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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Everton fall to Brighton in latest December defeat

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  • Locadia wins it for Brighton (59′)
  • Brighton end four-game winless skid
  • Everton lose for third time in four games

Everton’s disappointing month of December continued on Saturday, as Marco Silva‘s side suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Brighton & Hove Albion.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It was the Toffees’ fourth Premier League defeat (in seven games, with just one win) this month, so no one will be happier to see the calendar turn over to 2019 than the blue half of Merseyside.

Everton’s first real chance came in the 27th minute, when David Button spilled Theo Walcott‘s cross inside the six yard box and the ball eventually fell to the feet of an unmarked Richarlison. The Brazilian managed to turn on the ball and fire it goal-bound, but Shane Duffy was in perfect position to boot the ball clear a yard off the goal line.

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Everton continued knocking on the door minutes later, as Richarlison was again denied from close range, this time by Button. Richarlison skipped past a pair of defenders and honed in on goal. His left-footed strike was right into the chest of Button, however, and the Brighton ‘keeper made the simple save.

The 0-0 scoreline lasted until just shy of the hour mark, when the Seagulls benefited from a fortuitous bounce (or two) from a corner kick. The ball initially skipped off the back of Kurt Zouma and came off the leg of Andre Gomes before falling to Jurgen Locadia for a simple finish inside the six-yard box.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Everton so nearly answered right back, though, through Richarlison who smashed another effort right at Button who made the save in self-preservation and pushed the ball onto the right-hand post.

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The result sees Everton slip down to 10th place in the PL table, now five places and 11 points off fifth place (they sat just five points back of fifth when the month began). Brighton, meanwhile, remain 13th but have given themselves a 13-point cushion from the relegation zone.

Premier League Preview: Cardiff City vs. Brighton and Hove Albion

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  • Joe Ralls is available again for Cardiff but Jazz Richards (hamstring) and Kenneth Zohore (calf) will both miss out through injury and Harry Arter is suspended.   
  • Brighton continue to be without Pascal Gross, Davy Propper (ankle) and David Button (knee), while Alireza Jahanbakhsh is likely to be absent with a hamstring strain. 
  • Cardiff and Brighton have never met before in the top flight. This is the fourth new top-flight fixture this season after AFC Bournemouth v Cardiff, Brighton v Fulham and AFC Bournemouth v Fulham. 
  • The Bluebirds are aiming to halt their habit of conceding the opening goal, having done so eight times in the Premier League this season, the most of any team, level with Fulham.  

Brighton and Hove Albion has the chance to move into the top ten of the Premier League table as Chris Houghton’s side travel to face Cardiff City in the first match of week 12 (Watch live on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Seagulls have enjoyed a great start to the season, with three wins in its last four including a 1-0 win at relegation-threatened Newcastle. The defense, led by Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy has held firm while 35-year-old Glenn Murray continues to drink from the fountain of youth, scoring six goals this early in the PL season. Cardiff on the other side are desperate for three points at home, as it currently sits in the drop zone with five points from 11 games.

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What they’re saying

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock on finding positives out of a rough start to the season: ““I think as a team we’ve improved nearly every game since the Bournemouth game and we’ve played far more football than people give us credit for. But it’s about getting the balance, we have changed and now we need a bit of luck. My wife says my luck is changing from today, so I can’t argue with my wife. But every game is winnable for us until Christmas if we have a good day. If we didn’t win it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but Saturday is one we want to win.”

Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Houghton on facing Cardiff: “It goes without saying that when you get used to this league you recognize that trips to teams who aren’t in the top six might not be as daunting – but this is still only our second season in the division. We know them quite well as a team, and their level of performance this season has been relatively good on the whole despite the results. They’re at home and they’ll have good backing from the crowd, so our approach is exactly the same as any other away game – but every game is an opportunity for us.”

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Prediction

It’s a matchup between two teams who display similar playing styles, so like many games with teams farther down the table, this one should come down to a set piece. We’ll give Cardiff the narrow victory, picking up three massive points over Brighton. Cardiff 1-0 Brighton

Reports: Fulham signs goalkeeper Sergio Rico from Sevilla

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Craven Cottage continues to be a hub of activity this summer as the wheeling and dealing from the Khan family continues.

Already with seven signings this transfer window, Fulham has gone out and reportedly grabbed another. According to reports in both Spain and England, the Whites have grabbed Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico on loan. Upon completion, Rico would be Fulham’s eighth signing of the summer and second goalkeeper inked this window. The signing is being reported by both AS in Spain and Sky Sports in England, among others.

The move is a slightly odd one. Fulham shelled out $5 million to sign Besiktas netminder Fabri, but the 30-year-old Spaniard has been shaky in his preseason appearances.

