Newcastle United have completed the signing of Inter wing-back Valentino Lazaro on loan until the end of the season.

The Austria international, who can also play as a winger, joined Inter from Hertha Berlin at the start of the season but struggled to establish himself at San Siro, starting only three Serie A matches.

Lazaro was subsequently linked with Newcastle and Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig, and he became the Premier League club's second January signing – after Nabil Bentaleb ​– on Friday.

Bentaleb joined on loan from Schalke with an option to buy, but Newcastle confirmed only the temporary deal for Lazaro – despite reports he could sign for £20million (€23.5m) at the end of the campaign.

"I'm very happy to be here and can't wait to meet all my team-mates, get out on the training pitch and hopefully get a lot of victories in the future," Lazaro told the Magpies' official website.

"I've only heard great things about the club. I've had good talks with the coach, so I feel very happy to be here now. Those conversations convinced me that this is the right place for me to come."

Lazaro's opportunities at Inter were further hindered this month by the arrivals of wing-backs Ashley Young and Victor Moses.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have also been linked with a move for Tottenham left-back Danny Rose following injuries to Jetro Willems and Paul Dummett.

Head coach Steve Bruce told reporters on Friday: "He's a quality player and a class act, the kid. Whether it's possible, who knows?"

Steve Bruce hopes to sign Valentino Lazaro from Inter despite fearing a rival club could pounce following news of Newcastle United's interest.

Lazaro has struggled to make an impact at San Siro since signing from Hertha Berlin ahead of the season, and the Nerazzurri have now brought in Ashley Young from Manchester United while being linked with Chelsea's Victor Moses.

Those moves would appear to allow the Austria international to leave, and his agent was pictured in Newcastle at the 1-0 win over Chelsea.

Bruce confirmed the club's interest on Monday, with Schalke midfielder Nabil Bentaleb also reportedly en route to Tyneside, but was unsure of progress on the Lazaro deal.

"We hope [Lazaro will sign]. I think it's fairly common knowledge now that the agent was at St James' Park at the weekend," Bruce told a news conference ahead of facing Everton. "We hope that we can develop it.

"Unfortunately, when it gets out like it did, it adds to the competition. We'll see. We'll see what the next 24 to 48 hours bring."

However, it appears Newcastle will be forced to make further moves as their injury crisis shows no sign of subsiding.

Left-backs Jetro Willems and Paul Dummett have both suffered season-ending issues in recent days, leaving only Matt Ritchie – himself just returning to fitness – in that position.

"It's what we feared [with Willems], he's ruptured his anterior cruciate [ligament] and will miss, obviously, the rest of the season," Bruce said. "And we've had bad news on Dummett, too.

"It's not looking so good for him as well – it looks like he's probably ruled out for the rest of the season as well with a tendon injury in his leg.

"It's been a bad weekend in that respect. We wish them well and hope for a speedy recovery.

"Things change in two or three days. We have got funds available, we are active at this moment. Because of what's just happened, we're short in that area.

"We might have to look and see if we can do anything in the short term. We'll see what we can do, see who's out there."

Dreams of Premier League glory began to feel like an inevitability at Anfield as Liverpool beat Manchester United on a weekend that saw Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester City drop points.

Jurgen Klopp's side dispatched their old rivals with goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, leaving Reds supporters full of confidence after Burnley came from behind to beat third-placed Leicester 2-1 at Turf Moor.

There was a surprise result at St. James' Park on Saturday, Frank Lampard's Chelsea dominating for long periods against Newcastle United but succumbing to a late Isaac Hayden goal in a 1-0 defeat.

There were late goals at the Etihad Stadium, where Sergio Aguero thought he had won it with a brace, only for Fernandinho to put through his own net in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The weekend's Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, as well as Wolves' dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Southampton at St. Mary's.

 

ANFIELD FULL OF HOPE AFTER BACK-TO-BACK HOME WINS OVER UNITED

They are no longer saying it quietly: Liverpool fans firmly believe the title is theirs after watching their side beat United on Sunday.

