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.
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.
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.
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.
The 27-year-old Irishman was making his 100th Burnley appearance and scored in stoppage time to let the Clarets snare a point despite being out-classed on the day in a 1-1 draw.
Brighton and Burnley now both have five points, with the Clarets sitting two places higher in 12th.
Three things we learned
Maupay delivers — The 23-year-old Frenchman’s chances of success in the Premier League look better by the day, and Maupay’s second top flight goal gave Graham Potter‘s men a 51st minute lead.
Potter’s passers — At the hour mark, the Seagulls had 62 percent possession, and were passing at 79 percent compared to Burnley’s 63. No surprise they led 1-0.
Clarets are never dead — Chris Wood came close to getting a point out of nothing, as Sean Dyche‘s men again proved they can look out-of-it all day only to produce a gilt-edged chance. They produced another late, as 50-times capped Republic of Ireland midfielder Hendrick delivered the goods.
Man of the Match: Solly March — The good-crossing wide man delivered again.
Aston Villa rang up six goals and struggling Watford posted a 3-0 blowout win, while Norwich City was expelled from the tournament by a League Two side and was Crystal Palace in penalty kicks.
Brighton was taken to the brink as well, but an old friend saved the Seagulls.
Watford 3-0 Coventry City
Ismalia Sarr and Daryl Janmaat scored on either side of half time as the Hornets finally got in the win column following a 0-3 start to the PL season. Adalberto Peñarnda of Venezuela added the third goal.
Crawley Town 1-0 Norwich City
Congolese striker Bez Lubala scored the goal that knocked down the Canaries. Lubala has five goals in six matches for the League Two outfit and is enjoying a new lease on life after failing to make an impact with Birmingham City in the Championship.
The win was the first against top flight opposition in the club’s 120-plus years.
Newport County 0-2 West Ham United
Jack Wilshere scored right before the break and Pablo Fornais added one off a Felipe Anderson feed soon after halftime as the Irons overcame a stiff challenge from the side that knocked Leicester City out of the FA Cup last season en route to a fifth round exit.
Fulham 0-1 Southampton
Michael Obafemi‘s 57th minute goal was the difference as Saints were ready for the tricky test at Craven Cottage.
19 – Aged just 19 years and 52 days old, Michael Obafemi is Southampton's youngest goalscorer in the League Cup since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against Bournemouth in August 2010 (16y 360d). Fledgling. pic.twitter.com/Qakwe82jmm
The hosts were up to the challenge, but Villa quite clinical as Ezri Konza scored in the fourth minute and Conor Hourihane added two to give the Villans a three-goal halftime lead. Keinan Davis, Frederic Guilbert, and Jack Grealish scored late to heap misery on the hosts.
Sheffield United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
Chris Wilder‘s top flight men only managed two shots in the first half, but put them both in the goal.
Bristol Rovers 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion
The Seagulls had all of the ball and a first half lead through Aaron Connolly before allowing an equalizer in the second. Glenn Murray — who else? — scored in stoppage time to save Graham Potter‘s men the upset.
Iceland national team winger Jón Daði Böðvarsson scored both of the visitors goals to put Oxford down 2-0, but Mark Sykes’ 87th minute marker joined James Henry’s stoppage time penalty to make for a remarkable comeback.
Plymouth Argyle 2-4 Reading
Posting this to show how far American striker Andrija Novakovich is from the plans of Reading, who is reportedly open to sanctioning another Eredivisie loan for him. PEC Zwolle is the clubhouse leader according to football-oranje.com.
Elsewhere Southend United 1-4 MK Dons
Burton 4-0 Morecambe
Grimsby Town v. Macclesfield (abandoned)
Leeds United 2-2 (4-5 pens) Stoke City
Nottingham Forest 3-0 Derby County
Preston North End 2-2 (5-4 pens) Hull City
Rochdale 2-1 Carlisle
Cardiff City 0-3 Luton Town
Southend United 1-2 Coventry City
It wasn’t that long ago that these two teams faced off in League One…nine years ago, to be exact. Now, both Southampton and Brighton & Hove Albion are established top flight sides and looking to build.
One of those building blocks for Southampton is young Mali international Moussa Djenepo who announced himself to the Premier League on Saturday with a thumping second-half goal that put Southampton through against 10-man Brighton 2-0, with Nathan Redmond adding the second late as Brighton was caught forward for an equalizer.
