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Premier League Preview: Cardiff City vs. Brighton and Hove Albion

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  • Joe Ralls is available again for Cardiff but Jazz Richards (hamstring) and Kenneth Zohore (calf) will both miss out through injury and Harry Arter is suspended.   
  • Brighton continue to be without Pascal Gross, Davy Propper (ankle) and David Button (knee), while Alireza Jahanbakhsh is likely to be absent with a hamstring strain. 
  • Cardiff and Brighton have never met before in the top flight. This is the fourth new top-flight fixture this season after AFC Bournemouth v Cardiff, Brighton v Fulham and AFC Bournemouth v Fulham. 
  • The Bluebirds are aiming to halt their habit of conceding the opening goal, having done so eight times in the Premier League this season, the most of any team, level with Fulham.  

Brighton and Hove Albion has the chance to move into the top ten of the Premier League table as Chris Houghton’s side travel to face Cardiff City in the first match of week 12 (Watch live on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Seagulls have enjoyed a great start to the season, with three wins in its last four including a 1-0 win at relegation-threatened Newcastle. The defense, led by Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy has held firm while 35-year-old Glenn Murray continues to drink from the fountain of youth, scoring six goals this early in the PL season. Cardiff on the other side are desperate for three points at home, as it currently sits in the drop zone with five points from 11 games.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

What they’re saying

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock on finding positives out of a rough start to the season: ““I think as a team we’ve improved nearly every game since the Bournemouth game and we’ve played far more football than people give us credit for. But it’s about getting the balance, we have changed and now we need a bit of luck. My wife says my luck is changing from today, so I can’t argue with my wife. But every game is winnable for us until Christmas if we have a good day. If we didn’t win it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but Saturday is one we want to win.”

Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Houghton on facing Cardiff: “It goes without saying that when you get used to this league you recognize that trips to teams who aren’t in the top six might not be as daunting – but this is still only our second season in the division. We know them quite well as a team, and their level of performance this season has been relatively good on the whole despite the results. They’re at home and they’ll have good backing from the crowd, so our approach is exactly the same as any other away game – but every game is an opportunity for us.”

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Prediction

It’s a matchup between two teams who display similar playing styles, so like many games with teams farther down the table, this one should come down to a set piece. We’ll give Cardiff the narrow victory, picking up three massive points over Brighton. Cardiff 1-0 Brighton

Klopp: Cardiff’s brief hope gave Liverpool “space for nice goals”

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Cardiff City only had one moment of hope during a long Saturday at Liverpool, and that moment may have just awakened the hosts at Anfield.

Trailing 2-0, the Bluebirds got a goal from Callum Paterson to pull within one of the favored Reds on a day that Liverpool out shot Cardiff 19-2.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 4-1 Cardiff ]

The only shot on that reached Liverpool backstop Alisson Becker.

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock was starting to think about a comeback.

“Anfield is an intimidating place,” Warnock said. “Our fans were fantastic, they know we are up against it. The lads gave everything. It was so quiet when Paterson scored, you had to dream of a comeback. I think it is my first goal here as a manager.”

However, the goal seemed to snap the Reds attack into life as Sadio Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri scored down the stretch.

Liverpool won 4-1 on the day to go atop the Premier League table for two days at a minimum. Man City can join them on 26 points with a win over Spurs on Monday. Here’s Klopp, via the BBC:

“90 minutes in the creative mood costs you. The boys don’t like it, I don’t like it, but the goal helped because at 2-1 Cardiff started believing and we used the space for nice goals. Happy because it is difficult, playing Wednesday and Saturday, we are through it with maximum points. That is good.”

Back to Warnock, he’s got thoughts on whether the Reds can win the Premier League.

“Liverpool have got more chance of winning the Champions League,” Warnock offered. “I think Manchester City will be too strong for them in the league but this could be their year in the Champions League.”

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Cardiff City

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  • Third league meeting since 1959
  • Liverpool trails Man City on goal differential
  • Cardiff leads all-time 18W-3D-11L

Cardiff City heads to Liverpool on Saturday in search of its first win at Anfield since 1959 (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock spun a few good quotes in the run-up to the game, as the Bluebirds are enjoying their first week outside the drop zone after a win over Fulham.

The first was praise for Jurgen Klopp… and Liverpool’s budget.

