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Premier League

Newcastle thrash Sheffield United 8-0 away with eight different goal scorers

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Premier League - Sheffield United v Newcastle United - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - September 24, 2023 General view of the big screen showing the scoreline Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff Acquire Licensing Rights

Newcastle United ruthlessly put Sheffield United to the sword with a dazzling 8-0 victory at Bramall Lane on Sunday, with eight different players scoring, to leave the home side bottom of the Premier League standings.

The victory was Newcastle’s biggest away from home and the Blades’ largest ever defeat while Eddie Howe’s side became the first team in Premier League history to have eight different goal scorers in one game as they moved up to eighth in the standings.

Newcastle showed no signs of a hangover from midweek after their first Champions League game in 20 years — a goalless draw away at AC Milan — and they took a 3-0 lead by halftime before switching gears in the second half to go into the record books.

“We shared them (goals) around a bit today… I thought we were really good from the start and when the goals came I felt the confidence in the team returned,” Howe told Sky Sports.

“The big thing for us was that we really wanted to score and we weren’t content with three. I want that mentality to run through the team.”

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The Blades started on a positive note to give the home fans some cheer, days after their club’s women’s team midfielder Maddy Cusack died aged 27, with the match kicking off after a minute’s silence.

But Newcastle went in front when Anthony Gordon — an early substitute for the injured Harvey Barnes — kept the ball in play on the goal line and found Sean Longstaff who fired home.

Newcastle doubled their lead at the half-hour mark from a corner when Dan Burn peeled away from his marker despite having his shirt tugged and the towering defender headed in Kieran Trippier’s cross at the far post.

Four minutes later, Trippier turned provider again from another set piece, this time from a free kick, as Sven Botman directed a glancing header into the back of the net.

THREE ASSISTS

The English fullback got his third assist of the game and his first from open play when he found space on the right wing and crossed the ball for Callum Wilson to head home from close range.

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Gordon curled in Newcastle’s fifth from outside the box which led to Blades fans heading for the exits just after the hour mark before Miguel Almiron ran circles around the defence to net their sixth with help from Bruno Guimaraes.

Guimaraes then got on the scoresheet himself when the ball fell kindly to him in the box from a rebound and he fired home before substitute Alexander Isak completed the rout with a late goal.

Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom said his team needed to learn from the defeat.

“It’s the nature of the performance that we’re upset about… We can’t afford to put ourselves behind in that fashion if we want to compete,” Heckingbottom said.

“It’s the second half that I’m upset with. Regardless of the errors which led to goals, we need to make sure we learn from that. A lot of things I saw in the second half, I’ve never seen here.

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“These games are not going to define our season. It’s about accumulating points. While there are huge things we have to learn from, we also have to keep a calm head about this sort of game.”

-Reuters

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

June 12 relief for Ten Hag…to stay at Old Trafford

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Manchester United Can Still Finish Fourth, Says Erik Ten Hag -

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will remain in the job for next season and has entered into talks with the Old Trafford club over a contract extension despite the team’s lowest ever Premier League finish of eighth, British media reported.

The decision comes after an end-of-season review by the club’s board for the 2023-24 campaign, which finished on a high with a shock FA Cup final win over favourites Manchester City.

Ten Hag’s contract runs until the end of next season, with the club having the option of extending it a further 12 months.

Former Ajax Amsterdam coach Ten Hag had come under increasing pressure after 20-times English champions United suffered their worst start to a season since 1962-63 with eight defeats in their first 15 matches in all competitions.

They ended up eighth after 14 defeats in their 38 league games and bowed out of the Champions League in the group phase.

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Ten Hag’s job security had been the subject of speculation all season and many pundits believed the FA Cup final would be the Dutchman’s last game with the team, win or lose.

But moments after their thrilling triumph, the 54-year-old insisted he had no doubt he would be back and said he had received the backing of the club’s owners all season.

“I’m in a project and we are exactly where we want to be. We’re constructing a team. When I took over it was a mess at United, and we are on our way to construct a team for the future,” he told reporters at Wembley.

“The team is developing, the team is winning and the team also plays to an identity. What you need to play is to be available, you need a strong squad in top football, and especially when you play in England, the Premier League is so competitive.”

INJURY WOES

Ten Hag pointed to United’s revolving door of injuries last term, the most of any Premier League team and concentrated in key positions such as central defence.

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He also spoke about the breakout seasons of young players such as midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who is part of England’s Euro 2024 squad in Germany, and Argentina winger Alejandro Garnacho.

In Ten Hag’s two seasons in charge, United have played in three Wembley finals and lifted two trophies, having also won last season’s League Cup.

Media reports said that all eventualities were considered in the club’s post-season review and the clear preference was for Ten Hag to remain in charge at Old Trafford.

Among coaches linked to the job as potential replacements were Thomas Tuchel and England manager Gareth Southgate.

Ten Hag is United’s fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 as the club have searched for someone to lead them back to the heights of their glory years.

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He guided United to third in the league in his debut season

-Reuters

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Another Nigerian blood to flow in Chelsea veins

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Carabao Cup - Quarter Final - Everton v Fulham - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - December 19, 2023 Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo celebrates after the match REUTERS/Carl Recine

Chelsea have signed centre back Tosin Adarabioyo from fellow west London club Fulham on a free transfer, the Premier League side announced on Friday.

Adarabioyo, a former England youth international is of Nigerian descent. He is the latest Nigerian linked with Chlesea after Celestine Babayaro, Mikel Obi and Victor Moses among others.

The 26-year-old Adarabioyo who will join the Stamford Bridge side on a four-year contract beginning on July 1, has made one appearance for the England Under-19s and has played 78 times in the Premier League.

He is the first player to join Chelsea since they announced the arrival of new head coach Enzo Maresca, opens new tab earlier this week, and will bolster their options at centre back following the departure of veteran Thiago Silva.

“We are delighted to bring Tosin to Chelsea,” Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said.

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“Throughout his career, he has showcased his maturity and defensive qualities and has gained a wealth of experience in the Premier League in recent seasons.

“He is ready to make the step up to Chelsea and work alongside the talented players in our squad. We look forward to Tosin joining up with us for pre-season.”

Chelsea are looking to revive their fortunes under Maresca after finishing sixth in the standings last season.

“I’m looking forward to starting work with Enzo and I’m sure the boys are too,” Adarabioyo said.

“It’s going to be exciting. We’re going to play good football and win a lot of games. There are top players in this squad and I’m eager to play with them all.”

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-Reuters

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Nigerian-born Ogbonna leaves West Ham after nine-year stay

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Premier League - West Ham United v Luton Town - London Stadium, London, Britain - May 11, 2024 West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna applauds fans as he is substituted REUTERS/Tony Obrien/File Photo

West Ham United centre back Angelo Ogbonna is leaving the club after nine years in east London, the Premier League side said on Wednesday.

Ogbonna was born to Nigerian parents who emigrated to Italy from Nigeria in 1983, settling in the city of Cassino in the central part of the country, but managed to obtain Italian citizenship only after his 18th birthday. He is now 36.

The  Italy international made 201 Premier League appearances for the club and was part of their Europa Conference League-winning side last year.

The former Juventus player struggled with several injuries during his time at West Ham, including a cruciate ligament tear suffered in 2021 that kept him out for almost a year.

“When he was not playing, Ogbonna was always a willing supporter of the club’s community work,” West Ham said in a statement. “He will always be a beloved member of the West Ham United family

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-Reuters

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