The victory marked the first time Liverpool have claimed consecutive home Premier League wins over the Red Devils since winning three in a row between September 2008 and March 2011 and there was an air of invulnerability around Anfield at the final whistle.

Liverpool have taken 91 points from a possible 93 in their last 31 Premier League matches, winning 30 and drawing just one, while United have now lost nine of their last 16 top-flight away games (W3 D4 L9).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have failed to score in eight of those games and they gave Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson little to do despite creating a number of goalscoring opportunities.

Alisson kept himself busy by becoming the first Reds keeper to assist a Premier League goal since March 2010, when Pepe Reina laid on a goal against Sunderland.

 

 


LATE HAYDEN WINNER LEAVES LAMPARD'S BLUES REELING

Chelsea have lost as many Premier League games this season as they did in the entirety of 2018-19 after Hayden scored in the 94th minute to snatch victory for Newcastle over Lampard's inconsistent Blues.

Four of Chelsea's eight league defeats this season have come in their last eight matches and supporters making the trip to Tyneside had reason to be fearful of their side coming unstuck.

Chelsea have now lost five of their last seven top-flight trips to St. James' Park but defeats to teams managed by Steve Bruce have been a rare occurrence - this was only the second time he has beaten the Blues in 23 games against them as a manager (D5 L16).

Prior to Hayden's strike, Newcastle had not scored a last-minute winner since Ayoze Perez struck against Tottenham in December 2015.

It was Hayden's third Premier League goal and came in his 70th appearance in the competition, his last coming in February 2019 against Wolves.

 

POROUS CITY PAY FOR ERRORS AT THE BACK

City came from behind to lead with three minutes left in their clash with Palace but conceded at home in the Premier League for the 12th time this season as the Eagles secured a point at the death.

Pep Guardiola's men have now conceded as many goals at home in the league as they did in the whole of last season and this was their third draw of the 2019-20 season - in their title-winning campaign last term they only drew twice.

Aguero's double inside five minutes marked the Argentina international's 250th and 251st goals in all competitions for the club in his 360th appearance, but Fernandinho became the first City player to score a Premier League own-goal since Nicolas Otamendi against Huddersfield Town in November 2017.

The scoring was opened by new signing Cenk Tosun, who netted in the 39th minute to become the fourth Turkish player to reach 10 Premier League goals after Muzzy Izzet, Tuncay Sanli and Tugay.

Palace are ninth in the table after four consecutive draws - the last time they drew as many Premier League games in a row was in 1992-93 when they started the season with the same sequence.

 

WOLVES EMERGING AS COMEBACK SPECIALISTS

When Raul Jimenez scored from the penalty spot at St. Mary's he pulled Wolves level after they had been two goals down, but there was even better to follow for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Jimenez scored again in the 76th minute, taking his tally to 19 goals in all competitions this season and clinching three points for Wolves that means they have now picked up 18 from losing positions in the Premier League this season - seven more than any other side.

Falling behind after 15 minutes to a Jan Bednarek goal was nothing new for the visitors, who have conceded first in 16 league games this season including each of their last seven in a row.

But Jimenez has been directly involved in 28 goals this season and after Shane Long netted his 54th Premier League goal to make it 2-0 to the Saints, Pedro Neto scored for the second time in his last three league appearances to tee up the Mexico international for a memorable brace.

Jimenez now has 19 goals and nine assists to his name in all competitions this season, giving him more direct goal involvements than any other top-flight player in 2019-20.

Steve Bruce has confirmed Newcastle United are "working away" to sign a striker during the January transfer window.

United have scored 20 goals in 21 Premier League games this season, while their profligacy in the final third forced them to settle for a 1-1 draw away at Rochdale in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Club-record signing Joelinton has certainly found the transition tough since arriving from Hoffenheim in July, finding the net only once.

Bruce revealed he has already had a "couple of knock-backs" in his attempts to add attacking reinforcements, though he will not be making any panic buys before the end of the month.

