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Newcastle United Leaders Arise: Tiote, Hanley, Murphy & The Geordies Can Arrest Benitez Blip




Newcastle United were beaten 3-1 on penalties last night and went out of The EFL Cup to a 10-man Hull City side they had dominated for large periods having enjoyed the vast majority of possession and 32 shots to the Tigers’ 12 as The Magpies let a big chance at silverware slip away.

Geordie fans love manager Rafa Benitez and the way he has revitalized the club taking the black and whites straight to the top of The Championship and will not be overreacting at losing 2 games in a row after winning 9 on the spin yet it is important Benitez and his lieutenants do react.

Winter has arrived in England, the temperature has dropped suddenly, pitches have gotten worse very quickly and the unforgiving second tier of English football can become a slog that requires a certain physical toughness and mental hardiness to thrive.

Last night’s conceded goal was sloppy from keeper Matt Selz’ point of view yet also showed Hull capitalizing on the lack of height down the Newcastle right side while Isaac Hayden could be blamed in part for both that goal and the one conceded against Blackburn as it was he who was marking Charlie Mulgrew.

In the 2009-10 Magpies promotion season, Newcastle had solid characters, wise heads and experienced leaders like Kevin Nolan, Fabricio Coloccini, Alan Smith, Ryan Taylor, Mike Williamson plus Joey Barton towards the end of the season to ensure Newcastle saw games out and their promotion campaign through.

Geordie Steven Taylor played 20 games in The Championship plus Geordies Shola Ameobi and Andy Carroll added further local grit and desire while Newcastle’s last two games in 2016/7 have been lost without any Geordie presence in the side due to a Jack Colback injury and Paul Dummett being dropped or rested.

Kevin Nolan was pivotal for Chris Hughton’s 2009/10 Championship-winning side grabbing many games by the scruff of their necks and possessing the nous – game management is the popular modern term for it – to keep leads and his head and making sure everyone about him kept theirs.

Newcastle need to draw on the experienced figures in their extensive squad – internationals, Captains and leaders like Grant Hanley, Cheick Tiote and Daryl Murphy to give the team a stronger spine in adversity.

Step Forward Cheick Tiote and The Magpies Leaders

Newcastle’s average age against both Blackburn and Hull – 25 – was a lot lower than it had been during the majority of the 2009-10 campaign and while naturally Rafa Benitez has an eye on the future and the team growing – and growing up – together, results in the here and now are crucial.

Experience is vital in football and 30 year-old Cheick Tiote is a veteran of over 250 club games winning title trophies and Cups for Anderlecht and FC Twente as well as 50 international Caps with Ivory Coast with whom he is a reigning 2015 African Nations Cup Champion.

With this pedigree and over 120 Premier League games for Newcastle, it is a no-brainer that Tiote plays when the team needs to get a grip as it does right now.

Under Alan Pardew, Tiote was named Captain against Chelsea and Liverpool, matches which Newcastle won and drew against a top Chelsea team and title-challenging Brendan Rodgers’ Reds side and the intensity of the side was noticeably increased under Tiote’s command.

Under Benitez last season, Tiote came in and formed a defensive shield alongside Jack Colback which almost kept The Magpies in the top flight ending the season six games unbeaten and he is an important player who should not be overlooked as Newcastle look to rebound at Forest on Friday.

Geordies Give Newcastle Grit and Local Knowledge – Dummett and Colback Must Play

Local lads Jack Colback and Paul Dummett were missed badly in the last two games reflecting former Chairman Freddie Shepherd’s view that local players and coaches – Sir Bobby Robson was his manager at the time – have a Geordie chip that gives them an edge for Newcastle.

This is something in the the local DNA and football consciousness – many fans were quick to denounc last night as ‘typical Newcastle’ – that Rafa Benitez both needs to embrace and change for the better especially that of winning when it matters – from penalty shoot-outs to major trophies – that has become foreign to Newcastle.

Dummett is far and away the best left-back at the club by far and while Jesus Gamez may have adjusted to the pace of The Championship had he not been injured, Moroccan Achraf Lazaar with his attacking instincts looks more suitable for the left-wing or left-wing-back position.

As for Jack Colback, it is telling that Newcastle have won every game he has played in this season with the exception being the opening day refereeing farce at Fulham when Newcastle were robbed of three possible penalties, at least two stonewall, for handball.

Scottish power must not be forgotten as although Grant Hanley has had a stuttering start to his Newcastle career, the Scottish international sometime Captain has a hell of a lot to offer both physically and mentally at both ends of the pitch.

It was also good to see Daryl Murphy feature last night as a late-substitute as the 33 year-old will provide both height and a heavyweight presence plus goals and key Championship experience throughout Winter.

When the going gets tough, the tough must play and as Benitez’s team has evolved throughout the season so far, it surely will again now in order to bounce back and regain that Championship-winning momentum.


