Crystal Palace 3-2 Brighton: Eagles win thriller

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  • 5 goals in first 34 minutes
  • Zaha’s first-ever PL double
  • Palace move 6 points above drop

Crystal Palace beat Brighton 3-2 at Selhurst Park on Saturday in an enthralling M23 derby with massive implications on the relegation battle.

Palace went 2-0 up early as Wilfried Zaha and James Tomkins scored, but Glenn Murray made it 2-1 then Zaha made it 3-1 in a wild opening. Jose Izquierdo then made it 3-2 before half time as the goals flew in amid flares being let off in an incredible atmosphere in south London.

With the win Palace move six points above the bottom three with four games to go, while Brighton slip back into the relegation scrap with plenty of tough games coming up and are just a point above Palace.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

That man Zaha put Palace ahead early on as the Eagles came flying out of the traps.

Zaha finished at the back post from Luka Milivojevic‘s clever short corner, as Palace had the perfect start against their bitter rivals.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Soon it got even better for the Eagles as Tomkins made it 2-0 inside the opening 15 minutes. A mad scramble in the box fell to the center back and he finished.

But then Brighton scored with their first chance of the game.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

A corner was nodded down by Lewis Dunk and former Palace striker Murray was on hand to make it 2-1. Game on.

The goals kept flying in before half time as Zaha then grabbed his second and Palace’s third of the game with a fabulous header to restore their two goal advantage with just 24 minutes on the clock.

Before half time it was 3-2 as Jurgen Locadia played in Izquierdo who finished calmly for the fifth goal of the game. What an opening half.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The second half was, well, a huge contrast to the first as Palace looked more likely to extend their lead and Brighton sat back initially.

Murray then had an effort as he stretched volley went just wide as the Seagulls grew into the game.

Late on Murray had another chance but it went missing, as Palace held on for a crucial win.

Who’ve been the most impactful Premier League summer buys?

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It’s been a heck of a season for Premier League transfer buys, and that includes a bevy of intra-league purchases.

So who’ve been the best imports? Probably a safe bet to set some parameters.

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

We won’t count players like Aaron Mooy, who’s Huddersfield Town purchase was formalized after a loan, or those who returned from loan like Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen or Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.

We’ll also opt against a couple Chelsea loanees signings, if just to whittle our list. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was magnificent before a long-term injury at Palace, and Kurt Zouma probably just sits beyond the Top Ten.

Mainz loanee Jonas Lossl of Huddersfield Town fits the bill, too. And for injuries: Who knows how high  Benjamin Mendy would’ve surged up this list?

Stats culled from WhoScored and Squawka.

Honorable mention – Antonio Rudiger, Mario Lemina, Richarlison, Alexandre Lacazette, Mat Ryan, Bernardo Silva, Steve MounieKyle Walker, Alvaro Morata, Florian Lejeune.

10. Jordan Pickford, Everton — Under siege at Sunderland for most of last season, Pickford probably expected smoother sailing than this: the Everton backstop has been forced into making the most saves in the Premier League (95). Fifty-four of those required him to dive. Only four teams have allowed more goals than Everton, which explains why some of you might be scratching your head at his inclusion.

9. James Tomkins, Crystal Palace — I thought the signing was silly, but Tomkins is nearly unrivaled in terms of interceptions per game in league play. Palace hasn’t been a defensive powerhouse, but his former club West Ham looks terrible since he moved across London.

8. Davinson Sanchez, Tottenham Hotspur – There have been bumps along the way — Sanchez is 21 — but he’s blessed with the speed to make up for his and others mistakes. A fine passer, Mauricio Pochettino should only further benefit from his career progression.

7. Ahmed Hegazi, West Bromwich Albion — Hegazi’s 2757 minutes played are the most amongst field players in the Premier League (though Alfie Mawson, Harry Maguire, Jack Cork, and Lewis Dunk could pass him by playing more than an hour in their match-in-hand).

6. Harry Maguire, Leicester City — The Foxes badly needed to lower the age of their center back corps, and can count their purchase of Maguire from Hull City as a coup. Perhaps no player other than Wilfred Ndidi has been as influential for Claude Puel‘s bunch.

5. Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United — Lukaku started dispelling myths about his production versus big teams when he was one of the lone stars in United’s Super Cup loss to Real Madrid. While he’s been up-and-down in terms of goals in said contests, his hold-up play and work ethic have been better than expected. His 21 key moments (14 goals, seven assists) are even with Roberto Firmino and trail only Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, and Leroy Sane. Anthony Martial is the closest United comparison, and he has 14. Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard have 12.

4. Pascal Gross, Brighton and Hove Albion — The Ingolstadt transfer’s promise was quickly realized, and he’s posted five goals and eight assists. On a team with the fourth-lowest goal total in the league, that’s impressive. The only players with more PL assists: De Bruyne, Sane, Dele, David Silva, Salah, Pogba. Gross also ranks third in the league in crosses per game.

3. Nemanja Matic, Manchester United — It’s hard to fin the numbers to meet the eye test, but Matic flat out makes his team better. Maybe it’s organization, maybe it’s toughness, but there’s little doubt United is better in the middle of the park while former club Chelsea has struggled to find the same form since he skipped town. Advantage: Mou.

2. Ederson, Manchester City — Look only to last season’s status of City net minders to know how important the sweeper-style passing keeper is to Pep Guardiola‘s side. The Brazilian has pushed himself into competition for the starting gig at one of the World Cup favorites.

1. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool —  There is no other answer here, and Harry Kane’s injury essentially gift wraps the Golden Boot to the Egyptian. There was a question as to whether he’d bring his Serie A flourish over to England, and that seems absurd now.

Cech says Brighton loss his fault; Wenger blames Man City losses

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Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is taking the blame for the Gunners’ 2-1 loss at Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.

To be fair, the first goal was poor on both the keeper and his men. Cech was slow to collect a back post corner kick, which was nodded back across goal to an unmarked Lewis Dunk.

[ MORE: Brighton 2-1 Arsenal ]

The second goal wasn’t unstoppable, but less on Cech.

Either way, the Czech goalkeeper hit Twitter to accept all responsibility for Arsenal’s fifth loss in six matches, saying, “If you want to win a game away of home in the best league in the world your GK can’t concede 2 goals like I did today … it’s simply not possible … The team fought back but the damage was done.”

Cech hasn’t been himself this year, but the loss is far more on his star center back of so many years, Laurent Koscielny (as well as what must be an insipid at worst and uninspired at best atmosphere under longtime manager Arsene Wenger).

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

As for Arsene Wenger, he’s missing any decent answers at all. He says his team was “heavy legged” in admitting the Top Four is “near impossible.”

Part of his response to Sunday’s loss, at least in the immediate throes of it, was to say this team didn’t respond to the twin losses to Manchester City.

That’s pretty much his job. And now it’s AC Milan in the Europa League, likely the Gunners’ only route to the UEFA Champions League.

“It is important to recover mentally and physically,” he said. “We are still jaded today, we gave a lot on Thursday night and you can see that today.”

Should we keep those words copied for a Thursday pasting?

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.

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.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

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.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

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.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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.