“It must be lovely being in charge of a team like that but he’s created it,” Warnock said. “They haven’t always been like that. He saw what weaknesses there were and he’s shored them up.”

Liverpool is much closer to full fitness than its been in some time, meaning Warnock will prepare for the dangerous trident of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah. They combined for four goals in a midweek Champions League rout of Red Star Belgrade.

Klopp says only Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita remain out for the Reds.

What they’re saying

Klopp on new third, fourth captains Van Dijk, Wijnaldum“I decided (injured Henderson and Milner) will stay, that was 100 percent the logical thing to do, and it would have been like that if we voted.  And I said, the next two, the players can vote for. Now we have two Dutch guys in a row because the team decided no.3 for Virgil and no.4 for Gini. If somebody would have told me in my life that that would have happened – me, a German, and two Dutch guys in such important roles! But no, it was the players’ decision.”

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock on Virgil van Dijk: “I’m delighted he’s playing like he is. We could have bought him at Palace for £6 million but my chief scout told me he was too slow. I think he’s still in a job as well.”

Prediction

Cardiff City has shown itself capable of pouncing on mistakes, but Liverpool seems to be just turning the corner with its top attackers. 4-1 to the hosts.

What we learned from Saturday’s Premier League games

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Eight games took place in the Premier League on Saturday as Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool secured wins, while a dramatic draw between Chelsea and Manchester United took center stage.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

All of that means that Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea remain unbeaten and this is just the third time in history that three teams are without a defeat throughout the opening nine weeks of a season.

Below is a look at the key takeaways from another frantic day across the PL.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights


Mourinho should loosen Man United’s shackles

Manchester United have been at their best this season when they’re in desperation mode. That was the case at Chelsea on Saturday, as Jose Mourinho’s men fought their way back into the game in the second half and Anthony Martial finished superbly twice to put them 2-1 up. Of course, United conceded twice from set piece situations as Paul Pogba lost his man Antonio Rudiger for the first and a lofted second ball into the box in the 96th minute eventually saw Ross Barkley equalize. That will annoy Mourinho but what will please him is that he was rewarded for starting with an attacking lineup with Pogba, Martial, Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford all in the starting XI. United pinned Chelsea back in the second half and the hard-working displays of Rashford and Martial out wide stopped Chelsea’s full backs from joining the attack.

[ MORE: 4 things we learned | Mourinho reacts to draw ]

The main takeaway from this draw at Chelsea is that perhaps things aren’t as bad as they seem at United. Mourinho was set to be sacked two weeks ago and we will never know if that dramatic 3-2 comeback win against Newcastle saved his job. What we do know is that the fact United were disappointed to not grab all three points at Chelsea shows they’re moving in the right direction. Will Mourinho now set up his team in a more attacking system from here on out? Let’s not push it now, but the signs are promising that they can get back on track.


Tottenham win ugly once again

Spurs have been far from scintillating this season but after their 1-0 win at West Ham, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men have ground out four wins on the spin and have now won seven of their opening nine games of the campaign. For a team missing Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose from their starting lineup at West Ham, that’s not bad. Hugo Lloris denied Marko Arnautovic on three occasions in the second half in a feisty London derby as two squad players delivered on the key moment. Moussa Sissoko did well on the right and crossed for Erik Lamela to nod home what turned out to be the game-winner. Harry Kane wasn’t at his best but he didn’t need to be as Spurs dug deep to grab another ugly win. It hasn’t been pretty from Tottenham so far but they’re two points behind leaders Man City and given the issues surrounding their stadium delay and not strengthening the squad this summer, this is probably the best start to the season Spurs could have put together. With Eriksen back fit and Dele Alli close behind him, Tottenham need two big wins in the UEFA Champions League against PSV Eindhoven to keep their season on track.


Man City’s embarrassment of riches runs riot

Riyad Mahrez, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho were all on target on Saturday as Pep Guardiola‘s Man City smashed Burnley 5-0. Yes, Burnley were poor. But this was like watching vintage City from last season, as shellackings of minnows happened time and time again. Mahrez and Fernandinho scored sublime goals, while Sane and Silva finished off flowing City moves. With Kevin De Bruyne making his long-awaited return from injury as a second half sub, plus Raheem Sterling was left on the bench and Guardiola had the luxury of giving David Silva and Aguero rests in the second half.

