Mike Ashley booed by Newcastle fans as Crystal Palace fluff chances for victory

Maybe Mike Ashley should show up a bit more often? On the day that Kevin Keegan revealed he is no longer welcome at St James’s Park after falling out with Newcastle United’s detested owner, it was just like the Sports Direct chief executive to attend his first match for almost 18 months on a damp and dreary day in southeast London. He was treated to a backs-to-the-wall performance that earned Rafa Benítez’s side only their second point of the season but also laid bare the challenge facing their beleaguered manager this season. Continue reading...

The night Kevin Keegan sneaked back into Newcastle in a flat cap and overcoat

• Former manager reveals he is unwelcome at St James’ Park
• ‘I will always be persona non grata’ in the Mike Ashley regime Kevin Keegan has revealed he felt compelled to enter St James’ Park in disguise when attending a private function at Newcastle United’s home. That brief visit apart, Keegan has not stepped inside the ground he graced as both a player and a coach since his second spell as Newcastle’s manager ended, acrimoniously, in 2008. He has now vowed never to return again until Mike Ashley’s troubled tenure as the club’s owner is over. Continue reading...

Rafael Benítez running out of patience at underfunded Newcastle

• Manager unhappy with lack of financial backing from club
• ‘I want to compete in the top 10, we have to review things’Rafael Benítez has denied he is in a marriage of convenience with Newcastle but concedes that, although his love for the club endures, the partnership is fast approaching breaking point. As Newcastle headed to Crystal Palace, where Benítez hopes to secure his first win of the season on Saturday, Jamie Carragher used a newspaper column to suggest his former Liverpool manager will leave Tyneside at the end of the season. Continue reading...

Crystal Palace v Newcastle United: match preview

The focus will inevitably be drawn to Wilfried Zaha given his complaints over the treatment he is invariably given by markers. Andre Marriner, who officiates Newcastle’s visit, was once criticised by the then Palace manager Sam Allardyce for not cracking down on Arsenal’s rough treatment of the winger. It will be interesting to see how Marriner deals with the first meaty challenge on the forward this time round. The visitors, who have lost only once at Selhurst Park since 1984, are seeking to kickstart their campaign after a difficult early fixture list. Dominic Fifield Saturday 3pm Continue reading...

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Ryan Fraser ran Leicester ragged; Neil Warnock will not tolerate more Cardiff mistakes; and Rafael Benítez needs a new plan Jürgen Klopp was asked to describe his emotions during stoppage time in the 2-1 victory at Tottenham. His dominant Liverpool team had led 2-0 going into it but they conceded to Érik Lamela in the 93rd minute to set up a nervy finale. “I would love to say it is the first time in my life I have been in a situation like that but it happens so often,” Klopp said. “My wife hates it.” The Liverpool manager would not have gone through the wringer if some of his players – Sadio Mané, in particular – had played in a teammate when they ought to have done. If there was one criticism of Liverpool’s best performance of the season it was the lack of ruthlessness and, even, traces of Continue reading "Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action"

Arsenal’s Mesut Özil leaves Ciaran Clark and Newcastle too much to do

Midway through the afternoon Unai Emery was quite possibly bracing himself for the sort of uncomfortable post-match scrutiny with which Arsène Wenger eventually became so wearily familiar. Emery’s Arsenal ended the first half seemingly barely able to string two passes together and apparently struggling to grasp their new instructions to advance with intricacy right from the very back. At that point Newcastle United were pressing their guests into increasingly flustered submission and Rafael Benítez was clearly winning his battle of wits with Wenger’s successor. Continue reading...

Arsenal’s ‘Uncomfortable’ defence hampering Petr Cech’s performances

Arsenal goalkeeping legend David Seaman has pointed the finger at the Gunners’ ‘uncomfortable’ defence for Petr Cech’s somewhat substandard performances and distribution of late between the sticks. The 36-year-old stopper, with the ball at his feet, has found it a struggle to locate viable options to relieve troublesome phases, and though the former Chelsea man […]

Unai Emery praises Rafael Benítez’s impact and demands Arsenal improve

• Emery hails Benítez as a pioneer for Spanish coaches
• Arsenal manager wants to make an impact in Europa League Unai Emery has hailed Rafael Benítez as a trailblazer for Spanish coaches working in England before their meeting at Newcastle on Saturday. “He is the first of the Spanish coaches to be working here,” Arsenal’s manager said. “He knows the Premier League. He got the best performance with a lot of teams and above all with Liverpool.” Benítez is in his 24th season as a head coach, Emery in his 15th, yet these compatriots have seldom crossed managerial swords. A rare meeting took place in 2015, when Emery’s Sevilla upset Benítez’s Real Madrid by ending a long unbeaten run. “I know Benítez, he is a very competitive coach and his teams are usually also competitive,” Emery said before facing opponents feeling the pressure at the uncomfortable end of Continue reading "Unai Emery praises Rafael Benítez’s impact and demands Arsenal improve"

Newcastle United v Arsenal: match preview

When Newcastle beat Arsenal 2-1 at St James’ Park in April a watershed was reached. Apart from securing Premier League safety for Rafael Benítez’s side, it was the day when an unusually downcast Arsène Wenger seemed to, albeit tacitly, concede that his north London race was all but run. Shortly afterwards came the news that Wenger was stepping down and now his sucessor, Unai Emery, must trust that Mesut Özil and company can find a way to unpick the tight tactical locks Benítez routinely installs against this calibre of opposition. Louise Taylor Saturday 3pm Continue reading...

