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Live, FA Cup quarterfinal: Watford v. Crystal Palace

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Watford host Crystal Palace on Saturday (match begins at 8:15 a.m. ET) to kick off the FA Cup quarterfinal action.

[ LIVE: FA Cup scores here ]Β 

The rivalry between these two teams has bubbled up over the past few years and even though the main protagonist, Wilfried Zaha, isn’t fit and playing there will still be a spicy atmosphere at Vicarage Road.

Watford have beat Palace 2-1 in both of their Premier League encounters this season, but Palace’s strong away form will make this a tense quarterfinal.

In team news Watford have named their strongest possible lineup, with veteran goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes coming in to start in goal.

Palace are without Zaha, who is nursing a hamstring injury, and both Scott Dann and Patrick Van Aanholt are also out.


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What did we learn on a wild Premier League Saturday? (video)

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The seven Premier League games on Saturday delivered so many incredible moments, as we had comeback wins, top teams falling, controversy and plenty of strugglers bagging big wins.

Days like today are exactly why we love the Premier League.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]Β 

Here is a look at what we learned.


SPURS IN TOP FOUR TROUBLE

Tottenham suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Southampton as they’ve now lost three of their last four games and are without a Premier League win since beating Leicester City on Feb. 10. Mauricio Pochetttino, watching on from the stands due to his current touchline ban, lambasted his players for failing to respect Saints. Spurs were superb in the first half and should have been at least 3-0 up with Harry Kane and Dele Alli ripping Saints apart. Instead they were only 1-0 up and were then totally outfought in the second half and paid the price.

With sixth-place Chelsea now just five points behind third-place Spurs, they are losing serious ground in their top four battle and still have to play at Liverpool and Man City. From the cusp of being in the title race, Spurs have crumbled and are now in real danger of not being in the UEFA Champions League next season.

“It is good because a lot of people now are going to realize our real level,” Pochettino said, before adding. “We are fighting against big sides (for the top four). We had a big gap, that maybe wasn’t real, now welcome to the reality. We are under going to be under pressure to win games. It is a massive challenge for us to keep our position.”


STERLING LEADS CITY, BUT NOT WITHOUT CONTROVERSY

Raheem Sterling‘s hat trick extended Man City’s lead atop the Premier League table to four points, but the 3-1 win against Watford didn’t come without controversy. The crucial first goal arrived less than 45 seconds into the second half but it was originally ruled out for offside, then it was allowed due to a strange perception of the offside rule. That could be a huge moment in the season, as City were struggling to break Watford down. Pep Guardiola‘s side were not at their best and that is expected as they are without Fernandinho, John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne, three players who are key to how they operate.

City took care of business, with a little help from the officials, and now it is over to Liverpool who host Burnley at Anfield on Sunday. Jurgen Klopp‘s men now know that any slip up will hand Man City an even greater advantage in the title race. The pressure is on.


COMEBACKS, GLORIOUS COMEBACKS

Southampton’s comeback win against Tottenham stole the headlines, but Newcastle also launched a marvellous comeback as they beat Everton at St James’ Park 3-2. Rafael Benitez’s side dug deep to fight back from 2-0 down as they also had a penalty kick saved in the first half moments before going 2-0 down.

The belief Newcastle showed to drag themselves back into the game was sublime and, just like Saints, the kind of momentum they will gain from this comeback win will be vital as so many teams battle to stay in the Premier League. At this point of the season sealing a comeback win can be even more important than grabbing three points. The resilience teams are showing at the bottom of the table is incredible, with the likes of Saints, Newcastle and Brighton standing tall. Add in Burnley and Cardiff scrapping away and there are still so many twists and turns remaining in the battle against the drop.


RELEGATION BATTLERS STAND TALL

It is not often Brighton, Saints, Newcastle and Cardiff have won games this season. So it was extremely surprising they all grabbed wins on the same day. Brighton dug deep and delivered a massive away win in the M23 at derby, with Anthony Knockaert‘s stunning goal worthy of winning any game. Glenn Murray had given the Seagulls the lead and Crystal Palace were never at the races. Saints’ win was incredibly unexpected, while Newcastle and Cardiff took care of business at home. All in all, the relegation battle is more muddled than it was before the day kicked off.

