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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

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 9

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This is getting good.

[ ARCHIVE: Premier League club power rankings ]

Five teams sit within two points of the Premier League lead following nine weeks of play, and Champions League midweek action will only raise the potential for tumult atop the table.

And there are a number of eyebrow-raising litmus tests for mid-table sides once we reach another weekend of PL play.


20. Huddersfield Town — Scorers of four goals through nine matches, the Terriers were stout but non-threatening against Liverpool. Better needed, and fast, with points for the taking in their next six PL fixtures.
Last week: 20
Season high: 18
Season low: 20

19. Newcastle United — The weekend’s loss to Brighton and Hove Albion was the first one in some time which couldn’t be written off due to opponent or injury. That the Seagulls were without Davy Propper and still controlled the midfield is not a good sign for Rafa Benitez‘s punchless attack.
Last week: 18
Season high: 13
Season low: 19

18. Fulham — Fulham has allowed 25 goals through nine matches.

Googles “Most goals allowed in Premier League season.” 100, Swindon Town, 1993-94. 

That’s history-making pace, Slavisa.
Last week: 18
Season high: 11
Season low: 18

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

17. Burnley — A week after drawing Huddersfield at home, the Clarets were absolutely worked by Man City. That happens. Chelsea, West Ham, and Leicester are next.
Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

16. Cardiff City — Huge win for the Bluebirds, who clobbered Fulham to show a bit of hope to their supporters ahead of trip to Anfield.
Last week: 19
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

15. Crystal Palace — Three-straight league losses and a slumping Wilfried Zaha have taken the shine off Roy Hodgson‘s tenure at Selhurst Park. A visit from high-flying Arsenal in next.
Last week: 15
Season high: 6
Season low: 15

14. Southampton — A visit from Newcastle provides Saints an inviting chance to experience breathing room from the relegation race.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 17

13. West Ham United — Andriy Yarmolenko‘s injury is a concern for an attack which was coming together. Two-straight losses, but a litmus test at Leicester City awaits the Irons.
Last week: 12
Season high: 9
Season low: 20

12. Leicester City — Maybe the most difficult team in the league to read on a week-to-week basis, the Foxes were a bit hard done by after taking a lead at Arsenal. See: West Ham for prognosis.
Last week: 11
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

11. Brighton and Hove Albion — Back-to-back wins have Chris Hughton‘s men envisioning a run up the table, and a win over Wolves would be wonderful for those ambitions.
Last week: 10
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

10. Wolves — A 2-0 home loss to Watford? We didn’t see that coming.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

9. Watford — Javi Gracia‘s men are capable of any result in the book on any given week. Can they built on win at Wolves by getting an expected win when Huddersfield visits?
Last week: 14
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

8. Everton — Three-straight wins on the road to Old Trafford, and a fixture worth circling on Sunday.
Last week: 8
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

7. Bournemouth — There have been few stumbles this season for Eddie Howe‘s men, who simply must handle their business at Fulham this weekend.
Last week: 6
Season high: 6
Season low: 12

6. Manchester United — Where’s the mentality? That’s the question after a comeback win over Newcastle and draw with Chelsea yielded to Tuesday’s loss to Juventus. If Mourinho has hold of this crew, it’ll be just fine when Everton arrives on Sunday. If he doesn’t?
Last week: 9
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

5. Chelsea — The draw with Manchester United keeps Chelsea unbeaten, but the Blues have just one win in their last four PL matches. A trip to Burnley three days after Europa League duty is next.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

4. Spurs — Four-straight wins, three away from home and three without conceding a goal. Hugo Lloris and Tottenham are breathing a bit easier and have until Monday to regroup and face Man City.
Last week: 7
Season high: 3
Season low: 8

3. Liverpool — Here’s the good news: Liverpool’s first “slump” of the year has cost them very little and includes a number of “gut it out” results. Expect the Reds to “get healthy” at Cardiff.
Last week: 4
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

2. Arsenal — A tricky week for the red-hot Gunners, who start a Europa League pair with Sporting Lisbon before visiting desperate Crystal Palace. Arsenal has now won 10-straight in all competitions under Unai Emery since losing its first two matches of the PL season.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 9

1. Man City — Kevin De Bruyne is back, and the Citizens are basically beating back anything in their path. A trip to Tottenham is next.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 2

PL Preview: Brighton v. Manchester United

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  • Brighton has only beaten Manchester United once – in 1982
  • Manchester United has not conceded a goal against Burnley since 1992
  • No team has conceded more goals from corners than Brighton this season (14)

A rare Friday matchup sees Manchester United head to Brighton & Hove Albion looking to do its part to secure second place in the Premier League table with victory over the Seagulls at Falmer Stadium.

Up five points on third-placed Liverpool, a win on Friday plus a Liverpool draw or loss to Chelsea on Sunday at Stamford Bridge would guarantee nobody could pass the Red Devils and would lock them in to second place with two matches remaining. A win or draw would also guarantee a place in next year’s Champions League group stage no matter the outside results.

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The Red Devils can also avoid the first triple away defeat to newly promoted sides in club history. With defeats at both Newcastle United and Huddersfield, Manchester United will aim to prevent a third at Brighton to complete the dubious sweep.

