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Trending: Newcastle promoted to Prem


Arsenal have to keep The Ox


Last Rites for Sunderland

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Trending: Newcastle promoted, Manchester derby referee chosen

Newcastle United returned to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Tuesday's latest stories from the world of football in ESPN FC's What's Trending...

CHAMPIONSHIP: Ayoze Perez struck twice as Rafael Benitez succeeded in his mission to guide Newcastle back to the Premier League at the first attempt with a resounding 4-1 victory over 10-man Preston.

Rafa Benitez was happy to prove his doubters wrong after returning Newcastle to the Premier League one year after they were relegated.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Referee Martin Atkinson has been selected to take...

Martin Atkinson's fiery Manchester derby record with United, City

Jose Mourinho says he's more interested in winning a trophy than finishing fourth in the Premier League.

Martin Atkinson will referee Manchester United's derby clash with City on Thursday.

He has taken change of three United games so far this season -- the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea, the 3-1 win over Sunderland and a 2-1 win at Blackburn in the FA Cup.

Atkinson endured the wrath of Jose Mourinho after the game at Stamford Bridge after he failed to take action against David Luiz following a knee-high challenge on Marouane Fellaini in the first half.

However, he has also officiated three of United's...

Lucas Leiva's 10 years at Liverpool: 10 reasons he's still so important to squad

With an injury ravaged squad, Craig Burley debates if Liverpool can challenge for a title next season without more transfers.
Stevie Nicol wavers on Liverpool's top four aspirations but thinks Man United's poor play could see them there by default.
Palace continue to fight strongly against relegation as a Christian Benteke brace led to victory over third-place Liverpool.
Palace continue to fight strongly against relegation as a Christian Benteke brace led to victory over third-place Liverpool.

In May, Lucas Leiva will celebrate 10 years at Liverpool since joining from Brazilian side Gremio.

After a testing start to his Reds career, Lucas has gone on to prove people wrong and made over 340 appearances during his 10 seasons at Anfield.

On Monday, Liverpool players of past and present gathered at a dinner to honour the Brazilian's service for the club.

ESPN FC lists 10 reasons why Lucas is still a valuable asset to the Merseyside outfit.

 By Ben Pearce

Tottenham need players like Wilfried Zaha next year as they try to contend

Despite being considered one the Prem's best sides, the FC crew debate if they're serial underachievers.

Before Saturday, it had been a while since the strength of Tottenham's bench and a lack of game-changers held them back. Spurs arrived at Wembley with an eight-match winning run and there had certainly been no need for impact substitutes in the devastating 4-0 wins over Watford and Bournemouth. However, Saturday's FA Cup semifinal defeat to Chelsea brought the issue back into the spotlight.

With the match in the balance at 2-2, Antonio Conte introduced Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas....

Daley Blind has another chance to show he has a future at Man United

Jose Mourinho says he's more focused on winning the Europa League title than placing fourth in the Premier League.
Daley Blind isn't ever likely to be Man United's first-choice central defender. But he can still be useful in that role.

Jose Mourinho does not like to talk about players who are unavailable to him. He doesn't like focusing too much on the gaps they will leave or how much his Manchester United team will miss them. The ones who are ready to play, he says, are the most important. It should be no surprise, then, that Daley Blind has seen his stock rise since the international break.

First, it was Phil Jones. Then, Chris Smalling. Last week, it was Marcos Rojo. One by one, Mourinho's centre-backs have been sidelined....

 By Tony Evans

Don't laugh, but Crystal Palace could have biggest impact on top four race

Palace continue to fight strongly against relegation as a Christian Benteke brace led to victory over third-place Liverpool.
Sam Allardyce lauded the positive impact that the win at Liverpool can have for Crystal Palace's safety this season.
Palace continue to fight strongly against relegation as a Christian Benteke brace led to victory over third-place Liverpool.

The race for the top four places in the Premier League is heating up. Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have effectively sealed their places in next year's Champions League but Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal are vying for the two remaining spots. There is one team that has had more effect than any other in the battle for the top four, though, a club that no one expected to exert influence at the business end of the table: Crystal Palace.

With 11 games left in the Premier...