The win gave Southampton its first points of the campaign, while Brighton was dropped for the first time in the new season.
The Seagulls were the better side until Florin Andone earned a deserved sending-off for a horror challenge on Yan Valery. Dan Burn had the ball in the back of the net but VAR ruled it out for offside, and the halftime break saw Southampton regroup with the advantage and take charge for the final 45 minutes. Brighton, however, did have spells of possession throughout the second half that will worry Southampton supporters moving forward given the man and scoreline advantage.
Three things we learned:
Brighton looks more dangerous than last season going forward, a positive sign for those who saw the Seagulls struggle to score last season. Before the red, they were by far the better side, and even after falling a man down they had moments of positivity despite being forced back. Graham Potter refused to bunker in after the red, something supporters will appreciate, and they had chances to get back in the game down the stretch.
VAR continued to correctly apply the laws of the game. Lewis Dunk had a potentially stunning opener after going a man down, but it was disallowed as Dan Burn all alone and very offside backed goalkeeper Angus Gunn to the ground. It could have easily been given as a foul, but instead VAR wiped it off for offside, also a fair call as he interfered with play. While some may not like how intrusive the technology has been, it has done a solid job of applying the laws to the game, albeit in a somewhat clunky manner.
Southampton will take the three points no questions asked, but there is no doubt the Saints need to improve. They were second-best for much of the game, even at times with the advantage, and could have been pegged back with an embarrassing result. They were out-passed in the attacking third and nearly doubled up in chances created despite an hour-long man advantage.
Brighton was the most dangerous team early on and had a number of chances in the opening 20 minutes. Off a set-piece, Neal Maupay got his head to a seventh minute corner at the back post but he didn’t have the necessary accuracy and goalkeeper Angus Gunn also got a slight touch to keep it out. They had another chance from a 3 v. 1 short corner off the training ground minutes later but Dan Burn whiffed on his open header at the doorstep. Then Martin Montoya put a long-distance header wide left on the 20-minute mark.
With the game calming down past the half-hour mark, out of nothing, the match turned on its head as Brighton’s Andone produced one of the most shocking challenges you will see, with a heavy touch on the ball followed by a studs-up lunge straight into the leg of Valery, who was lucky to come out of the collision unscathed. Referee Kevin Friend showed absolutely no hesitation in sending Andone off.
The opener came on 55 minutes when Djenepo collected the ball in space outside the top of the box and as nobody closed him down, he unleashed a fabulous curler that found the top corner and opened his Premier League account having just come off the bench two minutes earlier. He created the space required thanks to a slight touch inside to his right before
Nathan Redmond came close to putting Saints two-up and burying the game, but he put his low chance just wide right on 64 minutes. Jurgen Locadia had Brighton’s biggest chance to get back level, hammering the post with a volley on 87 minutes on a tight-angle chance he should have deposited in the back of the net. Southampton made them pay, killing off the game in the first minute of stoppage time as a low cross from Sofiane Boufal found a sliding Redmond at the doorstep for a 2-0 lead.
Boy do I love getting yelled at, so let’s invite more criticism with Week 2 of the Premier League Power Rankings.
Let’s also get something out of the way, though: While a round-robin tournament such as the Premier League doesn’t need power rankings by the end of the season given the balanced schedule, the early season is ripe for these sorts of debate because of the performances and opponents.
Additionally, we like having fun. Because this is sports. And sports are supposed to be fun. Even if you support Newcastle and the idea that sports are supposed to be fun sounds like someone telling you something you’re allergic to is goooooood eatin’.
Excited for the furor. Let’s party in the comments section.
