Pascal Gross

Tottenham fight back to beat Brighton

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Tottenham Hotspur beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 on Boxing Day as Harry Kane and Dele Alli scored second half goals to lead Spurs to victory.

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Adam Webster had given Brighton a first half lead but Spurs hung in there and Kane and Alli struck in the final 30 minutes to lead Jose Mourinho’s men to an important win as they bounced back from their defeat against Chelsea.

With the victory Spurs momentarily closed the gap to the top four back to three points, while Brighton lost a second-straight game as they continue to sink towards the relegation zone.


3 things we learned

1. Quality of Kane, Alli rescues Spurs: If in doubt, Kane and Alli will bail Spurs out. The England internationals scored a goal each in the second half as they turned things around for Spurs. It wasn’t pretty but Kane and Alli set the tone for high-pressing and they had the quality to finish off chances and link up in attack. Tottenham have plenty of defensive issues to sort out but going forward they are in good shape with Kane and Alli leading the line.

2. Brighton run out of steam: The Seagulls took the game to Spurs in the first half but totally ran out of steam in the second as they hardly had a chance going forward. Graham Potter‘s side are lovely to watch at times but you worry about their lack of cutting edge in the final third as they continue to sink towards the relegation scrap. Had Aaron Connolly finished a great chance at the start of the second half, we’d be talking about a big away win for the Seagulls. So far this season they’ve just run out of steam at key moments. 

3. Midfield balance not right: Harry Winks came in for Eric Dier on Boxing Day but the balance just wasn’t right in central midfield once again. Moussa Sissoko played okay but there doesn’t seem to be enough defensive cover in front of the back four and that is something Mourinho always wants. Get ready for Mourinho’s first signing at Spurs to be a holding midfielder.

Man of the Match: Harry Kane – Didn’t stop running the entire game, scored one and had another disallowed for a tight offside and drove Tottenham on to victory. Kane is now in double figures for the PL season and the Englishman is standing tall as they continue their battle to finish in the top four.


The first big chance of the game arrived for Spurs as Toby Alderweireld‘s long ball found Sessegnon and on his first Premier League start for Spurs the youngster hit the post.

Steven Alzate then drilled a low shot on goal which Paulo Gazzaniga could only push away as Brighton grew as a threat on the break.

Aaron Mooy‘s effort was then deflected wide as Brighton caused Spurs problems, but it then looked like Kane had given Tottenham the lead. Harry Winks’ ball found the English striker and he finished calmly, but VAR intervened and decided Kane was offside by an armpit as the goal was chalked off.

Brighton made the most of that as moments after Moussa Sissoko had missed a glorious chance at one end, Brighton broke and won a free kick. Webster headed home from that set piece as he was left totally unmarked to give the Seagulls the lead.

Dele Alli almost flicked home at the near post before the break but Spurs had it all to do in the second half.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

At the start of the second half Aaron Connolly almost doubled Brighton’s leader with a header and that seemed to finally wake Spurs up.

Kane continued his amazing streak of scoring on Boxing Day as he made it eight goals in five games on Dec. 26, as he finished emphatically at the second attempt to draw Tottenham level and set up a frantic final third of the game.

Spurs pushed hard for the winner late on but Pascal Gross was denied by Gazzaniga as his free kick arrowed towards the top corner.

But a moment of pure class won the game for Tottenham as a flowing move saw Christian Eriksen find Serge Aurier at the back post and his touch set up Dele Alli who lobbed home a sumptuous effort into the far top corner.

Kane, Alli and Eriksen all went close late on to adding a third but in the end Spurs eased to victory after a rousing second half comeback.

Zaha saves Palace in M23 Derby draw

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Brighton and Hove Albion looked interesting it’s way to a confidence-boosting three points on the road against long-time rivals Crystal Palace.

But the Seagulls forgot about Wilfried Zaha.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Crystal Palace star winger saved a point for the Eagles with a brilliant second half goal, as Crystal Palace drew 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion, Monday afternoon at Selhurst Park.

