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Sunderland’s Pickford: “I would never” play for Newcastle

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Jordan Pickford is going to be a man in-demand if he chooses to leave Sunderland this summer.

The England U-21 keeper has been one of few shining lights for the Black Cats in their moribund season, and has not ruled out helping Sunderland’s quest for Premier League promotion next season.

[ MORE: The way back for Sunderland ]

Teammate Jermain Defoe has been linked with PL moves including one to Tyne-Wear Derby rivals Newcastle United, and ex-Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback made the move, but that’s literally a bridge too far for Pickford.

From The Express:

“Jack’s playing on the other side of the water these days unfortunately. I would never do that,” Pickford said. “I couldn’t do it myself. I would never go to Newcastle.

“[Leaving Sunderland] is not something I’ve looked at yet and it’s not something I want to look at either.”

Colback was a Newcastle United supporter as a kid before joining Sunderland’s academy at age 10, so Pickford is obviously a different story. One of the many shames regarding Sunderland’s relegation is another year without a league derby against Newcastle United.

Thank goodness Pickford gave us a little bitter reminder of the feud, though we’re wondering how he’ll feel if Rafa Benitez lodges the biggest bid for his services. Easier said than done, Jordan.

Swansea City 2-0 Newcastle United: Ayew, Gomis stride past 10-man Magpies

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  • Janmaat takes two first-half yellows
  • Montero a terror, drawing red card, adding assist
  • Ayew, Gomis score for home opener win
  • Swansea moves fourth, with four points

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Swansea City deserved all three points even before Daryl Janmaat took his second yellow in the 41st minute, as Garry Monk’s crew cruised past visiting Newcastle United 2-0 on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium.

Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis looked like a lethal pair for the second-straight week, and Gomis again prowled with his panther celebration as Swans went fourth in the Premier League.

Newcastle is 15th with a single point, and faces Arsenal at St. James Park next week.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Swansea struck on a brilliant run from Gomis which met an equally-impressive ball from Jonjo Shelvey, who has been dynamite to start the campaign.

Gomis touched around a desperate Tim Krul before passing home to give Swans their early lead.

The Magpies earned a dangerous free kick near the left corner flag when Shelvey fouled Jack Colback. Giorginio Wijnaldum’s cross was scooped by Lukasz Fabianski to end the threat.

It got worse for Newcastle when a clearly-beaten Daryl Janmaat saw yellow for tugging on Jefferson Montero’s kit inside the Swansea half of the pitch. The problem? It was Janmaat’s second yellow of the half, and Newcastle went down to 10 men.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score

Ayew made it academic when he rose above Fabricio Coloccini to head over a cross from Montero, who put in a Man of the Match performance on the left side of the pitch. Absolute terror.

Newcastle 2-2 Southampton: Long’s late equalizer spoils strong Wijnaldum debut

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  • Graziano Pelle opened the scoring 25 minutes in
  • Newcastle levels before halftime via Papiss Cisse
  • Wijnaldum scores on debut just after the break
  • Substitute Long equalizes with 11 minutes to go

After a promising preseason, new signing Georginio Wijnaldum gave Newcastle a home lead early in the second half, but the Magpies couldn’t hold on as Shane Long came off the bench to equalize 11 minutes from the final whistle.

Saints took an early lead through frontman Graziano Pelle, but Papiss Cisse leveled for the home side just before the break, and just minutes after it Wijnaldum bagged the difference-maker.

Wijnaldum had a big chance six minutes in with space in the middle of the box but his shot cannoned off the chest of Steven Davis. Newcastle continued to push forward well early, and Wijnaldum was pulled down by Cedric Soares earning the Portuguese defender an early yellow. By the 20-minute mark Southampton had committed eight fouls to Newcastle’s one.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Southampton got its first chance when Dusan Tadic got space above the top of the box and curled a bending effort just wide with Tim Krul making a diving attempt. Down the other end Fabricio Coloccini’s volleyed effort made contact with Maya Yoshida’s arm in the box from point-blank range but the referee waved the shout off.

