Aaron Connolly

Leicester battle past Brighton

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Leicester City beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, as Brendan Rodgers‘ side march on.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy scored in the second half amid VAR and penalty kick drama in the rain at the Amex.

With the win Leicester are on 29 points and sit second in the table, while Brighton have 15 points.


3 things we learned

1. Vardy leads Foxes on the counter: Leicester came to life in the second half and Vardy’s pace on the counter led the way. When the Foxes needed him most, Vardy delivered. He was unselfish as he set up Perez and Maddison and then scored the penalty kick himself, at the second time of ask, as he remains the top goalscorer in the PL. What a season the veteran is having.

2. Leicester’s energy too much to handle: Perez hit the post in the first half, Vardy went close and in the second half they kicked on. Brighton tried their best to press Leicester but the energy the Foxes have was too much to handle. Brendan Rodgers’ side are well in this title race, eight points off Liverpool, and with no European action to worry about, they have a huge advantage over their rivals. They can rest and recover and are in sensational form.

3. Brighton will not go down: Graham Potter‘s side were unlucky. They created chances, Neal Maupay should have been awarded a penalty kick and they took the game to Leicester. They gave the Foxes a scare and when they play against other Premier League teams they will score plenty of goals and gain plenty of points.

Man of the Match: Jamie Vardy – Alongside Ayoze Perez he ripped Brighton apart on the counter time and time again. Vardy, 32, is in the form of his life, even better than the 2015-16 season. That is saying something. He is relentless and was just too good for Brighton’s defense.


Ayoze Perez hit the post with a header at the back post after Harvey Barnes whipped in a great cross.

Vardy then went close as his header from a wide free kick was pushed over by Ryan. Leicester kept coming forward as Perez set up Barnes who was denied by Ryan.

But Brighton improved as the first half wore on as Shane Duffy flicked his header over the bar.

Maddison then played it to Vardy but couldn’t finish right on half time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

In the second half Brighton tried to take the game to Leicester with Neal Maupay and Aaron Connolly seeing plenty of the ball but they were then hit on the break.

Perez didn’t make the most of the first one but the Foxes broke moments later and Vardy played in the Spaniard to give them the lead.

Ben Chilwell then surged down the left and set up Vardy but Ryan came up with a big save.

At the other end Ricardo Pereira then looked to bring down Maupay in the box as VAR was used but no penalty kick was awarded and Duffy then went close twice.

Vardy then raced free and set up James Maddison but he couldn’t finish, but Leicester were then awarded a penalty kick as Adam Webster pushed Demarai Gray down in the box. VAR checked the penalty but it stood and Vardy’s penalty was saved then Maddison headed home, but the goal was chalked off as he was in the box when he scored.

The penalty kick was retaken and Vardy scored to seal the win as the Foxes stay second in the Premier League.

Premier League club grades: The story so far

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We are nearly a third of the way into the 2019-20 Premier League season and the table is finally starting to take shape.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The surprise packages seem here to stay, there are a bunch of teams battling for European qualification, plenty of giants are struggling and it seems like both the title and relegation battles have already started.

Taking all of that into consideration, we feel like 12 games into the season is a very good time to dish out some grades on each PL club based on their performances so far.

Here it goes…


Arsenal: D
Unai Emery is under pressure, big time, as the defensive problems weren’t properly fixed. Add to the mix that Granit Xhaka was handed the captaincy via a player vote, then stripped of it after his outburst following fans celebrating his substitution and things are a bit of a mess. The only reason Arsenal didn’t get an F is because somehow they are still in the top six and well-placed in the Europa League. That said, they are eight points off the top four and Emery needs some big wins fast. His team don’t seem to know what is being asked of them tactically, and he’s almost 18 months into the job. Scary.


Aston Villa: C
This is just about what we expected from Villa on their return to the PL. Dean Smith‘s side are fun to watch and take risks in the final third, but they are naive defensively. They’ve pushed Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal all the way and they’ve picked up some big wins when things click in attack. Villa look set to hover just about the relegation zone this season and look to have enough quality in midfield and attack to stay out of trouble.