Zaha dribbled into the box, then cut into his left foot before unleashing a blast that Brighton goalkeeper Matthew Ryan had no chance of stopping.

With the draw, both teams move one point away from the drop zone, with Crystal Palace moving above Arsenal into ninth place in the table.


3 things we learned

1. Zaha the hero: Crystal Palace had one of its worst afternoons this season, but Roy Hodgkin always has an ace up his sleeve. When the team needed him, Zaha came home with a moment of brilliance to score and save a point for the Eagles.

2. Maupay off the mark again: Brighton and Hove at times look to have one of the best attacks outside the top six in the Premier League, and Maupay is a huge reason why. The Frenchman scored for the third-straight-game on Monday and he is showing no signs of slowing down. If only the rest of the attack could deliver some finishes.

3. Both clubs miss out on extending distance from drop zone: Crystal Palace was already in the top ten of the Premier League at kickoff, and with a win, Brighton would have joined the Eagles. But with a draw, both teams gain just one point over Southampton at 15 points. Brighton sits just five points up while Crystal Palace is now eight points ahead of Southampton. All it takes is a string of bad defeats in the next 30 days and both teams can be in trouble.


Despite playing at Selhurst Park, it was all Brighton early on. The Seagulls would finish with 65 percent possession, and that number was even higher until around the 70th minute, just after Max Meyer came off the bench for the Eagles.

In the 100th rivalry match between these two teams connected by the M23 in South England, tackles were flying in early, but it was Brighton which had the better of the chances. After VAR denied a possible penalty shout in the 20th minute when Marvin Montoya appeared to have been tripped in the box while shooting, Lewis Dunk sent a powerful header straight at Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita in goal.

In the 29th minute, Yves Bissouma found space and time outside the box and unleashed a blast that Guaita had to dive sharply for at the low-left post to keep the ball out.

A few minutes later, Davy Propper had a strike on goal, but Guaita was equal to it. Brighton’s constant attacks and ball movements kept Crystal Palace on its heels, and into the second half, it appeared the same story was playing out in front of us.

In the 57th minute, Brighton finally found the breakthrough. Leandro Toussard’s cross from the right was flicked on in the box by Pascal Gross. It fell to the feet of Maupay, who took a touch and powered a strike in for a well-deserved goal.

Brighton continued pushing for a second goal, but suddenly around the 70th minute, Crystal Palace woke up. Christian Benteke spun away from his defender to fire a shot on goal, before Zaha’s brilliant effort in the 76th minute tied the match at 1-1.

This story will be updated.

VAR awards late penalty as Brighton tops Everton

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VAR awarded a penalty for the first time in Premier League play as Brighton and Hove Albion twice struck late to defeat Everton 3-2 in a back-and-forth affair at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

The referee hadn’t spotted Michael Keane‘s foul against Aaron Connolly but the eye in the sky did, and Neal Maupay finished from the spot. Then Lucas Digne couldn’t prod a stoppage time cross over his goal, recording an own goal with Glenn Murray lurking behind him.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pascal Gross also scored Brighton’s first PL free kick goal in a game of firsts, as the Seagulls leapfrog Everton and move 12th with 12 points.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a Richarlison-inspired own goal accounted for the Toffees’ offense, as Everton again failed to build league momentum and sits 16th with 10 points.


Three things we learned

1. Gross, point blank: We pointed out in the club power rankings that Pascal Gross is top five in big chances created and key passes despite Brighton’s status as a relegation scrapper. The German playmaker was given a chance by an Andre Gomes foul, and buried his free kick. Jordan Pickford should’ve done better but that doesn’t make the strike any less easy on the eyes. Brilliant, deserved stuff.

2. VAR does its job: The commentary team on the broadcast laid out the reasons to award a penalty to Brighton in a way the referee clearly couldn’t explain to Everton’s players. Michael Keane fouled Aaron Connolly in the box, and replays showed how difficult it would be to spot the foul from field level. Moments after Brighton went down, it was level through Maupay.