25 minutes gone the first breakthrough came. A meaty cross from Soares found the head of Pelle and his powerful header snuck inside the far post just out of Krul’s reach. Newcaslte had another handball shout on the half-hour mark as a corner seemed to strike Jay Rodriguez with his arm very stretched out, but again the referee stood unmoved.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

But just two minutes before halftime, Newcastle worked themselves back level. A short corner cut back to Massadio Haidara whose cross took a huge deflection to the far post where Papiss Cisse was waiting for an easy goal, chesting the ball into the net.

Following halftime, Southampton made a good start but Krul made a beautiful kick-save to keep out a close range header from Yoshida. Then down the other end, Newcastle completed a scything counter-attack for a second goal. Gabriel Obertan latched onto a ball down the right flank and sent in a perfect cross to Wijnaldum who rose above a Cuco Martina for a powerful header and a Newcastle lead.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score ]

Unfortunately, the Magpies couldn’t hold on. Southampton grabbed the ascendency past the hour mark and began to press forward as the Koeman brother brought on Shane Long for more attacking prowess. It proved prophetic as a cross from Dusan Tadic on the right found Long’s head with 11 minutes to go and Southampton found themselves level.

Saido Mane had a pair of brilliant chances to bring Southampton ahead in stoppage time, but Jack Colback blocked the first effort and Mane sent his second one wide.

2014-15 Premier League season review: Top ten midfielders

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All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2014-15 Premier League season. From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the 380 games as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

[ ARCHIVE: Premier League season review ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, let’s take a look at the ten men who excelled in the midfield.

Ah, the midfielders. No one dictates the pace and direction of a game quite like the men (often times) in the middle third of the field. Oh, and all those goals that fantastic goals that you love watching over and over again, there’s almost always a midfielder involved in the build-up, making beauty possible.

The 10 best midfielders from the 2014-15 Premier League season…

10. Yannick Bolasie, Crystal Palace

Bolasie was a bit of a second-half revelation. Call it the “Pardew effect,” if you will, but the DR Congo winger provided a real spark for the Eagles once Alan Pardew took over as manager. 4 goals and 6 assists doesn’t sound like an incredible season, until you realize that nearly all of them came between January and May.

[ MORE: Top 10 goalkeepers | Defenders | Forwards ]

source:  9. Jack Colback, Newcastle United

In a season where many of the Newcastle players looked completely disinterested in fighting for the club, Colback, a Sunderland youth academy product, was perhaps the most (only?) consistent Magpies performer in 2014-15. His 4 goals and 6 assists don’t even begin to tell the story of Colback, whose 91 tackles won rank 4th in the Premier League and 65 interceptions come in as 5th-most.

8. James McArthur, Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace’s midfield workhorse (88 tackles, 7th-most in the PL, and 66 interceptions, 4th-most) and foundation of possession (79 percent completion percentage, with nearly one key pass per game). Poached from Wigan for barley $10 million last summer, McArthur is one of the Premier League’s best pieces of business.

7. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea City

Sigurdsson amassed 7 goals in 10 assists in his first season as a full-time Swan, which are tied-8th and 2nd, respectively, in the Premier League. That’s a 37-percent goal contribution rate, which also ranks in the top-10 of the league, easily.

[ MORE: Top 10 newcomers to the Premier League | The best (and worst) transfers ]

source: Getty Images6. Jordan Henderson, Liverpool

What an up-and-down season it was for Henderson. The 24-year-old struggled mightily as the campaign began, and by the time it ended he had been chosen the heir apparent to Steven Gerrard and given a brand new $150,000-per-week contract to stay at Liverpool until 2020. 6 goals and 9 assists from what is generally a deeper-lying midfield player is nothing to scoff at.