Bournemouth: B-
It’s a case of one step forward, one step back for the Cherries. The last few weeks summed that up well as they beat Man United then lost to Newcastle. Defensively they’ve improved massively but Eddie Howe‘s side are now suffering with a lack of clinical finishing in attack. Bournemouth will be well clear of relegation trouble, but a European push still seems a step too far for this young side.


Brighton: B+
Graham Potter‘s arrival has seen the Seagulls play some wonderful stuff, especially at home. Brighton have picked up some big wins and they have a gem in Leandro Trossard and youngster Aaron Connolly has emerged as a regular. Brighton still have a strong defensive core but they are much more adventurous going forward and Potter has got his ideas across to the players very quickly. A great start for a team many tipped as relegation favorites.


Burnley: B
Some very strong displays from the Clarets, as they’ve hammered the likes of Southampton, Norwich and West Ham, plus beat Everton and drew against Villa and Wolves. They are back to their best with a strong defensive unit and Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes are a handful up top. A top 10 finish seems very likely.


Chelsea: A+
It couldn’t have gone any better than this. Frank Lampard‘s first few months as a top-flight manager got off to a slow start but the Blues have won six PL games on the spin and are sitting pretty in the UEFA Champions League. Christian Pulisic has been on fire in the last month and the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have taken their chances in the first team, not to mention Jorginho and Willian shinning in their new roles as leaders. Chelsea may not be genuine title contenders, but they look certain to finish in the top four. In a season where they were supposed to be hit hard by a transfer ban, that’s very good going. Super Frank, indeed.


Crystal Palace: C+
The Eagles have had their ups and downs and after a fast start they’ve been on a gruelling stretch of games. Wilfried Zaha doesn’t seem fully focused and has looked frustrated, while Roy Hodgson has had to rely on Jordan Ayew for goals. How long will that last? Defensively Gary Cahill appears to be one of the bargains of the season after his free transfer from Chelsea, with the Eagles tough to beat but lacking a little in attack. Palace will be battling for a top 10 finish. Nothing less, nothing more.


Everton: C-
The last few results have improved this grade significantly, as Marco Silva still has so many issues to sort out at Everton. It appears the owners will give him plenty of time and drawing against Spurs and beating Southampton bought him some more of that. But what is Everton’s identity? They now seem to be slipping into a counter-attacking style which suits their players best, and they have to nail down that identity. Everton have the players to push for the top six (the horrible injury to Andre Gomes will make that tougher) but they have underperformed and Silva has been under pressure. Maybe now the pressure has eased (slightly) they can rise up the table.


Leicester City: A+
Brendan Rodgers is working miracles at the King Power Stadium. This young Leicester side have been a revelation so far, with Jamie Vardy leading the PL in goals and finishing off most of the copious chances created by James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Co. At the other end of the pitch Caglar Soyuncu has replaced Harry Maguire expertly and Wilfred Ndidi is ripping it up as N’Golo Kante’s replacement. The Foxes are perfectly balanced and sit second in the table for a reason. They deserve to be there, but the only worry is who will replace Vardy if he’s injured? If he stays fit, Leicester will finish in the top four. Simple.


Liverpool: A
Unbeaten with 11 wins from their opening 12 games. Not bad, Jurgen, not bad at all. Klopp’s Liverpool are hungry and although they haven’t been at their best for most of this season they are ruthless in attack and dogged in defense. Sadio Mane has taken his game to a new level and Fabinho is shielding the back four superbly. They are eight points clear but know how quickly those leads can evaporate. Still, pretty much the perfect start for Liverpool as the reigning European champs are the red-hot favorites to secure their first league title for over 30 years. If injuries are kind to them, there is no way they will let this lead slip this time.


