Nightmarish Brighton braces for massive Tuesday clash

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Brighton and Hove Albion finished Week 15 in the Premier League’s 10th place, 12 points clear of 18th place Saints, holders of a 5W-1D-2L run of league form and hoping for even better.

Since then? 17 matches, 12 more points, and the 17th spot on the table.

[ RECAP: Brighton 0-5 Bournemouth ]

Chris Hughton‘s men are now the last hope for Cardiff City, who visits Brighton five points back of the Seagulls and desperate for a shot at safety.

“The pressure’s on now,” said Dale Stephens. “We’ve got to stand up and be counted on Tuesday.”

[ MORE: Relegation picture clear ]

Brighton will host Cardiff City on Tuesday and must get a result from a must-win win for the Bluebirds.

Hughton is flummoxed at what happened to his team in an abject, 10-man display against Bournemouth which saw the Seagulls lose by five and lose Anthony Knockaert for Tuesday.

“It was a reckless challenge,” Hughton said. “It was the right decision. I’ve spoken to the team and I think it was one of the poorest performances since I’ve been here. Especially knowing the qualities of the team we were playing against.”

After Cardiff’s visit, Brighton tangles with Wolves at the Molineux before visiting Tottenham, hosting Newcastle, traveling to Arsenal and hosting Man City on the final day of the season.

Their quality coupled with Cardiff City’s defensive struggles should be enough to survive the battle, but Hughton and some of his men may not get out of the war with their jobs in tact.

Premier League preview: Brighton v. Burnley

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  • Burnley has never lost a top-flight match to Brighton
  • Brighton has not at home to a PL side outside the top 4 this season
  • Burnley ended a 67-match PL penalty-less streak last time out

A critical relegation battle takes place at Falmer Stadium on Saturday as Burnley travels to Brighton & Hove Albion at 12:30 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Burnley sits in 17th position, just two points and one place above the relegation zone. Brighton is in a safer position, sitting 13th but just three above Burnley in a tight bottom third of the table. The Seagulls started the season brightly, but have not won in league play in 2019, leaving them vulnerable as the teams at the bottom battle for points.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The hosts will be without striker Florin Andone, who was suspended three matches for violent conduct after throwing a wayward elbow in the 0-0 draw with Watford last time out. Dale Stephens also left the Watford match with a hip problem and is questionable for this weekend, but Jose Izquierdo is reportedly out despite having returned to training from a knee injury.

For Burnley, Steven Defour nears a return from a calf injury that has cost him over two months of this season, but this weekend appears too soon for his return. Matt Lowton has a slightly fractured toe, but will still give this match a try, while defenders Matt Lowton and Kevin Long are looking more likely to play after returning to training. The Clarets are on a good run of form, unbeaten in their last six, coinciding with the return of Tom Heaton in goal who has helped hold opponents to just five goals in that span.

What they’re saying

Burnley manager Sean Dyche on Brighton: “They’re on a tough run and they’ll be wanting to correct that, for sure. We’re on a good run, we’ll be wanting to continue that. It makes for another good game.”

Brighton striker Glenn Murray on poor run of form: “We are absolutely fine behind closed doors, no matter what people are saying. We feel confident. We are happy with the way we are playing. We felt as though we dominated the game on Saturday at home to Watford in the Premier League. Again [Wednesday in the FA Cup] we felt as though we put a good display on and won the game.”

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Prediction

Brighton comes into this match in poor form, and Burnley needs the game more. With the Clarets’ good results of late, they have something to build on, and pulling themselves further away from the relegation scrap is a motivation that can have the team truly rearing to go. Burnley grabs a valuable road win in a hard-fought 1-0 victory.

West Ham fight back to deny Brighton

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  • Brighton went 2-0 up
  • Arnautovic scored twice in two minutes
  • Seagulls unbeaten in three games

West Ham United fought back to draw 2-2 against Brighton and Hove Albion after a wild second half at the London Stadium.

Brighton scored twice in two minutes through Dale Stephens and Shane Duffy, but 10 minutes later Marko Arnautovic scored twice in two minutes to make it 2-2 as both teams had chances to secure all three points.

With the point West Ham move up to 10th on 28 points, while Brighton stay in 13th on 26 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

An even first half saw the Hammers gradually turn the screw as Robert Snodgrass‘ cross was flicked on by Marko Arnautovic but Anderson‘s shot was easily saved by David Button.

Arnautovic then curled one on target from distance but Button saved again as the home side were huffing and puffing.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Before half time Arnautovic went down in the box claiming a penalty kick as Lewis Dunk closed him down, but it would have been a really cheap penalty for Brighton to concede.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

At the start of the second half Anderson almost put West Ham ahead as he dribbled at Brighton’s defense and then drilled a low left-footed effort just wide of the post.

Against the run of play Brighton took the lead as a corner was half cleared and Stephens drilled home a wonderfully controlled volley.

Moments later it was 2-0 to the Seagulls as Duffy finished brilliantly at the back post from another corner, as the Hammers were caught cold. Bernardo then had a chance to put the game to bed but Lukasz Fabianski made it

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

But West Ham battled back well as substitute Mark Noble clipped a ball over the top and Arnautovic used his strength and slotted home to make it 2-1.

