Ezequiel Schelotto

Brighton, Watford battle to draw

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Brighton and Hove Albion fought back to draw 1-1 against relegation rivals Watford at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

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Abdoulaye Doucoure gave Watford the lead in the first half but Brighton kept plugging away and eventually Adrian Mariappa scored a comical own goal to grab the Seagulls a point.

With the draw Graham Potter‘s side move on to 27 points and are in 15th, while Nigel Pearson‘s Watford have 24 points and sit in 19th place but are just one point from safety in the congested relegation scrap.


Three things we learned

1. Same old story for Brighton: The Seagulls dominated yet another game but couldn’t secure a first win in six and that is pretty much the story of their season. They keep the ball so well and it is remarkable how quickly their style has changed under Potter in his first season in charge but they just aren’t clinical and that is why they’re in a relegation scrap. Brighton had 67 percent possession and 10 shots to Watford’s two. Both of Watford’s efforts were on target and only two of Brighton’s were. That is where their biggest problem lies. The Seagulls get into some great positions but don’t pounce and make the most of their chances. That has to change if they’re going to stay up.

2. Watford fail to make most of big chance: With just over 10 minutes to go, Watford could see the smash and grab in sight. Then Mariappa slid in and scored a beauty of an own goal to cough up two points. Just like last week they’d collapsed as Watford were 2-0 up and cruising against Everton but they then lost 3-2. These are the kind of late setbacks you see happen to teams who end up going down season after season. You have to applaud the way Pearson has organized this team. They are tough to break down and better defensively but unless they go 3-0 up they don’t look like they can hold on to a lead right now. Watford’s confidence has taken a hit in recent weeks but they will be very happy with a point because they didn’t play well at all at Brighton.

3. Relegation battle remains wide open: From 19th place to 15th there are just three points in this and it is set to be an almighty scrap to avoid the drop. Watford are in 19th and Brighton in 15th, with West Ham, Aston Villa and Bournemouth in-between them. Teams in that area of the table are picking up points. That should set things up for a very tense finish because with the title sewn up for Liverpool, the real drama will be in seeing who can drag themselves away from the bottom three.

Man of the Match: Lewis Dunk – Held things together defensively and set the tone for Brighton being so dominant throughout. Dangerous from set pieces and always calm on the ball to get the Seagulls going.


Glenn Murray headed off target early on as Troy Deeney also had to head clear from inside his own six yard box.

Even though the home side had a lot of the ball early on it was Watford who took the lead in stunning fashion. Etienne Capoue intercepted Aaron Mooy‘s pass on the halfway line and Doucoure raced towards goal.

The French midfielder galloped forward with purpose and smashed an unstoppable effort into the top corner to make it 1-0.

Brighton tried to get back into the game as Solly March‘s cross was cleared and Murray continued to sniff around and cause a nuisance of himself.

Watford had a few counter attacks of their own but couldn’t quite find the final pass and Brighton wanted a penalty just before half time as Ezequiel Schelotto went down in the box with Gerard Deulofeu nearby. Nothing was given.

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In the second half Brighton kept dominating possession and Schelotto drilled across goal but Murray couldn’t get on the end of the cross.

Neal Maupay came on for the final 30 minutes as Brighton threw everything at Watford in the closing stages. Lewis Dunk almost got on the end of a cross as Brighton launched the ball forward at every opportunity.

Mooy was played in but his low shot was saved superbly down low by Ben Foster but moments later Brighton were level.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh‘s cross from the right was knocked into his own net by Mariappa as the Seagulls finally had the equalizer their pressured deserved.

Late on both teams were exhausted and neither could muster the energy to grab a winner.

Watch Live: Brighton v. Watford

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Brighton and Hove Albion host Watford on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) at the Amex Stadium.

The Seagulls and Hornets are embroiled in a relegation scrap and this is what you call a six-pointer in the Premier League.

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Brighton have played lovely stuff all season long under new manager Graham Potter but a lack of clinical edge has seen them slump towards the bottom three and are just two points off the top zone.

Nigel Pearson had a huge impact early on at Watford but they’ve lost two in a row in the Premier League and are two points from safety heading into this game.

In team news Brighton start with Glenn Murray up top once again with the veteran striker fresh from signing his new contract. Dan Burn returns from injury for the Seagulls as he is one of four players to come into the starting lineup alongside Shane Duffy, Solly March and Ezequiel Schelotto. Potter has gone for a 3-4-3 formation.

Watford make one change as Will Hughes comes in for Nathaniel Chalobah in central midfield.


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Watch Live: Tottenham v. Brighton

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Tottenham Hotspur host Brighton and Hove Albion to kick off the Boxing Day festivities (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in the Premier League.

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Jose Mourinho will be looking for a reaction from his team after they were dominated by bitter rivals Chelsea last time out and lost 2-0 at home as Heung-Min Son was also sent off in a miserable outing.

As for Brighton, they’ve been struggling and are hovering just above the relegation zone although Graham Potter’s side continue to play attractive, attacking soccer.

In team news Spurs bring in Ryan Sessegnon to start in place of the suspended Son, as the summer signing from Fulham makes his first PL start for Spurs. Harry Winks comes in for Eric Dier.

Brighton Make five changes after then defeat to Sheffield United with Shane Duffy, Ezequiel Schelotto, Bernardo, Aaron Connolly and Steven Alzate replacing Lewis Dunk, Martin Montoya, Leandro Trossard, Dale Stephens and Neal Maupay.

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Premier League preview: Chelsea v. Brighton

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  • Chelsea have won all eight meetings with Brighton and Hove Albion 
  • Frank Lampard has yet to win a league match at Stamford Bridge this season
  • Chelsea have eight points after six matchweeks, lowest in the last 18 campaigns 

Following a formidable victory against Grimsby Town midweek, Frank Lampard looks for his first league win at Stamford Bridge at the helm of Chelsea, who host struggling Brighton and Hove Albion at 10:00 p.m. ET live on NBCS or live online at NBCSports.com.

