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Season strugglers: Inominious PL performances

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Tuesday found us breaking ties on our “Most Impactful Premier League Summer Buys” rankings by digging through some advanced statistics sites.

In doing so, something struck us: We rarely if ever check out which players are faring the worst when it comes to those next level numbers.

Ah, the international break: Good for off-the-wall posts.

[ MORE: Alonso, Pedro have Morata’s back]

At the risk of kicking a player while he’s down, here are some negative numbers that stand out from the pack.

Of the 358 players who’ve played at least 10 Premier League matches, Joe Hart is having the worst season of the bunch according to Squawka. That’s a bit misleading due to how the site’s metrics operate, considering eight of the bottom 20 players are goalkeepers (and several, like Jonas Lossl and Jordan Pickford, are having outstanding campaigns).

So the unfortunate honor goes to Swansea defender Martin Olsson, who edges James McClean of West Brom for the infamy. Since the site does heap numbers on players by action accumulated, perhaps it’s better to single out the per-game and per-90 strugglers. Olsson and McClean are still very much near the bottom, but surprisingly Yannick Bolasie is the worst per game, and Swansea’s Wayne Routledge is having the least effective season per 90 minutes.

As for WhoScored, its metrics are hammering forwards, with Lys Mousset, Andre Gray, and Benik Afobe at the back of the back (ahead of McClean, again, who is a multi-site struggler).

These stats aren’t perfect, of course, and I like the idea of having McClean on my squad. But there are some other odds stats in the pack.

 These players might want to pass their next opportunity to the keeper. Of players with 10 or more shot attempts this season, Adam Lallana (11), Renato Sanches (12), Lewis Cook (14), and Dale Stephens (15) have failed to put a single shot on target.

— Of the 81 players who’ve tried their luck 30 times or more, these are the worst accuracy rates

— For perspective, Harry Kane has put 56 percent of his league-leading 162 shots on target, while second place man Mohamed Salah is 61 percent of 118.

— Defensive errors also can be increased significantly by the times a player is put under pressure by his team, which is why goalkeepers are high on Squawka’s list. Take them out, and you get a list with Spurs’ Eric Dier up top. Two of his six errors have led to goals against Tottenham, with Zanka (Huddersfield Town), Alfie Mawson (Swans), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), and Shane Duffy (Brighton) next with four errors.

Brighton 2-1 Arsenal: Scattershot Gunners

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  • Dunk scores first top flight goal, 7′
  • Gross sets up two goals
  • Aubameyang gets one back
  • Gunners losers of five in six

Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray scored first half goals to power Brighton and Hove Albion to a memorable 2-1 win over free-falling Arsenal at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled Arsenal to within one, but the Gunners fell for the fifth time in six matches across all competitions. They are still comfortably sixth in the Premier League, eight back of fifth and five ahead of seventh.

Brighton pulls into 10th, seven points clear of the Premier League drop zone.

Arsenal’s next match? A Europa League first leg at an emotional AC Milan, who will no doubt be celebrating the life of deceased alum Davide Astori.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The fourth minute saw Mesut Ozil curl a left-footer just over the bar in a bid to end his seven-match scoreless run.

Brighton took the lead through Dunk in the 7th minute, a set piece goal headed back across goal after Petr Cech failed to claim at the back post. It was 1-0 against the run of play.

Pascal Gross sent in that corner kick, and he blasted a shot that required a diving save from Cech. The ensuing corner was poorly defended by Arsenal, but Jose Izquierdo show low and wide.

Cech had to collect from Knockaert, but was soon picking the ball out of his goal for a second time when Murray nodded Gross’ cross past him.

The Gunners got one back through Aubameyang, redirecting a Granit Xhaka pass off Mat Ryan and into the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Cech had to punch an Ezequiel Schelotto speculation over the bar 10 minutes into the second half.

Ozil worked a 1-2 with Aubameyang to open up an effort that Ryan pushed out for a corner.

And Jack Wilshere earned a dangerous free kick when Dale Stephens made a sliding intervention around the hour mark. That led to a corner, but Ryan eventually eased the danger.

Sead Kolasinac‘s hard challenge on Schelotto led to the calling of a stretcher but no sending off. Schelotto was reportedly knocked out by the brutal bodycheck.

Izquierdo dribbled down the left flank and cut to the middle before curling wide of the near post as the game hit minute No. 71.

Seven minutes of stoppage time delivered an opportunity for Arsenal to steal a point, but Ryan collected Aubameyang’s shot through traffic.

Stoke City 1-1 Brighton: Ryan saves the day

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  • Potters without a win in three
  • Brighton unbeaten in three
  • Izqueirdo, Shaqiri trade superb goals

Stoke City and Brighton battled out to a 1-1 draw at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

Two form wingers grabbed the goals as Jose Izquierdo put the Seagulls ahead with a fine team goal, but Xherdan Shaqiri curled home a beauty in the second half to grab a point at home for the Potters.

Stoke could have won it late on as referee Bobby Madley awarded them a penalty kick but Charlie Adam had his penalty saved by Mat Ryan to seal a point for the Seagulls.