3. Everton’s inconsistent season continues with more bad Fortune: Don’t get us wrong — The Toffees bear the brunt of the blame for the loss, but had the better of the play. That means absolutely nothing when there are four big mistakes contributing to three conceded goals. Andre Gomes committed a needless foul and Jordan Pickford flubbed his chance to stop a free kick goal, then VAR awarded a penalty for a Keane foul, and Digne had no choice but to try and improbable clearance than turned into an own goal since poached Murray was running free behind him. A solid team goal from Brighton, but this feels more like an Everton loss than a Seagulls win (and Graham Potter won’t care one bit. A fine win).

Man of the Match: Either Dan Burn or Dale Stephens, and we’ll use the former’s hockey assist on the winner to nod to Burn.


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Brighton needed less than a quarter of an hour to take the lead, a needless Andre Gomes foul setting up Gross for a free kick.

The German midfielder drove his shot over the wall, and Jordan Pickford as slow to react. The goal looked great, but the keep will want it back.

Zonal marking did little for Brighton on a poorly-defended corner kick, and VAR upheld Richarlison’s near post header in the 20th minute as it went off Webster for an own goal.

Richarlison made a terrific move down the right to set up two players for a cutback, but flubbed his pass.

Gross had the ball in the goal off a Davy Propper cross, but was offside.

Calvert-Lewin put Everton back in front off an inch-perfect through ball from Mason Holgate, but VAR quickly gave Brighton a chance to level from the spot.

Michael Keane fouled Aaron Connolly, who left the match for Murray before the spot kick. Maupay slotted past Pickford for 2-2 in the 80th minute.

That wasn’t the end of it, as Burn played Leandro Trossard into the box and the Belgian’s cross was pushed behind an equal parts stranded and indecisive Pickford for an o.g.

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 9

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Monday’s Arsenal loss and a massive midweek of European football means this week’s Premier League club power rankings come hours before Week 10 begins.

Better late than never.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low


20. Watford — The Hornets simply must get their first win soon, with Bournemouth and Chelsea at home and Norwich City away before the international break.
Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

19. Norwich City — A decent draw, but the Canaries are wasting an electric season from Emiliano Buendia. His 27 successful dribbles trail only Wilfried Zaha and Nicolas Pepe, although perhaps his numbers are so high because he’s such a focus outside of Teemu Pukki.
Last week: 19
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Bournemouth
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday v. Manchester United

18. Brighton and Hove Albion — Speaking of wasted efforts, Pascal Gross is Top Five in the league in big chances created and key passes. Good effort in the loss at Villa, but the Seagulls would’ve wanted more.
Last week: 17
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Aston Villa
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Everton

17. Newcastle United — Decent effort at Chelsea, but the Magpies need to take advantage of road-weary Wolves (even without Fabian Schar).
Last week: 15
Season high: 15
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

16. Southampton — Of Saints nine goals, only four have been assisted. Southampton’s passing in general needs to be much better, as Saints’ 74.4 percent passing is only better than Bournemouth and Burnley.
Last week: 18
Season high: 13
Season low: 19
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Wolves
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday v. Leicester City

15. West Ham United — There are clubs that bring their supporters pain because they don’t try or buy, and those that do. West Ham and Everton are both in that category, and the Irons brought nothing in a loss to the Toffees. Sad.
Last week: 9
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

14. Everton — The most infuriating batch of talent in the league delivered against West Ham, so I suppose we should expect them to underwhelm in what should be a straight-forward win at the Amex Stadium.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 14
Last match: Won 2-0 v. West Ham
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton

13. Tottenham Hotspur — Will the Champions League win over Red Star and an extra day’s rest help Spurs get their season on track while kinda/sorta avenging the UCL final loss?
Last week: 13
Season high: 2
Season low: 13
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Watford
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Liverpool

12. Manchester United — A much-improved performance from the players and tactical approach from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has Red Devils fans hoping that maybe, just maybe, something good has taken root at Old Trafford.
Last week: 16
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Norwich City

11. Burnley — Sean Dyche‘s scrappiest scrappers who ever scrapped.” Register the trademark.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Leicester City
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea.

