Associated Press

PL Preview: Brighton v. Manchester United

Leave a comment
  • 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.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment
  • 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.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-2 Leicester City: Late breakthrough

Leave a comment
  • Iborra scores in 2nd-straight PL match
  • Schmeichel saves Murray penalty
  • Vardy scores 15th of season
  • Foxes three points off seventh

Vicente Iborra and Jamie Vardy scored second half goals to lead Leicester City past Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Brighton is 13th, six points clear of 18th place Southampton.

Vardy reached the 15-goal plateau for the second time as a Premier League player, and has 57 in four seasons.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Essentially chance-free for the first half hour, Glenn Murray missed a chance to make it 1-0 when he took Davy Propper‘s pass and avoided a fairly-yawning cage.

The second half started brightly, with Jamie Vardy missing a Leicester bid before his goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel denied Pascal Gross at the other end.

Out of nothing, a penalty to Brighton. Jose Izquierdo drew it with a bit of embellishment, and perhaps it was justice when Murray’s penalty kick was saved by Schmeichel.

And Iborra found the back of the goal off a Ben Chilwell cross.

It wouldn’t be an easy finish, as Wilfred Ndidi picked up a second yellow card with minutes to play, though Demarai Gray cued up Vardy for his 15th goal of the season.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Season strugglers: Inominious PL performances

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tuesday found us breaking ties on our “Most Impactful Premier League Summer Buys” rankings by digging through some advanced statistics sites.

In doing so, something struck us: We rarely if ever check out which players are faring the worst when it comes to those next level numbers.

Ah, the international break: Good for off-the-wall posts.

[ MORE: Alonso, Pedro have Morata’s back]

At the risk of kicking a player while he’s down, here are some negative numbers that stand out from the pack.

Of the 358 players who’ve played at least 10 Premier League matches, Joe Hart is having the worst season of the bunch according to Squawka. That’s a bit misleading due to how the site’s metrics operate, considering eight of the bottom 20 players are goalkeepers (and several, like Jonas Lossl and Jordan Pickford, are having outstanding campaigns).

So the unfortunate honor goes to Swansea defender Martin Olsson, who edges James McClean of West Brom for the infamy. Since the site does heap numbers on players by action accumulated, perhaps it’s better to single out the per-game and per-90 strugglers. Olsson and McClean are still very much near the bottom, but surprisingly Yannick Bolasie is the worst per game, and Swansea’s Wayne Routledge is having the least effective season per 90 minutes.

As for WhoScored, its metrics are hammering forwards, with Lys Mousset, Andre Gray, and Benik Afobe at the back of the back (ahead of McClean, again, who is a multi-site struggler).

These stats aren’t perfect, of course, and I like the idea of having McClean on my squad. But there are some other odds stats in the pack.

 These players might want to pass their next opportunity to the keeper. Of players with 10 or more shot attempts this season, Adam Lallana (11), Renato Sanches (12), Lewis Cook (14), and Dale Stephens (15) have failed to put a single shot on target.

— Of the 81 players who’ve tried their luck 30 times or more, these are the worst accuracy rates

— For perspective, Harry Kane has put 56 percent of his league-leading 162 shots on target, while second place man Mohamed Salah is 61 percent of 118.

— Defensive errors also can be increased significantly by the times a player is put under pressure by his team, which is why goalkeepers are high on Squawka’s list. Take them out, and you get a list with Spurs’ Eric Dier up top. Two of his six errors have led to goals against Tottenham, with Zanka (Huddersfield Town), Alfie Mawson (Swans), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), and Shane Duffy (Brighton) next with four errors.