"We've had a couple of knock-backs already, so we'll keep working away," the Newcastle boss said after the game with Rochdale.

"It's very difficult, especially at that end of the pitch, to get something that's going to make you better. I won't just be bringing in players for the sake of it, but we'll see what the next two or three weeks bring."

Bruce added: "Our frailties are pretty obvious - we don't score enough goals and with the chances we've created today we've got to be taking them and the tie should have been put to bed."

Joelinton's struggles continued against Rochdale, the Brazilian hitting the target with just one of his six shots against League One opponents.

However, Bruce used the example of Miguel Almiron – who scored Newcastle's goal at Spotland on Saturday after finally breaking his duck for the club against Crystal Palace last month – to portray how quickly things can turn around.

"He [Joelinton] has had a difficult time but he's got to stick at it," Bruce said. "Until two weeks ago Almiron hadn't scored but now he's scored two in fairly quick succession, so he's just got to stick at it."

Real Madrid are already eyeing a move for Liverpool star Sadio Mane at the end of the season.

Mane has developed into one of the world's best attackers, starring for the Premier League leaders and finishing fourth in the 2019 Ballon d'Or.

Now, another one of Europe's biggest clubs are making initial moves for the 27-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID MAKE CONTACT OVER MANE MOVE

Real Madrid have spoken to Mane's representatives about a possible move, according to Le 10 Sport.

Mane is contracted at Liverpool until 2023, but appears to be attracting interest from the LaLiga giants.

The Senegal international has scored 14 goals and provided eight assists in 27 games in all competitions this season.

ROUND-UP

- The January transfer window will see Chelsea and Manchester City enter a bidding war for Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell, according to The I.

- Similarities between Moussa Dembele and Didier Drogba have made the Lyon striker a target for Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, according to Sky Sports News, with the 23-year-old having scored 10 goals in 25 appearances for the Ligue 1 side this season.

- Mikel Arteta is keen to assess all of his options as he aims to lift Arsenal back into the top half of the Premier League table, and he is considering a recall for £27million centre-back William Saliba from his season-long loan at Saint-Etienne according to The Mirror.

- Also on Arsenal's to-do list is a bid for promising RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, who is also a target for Tottenham and Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.

- Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce wants to bolster his midfield with the addition of Burnley pair Danny Drinkwater and Dwight McNeil, and reports in The Telegraph say Genk striker Mbwana Samatta is also on his radar.

- Carlo Ancelotti said he will wait until January 5 before discussing potential transfer targets with the Everton board and when he does El Desmarque has suggested Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez could be one of the names on his list.

Erling Haaland is going to Juventus. No, sorry, that should say Manchester United. Or is it Leipzig, I can never quite remember. Did the papers say Dortmund? You might be right.

What we know about Haaland is that it should be a matter of days before his future becomes clear. The Salzburg striker is surely going somewhere in January.

If his eventual destination is Old Trafford, then that raises an issue. Because on the evidence of the 4-1 Boxing Day win over Newcastle United, the Red Devils have a set of forwards who should be going nowhere.

In 22-year-old Marcus Rashford and 18-year-old Mason Greenwood, they possess two of the brightest young forwards in the Premier League certainly, perhaps in all of Europe.

And with two-goal Anthony Martial looking the part again, do United even need Haaland? The answer is that yes, they need all the top-class young players they can possibly draw to Manchester, even those who crow about supporting long-time foes Leeds United.

If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is to truly build a team to stand the test of time, then the most eminent substitute of his day knows better than most the benefit of United boasting deep resources.

As United's supporters drawled through their 'Twelve days of Cantona' routine and patted themselves on the back over petty slights at former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer, there was a sense amid the festive cheer was that this is a club trapped in time.

The legendary Bobby Charlton watched on, and even in the opposition dugout there was a former United favourite in Steve Bruce.

Who within the United ranks as we head towards 2020 will be held in similar esteem to Charlton in 20, 30, 40, 50 years?