5. Nemanja Matic, Chelsea

With the embarrassing wealth of attacking talent ahead of him in the midfield (we’ll get to that in a moment), Matic was the midfield beast that allowed every one of Chelsea’s creative-minded midfielders to do their thing. Unsurprisingly, Matic ranks 1st in tackles won (122) and clearances (118); 2nd in interceptions (72); and 6th in passes blocked (44).

[ MORE: Premier League grades: How did each team fare this year? ]

source: Getty Images4. Santi Cazorla, Arsenal

The 2013-14 season wasn’t particularly kind to Cazorla, who for stretches looked like his best years might be behind him. Then came the 2014-15 season. 7 goals and 11 assists for the diminutive Spaniard were sorely needed when Aaron Ramsey’s production regressed from last season’s stellar performances. At times Cazorla played in a deep midfield two with Ramsey or Francis Coquelin; at times he played underneath the center forward; at times he was shuttled out onto the wing, where he still had a great impact.

3. David Silva, Manchester City

Much like Cazorla, folks seemed to have given up on Silva following a pedestrian 2013-14 season (by his standards). In 2014-15, Silva willed Man City to results at times, leading the Citizens to a second-place finish, frequently papering over the completely disinterested showings of Yaya Toure. 12 goals and 7 assists for Silva this year, and with slightly better finishing from City’s center forwards, it could have easily been 12 and 12, or 12 and 15.

2. Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea

Chelsea had all but won the league by the time March rolled around. Fabregas’s early-season performances, in which he contributed nearly all of his league-leading 18 assists, were a huge reason why the Blues held such a commanding lead and won the title so comfortably. It’s still a bit weird seeing Fabregas in Chelsea blue, but seeing the brilliant Spaniard win Premier League titles is a sight we could all get used to seeing.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback: Looking back at a memorable 2014-15 season ]

source: Getty Images1. Eden Hazard, Chelsea

By most (all?) organizations, the Premier League Player of the Year. By most metrics, it wasn’t even close. 14 goals and 9 assists this season launched Hazard’s name into the “who’s the third-best player in the world” conversation. The additions of Fabregas and Diego Costa could have cut into Hazard’s production and numbers, but the Belgian simply welcomed his new help in the attacking third and made not only himself, but everyone around him, a better player.

With relegation safety a priority, Newcastle cancels end of season party

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When you haven’t won since February and can suffer the embarrassment of this century’s second relegation, a club tends to prioritize.

So Newcastle United has canceled its “end-of-season awards night” this coming Wednesday, apparently not convinced they’ll take care of business this weekend against QPR and earn safety.

[ MORE: Wenger rooting for Barcelona? ]

Newcastle enters the weekend just two points ahead of Hull City in the relegation fight, and it hasn’t been a good fight. The Magpies have plummeted down the table, comfortably mid-table when an eight-game winless streak hit John Carver’s side.

What’s followed has been Carver accusing players of not trying and getting red cards on purpose whil glossing himself the best manager in the league.

From the BBC:

“The club would like to extend its apologies for any inconvenience caused to those businesses who had purchased tables to support the event, but we hope that you can appreciate our decision has not been taken lightly,” the club’s statement added.

“We will work with the [charity] Newcastle United Foundation to find another opportunity to support them to raise funds for their outstanding work, which engages with over 50,000 people in our community.”

Not exactly oozing confidence, are we now?

We will hand out some awards, anyway:

Best defender (with best haircut): Fabricio Coloccini

Most versatile player: Daryl Janmaat

Potentially-relegation-making use of revenge spittle: Papiss Cisse

Best offensive player: Moussa Sissoko

Most-enthralling use of long legs without accomplishing all that much: Sammy Ameobi

Most Valuable Player: Jack Colback

New addition of the year, often and inexplicably used as a lone striker: Ayoze Perez

Comeback Player of the Year: Jonas Gutierrez (even Ryan Taylor won’t argue, and he’d win the award 99 times out of 100).