Man City: B
Pep Guardiola‘s side have been hit hard by defensive injuries early in the season and the defending champs will rue not signing a new center back in the summer. With Aymeric Laporte going down, they’ve had to put Fernandinho at center back with Otamendi and Stones all over the place. Ederson‘s recent injury was also a blow as going forward they’ve been sublime but defensively there have been huge issues, as the defeats against Norwich and Liverpool proved. Nine points off the top early on, can Man City claw this back? It is going to take a superhuman effort, plus a Liverpool collapse, to do that. Guardiola’s side may soon go ‘all-in’ on chasing that Champions League trophy.


Man United: C+
What a weird start to the season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s young side. They’ve beaten Chelsea and Leicester and drawn against Liverpool and Arsenal, but they’ve also lost to Newcastle, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and West Ham. A real mixed bag, which is what you can expect with such a young team out there week in, week out, and because of injuries. When Rashford, Martial and James are fit, they look so dangerous in attack and at least there is a plan in place and a style of play. Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have shored things up at the back and United now need a midfield playmaker to step forward to dictate games. Expect them to make a move in the January window for a Bruno Fernandes type, while a top four finish isn’t out of the question but is looking unlikely after a topsy-turvy start.


Newcastle United: B-
Things have gone surprisingly well for Steve Bruce‘s side so far. Anarchy was in the air among the Toon Army in the summer but wins against Spurs and Man United calmed things down, and they’ve just beat West Ham and Bournemouth back-to-back. Relegation could still be on the cards, but for now the Magpies are looking solid defensively and are tough to beat. Joelinton and Miguel Almiron are struggling to produce in attack and long-term that seems to be their biggest problem.


Norwich City: C
It all started so well as Teemu Pukki couldn’t stop scoring and they beat Man City to spark wild scenes at Carrow Road. That was in September and Norwich haven’t won since. There’s no doubt defensive injuries have hit Daniel Farke‘s side hard and the players they have are adventurous but seem to be taking too many chances in possession. Pukki has been an isolated figure in recent weeks but if they can get him the ball in dangerous areas, he will finish. There’s a long way to go but Norwich sit bottom and look destined for relegation. But maybe Pukki is ready to fire up another #PukkiParty…


Sheffield United: A
The newly-promoted Blades have been one of the stories of the season so far as they sit in fifth place. We’ve all heard about their overlapping center backs and Chris Wilder being adamant they won’t change their style of play, but one of the biggest plus points from their opening few months back in the PL has been their work rate. Every play on this Sheffield United team knows their job and works their socks off. They play as a unit and have given some of the big boys big wake-up calls (they’ve beat Arsenal, drawn against Chelsea and Tottenham and only lost late on against Liverpool). The way they commit players forward is refreshing and they have brought something totally different to the PL. They should easily stay up.


Southampton: F
What a disastrous start for Saints in Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s first full season in charge. They didn’t make the correct offseason additions and were hamstrung by previous poor signings they couldn’t offload. Danny Ings has been the only bright spot so far as he’s scored seven goals in all competitions, but Saints have the worst defense in the league. They were smashed 9-0 at home by Leicester City and they sit second from bottom in the table. It’s true that the fixtures machine wasn’t kind to them for the start of the season, but they now have a very winnable run of games coming up. If they are still in the bottom three in mid-December, they look certain for relegation.


Tottenham Hotspur: D-
A summer of discontent has rumbled on into the fall and now the winter as Mauricio Pochettino‘s mood swings sum up the current situation at Spurs. Eriksen, Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Rose all want to leave but contract situations haven’t been sorted out by Daniel Levy and this has become one heck of a mess. Spurs sit in 14th place in the table, 11 points off the top four, and they look a shell of the hungry, determined side which overachieved season after season since 2015. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son are trying their best to score goals and lead the team but something isn’t right behind-the-scenes and Pochettino has a huge job on his hands to push for a top four finish.