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Emery should change his tactics or his keeper, Sarri is getting his message across at Chelsea and it’s been a rough start for Burnley and West Ham Unai Emery must have known the question was coming, and the answer, a bit like Petr Cech’s goalkeeping, was not wholly convincing. Arsenal’s manager was asked after their victory over Cardiff whether he is still confident that Cech, at the age of 36, can develop and adapt to the style of play that he is determined to introduce, namely passing the ball out from the back at every opportunity. Cech had looked uncomfortable with the ball at his feet against Manchester City, prompting the manager to be quizzed about whether he would turn to Bernd Leno, the new No 2 from Germany, and that debate is unlikely to go away after another afternoon that threatened to turn into an ordeal for Cech. Either Continue reading "Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action"

Kyle Walker strikes winner to help Manchester City maintain solid start

On the far side to where Pep Guardiola was standing, the banner paying homage to Sheik Mansour had been changed to mark the occasion. “Manchester thanks you for 10 great years,” it read. Vincent Kompany took a microphone to proclaim “this is just the beginning” and Newcastle’s record at this stadium is so abysmal most of the people arriving for this match would probably have anticipated the reigning champions would usher in their second decade of Abu Dhabi ownership with a freewheeling win. It was not always quite that simple and at half-time, with Newcastle holding their own at 1-1, the home supporters must have been rather nonplussed to find Guardiola’s men falling below their usual standards. City can certainly play much better but, such is life in the lopsided Premier League, it was still largely comfortable for the home team once Kyle Walker had restored their lead with a Continue reading "Kyle Walker strikes winner to help Manchester City maintain solid start"

Manchester City v Newcastle United: match preview

So excellent are Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City that last week’s dropping of two points at Wolves may be the last time they do so for a while. Rafael Benítez’s struggling Newcastle United (1 point from 3 games) could be the latest team to suffer before the Etihad Stadium crowd. Jamie Jackson Saturday 5.30pm BT Sport 1 Continue reading...

Manchester City v Newcastle United: match preview

So excellent are Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City that last week’s dropping of two points at Wolves may be the last time they do so for a while. Rafael Benítez’s struggling Newcastle United (1 point from 3 games) could be the latest team to suffer before the Etihad Stadium crowd. Jamie Jackson Saturday 5.30pm BT Sport 1 Continue reading...

Nottingham Forest’s Matty Cash and Gil Dias end Newcastle’s comeback

For about a minute Newcastle thought they had got away with it. They had trailed since the second minute to a goal by Daryl Murphy but Salomón Rondón came off the bench to bail them out with a stoppage-time equaliser. Or so it seemed. It turned out Rafael Benítez’s team could not even hold on for a penalty shootout, because after Karl Darlow spilled a cross from the left Matty Cash walloped home for Aitor Karanka’s Championship side. Then, just to confirm their superiority and Newcastle’s decrepitude, Forest added a third goal through Gil Dias in a crazy finish. Continue reading...

Benítez’s idling at Newcastle exposed by Mitrovic’s flying start for Fulham | Paul Wilson

The Spaniard said: ‘You can only drive the car you have’ – but could he push his side closer to the speed limit?It won’t last long, but the infant Premier League table is about as close to telling porkies as a league table can ever get at the moment, giving the wholly misleading impression that big can mix with little in England and that any team can reach any stratum. Related: Newcastle tie a welcome distraction as Aitor Karanka asks for patience| Ben Fisher Continue reading...

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Arsenal’s defence requires urgent attention; Bournemouth cannot keep relying on their powers of recovery; Wolves’ Rui Patricio has produced an early contender for save of the season Arsenal’s defending against West Ham was a shambles. Their back four were constantly disconnected while the midfield in front of them offered as much protection as a piece of tissue in a storm gun fight. West Ham scored once but should have racked up more. These are, of course, early days in Unai Emery’s time at Arsenal and with a new manager comes a period of adjustment. But having conceded six goals in their opening three games of the season, there needs to be notable improvement soon – what is encouraging is the players appear aware of that, too. “When we do not have the ball we have to make fouls. Then we don’t take the counterattack,” the centre‑back Sokratis Papastathopoulos said. It Continue reading "Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action"