David de Gea? Still fault-prone. Rashford? Give the lad time. Paul Pogba? There were high hopes when he returned, but surely not.

So there is nobody quite there yet. The serial winners have all left, and any predictions of United lifting a Premier League title in the next five years might be widely frowned upon.

But while Liverpool are on top of the world, Manchester City have long cast off the tag of 'noisy neighbours', and intrigue surrounds Frank Lampard at Chelsea and Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, it is almost as though something has slipped beneath the radar.

Perhaps we are seeing a modern United team beginning to blossom into something rather special.

There will be bumps in the road for any young team, and the loss to Watford on Saturday was a thudding example.

But since a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle on October 6, this Manchester United team have been rather good more often than not.

The Manchester Evening News said of that St James' Park performance: "This predictably awful team was predictably awful."

Yet in the 11 weeks between that game and a reunion with the Magpies, United have become the first side to prise Premier League points from Liverpool this term, stunned derby rivals City, seen off Jose Mourinho's reborn Tottenham and scored league wins over Norwich and Brighton.

All this while steadily marching on in the Europa League and EFL Cup, with losses to Watford and Bournemouth the only real blemishes.

So yes, now is the time to build and keep building, to get Haaland if that deal is achievable, to show mettle at Burnley on December 28 and at Arsenal on New Year's Day.

With the excellence of Rashford complemented by the flourishing teenage talent of Greenwood and a steadily improving supporting cast, this is not the time to stand still.

Predictably awful? Not anymore. United are back in the realm of being merely unpredictable. Given their youngsters, and given the depths to which they sank, file that away as progress. Next stop, consistency.

Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City cannot think about the Premier League title after losing further ground on Liverpool with a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United.

City led twice at St James' Park through Raheem Sterling's 15th goal of the season for club and country and a blistering Kevin De Bruyne strike.

But after Jetro Willems, a goalscorer at Anfield earlier this season, had his latest say in the title race, Jonjo Shelvey matched the quality of De Bruyne's intervention with a stunning leveller two minutes from time.

Guardiola saw his side embark on a 14-match winning run after a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle in January that appeared terminal to their hopes of retaining the title.

After falling 11 points behind Jurgen Klopp's men - 2-1 winners over Brighton and Hove Albion despite having Alisson sent off - the City boss does not believe contemplating similar heroics should be at the forefront of his players' minds as they turn towards a week featuring games against Burnley and Manchester United.

"It's not the time. We have another opponent in front of us," he said when asked about City's fading prospects of a third title in a row at the post-match news conference.

"We now have to try and win games, win games and see what happens.

"It's not a good idea to think about the Premier League and how many points. We have to win games. If we do not win, it will be more difficult.

"Last season [against Newcastle] we played bad. Today I think we did everything to win the game and that is the truth.

"We played on a good level, defending, set pieces and everything. We moved the ball well, we found the spaces outside and we arrived in front of the goal many, many times.

"Unfortunately, we could not score [enough to win]."

Having two leads cancelled out swiftly represented a new frailty for a City side that has looked increasingly vulnerable over recent weeks, but Guardiola was keen to credit Newcastle.

"It's better to score one, take time and score the second one. But they play," he said.

"In one situation, they defend deep and make a good action; in the second one, Shelvey puts it in the corner."

Asked whether former Liverpool midfielder Shelvey had done his part in securing a first league title for 30 years on Merseyside, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce replied: "I don't know about that!

"I do know it's his second goal in [four] games and, very quietly over the last few weeks, I've been very, very pleased with Jonjo.

"He's responded to what we want to do, and we all know he's got that ability in his locker."

Conor Hourihane and Anwar El Ghazi scored first-half goals to end Aston Villa's three-match losing run in the Premier League, as they beat Newcastle United 2-0 on Steve Bruce's return to Villa Park.

Bruce was sacked by Villa in October 2018, just over four months after losing the Championship play-off final, and he had little to celebrate in Monday's clash.