10. Wolves — Were in Slovakia on Thursday night. Now onto Newcastle on no rest. Trouble?
Last week: 7
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Southampton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday at Newcastle

9. Bournemouth — Do better than two of the match’s three shots on target against one of three teams to have allowed 20-plus goals this season.
Last week: 8
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Watford

8. Aston Villa — Two-straight wins, unbeaten in three, and set for a visit to a Man City side with plenty of injuries who played during the week. What could go wrong? What could go wrong? Bueller?
Last week: 11
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Brighton
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

7. Arsenal — DYK? Arsenal now has three points from four away matches this season…
Last week: 4
Season high: 4
Season low: 7
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday v. Crystal Palace

6. Crystal Palace — …Unfortunately, Arsenal is 3W-1D at home and hosting Palace. Maybe Wilfried Zaha will put on a proper audition?
Last week: 6
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Man City
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal

5. Sheffield United — Look, Chris Wilder‘s men deserve this spot, and it feels just as good to put them here. The best story in the Premier League so far this season.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at West Ham United

4. Leicester City — It’s promising for the Foxes that beating plucky Burnley just seems like “ho-hum, that’s how it’s supposed to go.”
Last week: 5
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday at Southampton

3. Man City — Too many injuries to key players given all the congestion still to come, but City can feel good that its UCL status is so safe.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Aston Villa

2. Chelsea — The Christian PulisicMichy Batshuayi chemistry is real and has been for some time. It’s a bonus Chelsea didn’t plan for given the transfer ban, and could help keep them in all competitions.
Last week: 2
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

1. Liverpool — Again, the fact that the Reds have such a big lead on the field even after drawing Manchester United, while also not being near their best in PL play, should be plenty of comfort to the Kop. Now when will they kick on? Spurs at home seems a nice moment for it.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Manchester United
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday v. Tottenham Hotspur

Grealish leads Villa past 10-man Brighton

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Jack Grealish‘s star turn helped Aston Villa take advantage of 10-man Brighton and Hove Albion in a 2-1 comeback win at Villa Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Adam Webster‘s early goal gave Brighton a lead but Aaron Mooy‘s twin first half yellow cards put them under the knife.

Aston Villa moves 11th with 11 points. Brighton’s nine points seat them 16th.


Three things we learned

1. Touchy red helps undo Brighton: Aaron Mooy’s first yellow card was silly, so he know there was a need to play careful the rest of the way. He didn’t, and a soft yellow doomed the Seagulls to more than a half without the full complement of players.

2. Villa finally catching breaks: Dean Smith‘s men have had their fair share of bad luck come from good performances, so it was nice for them to follow up a blowout defeat of Norwich City with a little nudge from the Seagulls. Matty Targett’s winner came after plenty of time playing 11v10, and Villa’s standing of 11th now reflects its performances.

3. Grealish a monster: A sliding finish to make it 1-0 and clever feed to Targett for the winner. The Peaky Blinders’ haired man turned in a performance worthy of a BAFTA, with five dribbles and plenty of good moments in keeping possession moving for the victors.

Man of the Match:


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Brighton was knocking on the door early, but you’d be forgiven if you failed to predict the man to break it down.

Promising center back Webster’s stock continues to rise as he did to nod Pascal Gross‘ free kick into the goal.

A silly first yellow card for Mooy’s blocking of a free kick became egregious when he was shown another for knocking down Grealish, who would then score a sliding goal — they all count — to bring Villa level before halftime.

Solly March saw a shot through traffic go wide in the 51st as the Seagulls worked to overcome their disadvantage.

But Villa got the win through Targett at the death, a deserved-enough win although Brighton will feel hard done by.