Kyle Bartley

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Murray helps Brighton complete FA Cup fifth round field

Leave a comment

It took extra time, but Brighton and Hove Albion outlasted former Premier League peers West Bromwich Albion to advance in the FA Cup by a 3-1 margin.

Glenn Murray scored twice in extra time to join Florin Andone‘s regulation marker, while West Brom’s lone goal came through one-time Arsenal prospect Kyle Bartley.

[ RECAP: Everton 0-2 Man City ]


The fifth round of the competition is now set, with a guarantee of at least two lower league sides in the quarterfinals.

FA Cup fifth round fixtures
QPR v. Watford — Feb. 15
Brighton v. Derby County — Feb. 16
AFC Wimbledon v. Millwall — Feb. 16
Newport County v. Manchester City — Feb. 16
Bristol City v. Wolves — Feb. 17
Doncaster Rovers v. Crystal Palace — Feb. 17
Swansea City v. Brentford — Feb. 17
Chelsea v. Manchester United — Feb. 18

PL Preview: Swansea vs. Chelsea

Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso serves the second of his three-match suspension but otherwise the Blues have no fresh injury concerns.
  • A Chelsea win, in Antonio Conte‘s 73rd match, would make him the third-quickest manager in PL history to reach 50 wins, behind Jose Mourinho’s 63 matches and Pep Guardiola‘s 69.
  • Swansea City has won one of their 13 Premier League matches against Chelsea (D4 L8), a 1-0 victory in April 2016. 
  • Center-backs Federico Fernandez and Kyle Bartley are doubts for Swansea City with knee injuries, while Luciano Narsingh (ankle) will be assessed.

With both teams playing to improve their standing in the league, plenty is on the line as Swansea City hosts Chelsea Saturday afternoon. (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com)

Chelsea, just five points behind fourth-place Tottenham with three games remaining, looks to build on the momentum from last weekend’s FA Cup semifinal win by closing out the season on a high, potentially getting into the Champions League.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

For Swansea, which sits four points above the relegation zone, a win against a top-six side in Chelsea should be enough to keep them up and secure the great escape.

What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on trying to sneak into fourth place

‘First of all we have to try to get three points. We are playing against a team fighting to avoid relegation. In the last five games at home, Swansea have won four and drawn once. It means they are in good form. If we want to continue to have hope of taking a Champions League place, we need to get three points and try to put a bit on pressure on the teams who are ahead of us. The reality is that Tottenham have a big advantage, but the only way to try to put a bit pressure on them is to get three points tomorrow.”

Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal on hosting Chelsea

“I have confidence in my team and in the fans also. The way we played in the last home game against Everton was the same level we played at against Liverpool and Arsenal. The only difference in that game was that the efficiency was not there, but we played very well. We are playing very well at home. We have felt the energy of the Liberty and our players feel comfortable when they are playing there. This is very important. I am sure the fans will push the team again this weekend and this will help us.”

Video Preview

Prediction

Swansea City doesn’t have a great record against Chelsea in the past and with the Blues in good form, it will be tough for the hosts to pull off a stunner. Swansea City 1-3 Chelsea

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Swansea City

Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Swansea has only won once at Anfield in PL play – last year
  • The last 9 PL matches between Liverpool and Swansea has seen 35 goals
  • Liverpool has not lost on Boxing Day since 1982 vs. Manchester United

Liverpool is one of three teams in a dogfight for the fourth spot in the Premier League table, and things are heating up on Boxing Day. The Reds host 20th-placed Swansea City at Anfield (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) with a chance to at the least keep pace with Tottenham and Arsenal.

The Reds are coming off a wild 3-3 draw against Arsenal which, following a pair of clean sheets against Bournemouth and West Brom, the defense reverted back to old habits despite dominating the game for long spells. Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool has “obvious problems” in defense, ones that Swansea will look to capitalize on. However, Liverpool has fared much better this campaign against the bottom half of the table than they did last season.

Swansea, meanwhile, plays three of its next four matches away from home (four of its next five if you count the FA Cup match at Wolves) and will need to pick up points wherever possible to close the gap towards safety – currently four points. Leon Britton, who took charge of Swansea’s draw with Crystal Palace, will remain as interim manager for the trip to Anfield.

Team news

Liverpool: Out – Jordan Henderson (hamstring), Alberto Moreno (ankle), Marko Grujic (finger), Joel Matip (muscle), Nathaniel Clyne (back), Adam Bogdan (knee).

Swansea City: Out – Kyle Naughton (groin), Wilfried Bony (hamstring), Ki Sung-Yueng (calf), Kyle Bartley (knee). QuestionableLeroy Fer (back).

What they’re saying

Jurgen Klopp on drawing matches this year: “The draw [against Arsenal] is really not good, but it’s good because again we were the better side in draw number eight, and we should have won like all the other draws we had. So that’s…in development, even though nobody wants to hear that, it’s a very important thing, that’s a very important thing. In a very difficult league, performance-wise we are very consistent so far.”

Leon Britton on the permanent managerial position: “The fans have been great with me, as player or manager, you could hear them being very vocal which I appreciate, but in terms of the job, nothing has changed and I’m not looking for the job full time. [Management] need[s] to make the right decision, make sure it’s clear what they want, whether that’s before Liverpool, after Liverpool or in January. They have to make sure they take their time and get the right man.”