Just two minutes later it was 2-2 as Arnautovic prodded home off the bar and in to score his and West Ham’s second in as many minutes. Michail Antonio looked like he ran the ball out out of play but found the Austrian striker to level things up.

Late on Dunk had a good shout for a penalty kick as he was being held in the box by Angelo Ogbonna as a corner came in, but no spot kick was awarded.

Watch Live: Brighton v. Arsenal

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Brighton host Arsenal at the Amex Stadium on Boxing Day (Watch live, 12:15 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), as the Seagulls hope to cause another shock in front of their own fans.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Chris Hughton‘s men have stumbled in recent weeks, and they will have to focus on putting in yet another superb defensive display if they’re going to get anything against Arsenal. Unai Emery‘s men beat Burnley last time out and they will fancy their chances of pushing into the top four over the festive period.

In team news Brighton bring back Shane Duffy after suspension, while Dale Stephens and Glenn Murray come back into the team.

Arsenal start with Mesut Ozil once again, while Lucas Torreira is back in the starting lineup.


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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 12

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We told you this weekend could provide big tumult in the power rankings, as several clubs in close proximity tangled in the Premier League, and the matches delivered in a big way.

[ ARCHIVE: Premier League club power rankings ]


20. Fulham — Much better against Liverpool than recent opposition, but still on pace to break the Premier League record for goals allowed.
Last week: 20
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

19. Huddersfield Town — A nice point against West Ham, but it’s difficult to look at the match and think the Terriers would’ve managed a point from performances of that ilk more than once in a great while.
Last week: 19
Season high: 18
Season low: 20

18. Burnley — Still capable of solid performances, but the attack looks like a relegation candidate more often than not.
Last week: 15
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

17. Crystal Palace *New season low* — A victim of the schedule? Sure, but there’s little to like about the attack as even Wilfried Zaha appears shaken in confidence.
Last week: 14
Season high: 6
Season low: 17

Zaha (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

16. Cardiff City — Aided in a big way by Dale Stephens red card, but the Bluebirds are looking less and less like the automatic relegation team of early weeks.
Last week: 16
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

15. Southampton — Probably deserved all three points against Watford, but looking ready to take the next step despite a miserly start points-wise.
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 17

14. Newcastle United — Rafa Benitez‘s men are the pound-for-pound defensive champions of the league. Only six teams have allowed fewer goals, and only one is lower than 7th on the table (Wolves, 11th).
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 19

13. Brighton and Hove Albion — Two-straight losses following the 2-1 defeat at Cardiff, in what draws Bournemouth as the top disappointments of the week.
Last week: 10
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

12. West Ham — Manuel Pellegrini‘s men had to work hard to get a point from Huddersfield Town, and is hoping Samir Nasri can help fill the hole left by Andriy Yarmolenko‘s injury. A big ask?
Last week: 13
Season high: 9
Season low: 20

11. Watford — Hornets looking more and more like early over-performers. 
Last week: 12
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

10. Wolves — Gave Arsenal all it could handle, but fans should be demanding more from a club which thrives against big clubs but has not performed against several seemingly lesser sides.
Last week: 13
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

9. Leicester City — To take four of six points with a trip to their owner’s funeral in Thailand sandwiched in between is a serious achievement.
Last week: 9
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

8. Bournemouth — Eddie Howe will be raging with his Cherries for their performance at Newcastle United, a lost chance to sit a point back of Arsenal.
Last week: 8
Season high: 6
Season low: 12

7. Manchester United — Count our own Joe Prince-Wright among those tired of the excuses for Jose Mourinho’s struggles at Old Trafford. The gulf between his men and Man City is huge.
Last week: 6
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

6. Everton — Two weeks to prepare for a visit from Cardiff, and then the away Merseyside Derby. If the Toffees manage a draw at Liverpool, it’s not unreasonable to think they should nab 10 from their next 12 points.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

5. Arsenal — Beat Everton in September, and that will keep the Gunners ahead of the impressive Toffees… for now.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

4. Chelsea — Surely the draw vs. Everton is a case of a decent opponent and Europa League lag, but championship winners generally find a way to get the winner at home.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 5

3. Liverpool — It seems unrealistic to expect blowouts each week, but the Reds’ 2-0 win over a defensively-weak Fulham was tepid at best.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

2. Spurs *New season high*Despite injury and form problems for pretty much all of its biggest stars, Spurs sit three points back of second, are two rounds from the League Cup final, and aren’t dead in the Champions League. Yes, Spurs were by far second-best in a Sept. 15 home loss to the Reds, but it’s been two months.

Their next two league matches are home to Chelsea and away to Arsenal, so the heights could be brief, but what Spurs have done in the face of wild injuries is impressive.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 8

1. Man City — For everyone mentioning the absence of Paul Pogba for United in the derby, City was missing Kevin De Bruyne. This team is hearkening back to Pep’s best Barcelona teams, without a Lionel Messi in the bunch.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 2