude from the club. Miguel Almiron did not leave Atlanta happy because of all the difficulties that the club put for him to get transferred.”

It’s also worth noting that Almiron is by far the crown jewel of Campos’ agency, and the agent will be well-served by both the transfer fee and following Almiron’s wishes.

There’s a large part of us that wonders what good it does Campos to complain publicly?

Premier League preview: Tottenham v. Newcastle

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  • Newcastle has won 3 of the last 4 at Spurs
  • Spurs has won all 12 PL games this season vs current bottom half
  • Newcastle has lost 7 straight trips to Wembley (last win: 1955 FA Cup final)

Two teams breathing sighs of relief at opposite ends of the table meet as Tottenham Hotspur hosts Newcastle United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE

Spurs got back to winning ways last time out, but it required a comeback to do so, and all is not settled in North London. The last five Tottenham matches across all competitions have featured three losses, a last-gasp win against relegation-threatened Fulham, and a late come-from-behind win against Watford. They hold a solid seven-point lead over fourth-placed Arsenal but every match feels more important than the last given the recent form.

In addition, the dire injury situation has not been relieved, and if anything it has worsened. Still without Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Ben Davies who are suffering from long-term issues, now Heung-Min Son‘s status is in question after suffering from cramps. The South Korean has been heavily utilized the last few months after international duty in the Asian Cup, and could be feeling the effects of overuse.

For Newcastle, a win over Manchester City last time out – a second consecutive victory – has the Magpies with a pep in their step, but the job is far from done. They still sit just five points above the drop, very much still involved in the relegation scrap. Still, the pair of victories has Newcastle feeling much more confident, and another result against a top club could give them a true boost heading into the final third of the season.

New signing Miguel Almiron will not be available for this weekend’s match, still waiting on the completion of his work visa. Antonio Barreca, meanwhile, could make his debut on loan from Monaco, and Joselu could make his way back into the squad after missing out on the Man City win with an ankle problem.

What they’re saying

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on title chances: “We are going to dream because we are close, we are there in a very good position and we are going to try and fight until the end to be as high as we can.”

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez on turning fortunes: “I am happier now than one week ago. Why? We beat Man City and we brought in two players.”

Video preview

Prediction

These two teams will have a difficult and entertaining battle. With both sides still in a bit of flux, there’s plenty riding on the match. Despite that, a draw would be considered decent result for both sides given the cushion they both now hold over those below. A 1-1 draw seems a fair result, given Spurs’ spotty home form over the past few weeks.

What should we expect from Miguel Almiron’s Premier League debut half-season?

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What’s reasonable to expect from Miguel Almiron in his first half season at Newcastle United?

Remember: I wrote reasonable, not realistic. Newcastle smashing its 14-year transfer record to sign the Paraguayan will have supporters thinking big.

[ MORE: Club-by-club grades ]

First things first, Almiron’s first meaningful minutes for Newcastle will be his first serious match action since the MLS Cup Final on Dec. 9. That means there will be some rust on the wiry playmaker who produced 13 goals and 13 assists for the Five Stripes in 2018.

Next: It’s likely that Rafa Benitez views Almiron as that playmaking No. 10 he’s needed, though there’s no guarantee his closest comparison on the Magpies — Ayoze Perez — won’t be a bit more suited to the job while Almiron gets used to the league.

Speaking of which, Perez is a terrific base line for which to judge Almiron. That won’t happen since Perez was a plucked gem from Tenerife while Almiron cost a club record, but follow me here.

The 25-year-old Perez is only a half-year older than Almiron, but arrived Tyneside at the age of 21. Perez also has Almiron by a half-inch.

Perez arrived at Newcastle having torn apart a lesser league, La Liga2, to the tune of 16 goals and 7 assists. He did not come on like a flash, either, with his first six appearances off the bench.

He scored goals in his next three en route to five by New Year’s Day and seven on the Premier League season, where he was deployed by Alan Pardew as an undersized center striker in two-thirds of his matches.

That Newcastle team, as hard as this is to believe, was nearly as offensively wretched as this season’s iteration. Perez was the second-leading goal scorer, behind Papiss Cisse and ahead of a wayward crowd of Moussa Sissoko and Jack Colback (Yes, they were relegated).

Almiron is much more seasoned than Perez, and the Paraguayan’s lesser league of MLS is a lot more physical than La Liga2. Almiron has also been the focal point of a team’s creative center, and will not be thrown off by the responsibility and expectations at a new club. Remember, he cost an MLS expansion team about $8 million.

Benitez may cater to Almiron in a free-ranging role to blood him on the Premier League, ousting Christian Atsu from the lineup instead of Perez at the No. 10.

What’s reasonable, like really reasonable? We’d say a goal — perhaps two given set piece chances — to go with 3-4 assists over his final 14 matches would qualify as a statistical success, but just looking the part and encouraging his owner to back Benitez with similar talent over the summer will be almost as important.

No pressure, kid.

Newcastle sign Atlanta star Almiron for club, MLS-record fee

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Miguel Almiron’s 24-month career plan worked out perfectly and went exactly to plan, culminating in the now-former Atlanta United superstar becoming a Newcastle United player on Thursday.

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundupTuesday | Monday ]

The Magpies reportedly parted with nearly $30 million, which makes the 24-year-old Paraguayan playmaker the club’s new record signing and goes down as the new MLS-record fee for an outgoing player, to complete the deal.

Almiron arrived in Atlanta as the team and city arrived in MLS. While other exceptionally talented players joined him in MLS’s hottest new market, Almiron was the crown jewel from day one. Despite sky-high expectations, he exceeded the hype.

2017: 9 goals, 14 assists; MLS All-Star; MLS Best XI; MLS Newcomer of the Year.

2018: 12 goals, 14 assists; MLS Cup winner; MLS All-Star; MLS Best XI.

[ MORE: PSG to sign D.C. United midfield star Luciano Acosta ]

The move is a dream come true for the player who’ll now wear the no. 24 for Newcastle, whose ultimate goal was always to use MLS and Atlanta as a launch point for what will hopefully be a hugely successful European adventure — quotes from Newcastle’s announcement:

“I’m very happy and eager to start and to meet my new teammates. The league is very competitive, this is a historic club, and Rafa Benitez himself were the main reasons why I am here now.

“I think it is a great responsibility, something beautiful for me, and I will try to offer the best I can to repay the trust the club put in me.”

Manager Rafa Benitez is equally delighted:

“We were following Miguel Almiron for a while. We saw a player with some pace in attack, who can play behind the striker.

“We have someone who can score goals and give assists. We know that MLS is a different challenge to the Premier League but he has the potential to do what we are expecting, and what we need.

“From talking to the lad, you can tell that he is really focused and wants to do well. He wants to be successful and he wants to help the team, to score goals and give assists if it is possible.

Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN today from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here.