Atop the Premier League table with 23 points from their opening nine games of the season there’s a sense that the best is still to come from City. That is a scary thought for not only the rest of the Premier League but also for Europe.


Delight for Cardiff; misery for Fulham, Newcastle

Cardiff City are off and running back in the Premier League as Neil Warnock‘s men beat Fulham 4-2 in the Welsh Capital. A six-goal thriller explains the defensive issues both teams have but Cardiff scored as many goals on Saturday as they had in their previous eight games back in the top-flight. As for Fulham, they have the leakiest defense in the PL with 25 conceded and Slavia Jokanovic’s seat just got a little hotter with the Cottagers having just one win on the board so far this season.

Newcastle would love to have a win on the board so far but that’s not the case for Rafael Benitez’s team who have become just the fourth team in English top-flight history to lose their first five home league games of the season. Newcastle sit bottom of the PL and were booed off by their fans after losing 1-0 against Brighton at St James’ Park. With owner Mike Ashley watching on, tensions are high on Tyneside with the home fans enraged that more money wasn’t spent in the summer after Benitez guided the Magpies to a tenth place finish last season. Right now, Newcastle and Fulham look likely to battle it out with Cardiff and Huddersfield to stay out of the three relegation places. That is a desperate situation for a massive club in Newcastle and a newly-promoted club in Fulham who spent a record amount on new players over the summer.


Trouble is never too far away from Mourinho

To be fair to Mourinho he wasn’t the instigator here at all. Seriously.

Marco Ianni, Chelsea’s second assistant coach, will be lucky to not escape a touchline ban as he celebrated in front of Mourinho and Man United’s bench, punched the air in delight and let Barkley’s last-gasp equalizer get the better of him.

Speaking after the game, Mourinho revealed that Maurizio Sarri and Ianni had apologized and he accepted it.

“Bad education,” Mourinho said of Ianni’s actions. “But I also made mistakes in football matches and I will make more. So when after the game he came to me to apologize, I accepted his apology and nothing more to say.”

For once, Mourinho was in the right as Sarri admitted his assistant had made “a big mistake” and the matter would be dealt with internally. Of course, the emotion of a late equalizer has got to us all but the melee around the tunnel at Stamford Bridge could have been even uglier than it already was.

PL Preview: Tottenham vs. Cardiff City

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Winless in the league through the season’s first seven matches, Cardiff City will look to take advantage of a banged up Tottenham Hotspur as they meet at Wembley Stadium on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

[ WATCH LIVE: Tottenham vs. Cardiff live on NBCSports.com ]

Tottenham will be without defender Jan Vertonghen who has picked up a hamstring problem and could miss as much as six weeks. Along with the Belgian defender, Spurs will miss Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele who are all sidelined with various injuries. Spurs will especially miss the creativity of Eriksen, who has been out since suffering what Pochettino called an “abdomen problem” he picked up after the 2-1 victory over Brighton in late September.

Spurs have been all over the place with results of late, but they’ve done enough to put themselves into fourth place in the Premier League table. They fell to Barcelona in midweek Champions League play, carved up by Lionel Messi and company. However, they’ve been perfect through Premier League play aside from a two-game losing skid back in early September.

For Cardiff City, manager Neil Warnock is fearing the sack if the Premier League new boys can’t pick up points, and fast. With just two points through the first seven matches, Cardiff sits in 19th, level on points with Huddersfield Town and Newcastle. They are without midfielder Aron Gunnarsson this weekend who is on his way back from a knee injury, while Junior Hoilett is reportedly fit and ready to go.

What they’re saying

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on playing a weaker team: “The most difficult game is the game that everyone believes, outside of the team, that you must win. For us it’s so important to be motivated at the same level. If not we’re going to struggle.”

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock on the possibility of being fired: “If we don’t get results, no doubt it will become someone else’s problem. Every manager is under pressure. You do find every big agent is pushing managers’ names. I have heard two or three be mentioned already for my job, but that’s not just me, every manager gets that.”

Prediction

This Tottenham team is banged up, but right now Cardiff City is just not scoring enough to be trusted against such a disciplined team like Tottenham. An early goal will put Cardiff out of its comfort zone, and it will be elementary from there in a 2-0 Spurs win.