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REPORT – Doncaster Rovers 0-3 Sunderland AFC: Black Cats leave fans purring and move within a point of league leaders

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Credit: Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images... Sunderland complete routine 3-0 win over Doncaster

Sunderland win 3-0 away at relegation-threatened Doncaster to move into second in League One and are just a point adrift of table toppers, Rotherham.

It was a routine victory for Johnson’s side who showed their class throughout, making the contest a very one-sided affair. The away end was sold out once again as Sunderland supporters watched their side dominate and extend unbeaten league run to eight games.

The Black Cats move into second place and leapfrog Wigan who’s Boxing Day fixture was cancelled due to a rise in Covid cases.

Ross Stewart netted his 12th of the season as Elliot Embleton made it two just before the break.

It was three early in the second half as Pritchard’s flick deflected off a Doncaster defender before hitting the back of the net.

Sunderland put the pressure straight back on their rivals with the win on Monday afternoon and are one of the most in-form teams in all four English divisions. Johnson has his side playing front-foot, attacking and exciting football in recent times which has shown why Sunderland are most pundits’ promotion favourites.

It was an emphatic win at the Keepmoat…

HOW IT HAPPENED

The visitors grabbed the lead early-on after putting the hosts under intense pressure in the opening stages…

Leon Dajaku received the ball just outside the box on the right as he dribbled into the danger area before being clipped. The referee pointed to the spot and top-scorer Ross Stewart calmy converted from twelve-yards to make it 12 goals so far this campaign.

1-0 inside seven minutes…

Sunderland were on-top for the rest of the half and had a number of decent opportunities to double their lead. Alex Pritchard sent his free-kick narrowly wide from just outside the area on the right before Dajaku had his effort blocked inside the 18-yard box after another mazy dribble.

The second goal came just before the break when the away side took advantage of some poor defending as Rovers put themselves under unnecessary pressure after giving the ball away cheaply inside their own half.

Pritchard’s cross from the side of the box, after a quickly taken free-kick, found the onrushing Elliot Embleton who skilfully hit the ball on the volley and passed goalkeeper Jones into the empty net.

After taking their 2-0 lead into half time, the points were all but secured as the Black Cats controlled proceedings in the second period. An own-goal from Ben Blythe early in the second 45 completed the job as they cruised to victory and made it three.

Gooch was given time and space on the Sunderland left before his cross hit youngster Blythe, after the ball was diverted goal-wards by Alex Pritchard’s impressive flick.

Game, set and match.

It was a second clean sheet in four games for Hoffmann after conceding in the previous two League games.

The Black Cats continued to purr and could have made it four or five in the closing stages. Embleton hit the woodwork following his impressive dribble and drilled shot which hit the top of the post before going wide.

The visitors had the ball in the net once again as substitute Denver Hume was on the end of a perfect cross from the right, only for the linesman to have his flag up. Johnson was able to bring off key players towards the end as Sunderland extended their unbeaten run.

The Wearsiders face Sheffield Wednesday at home in three days time and know a win would keep the pressure on their promotion rivals. Sunderland lost 3-0 in the reverse fixture against Wednesday back in November and will be looking to get revenge on the Owls at the Stadium of Light.

PLAYER RATINGS

Hoffman (7); Doyle (7), Flanagan (7), Wright (7); Gooch (7), Evans (7), Neil (7), Dajaku (8); Embleton (8), Pritchard (8), Stewart (8)

SUBS: Hume (6), Harris (n/a), Cirkin (7)

MANAGERS COMMENTS

Sunderland Manager Lee Johnson: 

“There was some really good stuff. I suppose the standard setter in me wants more at times but given the circumstances it was a difficult game for us and for Doncaster as well due to a lot of injuries and the covid situation.

“I thought once we got in our rhythm, we moved the ball around nicely and we got some really good players – Embleton, Neil and Pritchard will have enjoyed themselves today. We let them (Doncaster) off the hook a couple of times, especially in the first half, where we tried a killer pass to early. It was nice to get the third early in the second half, it settled us and overall I am very pleased with the result.”

He added:

“It was good to get the goals we did, infront of a big crowd who were expecting it settles the nerves, especially the first one and then the second goal just when it was getting a bit edgy as Doncaster started to get into it a little bit more.

“Obviously the third pretty much seals it for us, and enabled us to rest a couple of players going into a big game in three days.”

“We had to be professional today. We had to find some control and obviously the early goal did us a right favour. Then we left them off the hook a bit but the second goal was really good timing for us because it was getting a bit frustrating. It’s a really big three points. We had to capitalise on closing the gap (to leaders Rotherham) and we did.”

Post-match thoughts? Who was your MOTM? 

Can Sunderland finally gain promotion back to the Championship? How impressed were you by Johnson’s side today?

Join in the conversation and have your say…

 

 

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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United

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North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..

 

“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”

 

Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.

 

What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

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Which Newcastle Players Are Going To The World Cup?

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Newcastle

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway next week and here are all the Newcastle players involved in the tournament

Callum Wilson (England)

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is a player that has consistently shown the quality to earn a spot in an England squad at a major tournament but has sadly had his chances diminished by injuries in the past.

However, Wilson is currently injury free and is on the plane to Qatar! The Coventry City academy graduate averages a goal every 130 minutes in the Premier League this season, which is the second-best return of all English players behind Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old may have to bide his time for an opportunity due to England captain Harry Kane being the first-choice striker. That said, Wilson gives Gareth Southgate a great alternative should England find themselves chasing a game.