Martin Dubravka produced a fingertip save to keep out Douglas Luiz's 25-yard drive but was beaten by Hourihane, the midfielder whipping a free-kick around the wall and into the net.

Villa quickly added a second through El Ghazi, who turned in Hourihane's set-piece delivery from close range for his third league goal of the season, though only after a VAR check for offside.

Allan Saint-Maximin, Isaac Hayden and substitute Andy Carroll all tested Tom Heaton in the second half but Newcastle, who had won back-to-back matches ahead of the trip to the Midlands, could not find a way through.

A first home league win in seven attempts against Newcastle lifts Villa up to 15th, just below their opponents.

Martin Dubravka has signed a new six-year deal with Newcastle United, the Premier League side have confirmed.

The 30-year-old joined Newcastle on a permanent deal from Sparta Prague in May 2018 after impressing during an initial loan spell in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign.

Dubravka has been an ever-present in the Premier League since his debut, making 59 top-flight appearances for Newcastle, including nine starts and three clean sheets this term.

European giants Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus had been linked with the Slovakia international, but he subsequently claimed to be "close" to extending his Newcastle contract.

Dubravka has now put pen to paper on a deal that keeps him at St James' Park until 2025 and said: "It is an amazing feeling. 

"I have to say that it feels like time has flown. It's been almost two years and I've found great people here who I can call friends. I've enjoyed my time here and I'm very glad that I can stay here for another six years."

Head coach Steve Bruce added: "I'm really, really pleased that Martin has committed his future to the club.

"He's been absolutely fantastic since the day he arrived and he's a hugely important figure for us both on the pitch and in the dressing room."

Newcastle are 18th in the Premier League after winning just two of their opening nine matches, with Wolves up next at home on Sunday.

Could we have seen a potentially decisive weekend in the Premier League title race?

Liverpool opened an eight-point lead over Manchester City at the summit as James Milner's last-gasp penalty secured a precious 2-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday.

The Reds moved eight points clear with the last-gasp triumph – and City were unable to cut into it as they slipped to a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves on Sunday.

As for Manchester United, their torrid recent form continued with a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United, while struggling Tottenham were on the end of a resounding 3-0 loss at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the big stories of this weekend's top games.

 

REDS LEAVE IT LATE TO MAINTAIN PERFECT START

Victory over Leicester means Liverpool have now won their past 17 Premier League games, just one short of Manchester City's top-flight record of 18.

They have also become just the seventh side in history to win each of their opening eight matches in an English top-flight season.

The Reds forged ahead through Sadio Mane's 50th league goal for the club in what was his 100th appearance in the competition for Jurgen Klopp's side.

James Maddison gave the Foxes hope of a point, though, with their first and only shot on target.

However, Milner stepped up deep into added time to seal yet another win for the hosts. It marked the 34th time they have scored a winning goal in a Premier League match in or after the 90th minute, which is at least nine more than any other team

TRAORE DOUBLE DOWNS INSIPID CITY

City were failed to respond to Liverpool's victory, slipping to just a fourth home league defeat in 61 matches under Pep Guardiola.

It was the first time they have lost a Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium without scoring since March 2016, when they were beaten 1-0 by neighbours Manchester United.

Wolves were indebted to a superb double from Adama Traore inside the final 10 minutes to claim their second league win of the season. Remarkably, he had failed to score in his previous 32 Premier League matches.

The result marked the first time Wolves have beaten City away from home in a top-flight fixture since December 1979.

LONGSTAFF PILES MISERY ON SOLSKJAER

United's woeful start to the season reached a new low on Sunday. The sorry defeat at Newcastle means they have won a mere nine points from their opening eight games – their lowest total at this stage since the 1989-90 campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's beleaguered squad are now winless in their last eight away league games – their longest such run in the top flight since September 1989, when they went 11 games without victory.

Under-pressure Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, meanwhile, can celebrate after registering his first ever win as a manager against the club he served as a player, doing so at the 23rd attempt.

Victory came courtesy of Matty Longstaff's drilled effort 18 minutes from time, the 19-year-old becoming the youngest player to score on his Premier League debut for Newcastle.