Prediction

As mentioned earlier, Liverpool has been quite good against the bottom half of the table, most recently holding Bournemouth and West Brom both goalless, plus beating Brighton 5-1 and Stoke City 3-0. It’s hard to look past a free-flowing Liverpool in this game, by a 4-1 scoreline in a game that could get out of hand late.

Premier League preview: Tottenham vs. Swansea

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Leave a comment

For Tottenham Hotspur, the 2017-18 goal is to repeat as Premier League title challengers for a third season in a row and better position themselves to win titles once they move into their new stadium next season. For Swansea City, the focus is singular, for this season and this season only — remaining a PL club.

Two sides with very different recent histories — and immediate futures — meet at Wembley Stadium on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC and NBCSports.com).

[ STREAM: Tottenham vs. Swansea ]

Tottenham have already dropped more points at home — Wembley — this season (5) than during the whole of last season — White Hart Lane (4). On Wednesday, though, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side might have just moved beyond their past struggles at England’s national ground with a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League, spearheaded by Harry Kane‘s brace. Since the calendar turned to September, Kane has scored four goals in two games for Spurs (plus two in two for England) after failing to tally in three August games.

Swansea have four points from four games thus far, an identical start to last season, which only saw them climb out of the relegation zone in the season’s final four weeks. The months of September and October are where they hope their fortunes will be drastically different: the Swans collected just one point from the following seven games in 2016-17. Following the departures of last season’s two top scorers (Fernando Llorente, to Spurs; Gylfi Sigurdsson, to Everton) Paul Clement certainly has his work cut out for him, particularly in facing the returning stingiest defense in the PL on Saturday.

INJURIES: Tottenham — OUT: Danny Rose (knee), Victor Wanyama (knee), Erik Lamela (hip) | Swansea — OUT: Ki Sung-Yueng (knee), Kyle Bartley (knee), Nathan Dyer (achilles)


What they’re saying

Mauricio Pochettino on Kane’s future: “His mentality is to stay here, not only in the PL, but at Tottenham. He shows every single day how he loves Tottenham. In my opinion, he doesn’t need titles to show he’s one of the best strikers. All players play try to score, win and win titles. That is everyone’s aim, of course, but so far Harry Kane is showing he is one of the best strikers in the world.”

Paul Clement on Renato Sanches’ difficult debut: “We think we have a great young talent here. But he has not played a massive amount of games. That is going to affect not only the tactical sharpness in his brain but the physical side as well. Give him a little bit of time for him to adapt and he will be on the right track.”


Prediction

With the Wembley demons exorcised in the win over Dortmund, consecutive home fixtures against Swansea (PL) and Barnsley (League Cup) should help Spurs build a bit of momentum before away trips to West Ham United (Sept. 23) and APOEL Nicosia (Sept. 26).

PL Sunday preview: Palace seek 1st point; Swansea vs. Newcastle

Leave a comment

Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures feature four sides currently sitting in the bottom half of the league table, a combined three wins and 11 points between them. To say points are precious to these sides would be a massive understatement.

[ PL ROUNDUP: Premier League’s big boys score big on Saturday ]

Burnley vs. Crystal Palace — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Frank De Boer could have never foreseen himself fighting for his job just three games into his Palace tenure, but ahead of Sunday’s visit to Burnley’s Turf Moor, that’s precisely the Dutchman’s reality after dropping all nine points to start the season, and doing so without scoring a single goal and conceding six. After losing his job at Inter Milan after just 14 games last season, De Boer’s reputation (and future employment prospects) could very well be on the line.

“We know it takes time and it is a long-term project we have here,” de Boer said at his Friday press conference. “I have a positive feeling from what I have seen in training this week. I want to start seeing the performances I am expecting and once we start getting results it will give us all the confidence we need.”

INJURIES: Burnley — OUT: Nahki Wells (ankle); PROBABLE: Jeff Hendrick (thigh) | Palace — OUT: Wilfried Zaha (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Jairo Riedewald (groin), James Tomkins (groin); PROBABLE: Mamadou Sakho (ankle)

Swansea City vs. Newcastle United — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The dark-cloud story at Newcastle remains the same in September as it was in March, April and May: Rafa Benitez might just up and walk away from the club any day now, due to his poor working relationship with club owner Mike Ashley. The Magpies started the season in poor form, losing to Tottenham Hotspur and Huddersfield Town, before trouncing a lifeless West Ham United side right before the international break. Recapturing that momentum will be vitally important against a Swansea side which is expected to figure in this season’s relegation battle, right alongside Newcastle.

To make matters worse, Benitez won’t be on the sideline for Sunday’s trip to the Liberty Stadium after Benitez underwent surgery for a hernia last week. Newcastle assistant Francisco de Miguel Moreno will take charge in Benitez’s absence.

INJURIES: Swansea — OUT: Ki Sung-Yueng (knee), Nathan Dyer (achilles), Kyle Bartley (knee) | Newcastle — OUT: Chancel Mbemba (groin), Aleksandar Mitrovic (suspension); QUESTIONABLE: DeAndre Yedlin (hamstring), Dwight Gayle (illness)