Brighton 4-1 Swansea City: Seagulls soar

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  • Murray on 10 PL goals for the season
  • Swansea suffer first defeat in 11
  • Brighton unbeaten in four

Brighton and Hove Albion beat Swansea City 4-1 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday as the Seagulls continue to pull clear of the relegation zone.

Glenn Murray scored in each half to get Brighton on their way, while Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia added a goal each in comfortable second half.

Swansea hit the post in the first half but Carlos Carvalhal‘s men were second best throughout and although Tammy Abraham‘s effort deflected off Lewis Dunk and in, it wasn’t enough.

With the win Brighton move on to 31 points for the season, while Swansea remain on 27 points.

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Pascal Gross went close early on for the Seagulls but his shot was blocked by Tom Carroll, yet the home side didn’t have much longer to wait to go ahead.

Murray ran into the box and was needlessly hauled down by Mike Van der Hoorn as a penalty kick was awarded and Murray delivered a panenka to put Brighton 1-0 up and continue his fine form.

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Swansea improved after going behind and Van der Hoorn’s shot got two deflections which almost caught out Mat Ryan but he saved well. Carvalhal then made a substitution to try and spark his team into life with Andre Ayew coming on to replace Nathan Dyer and change the formation before half time had arrived.

Shane Duffy hit the crossbar right on half time as Gross’ corner from the right found the center back and he was inches away from doubling Brighton’s lead. At the other end moments later Jordan Ayew hit the post and the ball struck Ryan on the back before bouncing out and Martin Olsson lashed the rebound wide.

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Swansea kept pressing at the start of the second half as Ki had a shot well saved by Ryan and from a resulting corner the Welsh side claimed a handball against Murray at the back post but nothing was given.

Brighton were close to going 2-0 up as Knockaert’s cross towards Murray (in an offside position) missed everyone and crept in… but Murray attempted to get on the end of it and got in Lukasz Fabianski‘s way. No goal.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

The Seagulls did seal the win late on with a fine flowing move. Jose Izquierdo and Gross played a one-two and the former crossed for Murray to slot home his and Brighton’s second at the back post. Game over. Brighton grabbed another late on as Murray flicked the ball onto Gross and he fed Knockaert to prod home a third.

Abraham came off the bench in the second half and his deflected effort was no more then a late consolation for the Swans who conceded again late on with Locadia jumping off the bench to tap home and make it 4-1.

Report: Ibrahimovic to sign with MLS next week, LA Galaxy likely landing spot

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It appears Zlatan Ibrahimovic will finally be taking his talents to the United States.

According to a report from ESPN FC, Ibrahimovic has played his last game for Manchester United, with the club ready to let the Swede out of his contract in order for him to sign in Major League Soccer. While it’s not 100 percent clear where Ibrahimovic will end up, the report states the Galaxy are the leading contenders for his services.

[READ: International preview, what to look forward to this week]

Ibrahimovic certainly comes to the U.S. with a rich pedigree, with a trophy room full of league titles and UEFA Champions League titles.

But there are questions hanging over Ibrahimovic. The 36-year-old is coming off a torn ACL and whether he’s healed now, 12 months since the injury, he’s made just five appearances for Man United this season, with four of them coming off the bench.

With many MLS clubs moving towards signing younger, up and coming talents, especially from South America, can Ibrahimovic keep up in a physical league, coming off a major injury and at his age? It’s likely he can make an impact, but considering the kind of money he’s likely to be on, it will be tough for him to be worth it without bringing an MLS Cup.

If he does sign with the LA Galaxy, it would be a massive statement back to their new noisy neighbor in LAFC, after the expansion club made waves signing Carlos Vela as a Designated Player and Bob Bradley as head coach. Ibrahimovic will have to quickly gel with Sigi Schmid’s squad, including with Giovani and Jonathan Dos Santos in midfield.

Wilshere could have left Arsenal last August

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It’s hard to imagine an Arsenal team without Jack Wilshere on the books, but it nearly came to be during last summer’s transfer window.

Speaking openly in England’s training camp this week, Wilshere detailed how Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger approached him one day in August and told him the England international wasn’t in Wenger’s plans.

“It was an honest conversation,” Wilshere told The Guardian. “It had been boiling up for a while. Everybody knew I had a year left on my deal and had been out on loan, got injured and wasn’t really in his plans. He just said: ‘At the moment we are not going to be offering you a contract so, if you can get one somewhere else, you can go.’”

Wilshere said that he looked around but ultimately wanted to win his place back in the Arsenal first team, and he did so by November, after mainly playing in the Carabao Cup and UEFA Europa League through the first three months of the season.

This week, Wilshere earned a recall to the England National Team for the first time since the Three Lions’ disastrous defeat in Euro 2016 to Iceland and he’s played 31 appearances this season in all competitions, the most since the 2013-2014 season, showcasing a new-found fitness level.

That being said, Wilshere hasn’t found the form for Arsenal that earned him plaudits in the past from Xavi Hernandez. Wilshere looked off the pace in Arsenal defeats to Tottenham, Ostersunds and Manchester City in February, failing to make an impact in his central midfield role.

Wilshere has three months left on his contract, and while he said it wouldn’t be a distraction, the longer his future is unresolved, surely it will be in the back of his mind.

We had a sneak-peak in 2016-2017 with Wilshere playing on-loan at Bournemouth. Perhaps next season we’ll see Wilshere playing away from the Arsenal colors again. This time, on a permanent basis, unless Wenger changes his mind.

Bolt to train with Borussia Dortmund on Friday

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DORTMUND, Germany (AP) Sprint star Usain Bolt is set to train with German soccer team Borussia Dortmund on Friday.

The Bundesliga club says the eight-time Olympic champion, whose last race before retirement was at the 2017 world championships, will “participate in an open training session” with coach Peter Stoeger’s side.

Bolt posted a picture of himself in a Dortmund shirt on Twitter, saying, “BVB, get ready for Friday.”

Dortmund, which shares a sponsor with Bolt in sportswear giant Puma, had long said that the 31-year-old could train with the team at some stage.

Dortmund’s next game after the international break is at Bayern Munich on March 31. Bayern can secure the league title then if other results go its way.

Can says he wants to play for “very big club” next year

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Liverpool swing man Emre Can – whose contract expires this summer – has not yet found a club to sign with yet, and the future free agent is playing up his own talents while looking for a new home.

“I have the self-confidence to say that my qualities are sufficient to play in a very big club next season,” Can told German newspaper Suddeutche Zeitung. “I’m doing great in England. The Spanish league is also attractive. The same applies to Germany, where tactics are concerned, and the Italian club football, which has recently caught up.”

“Incidentally, the same applies to France, this league has now established itself as one of the best in Europe. Therefore, I do not want to exclude anything.”

However, Can also said that the Premier League’s spending power plays a major role, and singled out the German top flight – his home country – for its inability to pay top players.

“Sure, the Bundesliga would interest me, why not? Although I must say honestly that the level has waned in recent years,” he said. “The Premier League has the power to spend more money on players than the Bundesliga. This is very, very important for players.”

Despite those comments, the 24-year-old insists that money is not the ultimate deciding factor in where he will play.

“What counts for me is that I’m an integral part of the team and at a club with a chance of winning the title,” he added. “That’s what every footballer dreams of because that’s the reward of your hard work.”

Can has not ruled out a return to Liverpool, a club that he says “still feels like family.”