Lampard’s return to Chelsea has been far from ideal. The Blues, who picked up their first win of the campaign at home in cup play midweek, are suffering their slowest start in the last 18 years. A league win, however, has yet to experienced under the legendary midfielder. The worry only worsens as the matchweeks go by, and Chelsea – currently 11th with eight points – dips further down the table. However, in theory, there is a sense of hope coming their way: Brighton.

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Depleted with a myriad of injuries, Graham Potter‘s side are desperately looking for ways out of their own hole. The Seagulls are winless since their dazzling 3-0 win against Watford, losing points in five consecutive matches. With a cloudy offense and shaky defensive posture, Brighton, now more than ever, are looking for any positives. A match against a reenergized Chelsea away from Falmer Stadium, though, might not be the ideal scenario for happy times for Potter and Co.

Injuries/suspensions

Chelsea: OUT – Emerson (thigh), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Antonio Rüdiger (groin); QUESTIONABLE – Andreas Christensen (knee), Olivier Giroud (ill)

Brighton: OUT – Leandro Trossard (groin), Ezequiel Schelotto (knee), Leon Balogun (match fitness), Shane Duffy (calf), Solly March (thigh), Jose Izquierdo (knee);QUESTIONABLE –  Neal Maupay (knee)


Projected lineups

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Alonso, Tamori, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Kovacic, Jorginho, Kante; Mount, Abraham, Willian.

Brighton: Ryan; Burn, Dunk, Webster; Alzate, Pröpper, Stephens, Montoya; Mooy, Maupay, Gross.


What they’re saying

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard on getting first league win at home: “The fact we haven’t won at home [in the league] is something we want to correct. We need a similar performance to Liverpool. If we get that level then I expect we can do okay. We have had a run of home games, but we have to respect Brighton.”

Brighton’s Potter on turning their season around: “We are creating chances and are about where I expect us to be after six [Premier League] matches. But you get what you get and there is no point in feeling sorry for yourself. I am confident with the quality we have that it will turn around.”


Prediction

Slowly but surely, Chelsea are morphing into the team most expected them to be under Lampard – energetic and reliable. The supporters made that clear following their 2-1 loss at the hands of Liverpool in their last league match. Midweek, the 7-1 routing of Grimsby Town justified this. With Brighton in the pits due to a lack of answers, the Blues will hit the ground running and not look back. 4-0, Chelsea.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle v. Brighton

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  • Early-season relegation battlers meet on Saturday
  • 18th-place Newcastle to host 16th-place Brighton
  • Brighton won at Newcastle, drew at home last season

Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion, a pair of Premier League sides with just two wins from the first five weeks of the season between them, will meet at St. James’ Park on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) for what could prove to be a retrospective relegation six-pointer when May rolls around.

Each side replaced its manager — Steve Bruce for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle; Graham Potter for Chris Hughton at Bright — in the summer and neither of the new bosses has had a particularly enjoyable start to the 2019-20 campaign. Brighton won on the opening day of the season, but have taken just two points from the following four games. Newcastle lost their first two games, won their third, and have drawn and lost again since. It’s the kind of form that’ll see both sides stuck in the high-teens of the PL table if they don’t find their footing in the coming weeks.

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Things are particularly worrying for Newcastle, who didn’t they’d be without Benitez until the end of June and didn’t appoint Bruce until mid-July. Key players had already left the club and reinforcements for few and far between. Forward Joelinton joined for $50 million and is one of four players with a single goal scored thus far.

Last week was nearly fruitful for the Seagulls, until the conceded a stoppage-time equalizer and settle for a point at home against Burnley. Summer signing Neal Maupay bagged his second goal for Brighton earlier in the game, giving Potter a potential trump card over a handful of other relegation-threatened sides without a consistent goalscorer.

Injuries/suspensions

Newcastle: OUT – Matt Ritchie (ankle), Florian Lejeune (knee), Dwight Gayle (calf); QUESTIONABLE – DeAndre Yedlin (groin)

Brighton: OUT – Leandro Trossard (groin), Jose Izquierdo (knee), Ezequiel Schelotto (knee)


Projected lineups

Newcastle: Dubravka – Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems – Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu – Joelinton

Brighton: Ryan – Duffy, Dunk, Webster – March, Stephens, Propper, Burn – Gross, Maupay, Murray


What they’re saying

Joelinton, on Andy Carroll: “It’s always great to have experienced players in the group, and he’s one of them. He can help the club, he can help the young players. Andy Carroll has scored a lot of goals in the Premier League, and it’s great to be playing alongside him. He’s a calm guy. I still haven’t spoken to him a lot because my English isn’t great! But every day he’s trying to help. He’ll help me before the games, he’ll give me positional advice and suggest what I’ve done both good and bad.”

Graham Potter, on the trip to Newcastle: “Newcastle away is a tough game just like all the others. We don’t target particular matches — it’s about what we need to do to get a positive result. They have an experienced manager who I came across last year and he’s someone I have a lot of respect for. They have good quality players and we know it can be a hostile environment, it’s a big club and we know we have to play well to get something.  Steve has a lot of games under his belt – he’s had a lot of success and he’ll understand the challenge that lies ahead.


Prediction

Newcastle haven’t scored multiple goals in a game yet this season, and they’ve conceded twice as many as they’ve scored (four). It’s hard to trust them to be anything resembling consistent from game to game. It wouldn’t be surprising if they battled to a boring 0-0 draw, or conceding three times before halftime. It’ll probably be closer to the former, a 1-1 stalemate.