Dan Burn

Brighton peg back Chelsea

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Brighton and Hove Albion drew 1-1 with Chelsea at the Amex Stadium on New Year’s Day, as a stunning late goal from Alireza Jahanbakhsh grabbed the Seagulls a point.

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Chelsea lead early through Cesar Azpilicueta but the Blues wasted several chances and Brighton improved in the second half as they were unlucky not to grab all three points.

With the point Brighton have 24 points, while Chelsea now have 36.


3 things we learned

1. Jahanbakhsh in fine form: The Iranian playmaker was emotional when he scored his first PL goal against Bournemouth on Saturday and he lost the plot again after his amazing overhead kick goal. With two goals in two he has added cutting edge to his game and on the ball he has always shown plenty of quality. What a goal and what a few days for Jahanbakhsh.

2. Chelsea can’t find consistency: They haven’t won back-to-back games in all competitions since October and this is starting to become a concern for Frank Lampard. They followed up their big win at Spurs by losing against Southampton and their win at Arsenal has been followed up by a draw at Brighton. As Spurs, Man United and Wolves continue to find consistency below them in the table, Chelsea need to become ruthless or they risk blowing their top four chances.

3. Pulisic bright but snatches chances on return: Pulisic’s return to the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 14 was a good one as the USMNT winger cause Brighton plenty of problems with his dribbling and crosses into the box, but his final pass and shot was just a little too frantic and rushed. It seemed like he was trying to do a little too much instead of letting his instincts take over. He played well in his 66 minutes on the pitch and his hamstring looked fine, which is a huge plus.

Man of the Match: Kepa – Made some superb stops to deny Connolly and Maupay late on as Chelsea could have easily lost this game.


The first big chance of the game arrived but Reece James shanked his effort wide as the away team started well

But then Brighton youngster Steven Alzate burst into the box but his shot trickled just wide via deflection.

Chelsea then took the lead as a corner was kept alive by Abraham and Azpilicueta pounced to make it 1-0.

Moments later Dan Burn went down with a lengthy injury to his shoulder as Bernardo replaced him.

Chelsea continued to be a threat on the break in the first half as Abraham went close and Brighton hung in there, with Leandro Trossard denied by a flying save from Kepa.

Right on half time USMNT star Pulisic whipped an effort just wide of the far post as he was so close to doubling Chelsea’s lead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Brighton brought on Aaron Connolly at the break and looked more of a threat on the break, while Pulisic had a flurry of chances but Ryan saved one and the other two were off target.

Kepa denied Connolly with a fine save from close range after the Brighton forward controlled a low cross well as Brighton pushed hard for a late equalizer.

It arrived in spectacular fashion as Jahanbakhsh sent home a wonderful acrobatic overhead kick to make it 1-1 to send the Amex wild. What a goal.

Brighton could have nicked all three points late on but Kepa denied Maupay brilliantly as Chelsea had a great chance themselves but sub Callum Hudson-Odoi fired just wide.

VIDEO: Offside VAR calls lead to Premier League statement

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VAR took center stage on Saturday in the Premier League, as three very similar calls saw three goals chalked off.

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The incidents all came in separate games, as Dan Burn and Teemu Pukki had goals disallowed and Wilfried Zaha’s cross led to Max Meyer’s goal which was ruled out as all three players had half a shoulder, at most, offside.

Needless to say, plenty of fans are in uproar about the decisions, as long delays led to VAR officials disallowing goals as “armpit offside” has now been replaced by “shoulder offside” in the VAR drinking game, PL style.

Below the video of Pukki’s incident is broken down by our crew as the Premier League released a statement on the decision, while there are also still images of Crystal Palace’s disallowed goal and Burn’s goal being chalked off to show just how tight all three goals were.

“After consulting the VAR, Kevin Friend has overturned the goal because Teemu Pukki was offside in the build-up,” the Premier League said in a statement.

Fans and pundits are calling for VAR to stop being used on tight offside goal decisions, but if the technology is there, why wouldn’t we use it?

