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Yedlin pleads new Rafa deal: ‘He has brought Newcastle together’

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USMNT fullback DeAndre Yedlin is hoping Newcastle United’s hierarchy can meet Rafa Benitez‘s demands and keep the Spaniard around St. James’ Park for a long time.

[ MORE: Pochettino on touch line ban ]

Yedlin, 25, has become a Premier League regular after helping Newcastle to promotion, and Benitez has turned the flier into a much-improved defender.

But owner Mike Ashley’s general reluctance to improve the team has Benitez questioning whether to consider a new contract with the Magpies despite a clear appreciation for the city and club.

Yedlin could hardly have better words for his boss. From The Chronicle:

“I think everyone has seen how he has brought the city together,” Yedlin said. “Even though we may not have started the season the best, we’ve ended it very well so I think, yeah, it’s very important. As we all know, all the fans love him, the players love him and it would be great if he stayed.”

Yedlin has appeared 91 times for Newcastle since arriving from Spurs, and counts 83 Premier League experiences between the Magpies, rivals Sunderland, and Tottenham Hotspur.

He’s struggling this season, mostly in defense, but has become more positionally responsible. That should help the USMNT, even if it…. hasn’t been translating to recent appearances.

Miserly Magpies leapfrog Clarets

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  • Dubravka gets 2nd straight clean sheet
  • Longstaff bags first PL goal
  • Burnley unbeaten run ends
  • Magpies sweep Clarets

Newcastle United leapfrogged Burnley with its latest home win, a 2-0 triumph at St. James’ Park on Tuesday.

Sean Longstaff scored his first Premier League goal and Fabian Schar nailed a Goal of the Month contender as Newcastle moved to 31 points and 13th place in the Premier League.

Burnley’s eight-match unbeaten league run is over, the Clarets suffering a first loss since Boxing Day versus Everton. Burnley is 14th with 30 points.

The Magpies won for the fourth time in six matches, the lone loss a 1-0 setback to Spurs. They’ve allowed just three goals in that span.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Matt Ritchie continued a fine run of form by sending a left-footed cross around the Clarets defense, only for the ball to just evade the reach of Salomon Rondon.

Tom Heaton collected the ball when Florian Lejeune turned a Sean Longstaff cross toward goal in the 12th minute.

Schar put Newcastle ahead when he hammered a shot Upper 90, kissing the top of the left post on its way into the goal.

Burnley came close to leveling quickly, but Martin Dubravka saved Chris Wood‘s effort.

Newcastle doubled its lead before the break after Ritchie’s cross was tipped into the path of Longstaff, who took a touch before slotting across goal.

Burnley should have pulled within one before the break, but James Tarkowski very much looked like a center back in volleying over the frame from a half-dozen yards.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League box scores, stats ]

Almiron blazed past Neil Taylor to get 1v1 with Heaton, but the goalkeeper stopped the nutmeg shot attempt.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United v. Burnley

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  • Magpies won at Turf Moor on Nov. 26
  • Series 1W-1D-3L since 2014/15
  • Burnley leads all-time 42W-20D-41L

Newcastle United and Burnley are both coming off important wins as they stage the latest relegation six-pointer of the Premier League season (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Home at St. James’ Park again, the Magpies beat 10-man Huddersfield Town comfortably behind a star performance from Miguel Almiron; Burnley surprised Tottenham Hotspur to the tune of 2-1.

Both managers, Rafa Benitez and Sean Dyche, are deflecting questions about links to the open Leicester City job.

Burnley hasn’t lost since a 5-1 blowout defeat to Everton on Boxing Day, a run of five wins and three draws which has catapulted the Clarets from 18th to 13th.

Newcastle, meanwhile, has lost just once in five matches to move from 18th to 14th. A win over the visiting Clarets would send the Magpies ahead of the visitors.

What they’re saying

Rafa Benitez on Newcastle leaning on last season’s experience“We did well at this stage last year and we know how difficult Burnley will be. We approach this game with no complacency. We had control against Huddersfield, which is not just about possession, and we created chances. I hope we can do that again and carry on.”

Burnley’s Sean Dyche on links to Leicester City job: “I am still here. I have been here approaching six and a half years. I have had speculation in the past and it always flattering from any club. At one point, I always say this, for good or bad reasons things change but they haven’t changed on six and a half years so far so I just get on with my work here.”

Prediction

A cagey affair. A mistake or conceded penalty might be the difference here, but we could be in for 1-1 at SJP.

Fans who want to try their hand at predicting PL games can down the NBC Sports Predictor app, with a chance to win up to $50,000 each week. Download it on iOS or Google Play.

Benitez praises Almiron after first Newcastle start

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Rafa Benitez has wanted Miguel Almiron at Newcastle United for a long time, and was effusive with praise for the Paraguayan after a game-changing display in his first Premier League start.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 2-0 Huddersfield ]

Well, let’s clarify: Rafa was effusive with praise considering his reserved standard of praising.

The pesky and electric Almiron drew attention all day in Newcastle’s 2-0 defeat of 10-man Huddersfield Town, who was down a man thanks to an Almiron-drawn foul.

Yeah, he was good. Here’s Benitez on Almiron, from two separate interviews:

“He did what we expected of him. He linked well with the other forwards. It was a great day for him and the fans.

“His contribution in terms of work rate was really good. He will be pleased with his performance and the fans will be too. He will give us a different characteristics and different options.”

Almiron was exceptional, all over the attacking half and a handful throughout the contest. Up next is another hard-fouling side in Burnley, and the Paraguayan will again be key to earning space for his teammates (and himself).

Benitez reportedly reaches Newcastle breaking point over transfers

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The Telegraph claims that Rafa Benitez has issued an ultimatum to stingy Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley: Buy me two players, or I’m done after the season.

The celebrated manager has had success with Newcastle despite its failure to spend on players since promotion back to the Premier League.

[ MORE: Latest on Emiliano Sala ]

It’s believed that one of the players is Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron, with the Premier League outfit and MLS club far apart on their valuation of the player.

A move for Almiron would break Newcastle’s transfer record, which has stood since the 2005 purchase of Michael Owen.

According to Football365.com, 15 PL teams have broken their transfer records more than five times since Newcastle set its milestone.

Newcastle’s transfer record is just over $20 million, a figure that was spent more than two dozen times this summer alone.

If Newcastle fails to sign Benitez to a new deal, it’s difficult to imagine them finding a manager anywhere near his level to take over the squad. And given the value of players on its pitch, the club would almost certainly continue its recent pattern of being annual relegation fodder.

That is if the penny-pinching doesn’t again doom Newcastle to the Championship.