Willian

Photo by Leila Coker/ MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United v. Chelsea

Leave a comment

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.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

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.

Hudson-Odoi scores first Premier League goal in Chelsea cruise

Leave a comment

Three different Chelsea players scored in a comfortable 3-0 defeat of Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Jorginho, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Tammy Abraham scored for Chelsea, who was without injured Christian Pulisic.

The Blues stay fourth in moving onto 39 points, while Burnley’s 24 are just four clear of the Bottom Three.


Three things we learned

1. Abraham’s baker dozen just the tip of the iceberg: Tammy Abraham has a nose for goal, and the 22-year-old now has 13 league goals this season despite not regularly impressing in other areas of the field. He may still dip in and out of play, sometimes for entire halves, but watch out if Frank Lampard is able to harness his knack for goal into a complete product.

2. Burnley tempting fate: We’re not here to doubt Sean Dyche, but the statistics are quite ready to ask whether the Clarets can defy logic again to remain in the Premier League. Over-simplified: Burnley readily concedes possession and doesn’t pass the ball well, depending on hustle and pressure to produce chances (as well as long balls lumped to the forwards). Its 68 percent passing will finish last in the top flight, and we’re able to project that in January. Still Dyche will probably just beat up everyone and finish 15th. His teams get it done.

3. James staking his claim: Chelsea’s 20-year-old right back Reece James was very good again on Saturday, providing an assist and forcing Nick Pope into a big save in the first half. Already an excellent passer with a willingness to tackle, the future is very much his for the taking.

Man of the Match: Willian had his nose in everything his side of the pitch, and just gets the nod over James.


Burnley thought it was ahead when Jeff Hendrick headed Ben Mee‘s flick home, but the midfielder was offside.

Chelsea then found its way to the spot when Matthew Lowton‘s short slide caught Willian inside the box.

Jorginho calmly wrong-footed Nick Pope for 1-0 in the 28th.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The Blues made it 2-0 when Reece James crossed for Abraham to nod past a baffled Pope.

The Burnley keeper would make a point-blank save on James in the 41st for a measure of redemption.

Hudson-Odoi broke his Premier League duck in the 49th minute, the first to Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross as Burnley’s defenders were nowhere.

PL AT HALF: Mata’s sweet assist put Man Utd up; Chelsea, Everton lead

Leave a comment

We’ve seen eight goals in five 10 a.m. ET kickoffs across the Premier League, refreshed players giving refreshed performances.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]


Wolves 1-1 Newcastle United [STREAM]

Miguel Almiron gave the Magpies an early lead — WATCH HERE — but Leander Dendoncker answered quickly to put it level at the Molineux.

Chelsea 2-0 Burnley [STREAM]

Willian won a penalty that Jorginho converted, and Reece James set up Tammy Abraham for the Blues’ second goal at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United 1-0 Norwich City [STREAM]

A gorgeous, vintage Juan Mata pass found Marcus Rashford for the loan goal at Old Trafford.

Everton 1-0 Brighton and Hove Albion [STREAM]

Richarlison is the man on the score sheet at Goodison Park, his eighth league goal of the season.

Leicester City 1-1 Southampton [STREAM]

Dennis Praet put the hosts ahead but it’s been all Saints since, with Stuart Armstrong leveling the score and Danny Ings twice hitting the frame of the goal.

Transfer rumor roundup: Sancho deal off; Dembele to Chelsea, Man Utd

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It appears that Jadon Sancho will not be heading to the Premier League in January.

Our partners at Sky Sports in Germany claim that the Bundesliga giants will not sell Sancho, 19, in January and will instead focus on getting the best deal possible for the winger this summer as they won’t be able to replace him this month.

Sancho has been linked with moves to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, as the former Watford and Man City youth product has shone for Dortmund over the last 18 months as he’s become a regular for England.

Dortmund have already admitted that Sancho won’t be around much longer as they continue their incredible record of attracting the top young talent in Europe, getting a few years out of them and then selling the stars on for big profits.

Chelsea have been linked strongly with a move for Sancho as the likes of Willian and Pedro are the wrong side of 30 and the former has yet to sign a new contract at Stamford Bridge.

Keeping Sancho until this summer is a smart move by Dortmund. Financially they will get more if they start a bidding war for him in the summer transfer window, when most clubs are willing to do business as they know better what their revenue streams will be in the upcoming year.

With Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid all linked with a move for Sancho too, the Premier League’s big boys know they will have to splash out over $130 million to sign the teenager who took Christian Pulisic‘s place in the Dortmund team.

Man United and Chelsea seem the most likely to bite the bullet and pay big bucks for Sancho, with Man City and Liverpool well stocked in the attacking areas of the pitch.


Talking of Man United and Chelsea, the duo are locked into a battle to sign Lyon’s Moussa Dembele.

The former Fulham and Celtic striker, 23, has been the subject of bids in January and various reports state that Chelsea have made an offer of over $50 million to sign Dembele.

A report from the Daily Mail also suggests that Chelsea will offer French national team forward Olivier Giroud as a makeweight in the deal for Dembele, as Lyon play hardball over their top goalscorer from last season.

He’s scored 10 goals in 18 Ligue 1 appearances this season and has been linked with a move back to the UK consistently.

Dembele would provide great competition for Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham and Man United’s Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, and it would appear Chelsea are pushing hard to sign the French striker. Aside from Abraham they only have Michy Batshuayi and Giroud as center forward options and Frank Lampard is keen to spend in January as his young side are keen to kick on in the second half of the season to seal a top four finish.

With the Blues able to sign players again as their transfer ban is over, they have the financial edge in this deal. They also have the greater need to add a center forward. Chelsea seems like a very good for Dembele and the next logical step on his career path.

La Liga roundup: Cazorla strikes, Villarreal hurt Real Sociedad with comeback win (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Villarreal’s come-from-behind victory in San Sebastian highlights La Liga’s Sunday action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Real Sociedad 1-2 Villarreal

Santi Cazorla in the magician, the journeyman that keeps on giving.

The 35-year-old and longtime Villarreal midfielder Manu Trigueros both netted goals in the second half, as The Yellow Submarine pulled off a 2-1 victory over thriving Real Sociedad at Anoeta.

Sociedad, who remain fifth on the table despite the loss, edged the visitors in possession and passes completed, evident in their first goal scored by Willian Jose. The Brazilian culminated a sequence – with lots of quick passes and possession from the home side – with a simple touch inside the box.

Despite the dominance, Sociedad were unable to create abundant chances – a flaw that would, ultimately cost them the game.

Villarreal’s fortunes changed in the second half, as Cazorla and ex-Liverpool fullback Alberto Moreno took he field in the 60th minute.

The Spanish duo reinforced a side that was heavily leaning on Nigerian winger Samuel Chukwueze for answers. The 20-year-old was a standout for 82 minutes, leading the team in dribbles and most key passes completed.

Towards the latter stages of the second half, Chukwueze earned a penalty after a dangerous run inside the box, leading to Cazorla’s goal from 12 yards out in the 72nd minute.

Villarreal, who travel to Orihuela for a Copa Del Rey fixture on January 11, moved to ninth after the win with 28 points after 19 matches. Sociedad, on the other hand, look to bounce back as they take on AD Cueta in the same tournament on January 12.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Granada 1-0 RCD Mallorca

Alaves 1-1 Real Betis 

Celta Vigo 1-1 Osasuna