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Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace v. Brighton

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  • Palace (33 points), 13th, 8 points clear of relegation
  • Brighton (30 points), 15th, 5 points clear
  • Brighton 3-1 Palace, in December

Brighton & Hove Albion are likely no more than five points from having done enough to avoid relegation from the Premier League this season, and the Seagulls have an eminently winnable FA Cup quarterfinal matchup with Championship side Millwall next weekend. By every realistic measure, 2018-19 will go down as a successful second season back in England’s top flight. Chris Hughton‘s side could just about take care of those required points when they visit Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), and complete the league double over the Eagles in the process.

After knocking off Huddersfield Town at home last weekend, Brighton are in search of back-to-back wins for the first time since Dec. 1 and 4, a stretch of 13 games without so much as a sniff of consistency (two wins in 13, including eight losses).

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Palace, on the other hand, have lost just one of their last six while winning three during that same stretch. Roy Hodgson has done a decent enough job to guide his boyhood in his first full season in charge, and the Eagles will feel they’ve already done enough to stay up with a victory on Saturday.

Michy Batshuayi has proven an inspired loan signing for Palace after scoring a goal in two of his last three games — both of which were victories — at the end of the January transfer window. Speaking of inspiration, winger Wilfried Zaha has bagged four goals in four games — 2W-1D-1L — since Batshuayi’s arrival. The two of them are clearly enjoying playing together.

“I told him, ‘Bro, once you get that first goal, they start coming from nowhere,'” Zaha said of Batshuayi. “I’m happy to see him on the scoresheet.”

Injuries

Crystal Palace OUT: Mamadou Sakho (knee), Pape Souare (shoulder) | Brighton — OUT: Pascal Gross (hamstring)

What they’re saying

Palace manager Roy Hodgson, on retirement: “They are not thoughts that I wish to entertain. I have no wish to entertain them. I don’t feel the need in any way to entertain them.I live in the present, basically. I try to make certain my life is as good as it can be at any given moment in time, doing what I’ve got to be doing and living my life the right way. In moments like this, where fortunately that is very much the case, I just try to profit from it without trying to get the crystal ball out and think what will it be like in March 2020.”

Brighton forward Glenn Murray, on stockpiling points: “We realized the magnitude of (facing Huddersfield), and we understand that. (In recent games) things were going against us slightly, and it was just about keeping our cool, going back to basics and (stop) conceding goals. There’s still plenty to do, we’re not home and hosed yet.”

Prediction

While Palace have been in good form of late, they’ve done most of their damage away from home (just one win in their last six at Selhurst Park). On the other side, Brighton haven’t won away from home in six tries. Each happy to take a point toward their season total, this one has draw written all over it.

Fans who want to try their hand at predicting PL games can down the NBC Sports Predictor app, with a chance to win up to $50,000 each week. Download it on iOS or Google Play.

Leicester City wins as new manager Rodgers looks on (video)

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  • Vardy scores 9th of season
  • Gray instrumental for Foxes
  • Leicester fired Puel earlier this week

Demarai Gray and Jamie Vardy scored as Leicester City topped Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 on Tuesday at the King Power Stadium.

New manager Brendan Rodgers was in the stands for the win, which saw the Foxes pull to within five points of seventh place Wolves and Watford.

Brighton is just three points clear of the drop zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Gray’s goal came after 10 minutes, with Wilfried Ndidi winning possession for Leicester and sending Youri Tielemans on his way to setting up the opener.

It could’ve been 2-0 in short order had Mat Ryan not made a nice save on Gray.

That seemingly snapped Brighton to life, and Pascal Gross‘ deflected offering made Kasper Schmeichel react quickly to keep Leicester in front.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League box scores, stats ]

Leicester doubled its lead through Vardy, who likely will have reveled in returning to the score sheet following his tumultuous relationship with the fired Claude Puel.

This was very much a team goal, with Tielemans, Ricardo Pereira, and James Maddison all part of the build-up.

That’s when Brighton pulled a goal back through Davy Propper, his first Premier League marker coming when he took a touch off a deflected cross and beat Schmeichel.

Lewis Dunk wasn’t too far from equalizing with a header, but Leicester held onto its lead as the match reached its final quarter hour.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Heaton, Wood take Burnley out of drop zone (video)

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  • Wood scores pair as Burnley opens up 2-0 lead
  • Chaotic sequence ends with Clarets penalty
  • Brighton has 67 percent possession, 16-9 advantage in shots

Chris Wood scored two goals and Burnley pushed its unbeaten Premier League run to seven games with an entertaining 3-1 defeat of Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Ashley Barnes had a goal and an assist, winning and converting a controversial penalty kick for the Clarets’ third goal.

Burnley’s win moves the Clarets out of the drop zone with 27 points, the same figure as Brighton.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brighton’s first chance came through a Solly March header tipped over the bar by Tom Heaton, who made a fine save off the ensuing corner when Pascal Gross lashed on frame.