Watford: D-
It has taken them 12 games to get a win but the recent signs have been good for the Hornets. After sacking Javi Gracia and bringing in former manager Quique Sanchez Flores they have shored things up defensively overall (let’s forget that 8-0 loss at Man City) and they’ve now drawn games against Spurs, Arsenal and Sheffield United. The win against Norwich gave them belief they can pick things up in the second half of the season and with Troy Deeney set to return they will now have more of a threat in the final third alongside Gerard Deulofeu. Goalkeeper Ben Foster has been superb so far and Watford will need to keep improving defensively if they’re going to get out of the bottom three. They certainly have the talent to do so.


West Ham United: D
Worrying times for Manuel Pellegrini as the Hammers enjoyed a good start but haven’t won since September. West Ham spent big again in the summer and they’re in danger of being sucked into the relegation battle. Declan Rice is struggling for form, so too is Sebastien Haller, and the loss of Lukas Fabianski to injury was a hammer blow (pardon the pun) as Roberto has struggled massively since replacing him in goal. West Ham shouldn’t be in a relegation scrap but it looks like a bleak winter is ahead.


Wolverhampton Wanderers: B-
Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side are ticking over very nicely after a slow start with their small squad seeming to get up to pace of the Thursday-Sunday grind with the Europa League. Raul Jimenez is on fire and although they’re making defensive mistakes, Wolves are able to bounce back better this season when they’ve fallen behind. They should be battling for another top seven finish as well as going on a deep run in the Europa League.

Brighton win again, beat Norwich

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Brighton beat Norwich City 2-0 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, as the Seagulls continue their amazing form at home.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Graham Potter‘s side saw Leandro Trossard score one and set up another as the Seagulls made it 2-0 thanks to Shane Duffy‘s late striker. They dominated Norwich and should have won by a heftier margin.

With the win Brighton move up to eighth in the table, while Norwich remain second from bottom.


3 things we learned

1. Trossard’s quality tells: The playmaker arrived from Genk this summer and when he’s been fit, he’s made a huge difference. Potter has Brighton playing lovely football and they need a cutting edge. Trossard delivers that, and he was the difference on Saturday with a goal and an assist.

2. Norwich fail to support Pukki: Early in the season the Canaries were getting up to support Pukki, but they just aren’t doing that anymore. Farke’s side are sitting too deep, maybe due to their defensive injuries and issues, and aren’t gambling to support their star Finnish striker in attack.

3. Seagulls soaring away from relegation scrap: Many believed Brighton would be in the bottom three at the end of the season, and that clearly won’t be the case. They are solid defensively but now have a clear plan in midfield and attack and they are exciting to watch. They’ve made the most of the momentum they gained from beating Tottenham. What a start for Potter.

Man of the Match: Leonardo Trossard – He jumped off the bench and scored and grabbed an assist, with the Belgian playmaker key in this Brighton side. If he can stay fit, the Seagulls will be clear of the bottom three.


Brighton dominated the first half but couldn’t finish off the chances they created as Norwich held on.

Neal Maupay then missed a sitter, as he swung his foot at but failed to get a proper connection as Brighton let Norwich off the hook.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half it was Aaron Connolly‘s turn to go close, then at the other end Teemu Pukki had a half chance but couldn’t make the most of it.

Norwich barely threatened in attack and Pukki was an isolated figure up top.

Montoya whipped in a cross at the near post as Trossard poked home to put Brighton 1-0 with 20 minutes to go and seal all three points for the Seagulls.

Maupay was denied by Tim Krul late on and missed another glorious chance late on, but Duffy then scored as he stretched his leg out to make it 2-0 after Trossard’s ball.

Brighton’s great home form continues as they’ve now won three-straight at the Amex.

