Mathew Ryan

Solskjaer: Manchester United ‘should have scored many more goals’

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer preferred to focus on the day-to-day before his two biggest rivals prepared to duke it out at the upper reaches of the Premier League table.

Manchester United dominated Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday at Old Trafford, the 3-1 score line not at all indicative of the Red Devils home performance.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 3-1 Brighton ]

Seagulls goalkeeper Mathew Ryan was credited with nine saves and United missed the frame on numerous occasions, comfortably rising up the table with all three points against a Brighton side who had been quite good.

“We should have scored many more goals,” Solskjaer said. “It was an excellent performance from the lads, when you see them going forward it is a joy to watch. Anthony Martial did not get a goal but he was outstanding. Brandon Williams was excellent too, he has had some good games already and he seems he wants to be out there and enjoy himself.”

United is now a point back of fifth but will finish the weekend at least nine points off the Top Four. Solskjaer isn’t looking at the numbers yet (Well, he most certainly is, but he’s not super concerned).

“The table does not really matter at the moment. We need to keep improving and keep winning games and see where it takes us.”

United’s next three PL fixtures are Sheffield United, Aston Villa, and Spurs. Then it’s the Manchester Derby on Dec. 7.

Martial’s Manchester United eases past Brighton

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Anthony Martial had two assists and Manchester United eased past Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford and Andreas Pereira were joined on the score sheet by a Davy Propper own goal, with Lewis Dunk‘s second half header the only Brighton moment.

Influential midfielder Scott McTominay needed help to get off the pitch after a stoppage time injury.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

United moves seventh with 16 points, one back of fifth but nine behind fourth place Man City.

Brighton drops into 11th with its 15 points.


Three things we learned

1. Martial the maestro: We suspected that Martial’s absence from the United lineup was just as detrimental as Paul Pogba‘s, and the Frenchman has shown his worth. Another two assists today, including one of monster work on United’s  goal to reestablish the two-goal advantage. Still just 23, Martial has five goals and three assists in 10 matches across all competitions. United went 1-2-2 in the league while he was out.

2. Red Devils go to the greasy places: Manchester United, for as long as its been a club of influence, was capable of the sublime individual or team goals, but this unit has to make sure it puts its nose into the grimy, seedy parts of the pitch. It did that to get its second goal, and was sure to play that way early. Yet they also rose to the occasion once Brighton was forced to open up, more than tripling the Seagulls shot output. Well done on the whole for a needed simple win.

3. Socceroo shining: Mathew Ryan is a fine Premier League goalkeeper, and we were reminded of that Sunday when the Australian was credited with nine saves in a match which could’ve looked much worse than 3-1.

Man of the Match: Martial.


Marcus Rashford put Mat Ryan into an early bit of work, though there wasn’t much danger in their fourth minute encounter.

United took the lead in the 17th minute, as Pereira lost the ball but saw it roll to Martial. The Frenchman cut it back, and Pereira’s shot took a wicked deflection to beat Ryan.

It was 2-0 within minutes, McTominay crashing the goal and forcing Davy Propper to bundle an own goal over the line after Harry Maguire nodded a Fred free kick toward the line.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Pereira stung a shot at Ryan in the 57th minute, the match really lacking luster.

United’s Brendan Williams was shown a yellow card for a kick to the chest of Steven Alzate.

Fred forced Ryan into a save after the hour mark, and Brighton just missed a bid to make it interesting when Neal Maupay couldn’t get a foot on a loose ball in the six.

Then Graham Potter‘s men got their pull back, with Dunk getting free from Pereira to nod a corner kick home.

But United restored the two-goal advantage through Rashford, who was set up by the wonderful work of Martial. A proper goal for the Red Devils’ third.

Rashford then missed an absolute sitter following a delightful set-up from Daniel James.

Nothing to separate Newcastle, Brighton at St. James’ Park

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A bright performance from the visitors produced nothing, as Newcastle United and Brighton played to a scoreless draw at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brighton had more than 70 percent of the ball and an advantage in shots, but couldn’t get a goal over the line. Newcastle only arrived late after the introduction of Allan Saint-Maximin and Andy Carroll, and would not truly challenge Mathew Ryan.

The Seagulls rise 15th with six points, two spots and one point ahead of the hosts.


Three things we learned

1. Relegation candidates for sure: Both Graham Potter and Steve Bruce are new managers of their sides, but neither looks much better than their predecessor. Maybe Brighton is on a slightly better trajectory than the Gulls side that survived by two points last season, but the Magpies looked very poor over two formations in the first half. Maybe that’s a symptom of the sick, but a winner of this game might’ve ended up pointing to the points as what kept it up come May.

2. Brighton cannot capitalize vs. awful Newcastle midfield: The match was screaming out for Glenn Murray as Brighton was the brighter side but oh-so-wasteful in the 18. The Seagulls press befuddled Newcastle’s midfield and kept the back line on edge, but every chance was wasted.

There was a gulf between the Magpies’ back line and center forward Joelinton, who himself struggled to assert himself on the game. It’s telling that Steve Bruce’s 73rd minute subs were Allan Saint-Maximin and Ki Sung-yeung for Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey, as the Magpies had little possession and less threat.