With the point Stoke remain in the relegation zone on 25 points, but they’re just three points behind Brighton in 13th on 28 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Stoke went close after an even start in the Potteries with Mame Biram Diouf volleyed wide.

Brighton took the lead through Izquierdo as the Colombian winger continued his impressive recent form by capping off a flowing team move.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

He played a one-two with Solly March, then Dale Stephens was involved as Brighton looked like Brazil in their yellow jerseys with Izquierdo slotting home.

Straight away Mame Biram Diouf almost equalized but volleyed wide,

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Badou Ndiaye was the forefront of everything good about Stoke as the Senegalese midfielder had a volley saved by Mat Ryan and then forced another effort just wide at the end of the first half.

Ndiaye went close again at the start of the second half as Stoke pressed for the equalizer but left themselves vulnerable on the break as Davy Propper nodded over.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Shaqiri then equalized with a fine individual goal as he curled home from outside the box to level the scores and set up a grandstand finish.

Stoke pushed hard to go head but Brighton dug deep as drama ensued in the final minutes. Jese was bundled over in the box by Stephens and a penalty kick was awarded.

Jese wanted to take the PK but substitute Adam pulled rank and had his penalty saved by Ryan then Lewis Dunk cleared superbly.

From the two resulting corners Brighton cleared off the line twice in wild fashion.

What a finish as the honors were even.

FA Cup: Brighton beats Crystal Palace on Murray winner

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Glenn Murray played hero again as he claimed an 88th minute winner in a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup.

The 34-year-old came on in the 81st minute and scored just seven minutes later, claiming a slight touch off Uwe Hünemeier’s outstanding header to the far post. It’s the seventh goal for Murrah this season and fifth FA Cup goal in his career.

28-year-old Dale Stephens bagged his first goal of the season 25 minutes in to open the scoring as he touched brilliantly near the top of the box to skip by a defender and struck just under the armpit of Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey from a tight angle, a fully deserved lead for the Seagulls after holding nearly 70% of possession through the opening half-hour. It’s the first goal for Stephens in any competition for over a year, most recently finding the back of the net in Championship play against Blackburn Rovers last December.

Despite their possessional disadvantage, the Palace midfield continued to muck up the game, but the visitors to Falmer Stadium couldn’t manage a decent spell on the ball. After the break, however, the visitors looked more involved, and with 20 minutes to go Bakary Sakho brought Palace back level with a knuckler that bent away from a diving Tim Krul and into the back of the net.

The goal invigorated the visitors, and Sakho nearly had another from the same spot just minutes later, but he went for the near post and hit the side netting. Brighton, working with just two substitutions for much of the game due to an injury to Izzy Brown in just the sixth minute, still held a significant shot advantage and nearly went back in front down the other end as Hennessey saved a powerful effort by the substitute Sam Baldock, while Beram Kayal skied over the bar despite all day to shoot in the middle of the box. Baldock also launched over the bar on a one-on-one breakaway in the 82nd minute.

Brighton grabbed the winner with just two minutes until full-time as Hünemeier got his head to a free-kick, directing it perfectly to the inside of the far post. It likely would have gone in either way, but Murray charged it down to make sure the ball went in, and replays showed the ball grazed his knee on its way in.

Crystal Palace wouldn’t go down without a fight, as they pushed one more attack, but the hosts kept the ball out somehow as the final whistle went. With a way to the 4th round, Brighton will take on Middlesbrough at Riverside Stadium.

Brighton 0-0 Crystal Palace: Rivals share the spoils

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  • Brighton have 1 defeat in 7 PL games
  • Palace pick up first away point of season; first shutout
  • Seagulls unbeaten at home since opening day of season

Rivals Brighton and Crystal Palace played out a 0-0 draw at the Amex Stadium in their first-ever meeting in the Premier League.

Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha had the best chances for Palace in the first half, while Glenn Murray and Jose Izquierdo went closest to breaking the deadlock for Brighton.

With the point Brighton move on to 17 points for the season, while Palace have nine points and are within three points of moving out of the relegation zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It was a tense, tight start down on the South Coast and the first big chance of the game went to Palace.

A long ball over the top found Christian Benteke and his shot was saved superbly by Mat Ryan who then reacted to the loose ball and denied Wilfried Zaha on the follow-up.

At the other end Lewis Dunk had a header on goal saved by Wayne Hennessey but it was Palace who started to turn the screw as they enjoyed more possession.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Jose Izquierdo then had a shot saved well down low by Hennessey and Dale Stephens fluffed his follow-up with the home side growing into the game.

Pascal Gross then had a low shot well saved by Hennessey as Brighton threatened as the first half came to a close.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ] 

Palace went close as Zaha smashed a ball across goal but neither Andros Townsend or Benteke read the situation and they let Brighton off the hook.

Shane Duffy then nodded an effort onto the top of the net and Stephens spanked an effort inches wide of the post with Brighton pushing hard.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Brighton had a great chance to grab the lead late on as Glenn Murray’s header was kneed off the line by Townsend.

Late on Zaha broke free and set up Ruben Loftus-Cheek but his shot was straight at Ryan and the game finished scoreless with both teams seemingly happy enough with a point.