VAR awards late penalty as Brighton tops Everton

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VAR awarded a penalty for the first time in Premier League play as Brighton and Hove Albion twice struck late to defeat Everton 3-2 in a back-and-forth affair at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

The referee hadn’t spotted Michael Keane‘s foul against Aaron Connolly but the eye in the sky did, and Neal Maupay finished from the spot. Then Lucas Digne couldn’t prod a stoppage time cross over his goal, recording an own goal with Glenn Murray lurking behind him.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pascal Gross also scored Brighton’s first PL free kick goal in a game of firsts, as the Seagulls leapfrog Everton and move 12th with 12 points.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a Richarlison-inspired own goal accounted for the Toffees’ offense, as Everton again failed to build league momentum and sits 16th with 10 points.


Three things we learned

1. Gross, point blank: We pointed out in the club power rankings that Pascal Gross is top five in big chances created and key passes despite Brighton’s status as a relegation scrapper. The German playmaker was given a chance by an Andre Gomes foul, and buried his free kick. Jordan Pickford should’ve done better but that doesn’t make the strike any less easy on the eyes. Brilliant, deserved stuff.

2. VAR does its job: The commentary team on the broadcast laid out the reasons to award a penalty to Brighton in a way the referee clearly couldn’t explain to Everton’s players. Michael Keane fouled Aaron Connolly in the box, and replays showed how difficult it would be to spot the foul from field level. Moments after Brighton went down, it was level through Maupay.

3. Everton’s inconsistent season continues with more bad Fortune: Don’t get us wrong — The Toffees bear the brunt of the blame for the loss, but had the better of the play. That means absolutely nothing when there are four big mistakes contributing to three conceded goals. Andre Gomes committed a needless foul and Jordan Pickford flubbed his chance to stop a free kick goal, then VAR awarded a penalty for a Keane foul, and Digne had no choice but to try and improbable clearance than turned into an own goal since poached Murray was running free behind him. A solid team goal from Brighton, but this feels more like an Everton loss than a Seagulls win (and Graham Potter won’t care one bit. A fine win).

Man of the Match: Either Dan Burn or Dale Stephens, and we’ll use the former’s hockey assist on the winner to nod to Burn.


 [ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Brighton needed less than a quarter of an hour to take the lead, a needless Andre Gomes foul setting up Gross for a free kick.

The German midfielder drove his shot over the wall, and Jordan Pickford as slow to react. The goal looked great, but the keep will want it back.

Zonal marking did little for Brighton on a poorly-defended corner kick, and VAR upheld Richarlison’s near post header in the 20th minute as it went off Webster for an own goal.

Richarlison made a terrific move down the right to set up two players for a cutback, but flubbed his pass.

Gross had the ball in the goal off a Davy Propper cross, but was offside.

Calvert-Lewin put Everton back in front off an inch-perfect through ball from Mason Holgate, but VAR quickly gave Brighton a chance to level from the spot.

Michael Keane fouled Aaron Connolly, who left the match for Murray before the spot kick. Maupay slotted past Pickford for 2-2 in the 80th minute.

That wasn’t the end of it, as Burn played Leandro Trossard into the box and the Belgian’s cross was pushed behind an equal parts stranded and indecisive Pickford for an o.g.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Our new Premier League player Power Rankings have landed and plenty of stars from Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Wolves feature heavily.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Matchweek eight provided plenty of shock results and our rankings reflect that with 15 new entries.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1. Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea) – New entry
2. Aaron Connolly (Brighton) – New entry
3. Jorginho (Chelsea) – Up 3
4. Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) – New entry
5. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – New entry
6. Matt Longstaff (Newcastle) – New entry
7. Adama Traore (Wolves) – New entry
8. John McGinn (Aston Villa) – Up 11
9. Aaron Mooy (Brighton) – New entry
10. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Even
11. Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea) – Even
12. Willy Boly (Wolves) – New entry
13. Rui Patricio (Wolves) – New entry
14. Calum Chambers (Arsenal) – New entry
15. Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) – New entry
16. Wilfried Ndidi (Leicester) – Down 4
17. Gary Cahill (Crystal Palace) – New entry
18. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – New entry
19. Jeff Hendrick (Burnley) – New entry
20. Wesley (Aston Villa) – New entry