3. Carroll back in black (and white): Hometown hero Andy Carroll last played for the Magpies in a Premier League game on Dec. 29, 2010, against Spurs before being sold to Liverpool for a massive fee. The oft-injured but powerful striker came on for the final 10 minutes to a rousing “One of our own” chant from St. James’ Park, and cued Allan Saint-Maximin up for a chance during his cameo.

Man of the Match: Schar — It just has to be. Martin Dubravka was beaten by Neal Maupay, but his dink could not cross the goal line before Schar leapt to clobber the ball to safety with an overhead clearance. What a play, and indicative of how often the Swiss centerpiece has saved Newcastle at either end of the pitch over the last two years.


 [ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Martin Dubravka was tasked with making the match’s first save after Pascal Gross blazed down the right and toward the six-yard box.

Almiron came close to getting his first goal with a well-timed run and shot which was saved by Mat Ryan in the 22nd minute.

The Magpies’ season record of wobbly starts continued, and Dubravka and Jamaal Lascelles needed to make borderline heroic plays to keep it 0-0 by the half-hour mark.

Joelinton came very close to nodding a corner kick home as Lewis Dunk forgot to mark the Brazilian. His free header just missed the far post.

Steven Alzate had the ball in the back of the goal, as Newcastle was at sixes and sevens at the back, but was offside in the 34th.

The Magpies were booed off the pitch at halftime, and started brightly with a 46th minute shot punched wide by Christian Atsu.

Almiron made a delightful turn on the right side before dribbling into the 18 for a low shot saved by Ryan. Closer, but still not enough. The ex-Atlanta United man two more extremely bad giveaways on the day, and isn’t offering too much hope.

Arsenal’s top-four dreams crushed in Brighton draw (video)

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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  • Arsenal 3 points back of Spurs with inferior GD
  • Aubameyang scores 20th PL goal this season (9′)
  • Murray nets career goal 200 to draw level (61′)

Arsenal, much like Manchester United before them, couldn’t hold onto an early lead and ultimately dealt their own top-four dreams a fatal blow by drawing a bottom-four side on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

1-0 up on 17th-place Brighton & Hove Albion after nine minutes, Unai Emery‘s Gunners failed to put the game away with a second goal and let the Seagulls back into the game. As such, Arsenal (67 points) trail fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur by three points with just one game left to play. The problem for Arsenal: their goal differential (+20) is eight goals worse than that of Tottenham.

For all intents and purposes, they’re set for another season in the Europa League, unless the can win Europe’s “other” competition later this month.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan went inches from firing the Gunners into the lead after 73 seconds, but the Armenian’s shot from the edge of the penalty area smashed the front side of the post and squirted across the face of goal in agonizing fashion.

It didn’t take much longer for Arsenal to jump out in front, though. Nacho Monreal was tripped inside Brighton’s 18-yard box, which sent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the penalty spot where he bagged his 20th PL goal of the season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Shkodran Mustafi very nearly made it 2-0 with a diving header in the 36th minute, but Mathew Ryan leapt into action, and across his goal, to make a spectacular save at a full-stretch. Ryan made an even better stop to deny Aubameyang two minutes later. A cross came in front the left side and found Aubameyang near the penalty spot. He swept his left foot through the ball and sent it toward Ryan’s right-hand post, but the goalkeeper sprang to life once again and pushed the ball just around the post.

Brighton drew level hugely against the run of play. Granit Xhaka needlessly dragged down Solly March who had made a dangerous, but containable, run inside the box. Glenn Murray stepped up and converted to reach the 200-goal mark in his 15-year professional career.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Arsenal’s best chance to win it saw Aubameyang smash the ball just inches wide of the post in the 74th minute. With much of the left side of the goal at his mercy, the Gabonese goalscorer couldn’t keep the ball on frame when he leapt into the air struck a volley with great power.

Brighton had two chances to steal all three points in the 84th minute, but March’s header was saved by Bernd Leno at point-blank range, then Pascal Gross wasn’t able to put his follow-up effort on target. The near post was wide open and required just a bit of composure to touch the ball home.

Arsenal will visit Burnley on the final day of the season, next Sunday, while Spurs will host Everton.

Hughton says “very down” Brighton room needs Newcastle result

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Brighton and Hove Albion might not have expected to get a point from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday, but the manner in which they failed to do so could affect them deeply.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

The Seagulls are hoping to stay ahead of 18th place Cardiff City with just one relegation place still in the balance. They came close to making it four points clear with three matches to play but saw Christian Eriksen tear into a shot from outside the box to finally beat goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.

“The changing room at the moment is very down because of the manner of the defeat,” said manager Chris Hughton. “The players will know how hard they’ve worked to get as close as we did. We’re up against a team in the Champions League semi-finals. We put on a gritty defensive performance and that speaks volumes. We have to take that into Saturday against Newcastle and that becomes out biggest game.”

Brighton is home to the Magpies this weekend before visiting Arsenal and hosting a Man City side likely in play for the Premier League title. Cardiff goes to Fulham and hosts Crystal Palace before heading to Manchester United for its season finale.

Seemingly, Brighton needs something Saturday against Rafa Benitez‘s men.

“We’ll need goals and we need to win the game whichever way we can. Newcastle have been good away from home and have a good system. We have to get a result, whichever way we do it.”