There is a legitimate argument to be made that the offside rule needs tweaking by IFAB to allow a clear distance between attacking and defending players, but many point to VAR getting it correct as any body part which can score a goal being offside is crystal clear.

We haven’t heard the end of this debate and it will rumble on for many months, if not years, as leading officials have suggested that it will take up to three years for VAR to work correctly and smoothly in the Premier League.

Between now and then, incidents like the ones below will be debated across the globe?

Brighton dominate Bournemouth

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Brighton and Hove Albion brushed aside fellow South Coast club Bournemouth 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.

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Alireza Jahanbakhsh smashed home an early goal and Aaron Mooy sealed the win with a superb late solo goal, as the Seagulls totally dominated the Cherries at the Amex Stadium. It was Brighton’s first win against Bournemouth in the Premier League.

The win pushed Brighton up to 13th place on 23 points, while Bournemouth are on 20 points.


3 things we learned

1. Bournemouth’s attacking woes: Scoring goals has never been an issue for Bournemouth under Eddie Howe. Until now. The Cherries are the fifth lowest scorers in the Premier League this season and the likes of Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson and Josh King have totally gone off the boil. Add to that the long-term injury of David Brooks as Howe has a big problem to solve given their defensive injuries and generally sloppy play at the back. Bournemouth now face West Ham, Watford, Norwich, Brighton and Aston Villa in their next five games. If they are still struggling for goals and points at the end of that run, it is time to seriously worry about the Cherries.

2. Mooy pulls the strings: He’s on loan from Huddersfield Town and he’s making a huge impression at the Amex. Mooy has been really good in recent months and his quality on the ball and from set piece situations gives Brighton a cutting edge. Mooy’s goal summed up what he is all about as he surged into the box, showed lovely close control and stroked the ball home. Brighton’s four-game winless run was ended in emphatic style as Mooy showcased his supreme talent on the ball.

3. VAR under scrutiny: Dan Burn thought he had given Brighton a 2-0 lead as he hooked home after a goalmouth scramble but VAR chalked the goal off after he was a smidgen offside when the ball came in. It was the tightest of calls (more of half an elbow than an armpit) and VAR ruled it was offside. It was the correct call but purists everywhere were left shaking their heads in disbelief.

Man of the Match: Aaron Mooy – Scored his first goal for Brighton with superb style, whipped in dangerous balls all game long and the Australian midfielder ran the show.


Brighton were dominant early on and raced into a deserved 1-0 lead.

After receiving the ball from Neal Maupay, Jahanbakhsh drilled home a superb low effort and the Iranian playmaker broke down in tears as he celebrated scoring his first Premier League goal for Brighton following his move from AZ Alkmaar in the summer of 2018.

Aaron Mooy was causing plenty of problems for Bournemouth, as the Australian midfielder was pulling all of the strings for the Seagulls as they pinned the Cherries back.

Before half time Bournemouth launched two counter attacks as Dan Burn blocked Harry Wilson‘s shot on the first and Josh King’s ball on the second was blocked by Lewis Dunk.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The start of the second half turned into a frantic end-to-end encounter as Dunk did well to deny Domnic Solanke at the last moment as Bournemouth wanted a penalty kick, and at the other end Brighton continued to look dangerous from set piece situations.

And that is how they thought they doubled their lead. After an almighty scramble in the box, giant defender Burn hooked home what he thought was his first goal for the club but the goal was then chalked off by VAR as Burn was offside when the original free kick came in.

Mooy dragged a shot just wide of the post and Yves Bissouma hit the post as Brighton were unperturbed by that disallowed goal.

Bournemouth brought Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser off the bench for the final 30 minutes but they couldn’t get anything going as Mooy sealed the win for the Seagulls with a fantastic finish.

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.

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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.


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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 Club Power Rankings: Week 8

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Maybe it was mid-week European action — don’t tell Wolves — but a wild weekend of results have shook up our Premier League Club Power Rankings.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low


20. Watford — On an 189-minute league goal drought after managing just two shots on target against Sheffield United. Still fourth in the league in shots-per-game and mid-table in passing and possession, but the moral victories are almost meaningless after eight weeks

Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Sheffield United
Up next: Oct. 19 at Spurs

19. Norwich City — Now allowing a league-worst 17.9 shots per match after allowing Villa to put 12 of its 22 attempts on frame in a 5-1 loss that could’ve easily been 7-2.

