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Premier League

Gordon strikes as Newcastle overpower Man United

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Premier League - Newcastle United v Manchester United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - December 2, 2023 Newcastle United's Anthony Gordon scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith Acquire Licensing Rights  

Anthony Gordon scored the winner as Newcastle held off a frenzied late push by Manchester United in a deserved 1-0 Premier League victory over their top-four rivals at a chilly St James’ Park on Saturday.

Eddie Howe’s team climbed above Manchester United into fifth in the table on 26 points after 14 games as Erik ten Hag’s side dropped to seventh on 24.

“I couldn’t be happier with the players tonight,” Howe told TNT Sports. “The performances we put in against three top teams were brilliant so that will give confidence, and when we get some players back we can push on even further.”

The Magpies have won three consecutive games against Manchester United in all competitions for the first time since January 1922.

“It is down to the team and how hard we work for each other,” Gordon said. “I am just trying to work hard and be someone who the team can rely on and I am getting the rewards at the moment so I am happy.”

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Gordon scored his sixth goal of the Premier League season in the 55th minute when Kieran Trippier played a ball across the six-yard box after Manchester lost possession in midfield.

Miguel Almiron narrowly missed getting to the ball before a wide-open Trippier swept it in from the back post for Gordon to score.

“It’s amazing to win today,” Gordon said. “It’s been a massive week for us, some good moments, some difficult moments but we came through it as a team.”

Newcastle, who drew 1-1 with Paris St Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday, dominated the match, peppering United keeper Andre Onana with 22 shots compared with the visitors’ seven.

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Manchester United pressed for a late equaliser with a flurry of chances including Harry Maguire’s headed effort that was ruled out for offside.

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Newcastle were a more cohesive and hungry side in halting their opponents’ run of four away wins. Manchester United have lost all five league games against top-half teams this season.

If not for Maguire and fellow defender Luke Shaw, the score may have been more lopsided.

“We had a tough first half and said at halftime we were pleased to be in the game,” Ten Hag said. “We had a good comeback in the last part of the game.

“I will talk with my team. We had some chances. We thought we scored a goal but it was offside. We could have scored.”

Newcastle had a terrific chance just before halftime when Trippier curled in a beautiful free kick that caught keeper Andre Onana rooted to the spot, but the ball glanced off the crossbar and dropped just outside the goalline.

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One negative for Newcastle, already depleted by injuries, was keeper Nick Pope’s replacement by Martin Dubravka in the 86th minute after dislocating his shoulder. Pope walked gingerly off the pitch with the help of medical staff.

“It will be a massive blow for us if he is ruled out for any length of time,” Howe said.

“It looked really innocuous, but that is usually the way and they are normally the more serious ones. You could see he was in distress and it looked like he dislocated his shoulder just diving.”

-Reuters

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Premier League

Sancho back in training with Man United after positive meeting with Ten Hag

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Jadon Sancho was back training with Manchester United for the first time in 10 months, with a club source confirming the winger and manager Erik ten Hag have resolved their differences following their public fallout last year.

Sancho and Ten Hag had a positive meeting at Carrington Training Centre and the two have decided to draw a line under last season’s drawn-out argument, the club source said.

The 24-year-old Sancho made just three appearances for United last season, spending the second half of the campaign on loan to Borussia Dortmund after his relationship with Ten Hag soured in September.

Ten Hag had left the winger out of his squad for United’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal, saying Sancho’s performances in training had not warranted a place in his team. Sancho immediately lashed out on social media, accusing Ten Hag of making him a “scapegoat.”

He was banished from the first team and trained with United’s youth squad before returning to his former club Dortmund in January, where he shone during their Champions League semi-final victory against Paris St Germain, earning praise from Ten Hag. Dortmund were beaten by Real Madrid in the final.

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“(Sancho) is a very good player… he showed why Manchester United bought him and he showed he represents a high value for Manchester United, which is good,” Ten Hag told reporters following Dortmund’s 1-0 win over PSG in the first leg.

“I’m happy for Jadon, for the performance, and we’ll see what is going to happen in the future.”

Sancho will not travel with the team to Norway for their pre-season opener against Rosenborg since he began training later than the other players but the club source said he would be available for selection after that.

-Reuters

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Another Nigerian blood replaces Ndidi at Leicester

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Wilfred Ndidi who has just left Leicester City will have another Nigerian blood replacing him.

Leicester has never been without a Nigerian since Ahmed Musa joined in 2016. Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho joined in 2017.

Another Nigerian blood, Caleb Okoli, a centre back, has just been signed from Italian  Serie A side Atalanta on a five-year contract. Born in Itali, Caleb Okoli is Igbo and Yoruba by descent.

The 22-year-old, who spent the last season on loan at Frosinone Calcio, represented Italy at the European Under-21 Championship last year.

“I think now is the right moment (for me) to make a step forward and a very big one. I’m very happy with the choice I made, so I’m very excited to start in the Premier League,” Okoli said in a statement. The clubs did not disclose financial details of the deal.

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Ruud van Nistelrooy returns to Man United

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United legend Van Nistelrooy is expected to be announced as one of Erik ten Hag's assistants

Manchester United legend, Ruud van Nistelrooy has been spotted being driven into Carrington, the training ground of Manchester United.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (left) and Rene Hake arrived at Manchester United’s training ground

Reports have it that the Dutchman is set to be appointed as one of Erik ten Hag’s new assistant coaches.

He played for Manchester United from 2001 to 2006.

Now  48, he reportedly turned down job offer from Burnley to return to his old club, having previously led PSV Eindhoven to second place in the Eredivisie and victory in the Dutch Cup.

He is being joined by Rene Hake, 52, who was persuaded to give up his job as Go Ahead Eagles manager despite leading the Deventer-based club into Europe for only the third time in their history.

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