SEAGULLS SWOOP TO TAKE ADVANTAGE

Tottenham's defeat at Brighton means they have now lost 17 games in all competitions in 2019 – more than any other top-flight side.

Brighton went ahead after just three minutes, Neal Maupay nodding in after Hugo Lloris fumbled a cross - injuring himself in the process. Only Asmir Begovic (21) has made more errors leading to goals than Lloris (18) in the Premier League since his debut in the competition in October 2012.

Nineteen-year-old Aaron Connolly then added two more either side of the interval to seal a memorable win for the hosts. The Irishman is the first teenager to start a Premier League game for Brighton and also the first to score in the league for the Seagulls since Jake Forster-Caskey in April 2014.

The win equalled Brighton's biggest margin of victory in a top-flight game and meant they scored more than once in a league home game for the first time in 16 matches.

Steve Bruce has backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to "turn it around" at Manchester United following Sunday's 1-0 loss to Newcastle United.

Matty Longstaff scored the only goal of the game to inflict a third defeat on Solskjaer's men in their last six Premier League matches, leaving them 12th in the table.

The Red Devils are winless in their last eight away league matches – their longest such run since September 1989 – and have won only three of their 11 games in all competitions this season excluding the penalty shoot-out defeat of Rochdale in the EFL Cup.

United were without a number of key men at St James' Park, including Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and former United defender Bruce is expecting Solskjaer to get the club back on track once they return to fitness.

"They've got horrific injury problems and until they get them all back, the Premier League can be unforgiving," he said at his post-match news conference. "They've got a lot of injury problems but I'm sure Ole will turn it around.

"I can understand – I've seen the difference in my team when two or three players have got back fit."

While more questions will be asked of Solskjaer's suitability for the United job following his side's latest abject performance, Sunday's victory relieves some of the growing pressure on opposite number Bruce.

Bruce registered his first win over United as a manager at the 23rd attempt and felt the victory was a perfect response to those who this week questioned his tactical nous.

"I don't think you can manage 400 games in the Premier League, 550 in the Championship, play 980 times and not be a little bit organised," he said. 

"So, people say if you're not good enough, that's fine. But to be critical of tactics, this that and the other, is always the thing that bares with me more than anything."

Bruce handed Longstaff his Premier League debut and the young midfielder responded with the winning strike 18 minutes from time.

"It's quite fantastic to see, isn't it? A local kid, playing alongside his brother – and what a goal," Bruce said. "To score on your debut like that against Man United – come on, it's quite fantastic for the kid. 

"It's quite ironic – Matty has beaten them in his first game and I've been going 20-odd years! I'm delighted for everybody concerned and the response is the great thing."

Steve Bruce's wait for a win over Manchester United is finally over, with Matty Longstaff's debut goal seeing Newcastle United down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side on Sunday.

Bruce – in charge for his 400th game as a manager in the Premier League, making him just the seventh coach to reach that milestone - secured his first ever league victory over the Red Devils at the 23rd attempt.

Longstaff, who hit the crossbar in the first half, hammered home in the 72nd minute at St James' Park as the visitors' run without an away win in the league stretched to eight games, their longest such streak in the top flight since September 1989.

The teenage midfielder's strike saw him become the youngest player to score for the club on his Premier League debut at 19 years and 199 days.

Defeat leaves United with nine points from their opening eight games - their worst start to a league campaign in 30 years. Indeed, since Solskjaer was appointed permanently on March 28, his side have taken just 17 points in 16 matches, the fourth-worst tally among the 17 ever-present teams in that time.

A year to the day since their stunning 3-2 comeback at home to Newcastle United eased the pressure on then-boss Jose Mourinho, Manchester United continued what appears to be a slow, painful march into mediocrity against the same opposition on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer initially sparked a turnaround in United's fortunes as he lifted the gloom around Old Trafford, breathing life into the club following the end of Mourinho's reign.