20. Newcastle United — For all the promise Miguel Almiron showed under Rafa Benitez, the Paraguayan looks absolutely clueless under Steve Bruce. Last week’s ranking: 16
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Norwich City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Spurs
19. Watford — The Pozzo Family is known to change managers on a whim, and Javi Gracia will be wondering if his wonderful 2018-19 is fresh enough in the owners’ minds following an insipid loss to Brighton and a two-shot performance at Everton. Last week’s ranking: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham
18. Crystal Palace — Unlike Newcastle at Norwich, the Eagles probably deserved a point in losing to a newly-promoted side. They still did, however, lose to a newly-promoted side. Will WilfriedZaha torment his old club (Man Utd) and teammate (Aaron Wan-Bissaka) on Saturday? Also, those away jerseys… Last week’s ranking: 14
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Manchester United
17. West Ham United —Manuel Pellegrini will be under deserved pressure if he can’t manufacture a result at Watford. Last week’s ranking: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Watford
16. Southampton — Thoroughly deserved a home point versus Liverpool, but that does not totally make amends for a terrible Week 1. Last week’s ranking: 19
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton and Hove Albion
15. Aston Villa —Dean Smith knows the mistakes made early against Bournemouth can’t happen in the Premier League, but the Villans were the better team in a loss to Bournemouth. Last week’s ranking: 8
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday v. Everton
14. Bournemouth —Eddie Howe, on the other hand, will be thanking his lucky stars that Tom Heaton decided to put Villa behind the 8-ball after just 45 seconds. We need to see better from the Cherries, and it’s probably not coming when Man City visits on Sunday. Last week’s ranking: 15
Last match: Won 2-1 at Aston Villa
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Man City
13. Sheffield United — The Blades have been a pesky problem in collecting four points from Bournemouth and Palace. Saturday’s visit from Leicester City will be a bird of a different feather. Last week’s ranking: 13
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Leicester City
12. Norwich City —Teemu Pukki was lethal against Newcastle, and the Canaries probably could’ve scored thrice on Opening Day at Anfield. That, folks, is what we call encouraging stuff for a newly-promoted group. Last week’s ranking: 17
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea
11. Chelsea — There’s a lot to say about Frank Lampard as a manager, but we can’t stop thinking about how gigantic he looked standing next to Brendan Rodgers after the match. Will we have the chance to see it again when Chelsea visits Leicester City on Feb. 1? Last week’s ranking: 12
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Leicester City
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City
10. Leicester City — So far, so okay for Brendan Rodgers and the Foxes, who took points from two tricky fixtures. Nothing but three points will be acceptable this weekend at Sheffield United. Last week’s ranking: 10
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United
9. Burnley — Don’t bet against Sean Dyche. You’ll either lose, or be terrified at how angry you’ve made Sean Dyche in being right. Last week’s ranking: 6
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Arsenal
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Wolves
8. Everton — After taking four points from two matches, the Toffees’ bring an extremely enticing start to the Premier League weekend on Friday at entertaining Aston Villa. Last week’s ranking: 11
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Watford
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday at Aston Villa
7. Wolves — What they’ve done in drawing Leicester City and Manchester United while bombarded with Europa League fixtures and planning is laudable and acceptable. Last week’s ranking: 9
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Manchester United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Burnley
6. Brighton and Hove Albion —Graham Potter‘s Blue and White Army are unbeaten through two matches and deserved three points against West Ham in a 1-1 draw. Leandro Trossard is a talent, and looks like what the Seagulls thought they bought last summer with Alireza Jahanbakhsh. Last week’s ranking: 5
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. West Ham United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Southampton
5. Manchester United —Paul Pogba: Penalties as Shaquille O’Neal is to free throws. We’ll hang up and listen. The Red Devils should be 2-0 and sitting atop the league. Alas. Last week’s ranking: 2
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Crystal Palace
4. Arsenal — 2-0 is 2-0, even if the wins come against Newcastle and Burnley. There’s no way Arsenal will be able to afford Dani Ceballos at the end of his loan stint if he keeps looking like an absolutely wondrous midfielder of the highest order. Last week’s ranking: 7
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool
3. Liverpool — The bad news is that Liverpool’s poor defensive summer has dragged into August and they are a competent Danny Ings flick away from drawing Saints. The good news is that the Reds are alone in first place despite the defensive foibles. Also, relax, you’re the European champions. It’s okay. Last week’s ranking: 7
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Arsenal
2. Spurs — Took the most shots in the league in Week 1, and followed it up by scoring twice and taking a point from the Etihad Stadium. That’s something only one team did over 19 matches last season (Palace’s 3-2 memorable win around Christmas). Last week’s ranking: 3
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Man City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Newcastle United
1. Manchester City — VAR did its job in enforcing a rule that is, at best, against the spirit of the game in supporting defenders unfairly in comparison to attackers. City took 30 shots against the Champions League finalists and deserved all three points. If you think they should be lower on the list, try this mental exercise at the heart of the PL power rankings: Based on what you’ve seen this season, make the case for why you’d rather play City over a single team in the league. You’re lying. Last week’s ranking: 1
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Spurs
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Bournemouth