[ MORE: Chelsea announces Courtois move to Real Madrid ]

Considering Fabri’s weak start in White, this move seems to suggest that the club was pushed by one of two possible factors: either Fabri’s poor start was so alarming to the club that they felt obligated to make immediate amends, or incumbent starter Marcus Bettinelli is either injured or on his way out. 26-year-old Bettinelli, a former England U-21 international, was spectacular last season for Fulham in the Championship, snatching the starting job from David Button midway through the season and lost just two games of the 26 he started.

One would think, based on resumes, that Rico would come in and immediately become the starter. While Bettinelli is a local hero and a fan favorite, he doesn’t have the track record that Rico does despite his young age. The Spaniard has made 170 total appearances for Sevilla since joining the senior team from the youth squad as a 20-year-old in 2014. In addition, it’s possible Bettinelli is hurt, which may have triggered the transfer in the first place.

No matter the circumstances, the signing is a quality one for the Whites. Goalkeeper was one position that still felt shaky heading into the season, in part due to Fabri’s unconvincing preseason. Now, it becomes yet another squad strength. The Whites have had a busy summer, signing the likes of midfielder Jean-Michael Seri, winger Andre Schurrle, and defenders Alfie Mawson and Calum Chambers.

On the other side of things, the departure of Rico is an odd one for Sevilla. Rico lost his starting spot late last season to 25-year-old David Soria, but he has since left for Getafe. If Rico does indeed head out as well, it would leave just 29-year-old Thomas Vaclik as the only goalkeeper left on the senior team.

Season Preview: Fulham’s offseason promises much

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Premier League titles: 0 (Promoted last season)

FA Cups: 0

League Cups: 0

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Once the team of Clint Dempsey, Brede Hangeland, Mark Schwarzer, and a 2010 Europa League Final, the Cottagers were relegated in 2014 after a comical season saw Martin Jol, Rene Meulensteen, and Felix “Cheese Heals All” Magath run the team into the ground. After two seasons of flirting with a second relegation, Fulham found new life under Slavisa Jokanovic.

Jokanovic led Fulham to a playoff loss and a playoff win in his two full seasons in charge, and now gets a loaded Craven Cottage in both excitement and potential. Jean Michael Seri was an absolute coup — even at a record price tag — and Alfie Mawson, Andre Schurrle, and Aleksandar Mitrovic are household names for anyone whose paid minor attention to English soccer.

How high can it rise? How low can it fall?

Even if Fulham fails to build momentum, don’t be surprised if it puts together a final half-dozen matches to climb higher than expected: The Cottagers finish with Watford, Everton, Bournemouth, Cardiff City, Wolves, and Newcastle United.


Fulham will finish top-half because… They’ve got great talent, motivation, and spirit under Jokanovic. How quickly can they come together? Preseason hasn’t been kind to the Cottagers, but home tilts with Palace and Burnley inside their first three matches provide a chance to escape August with a foothold in the top half (A visit to Spurs the second Saturday might be kind to them given Tottenham’s heavy World Cup schedule).

Fulham will be relegated because… If the club cannot adapt quickly, it might find itself in mid-November with a five-match run of Liverpool away, Saints home, Chelsea away, Leicester home, Manchester United away. That’s not to say Fulham doesn’t have the group to navigate that run, but bad things can happen to newly-promoted teams.

Best possible XI:

Bettinelli

Christie — Ream — Mawson — Odoi

Seri — Cairney (c) — Johansen

Schurrle — Mitrovic — Sessegnon

Transfers In: Schurrle (loan), Mitrovic ($23 million), Mawson (#19.5 million), Seri ($35 million), Maxime Le Marchand ($4.5 million), Fabri ($7 million).

Transfers Out: David Button ($5 million), Ryan Fredericks (free)

Ranking their offseason: A+

Look above at who came in, and who came out; Nothing more needs to be said. Fulham killed it (and re-upped USMNT center back and club mainstay Tim Ream for two years as well).

Star player: Jean Michael Seri — A clinical passer with an eye for the final ball, the 27-year-old Ivorian was wanted by any number of strong European clubs. Fulham won his signature, though he’s never been tested at a week-in, week-out level like the Premier League. Should he fail, we’ll be writing “Star player: Aleksandar Mitrovic” or “Star player: Andre Schurrle” sooner rather than later.

Coach’s Corner: Slavisa Jokanovic — The former Watford boss was finally trusted with the keys to the kingdom, and has responded in style. A player’s coach, it’s fair to predict a long leash for the 49-year-old former Chelsea and Tenerife midfielder.

PST Predicts: Fulham stays up, earning safety early before making a late season charge to set itself up for a promising 2019-20 season.