Kieran Trippier (England)

Gareth Southgate has always been very fond of Kieran Trippier’s abilities and what he brings to a team. For example, in Euro 2020 Southgate opted to play Trippier at left-back ahead of a more natural option in Ben Chilwell due to the 32-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities.

Trippier brings bags of experience at major tournaments after reaching the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

With injuries at right-back to the likes of Reece James and uncertainty around the fitness of Kyle Walker, Trippier could start at right wing-back in England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

Nick Pope (England)

The last player to complete The Magpies’ England trio is Nick Pope. Toon’s No.1 has been outstanding since arriving from Burnley in the Summer and has earnt his place in England’s World Cup squad.

Pope has the joint most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (6) alongside Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson and fellow England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate picks Pope to be his first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. Pope started both of England’s last games in the Nations League back in September.

Bruno Guimarães (Brazil)

Moving to South America and the favourites to win the competition, Brazil. Bruno Guimarães has been one of Newcastle’s stand-out players this season and has deservedly earned himself a spot in Brazil’s very competitive World Cup Squad.

Guimarães has statistically been the best midfielder in the Premier League so far this season and will be hoping his performances have done enough to earn him a start against Serbia in Brazil’s opening fixture.

That said, Brazil manager Adenor Leonardo Bacchi has predominantly played with a midfield two of Manchester United duo, Casemiro and Fred at the base of the Brazilian midfield.

Fabian Schär (Switzerland)

The Magpies’ centre-back has been in great form alongside Sven Botman at the heart of Newcastle’s defence this season and will be hoping to continue his form in Qatar.

Schär has some tough competition in his position in the form of Manchester City centre-back Manuel Akanji and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi.

Switzerland find themselves in the same group as tournament favourites Brazil, which will see Schär reunited with Toon teammate Bruno Guimarães in Gameweek 2.

Who didn’t make the squad?

The most surprising player to not make their country’s squad is Sven Botman. The former Lille centre-back has been a major part of why Newcastle has the Premier League’s best defence so far this campaign.

Louis van Gaal has a great pool of centre-backs available to him and opted for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Nathan Ake over Botman.

Another Toon player with World Cup disappointment is Joelinton, who has failed to follow Bruno Guimarães on the plane to Qatar.

Joelinton has been a revelation under Eddie Howe following his remarkable transformation from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Joelinton this year.

Have Your Say

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Which Newcastle player will be the best performer?

Let us know on our Facebook page!

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What We Learnt (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle)

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deadline day

Newcastle United were victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, winning 2-1 and now sit fourth in the Premier League. This is the first time they’ve been there at this stage of the season in 10 years.

 

Goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were enough to scare away any chances of a second-half Spurs comeback. That’s six goals for Miggy in what is now his best-ever season for goals in black and white.

 

With 21 points, just five behind Manchester City and seven behind current league leaders Arsenal, the Toon are looking better than ever, but what did the victory yesterday tell us?

 

Toon are charging for Europe

 

If you didn’t believe it at the start of the season you should now. Eddie Howe has transformed Newcastle into a team with a winning mentality with a real sense of togetherness in a squad who are willing to battle for one another, week in and week out.

 

Very few teams will travel to London this season and manage to come away with a point, never mind three when playing Spurs. Not only this game, however, but Man City (3-3), Liverpool (2-1) and Brentford (5-1) have also shown that Howe and his side mean business this season and are willing to go toe to toe with some of the very best teams, coaches and players in the world. 

 

In his first signing interview, Sven Botman said, “Newcastle wants to reach the top and the top is in the league and, at the end, maybe in Europe.” Maybe he didn’t specifically mean this season but now he and the rest of his teammates should believe that they have a real chance of playing European football next season.

 

Almiron transformation shouldn’t go unnoticed

 

Almiron made 30 appearances last season in the league and finished with just one goal and no assists. Now, after just 12 games and six goals, the Paraguayan is already on course to smash his previous goal-scoring records which have seen him accumulate nine Premier League goals over the course of four seasons. 

 

Loved by the fans and with the full support of his teammates, it can only get better for the Paraguayan at this point. His goal against Tottenham showed the dribbling, flair and finishing quality he withholds, something that Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez could never get out of him.

 

Eddie Howe must be awarded credit for this development, as with the current budget the club has, he could’ve easily found a replacement in the summer. But, just like Joelinton, Miggy has cemented his spot in Newcastle’s starting eleven and is proving every week why he deserves to be there.

 

Wilson & Burn should be considered by Southgate 

 

On TalkSport recently, Neil Warnock warned Gareth Southgate saying his loyalty to players might be his downfall and said Dan Burn is “Mr Steady Eddie” referring to his versatility, being able to play left-back or centre-back.

 

Burn started 28 Premier League games last season and this season has 11 out of 12. His consistent dominating performances in Newcastle’s back line have put him into the conversation for a first-ever England call-up and I don’t think many would disagree. With John Stoned injured, Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings not in good form and not getting regular game time, Gareth Southgate’s defensive decisions should now be a lot more challenging.

 

Callum Wilson has proved yet again his abilities as a top Premier League striker. His goal against Spurs not only put him in the headlines over England captain Harry Kane but also made it four in eight for the English man this season who has averaged 2.8 shots per game with an average scoring frequency of 162 minutes. 

 

With no clear-cut backup striker to Kane, is Wilson ahead of Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham in the race to be England’s number two striker?

 

So, what do you think? Do Newcastle have a serious chance at European football next season, can Almiron stay at his best and should Wilson and Burn be considered for a World Cup call-up?

 

Join the conversation on our Facebook page …

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