Just six points separates Cardiff in 18th and Palace in 14th, and the likes of Cardiff, Brighton and Palace have tough run ins compared to others at the bottom. Fulham and Huddersfield are basically down, while six teams are fighting to stay out of the final relegation spot. Pick one from: Cardiff, Burnley, Southampton, Brighton, Palace and Newcastle.


WILSON, TIELEMANS, RONDON ARE BALLERS

There are some players who are on teams outside of the top six who sometimes do not get the respect they deserve. A few of them stole the show on Saturday. Wilfried Zaha usually falls into this category but he struggled for Palace against Brighton, but Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson was brilliant on his return from injury. Wilson hasn’t played since mid-January for Bournemouth, but he returned with a goal and an assist in their win at Huddersfield and was a constant menace. You can bet that Wilson will be called into the England squad for the upcoming internationals and the PL’s big boys will be sniffing around him this summer.

As for Youri Tielemans, he continues to go from strength to strength in the Premier League. The Belgian midfielder is only on loan from Monaco and Leicester will want to sort that out sharpish as he scored the first and oozed class throughout their 3-1 win against Fulham. Brendan Rodgers loves to have a ball-playing central midfielder who makes things happen and Tielemans fits the bill. And then there is Salomon Rondon at Newcastle. The Venezuelan striker rarely gets the headlines, but he has quietly scored eight goals this season for the Magpies and their entire attacking unit is better when he is fit and playing. Rondon won Newcastle a penalty kick, scored the goal which sparked their amazing comeback and bullied Everton’s defense. For the likes of Miguel Almiron, Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez to flourish, Rondon has to be the focal point.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace v. Brighton

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Crystal Palace host Brighton & Hove Albion (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in a massive rivalry clash to kick off the Premier League action this weekend.

The M23 derby is here.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Palace have won three of their last five games, with Wilfried Zaha firing on all cylinders, and Roy Hodgson‘s men can almost see light at the end of the tunnel in their battle against relegation.

Brighton are just three points and two places behind Palace, but Chris Hughton knows his team aren’t in great form and a win in this derby would be hugely important for momentum in the final months of the season.

In team news Palace bring in James McArthur and Andros Townsend for Max Meyer and Cheikhou Kouyate with Vicente Guaita replacing Wayne Hennessey in goal, while Brighton made one change as Florin Andone replaced former Palace striker Glenn Murray in the lineup… but Andone was injured in the warm up and Murray comes back in.


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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).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

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 β€” both of which were victories β€” at the end of the January transfer window. Speaking of inspiration, winger Wilfried Zaha has bagged four goals in four games β€” 2W-1D-1L β€” 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 β€” OUT: Mamadou Sakho (knee), Pape Souare (shoulder) | Brighton β€” 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 itΒ on iOSΒ orΒ Google Play.

Crystal Palace ease to victory at Burnley (video)

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  • Zaha, Batshuayi, Bardsley (OG) for Palace
  • Burnley lose second-straight game
  • Eagles on 33 points

Crystal Palace beat Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor on Saturday, as the Eagles continue to soar towards midtable.

A Phil Bardsley own goal put Palace ahead and second half goals from Michy Batshuayi and Wilfried Zaha sealed the victory. Ashley Barnes scored a consolation in stoppage time.

With the win Palace move on to 33 points, while Burnley are on 30 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Eagles took the lead early on as Wilfried Zaha found Jeffrey Schlupp at the back post and his ball back towards goal was knocked into his own net by Bardsley.

Wayne Hennessey then made a fine save to deny Chris Wood as Burnley cranked through the gears and put Palace under serious pressure.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]Β 

Jeff Hendrick then had a volley blocked as Burnley pushed hard to get back into the game.

Plenty of tackles were flying in as players from both teams piled in during a major flash point right on half time.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

At the start of the second half Palace doubled their lead in fine fashion.Β Aaron Wan Bissaka raced down the right and delivered a perfect cross for Batshuayi to hammer home his second goal in his last three Palace games.

Burnley piled the pressure on Palace, as Barnes missed from close range but the Eagles were happy to deal with plenty of long balls and crosses into their box.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

On the break Schlupp and Basthuayi both went close for Palace, and Zaha finished the job with a fine low finish to make it 3-0.

Barnes scored a consolation and Peter Crouch went close moments later, but Palace were more than worthy of the three points.

Roy Hodgson‘s men are now looking to break into the top 10 after three wins in their last five games.