Last week: 17
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 5-1 at Aston Villa
Up next: Oct. 19 at Bournemouth

18. Southampton — Are long-time servants Maya Yoshida and Ryan Bertrand pull out of early season slumps? Stats say Yoshida may, but that Bertrand’s decline has been steady.

Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 4-1 v. Chelsea
Up next: Oct. 19 at Wolves

17. Brighton and Hove Albion — Lewis Dunk gets all the plaudits, but Dan Burn has been very good alongside him and is keeping Shane Duffy on the bench (which is wild, considering the quality of the Irishman).

Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 3-0 v. Spurs
Up next: Oct. 19 at Aston Villa

Also, allow us to get excited about 19-year-old Aaron Connolly, who took his first Premier League start and looked the real thing.

16. Manchester United — I say this without reservation: This is the worst edition of Manchester United I have ever seen. Forget the injuries for a moment, they had no plan to deal with a struggling Newcastle and were bossed by a center midfield pair with a combined age of 40. Additionally, Allan Saint-Maximin is a wonderful dribbler, but the Red Devils’ bids to stop him will have pretty much anyone on Liverpool licking their chops. Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba are needed so badly, and one of them would be thrilled to skip town.

It’s difficult to put them below Newcastle, but hey, a result is a result. Next time head it home, Harry.

That said, as much as I wouldn’t bet anything on the Red Devils to get a result versus Liverpool, you wouldn’t be stunned if Pogba pulled one of his world-beater games out at Old Trafford against the best team in the league now, would you?

Last week: 9
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Newcastle United
Up next: Oct. 20 v. Liverpool

15. Newcastle United — This team looks far too wide open to stay above the line for too long, but let’s be real: The Longstaff brothers’ day against Manchester United was the best example of why we follow sports. A club which has been buried in controversy for the better part of a decade sees a 19-year-old hometown kid star in his first PL appearance next to his brother, aged just 21, and returning hometown star Andy Carroll. And that post-match presser? Brilliant.

Plus, if we told you before the season, in a vacuum, that the Magpies would beat Spurs and Man Utd in the first 8 matches of the season while hanging with Liverpool? Also, that they’d do it with 37.6 season possession? What a weird side.

Last week: 19
Season high: 15
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Manchester United
Up next: Oct. 19 at Chelsea

14. Everton — How did the Toffees respond to their promising show against Man City? By going right back to their disappointing ways. Seemingly, Everton can only be bothered to get up for the high visibility games. Fortunately for their supporters, a visit from West Ham gets the 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday treatment coming out of the international break.

Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 14
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Burnley
Up next: Oct. 19 v. West Ham

13. Tottenham Hotspur — What a mess. Mauricio Pochettino needs to be doing better with this bunch, but let’s be clear about something: The fault likes with the players and in the board room far more than the boss. I heard someone compare this Spurs’ team to Jurgen Klopp‘s last season at Borussia Dortmund and that’s ringing pretty true.

Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 13
Last match: Lost 3-0 at Brighton
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Watford

12. Sheffield United — Someone tell the Blades they were just promoted. A week after a hard-luck 1-0 loss to Liverpool, Chris Wilder‘s men couldn’t get the job done but held 61 percent possession on the road and really should’ve scored an easy away win to Watford. Arsenal and West Ham are next, and you fear that this “should be” three points counting as a mere one could sting for a few weeks.

Last week: 10
Season high: 10
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Watford
Up next: Oct. 21 v. Arsenal

11. Aston Villa — Dean Smith‘s men had been so much better than their record indicates, so it felt good to see them deliver a 5-star showing against Norwich City. Stacking another three points from Brighton’s impending visit is imperative, with Man City, Liverpool, and Wolves next on the PL docket.