Brighton’s Shane Duffy blocked a 17th minute Dwight McNeil effort off the cross bar, and Ashley Barnes couldn’t deposit the rebound with a headed shot.

Heaton made an outstanding reaction save on March when picked out by Jurgen Locadia in the 24th.

Wood put Burnley ahead 90 seconds later, as the New Zealand striker took advantage of a slipping Shane Duffy to run onto a hopeful Ashley Barnes cross and hit the ball past Mat Ryan.

Heaton made a edge-of-glove save on Gross in the 43rd, and Jeff Hendrick cleared the German’s header off the line as the first half hit stoppage time.

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Wood added a second as the clock hit 61, darting down the left to pick up McNeil’s pass and finish across Ryan’s goal.

Then, chaos.

Brighton should’ve been awarded a penalty for a handball at one end, and the counter attack saw Barnes hit the deck after trying to dribble Ryan in the box. Was he clipped? Possibly.

Barnes converted clinically, and it was 3-0.

Duffy then nodded a long free kick past Heaton with 15 minutes to play.

Fulham stun Brighton with wild comeback (video)

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  • Brighton led 2-0 at half time
  • Fulham score four times in second half
  • First win in 4 PL games for Fulham

Fulham launched an amazing second half comeback to beat Brighton 4-2 at a snowy Craven Cottage.

Brighton scored twice early on through Glenn Murray, but Fulham came roaring back in the second half as Calum Chambers and Luciano Vietto scored one each and Aleksandar Mitrovic grabbed a double.

With the win Fulham and Claudio Ranieri are now just four points from safety, while Brighton’s slump down the table continues.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brighton got off to the best possible start as Murray swept home Martin Montoya’s cross wonderfully to make it 1-0.

At the other end Maxime Le Marchand went close for the hosts, but Fulham just couldn’t get going.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Brighton doubled their lead before half time as a cross from the right was only half cleared and Pascal Gross flicked the ball towards goal where the wily fox Murray was waiting to flick home. 2-0.

Ryan Babel drilled a wonderful low shot from distance which Mat Ryan pushed away as Fulham pushed hard to get back in the game. Murray almost bagged his hat trick but Sergio Rico saved well and at the other end Andre Schurrle had a shot brilliantly cleared by Shane Duffy. Davy Propper then smashed the crossbar as Brighton almost put the game to bed.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ] 

At the start of the second half Fulham got the goal they craved, as Mitrovic nodded down and Chambers smashed home to make it 2-1. Game on.

Mitrovic almost bundled home a second Fulham goal moments later as the Cottagers built up a head of steam. Gross almost got on the end of a Brighton break, then Fulham substitute Luciano Vietto went close as his shot was deflected. From the resulting corner Fulham were level.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

After the corner was cleared, another ball looped into the box and Mitrovic pounced to head home and make it 2-2.

Fulham were flying late on and Jean Michel Seri went so close to putting them ahead but his low curled hit the post and came back out. Murray was then denied a hat trick goal by Rico with a wonderful stop, and a key moment arrived soon after.

Mitrovic put home another header to make it 3-2 to Fulham to spark wild scenes of celebration at Craven Cottage, and late on it got even better as Vietto made it 4-2.

What a comeback from the Cottagers to breath new life into their relegation scrap.

Solskjaer after seven-straight wins at Man United: ‘It’s class to be here’

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is loving life at Manchester United. And everyone at the club is delighted to have him back.

United beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 at Old Trafford Saturday to seal a sixth-straight Premier League win since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho and became their caretaker boss. He is the first United manager in history to win his first six league games in charge.

Solskjaer admitted that his team should have seen the game out in a more comfortable manner in the second half as they led 2-0 at half time but allowed Pascal Gross to make it 2-1 in the second half. However, with seven wins from seven in all competitions as United boss, he’s pretty happy.

“I can’t complain can I? I am smiling and this is one of these things I will remember for the rest of my life. It’s been a roller coaster and it’s class to be here,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.

The main men behind Solskjaer’s stunning start to life in charge at United have been Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba. And they were at it again.

Both scored in the first half against Brighton, with Rashford now grabbing five goals in his last six PL outings, plus Pogba has five goals and four assists in that span.

Asked about Rashford’s fine finish for United’s second goal, Solskjaer raved about the 21-year-old Englishman.

“Marcus Rashford has been top class,” Solskjaer said.”You start with work rate. He has that, works like no one else, runs channels, holds the ball up. He has now calmed down in front of goal and he’s assured and is practising all the time. Now he’s confident.”

Rashford has been sublime and Pogba, Anthony Martial and Jesse Linagrd have supported him admirably in attack. All four dazzled against Brighton, especially in the first half, and United should have won by a bigger margin.

Brighton didn’t threaten too much beside their goal, but Solskjaer will be keen to tell his stars to be more ruthless in the games coming up. With their next three PL matches against Burnley, Leicester and Fulham, they have a real chance to hunt down Chelsea in fourth place.

Solskjaer is doing everything he can to convince the United board he should take the job on a permanent basis at the end of the season when his caretaker spell is due to end.