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Birmingham City Fan Jailed for 14 Days for Punching Aston Villa Player

Anthony DiMoro



27-year old Paul Mitchel, a Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 days after he plead guilt to assaulting Aston Villa midfielder Jack Graelish during the derby on Sunday.

Mitchell rushed the pitch and took a swing at Graelish when the player’s back was turned at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew’s stadium during the Championship match on Sunday.

Mitchell admitted to invading the pitch and has been officially banned from attending any football match in the U.K. for up to 10 years, and was also ordered to pay £350 in total fines.

Graelish made a statement in which he described how he was “shocked and scared” by the attack.

“I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident,” he said (h/t ESPN). “It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”

“He cannot explain what came over himself yesterday morning,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Vaughn Whistance, said on Monday.

“His initial foolish intention was to go onto the pitch to whip up the crowd. He is certainly remorseful today. He is a man with a partner, they have a 2-year-old together and they’re expecting their second child.”

“This weekend a line has been crossed in terms of fan behaviour,” said a spokesperson for the FA.

“On Sunday we saw two separate incidents, at Birmingham City and Arsenal, of individuals entering the field of play and assaulting players.

“Not only is it an offence to enter the pitch, which could result in a club ban and criminal charges for the individual, but it also puts the safety of the players at risk.

“This is entirely unacceptable and we strongly condemn both incidents.

“We will be working with the clubs, the leagues and the police to discuss what collectively needs to be done to protect players and officials on the pitch.

“In addition, we have written to both Birmingham City and Arsenal to seek their observations to examine the security measures they had in place.”

Birmingham City apologized to Grealish and Aston Villa and banned Mitchell for life.

“Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in Sunday afternoon’s derby match,” a club statement said.

“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. The club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.

“The club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.

“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this — there are no excuses.

“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”


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Major League Soccer, Twitch Ink One-Year Partnership

Anthony DiMoro



Major League Soccer (MLS) has inked a one-year sponsorship deal with popular streaming platform Twitch, per an official announcement from MLS.

Starting in March, MLS will start streaming the second season of their eMLS Cup, their esports league in conjunction with EA Sports’ FIFA franchise.

“FIFA is one of the main generators of the fans that we have” MLS Digital Senior VP Chris Schlosser said, via an official statement. “If you look at it historically – radio built baseball, television built the NFL and NBA, and the internet is building soccer.”

The partnership between Twitch and MLS could also include content outside of the eMLS Cup, featuring highlights or media produced by MLS teams, or clips of MLS games moving forward.

“We are looking to do some esports events – this is something we are taking a hard look at” DC United Chief Executive and Managing General Owner Jason Levin said, via an official statement.

“All of esports is a dramatically growing industry. It’s an opportunity to engage our current fans and connect with some younger sports fans who don’t know as much about DC United. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to grow our fanbase more than anything.”

It’s an exciting time for streaming, particularly on Twitch, as live sports such as the NBA’s G League, and MLS are starting to develop Twitch streams to help tap into the streaming market, diversify their digital content, and get more involved with esports teams and esports organizations.

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Manchester United Place Paul Pogba Contract Talks on Hold

Anthony DiMoro



Manchester United is putting a hold on any contract negotiations or talks with Frenchman Paul Pogba, who is two years into a five-year pact he inked with the club when he returned from Juventus back in 2016.

Manchester United remain confident that they can convince Pogba, who has had a roller coaster run at Old Trafford, to stay with the club for the long-term future, according to ESPN FC’s Rob Dawson.

The club had hoped to engage in preliminary negotiations with Pogba, along with his agent Mino Raiola in September following Pogba’s successful stint playing in the World Cup earlier this Summer in Russie, but Pogba’s unhappiness with his situation in Manchester is now coming into play during talks.

While Pogba will not push for a move away in January 2019, he could be tempted by Barcelona next summer should they show a renewed interest in acquiring him.

Pogba’s agent, Raiola, is known for engaging in rather difficult negotiations concerning his clients and had done so during Pogba’s world record £89.3 million move from Juventus, so United was hoping to get an early start on contract talks this time around.

Per the report ESPN FC, after initial talks occurred earlier this month the plan was to step up discussions at the beginning of next season before executing the deal officially in early 2020.

Those scheduled negotiations are now being pushed back.

Per sources cited in the report, United is still relaxed about the situation with Pogba, due to their one-year option that they can fall back on which could be used to keep Pogba at Old Trafford until the Summer of 2022.

However, United is confident that they can reach a breakthrough with Pogba in negotiations prior to then.

It will be interesting to see how the lines shake up as the Pogba negotiations carry on. has the latest free bets and they will surely keep monitoring the latest lines on Pogba’s future with United.

The report goes on to note that sources close to Pogba continue to insist that the cloud of uncertainty surrounding his future with the club is not designed to be a tactic to elicit any sort of pay raise.

Additionally, had executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward not refused to listen to any offers over the summer, Pogba likely would have joined Barcelona.

While Pogba is fine playing for manager Jose Mourinho this season, despite their well-documented rocky relationship in the past, he is not ruling out a move in the future.


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