Last week: 15
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 5-1 v. Norwich City
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Brighton

10. Burnley — If Sean Dyche‘s teams were a vehicle, they’d be a pair of tractor trailers on a two-lane highway. It doesn’t really matter what you’re driving if they won’t get out of the way. Burnley is 7th on the table and unbeaten in four matches despite completing an absolutely putrid 64.4 percent of their passes. That’s as bad as it gets, and they are 7th. If I ever have an inoperable and fatal disease, I’m going to shrug, call Sean Dyche, and start planning my next decade on Earth.

Last week: 12
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Everton
Up next: Oct. 19 at Leicester City

9. West Ham United — Vicente Guaita was very good for Palace, but it still feels like Manuel Pellegrini‘s men should be a step above taking one point from Bournemouth and the Eagles. Instead, they feel stuck in the same rut they’ve been for ages.

Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: Oct. 19 at Everton

8. Bournemouth — Respectable score lines against West Ham and Arsenal, to be sure, but Eddie Howe and Co. will feel aggrieved not to take advantage of the wide open table with a banner result or two. There’s a good chance to stack points in the next four outings: Norwich, Watford, Man Utd, and Newcastle, but here’s a worry: Half of their 12 goals have come off set pieces. Obviously that’s a nice thing, but is it even half-sustainable?

Last week: 6
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Arsenal
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Norwich City

7. Wolves — The rest of the perceived contenders’ inability to rise to the occasion means Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men are just two points back of a Top Seven place after back-to-back defeats of Watford and Man City.

Last week: 16
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-0 at Man City.
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Saints

6. Crystal Palace — Roy Hodgson should get a knighthood. Is he knighted already? How do these things work? Anyway, the Eagles have bounced back from a moribund performance at Spurs to claim seven of nine points. Given the status of the league, getting to the January window with a mid-table place and sight of the Top Seven would given decent reason to dream of something special.

Last week: 10
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-1 at West Ham
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Man City

5. Leicester City — Yes, Sadio Mane’s embellishment was embarrassing and, yes, the Foxes came within a breath of a point at Anfield, but it’s alarming how statistically bossed Leicester City was by a Liverpool team who played at midweek. Kasper Schmeichel was outstanding as the Foxes were out-attempted 18-2 and gave away a number of dangerous free kicks. That’ll happen against Liverpool, but we expected better from Brendan Rodgers in his return to Anfield.

Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Liverpool
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Burnley

4. Arsenal — The clean sheet against Bournemouth was a very nice thing, and Unai Emery will love that some of his bad actors from early in the season — namely David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos — were very steady at the Emirates Stadium. Calum Chambers at right back and Matteo Guendouzi at center mid were fantastic. It’s not implausible to peg either Arsenal or Chelsea as the third-best team in the league.

Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 7
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Bournemouth
Up next: Oct. 21 at Sheffield United

3. Manchester City — Failed to channel any semblance of last season’s SDB — sans de Bruyne — form in a loss to Wolves. And, with the wisdom of last season in his noggin, why didn’t Pep Guardiola start Bernardo Silva? Still a wonderful team by the numbers, it’s Palace away, Villa home, Southampton home before a trip to Anfield. Nine points are necessary, even if Palace has been a challenging side for Guardiola through the years.

Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Wolves
Up next: Oct. 19 at Crystal Palace

2. Chelsea — Frank Lampard is able to bring Christian Pulisic and Michy Batshuayi off the bench, and has not even been able to deploy Ruben Loftus-Cheek yet. The Blues will be favored to win almost every league match between now and then end of the UCL group stage, and the Nov. 23 visit to Man City carries intrigue given Chelsea deserved a point at Liverpool and we’re pretty sure that Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi may be ground into dust from overuse.

Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 4-1 at Southampton
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Newcastle United

1. Liverpool — Look: Liverpool has to win the league this year. Almost everyone else is performing at a substandard level while the Reds sit eight points clear despite not really finding their top gear yet. If Virgil Van Dijk stays healthy for most of the year and Liverpool doesn’t end its drought well, maybe there’s some sort of curse at play here.

Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Leicester City
Up next: Oct. 20 at Manchester United