Since March's VAR-assisted comeback win at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, though, United have been abysmal and Solskjaer's days appear increasingly numbered. Perhaps only a lack of viable alternatives is keeping him in the job.

There are extenuating circumstances. At St James' Park there was no Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly, all injured.

With so many regulars missing most teams would struggle, but United's lack of squad depth is of their own making. They failed to sign any attacking reinforcements after allowing both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to join Inter, a decision signed off by Solskjaer.

Of those players remaining, Marcus Rashford's confidence has never looked lower, the initial spark provided by Wales winger Daniel James has fizzled out and David de Gea no longer looks among the world's best goalkeepers.

Few Premier League teams would find any use for Fred, a below-average midfielder who only gets selected as an alternative to the static Nemanja Matic. Andreas Pereira's inability to provide little creativity whatsoever is partly due to being fielded on the wing rather than his preferred central position, but mostly because the Brazilian seems out of his depth at this level. Juan Mata, despite a continued sureness of touch, ceased to be an elite playmaker several years ago. To describe Scott McTominay as an enigma would be kind.

At Newcastle, against a team hammered and humiliated by Leicester City last time out, Solskjaer's side created almost nothing from open play – they managed three shots on target – although how Harry Maguire failed to convert Ashley Young's corner when given a free header from five yards out will forever be a mystery.

There was no surprise when Newcastle, whose under-fire boss Steve Bruce was marking his 400th Premier League game as a manager, broke the deadlock in the rain 72 minutes in.

Matty Longstaff rattled the crossbar in the first half, Miguel Almiron wasted two clear sights of goal and Andy Carroll headed an inviting centre wide before De Gea was finally beaten from outside the box.

Longstaff, making his Premier League debut alongside older brother Sean in the Newcastle midfield, then sent a true drive fizzing into the net, much to the delight of the home fans.

Beating United is no longer that special, though. This season they have already lost to Crystal Palace and West Ham in the league. They needed penalties to get past Rochdale in the EFL Cup. Ex-United centre-back Bruce had overseen 22 matches against United without recording a single victory.

Newcastle moving out of the bottom three will buy Bruce some much-needed goodwill and time, which are both rapidly running out for Solskjaer. Top four? They're not even in the top half of the table.

Former England manager Sam Allardyce says he is ready to return to the dugout despite rejecting Newcastle United.

Allardyce claims he was approached by the Magpies after Rafael Benitez opted not to renew his contract at the club.

Steve Bruce later left Sheffield Wednesday for the role, with Allardyce unwilling to take on a second spell at Newcastle.

But the 64-year-old, out of work since departing Everton in May 2018, indicated he is willing to consider a comeback.

"It didn't happen last season which was my first year out of professional football for the first time since I was 15," Allardyce told Sky Sports.

"It was a bit strange just watching all the games but I found it to be very interesting in seeing how I feel about the game and how I would feel about what I would do if I got back in – you have plenty of time to get ready if you do want to get back into the game."

Bruce led Newcastle to an eye-catching win at Tottenham prior to the international break and Allardyce feels he was the right man for the job.

"Newcastle wasn't for me," Allardyce told Sky Sports. "I was very chuffed that Mike [Ashley, Newcastle chairman] considered me again but I felt that Brucey was a better fit than me and good luck to him.

"It is his dream move to manage his hometown club and I wish him well. It was the only thing that came up this summer."

Allardyce's former clubs include Crystal Palace, Sunderland, West Ham and Bolton Wanderers, while his brief spell in charge at St James' Park lasted from May 2007 until January the following year.

Garry Monk has been named the new manager of Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls have been seeking a new boss since Steve Bruce controversially left to take charge of Premier League side Newcastle United in July.

Caretaker manager Lee Bullen made his case for the job with three wins from their first four Championship games this term.

But Wednesday have opted for 40-year-old Monk, having previously been linked with Lincoln City's Danny Cowley and ex-Stoke City boss Tony Pulis.

Former Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough manager Monk was sacked by Birmingham City in June.

 

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