Brighton, meanwhile, can secure Premier League safety with a win over Jose Mourinho and company, as they currently rest in 14th position, five points above Southampton in the first danger spot. A draw also put them in prime position to stay up, although it would not mathematically assure their Premier League status, leaving the only possibility of relegation to goal differential.

On the injury front, Manchester United will be without Romelu Lukaku who picked up an ankle injury against Arsenal last time out, but Phil Jones is back, while Eric Bailly is not carrying an injury, Mourinho confirmed. For Brighton, Davy Propper returns from his three-match suspension, while Steve Sidwell remains the only injury absentee for the Seagulls as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.

What they’re saying

Brighton manager Chris Hughton on Manchester United as a club: “When you are playing against Manchester United they still have the quality that Manchester United teams have always had. They were very consistent at winning the league. Perhaps they are not that at the moment, but they are still winning things and there is still this massive aura about playing a Manchester United team.”

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on the job Hughton has done at Brighton: “Very, very good, to go from very, very good to amazing he just needs to mathematically confirm the Premier League for next season. I think Brighton will be there next year and that’s a fantastic job for Chris and not surprising for me because since the start they have showed the quality and mentality to get the points they need to stay in the division.”

Prediction

Manchester United have little to play for, but they’ve still managed to crank out results as the season comes to a close. However, matches against teams fighting against relegation are a completely different animal. While it would be a shock if Brighton were to collapse into a relegation spot, it’s still possible with three matches remaining, and their players will know that. A 1-1 draw would seem reasonable here, as Manchester United will miss Lukaku and could be held in a scrappy away battle.

Premier League roundup: Pogba stars in derby; Merseyside snoozer

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Double Derby Day started with a snooze and ended with Manchester snapping the day awake with Manchester United’s comeback win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

[ MORE: Bayern wins Bundesliga (again) ]

All that and more inside the Saturday roundup.

Manchester City 2-3 Manchester UnitedRECAP

The hosts looked comfortable and dominant in building a 2-0 halftime lead on goals from Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan, but perhaps the pressure of knowing a derby win would clinch the league title was too much to handle for the blue side of Manchester.

Paul Pogba scored two goals in 97 seconds, Chris Smalling snatched a match-winner, and Alexis Sanchez played a role in all three goals as Jose Mourinho’s men stymied City’s title hopes for the time being with a thrilling 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Everton 0-0 Liverpool — RECAP

Sam Allardyce‘s Toffees couldn’t finish their chances against a “B Team” Liverpool which still controlled the ball and outshot Everton 10-6 in a dull Merseyside Derby draw.

 

Watford 1-2 Burnley RECAP

The Clarets won their fourth-straight in ensuring their status as a Europa League participant if seventh place qualifies for the tournament. Sam Vokes and Jack Cork scored twice in three minutes to lead a comeback after Roberto Pereyra put the Hornets in front. Burnley is six points clear of Leicester with six matches each to play.

Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham HotspurRECAP

Christian Eriksen had a goal and an assist, and Harry Kane also started and scored as Spurs insured their Top Four hopes with a win at relegation-threatened Stoke City. Paul Lambert‘s men got a goal from Mame Biram Diouf, but are four points back of safety.

Leicester City 1-2 Newcastle United RECAP

Rafa Benitez never got his star striker in the transfer market, but has turned Newcastle United into a likely Premier League participant next season with terrific defense and creative play. Chelsea loanee Kenedy again starred, Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez both scored wondeful goals, and the Magpies moved into 10th, 10 points clear of the drop zone with a win. Jamie Vardy scored late to ruin Martin Dubravka‘s shutout.

 

Bournemouth 2-2 Crystal Palace — RECAP

Lys Mousset and Joshua King each scored equalizers, the latter quite late in the match, as Bournemouth managed a point against Roy Hodgson‘s resilient Eagles. Wilfried Zaha and Luka Milivojevic each scored stunners for Palace.

West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Swansea CityRECAP

Jay Rodriguez scored for caretaker manager Darren Moore, but Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham nabbed a point for 15th place Swans. The Welsh side finishes the day four points clear of the drop zone.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 Huddersfield TownRECAP

A quarter hour with a man advantage wasn’t enough for Huddersfield Town to complete its comeback bid at the Amex Stadium. Solly March scored early for hosts Brighton, who saw Davy Propper sent off for a tackle on Jonathan Hogg after the Gulls gifted an equalizer to Steve Mounie.

Brighton 1-1 Huddersfield Town: 10-man Terriers hold

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  • Propper sent off
  • March scores early
  • Mounie takes Brighton gift

Steve Mounie scored an equalizer but Huddersfield Town could not take advantage of 10-man Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Solly March scored early for Brighton before Davy Propper was sent off en route to a point that has them seven points clear of the drop.

Huddersfield’s point has them four clear of 18th place Southampton.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Propper’s miserable day started when he missed a first-minute break, played through on goal within 20 minutes but firing wide of Jonas Lossl‘s goal.

And Lossl stopped a 1-2 between Jose Izquierdo and Glenn Murray which put the Colombian in on goal inside of 15 minutes.

Solly March put Brighton ahead with a low bounding shot that Lossl slapped off the goal post and just over the line.

Standout Brighton defender Shane Duffy handed the score line back to Huddersfield, playing to his keeper than instead went to Mounie for 1-1.

Propper was sent off for a sliding studs-up tackle on Jonathan Hogg, piling into the Terrier’s ankle with just over a quarter hour to play.

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