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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.

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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

Premier League Preview: Arsenal vs. Liverpool

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  • Arsenal is without the suspended Matteo Guendouzi, while Mohamed Elneny (thigh), Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) and Dinos Mavropanos (groin) are injured. There are also doubts over Nacho Monreal (hamstring), Hector Bellerin (thigh), Sokratis (ankle) and Sead Kolasinac (hamstring), who all face late fitness tests.  
  • Lverpool midfielders Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita (both hamstring) will miss the trip to London. 
  • The last five PL meetings between these teams have produced 27 goals, an average of 5.4 per match.
  • Arsenal is looking for its first PL victory over Liverpool in seven attempts (D3 L3). This is Arsenal’s longest such run against the Reds since a sequence of 12 between 1994 and 2000

Two of the Premier League’s best attacks face off as Arsenal host Liverpool in the biggest match of the Premier League weekend (Watch live on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Despite dealing with injuries all season, Liverpool’s offense is finding its best form, with eight goals in its last two games in all competitions, including a trio of goals each from Sadio Mane and Mohamad Salah. The pair, along with Roberto Firmino will provide a great test to Unai Emery‘s rickety defense, which allowed two penalty kick goals last week against Crystal Palace.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

It’s a game that should be high on action and goals and low on slow, defensive play. A true treat for all us Premier League fans.

What they’re saying?

Arsenal manager Unai Emery on facing the top 6 sides: “We want to write a new history. The new history is in the present and also, with our players, our quality and our capacity, I believe in my players and this project. We are starting this project with a very positive way with what we are doing. We are in our mentality that we also need to improve thing but each match they are giving us a lot of information for improvement and development and I trust in my players.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on the recent goal-scoring run: “We created a lot of chances before that as well, apart from the Napoli game and maybe the City game, where there were not a lot of chances at both ends of the pitch. But we created, we only didn’t score. As long as you create, as a manager you should not be in doubt about finishing because the players don’t change overnight or over a week or month or over a season. They are the same boys; there’s always the chance to improve and develop, of course, but you have to respect that there can be a few drops as well.”

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Prediction

Both teams defenses have improved since the two teams last met, but with so much attacking power on display, we expect there to be plenty of highlight-reel moments. We predict it’s going to be a replay of last year’s matchup at the Emirates, with goals from Salah, Mane, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool

Premier League Preview: Bournemouth vs. Manchester United

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  • AFC Bournemouth striker Joshua King has been ruled out with an ankle injury. Eddie Howe says he is “quietly confident” Simon Francis will be passed fit after the defender suffered an injury in the EFL Cup tie against Norwich. 
  • Manchester United has Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sanchez (both groin) available again. Marouane Fellaini (groin), Diogo Dalot and Antonio Valencia (knee) remain sidelined. 
  • AFC Bournemouth, who has kept a clean sheet in its last three Premier League matches, can now make it four in a row in the top flight for the first time.
  • Anthony Martial has scored in his last three PL matches, hitting four goals in total. He can now register in a fourth consecutive fixture in the competition for the first time. 

Bournemouth looks to win its fourth game out of its last five Premier League matches as it hosts Jose Mourinho and Manchester United (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Eddie Howe’s side has scored nine goals in its last three Premier League victories, including three goals from Callum Wilson and David Brooks each. However, Bournemouth will be without star forward Joshua King and Man United appear to be finding its feet in the Premier League. The club nearly left Stamford Bridge with a win against Chelsea and the Red Devils held on to a 2-1 win last weekend against Everton.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Paul Pogba seems to be back to his best (even with his loooooong penalty kick run-up), and Anthony Martial has scored in his last three games. Can he make it four in a row?

What they’re saying?

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe on being underdogs against Man United: “Players need to know to get anything out of the game, they are going to have to excel, perhaps even above what we have done this season, to get a positive result. That’s my message to the players. Whenever you play the elite teams, the big guns, you have to outperform your levels. You have to hit your very top to get a result. We have found that before, you can’t play below your best and expect to win. The challenge is to win and go harder.”

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on keeping his team focused on themselves and not the rest of the table: “I think in this moment we have to focus on ourselves and do better, or get better results. I think it’s very difficult, for example, to go to Stamford Bridge and do better than what we did in terms of performance. We had three points in our pocket but we left with only one. In other matches, we could have had and we should have had better results than we did. So, until the end of December, we have to focus on ourselves and the potential we have and the problems we have and the qualities we have and try to go because at the moment we are outside the top four. We have to push hard and work hard to improve and try and get into the top four positions.“

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Prediction

We think this can be a pretty exciting match, though both teams will have to share the spoils. Paul Pogba actually scores a penalty kick on Saturday but Bournemouth’s Wilson scraps one home on a set piece. Bournemouth 1-1 Man United. 

Mourinho rules Sanchez, Fellaini out for next match

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Jose Mourinho will be without a handful of first team regulars heading into this weekend’s matchup with Everton, including Alexis Sanchez and Marouane Fellaini.

The Chilean and Belgian both picked up injuries during the international break and have been unable to recover in time for this weekend, along with Diogo Dalot and potentially Scott McTominay. The injuries will force Mourinho, with an already short bench, to play many of his starters from Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat against Juventus this Sunday against the Toffees.

[READ: Arsenal win its 11th straight game]

“In this moment he’s struggling,” Mourinho said on Friday about Sanchez, “because he’s injured and because he come to the Chelsea match to try to help the team, but his physical condition was not good and then he had to stop and he was not available for Juventus and he is not available for tomorrow again. So now the point is to be physically in the best conditions. I think he’s the kind of player that needs to be really sharp to play his best game.”

Sanchez has struggled to find his form and his place in Mourinho’s system since joining Manchester United last January, but Fellaini has been a key player when fit. Mourinho even blamed part of the defeat to Juventus on Fellaini being injured. The hulking Belgian was expected to be fit for Man United’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea last weekend but he ultimately was ruled out.

On the plus side midfielder Jesse Lingard, who has missed the last month of matches with a groin injury, is nearly 100 percent and could feature against Everton. Lingard reportedly carried the groin injury into the new season from his time at the 2018 World Cup, but should he recover, he would add some needed steel and skill on the ball to Man United’s midfield.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool

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Liverpool looks to continue it’s strong start to the season Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) when the Reds visit former manager Roy Hodgson and Crystal Palace.

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Both teams won their season openers, with Liverpool thrashing West Ham 4-0 and Crystal Palace overcoming Fulham, 2-0. Monday will be a battle of two of the best wingers in the Premier League, with Mo Salah lining up against Wilfried Zaha.

In addition, both teams have made no changes to their opening-day lineups, though Crystal Palace has new signing Max Meyer available off the bench.

Enjoy what could be an exciting match featuring plenty of goals!


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