Murray’s brace leads Brighton fightback vs. Fulham

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  • Murray scores 25th, 26th PL goals
  • Fulham led 2-0 through Schurrle, Mitrovic
  • Both teams on four points

What a game!

Glenn Murray converted a late penalty kick to complete his brace as Brighton and Hove Albion came back to draw Fulham 2-2 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Andre Schurrle and Aleksandar Mitrovic had put the Cottagers ahead, but the latter went to the doghouse by conceding an unthreatened late penalty.

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Pascal Gross had a PK saved by Marco Bettinelli in the 25th minute.

Jean Michael-Seri pulled the strings for the opener, finding Schurrle for a finish — and combination — that had the Cottagers’ support dreaming.

Lewis Dunk‘s error allowed Mitrovic to make it 2-0, as the Serbian striker darted onto a poor back pass and finished his second bite at the apple after a Mathew Ryan save.

Murray pulled one back for Brighton with his 25th Premier League goal, belting Anthony Knockaert‘s pass into the goal following a giveaway from Fulham’s Maxime Le Marchand.

Mitrovic went from GOAT to goat when he handled a low-pressure ball in the 18, and Brighton’s second penalty kick of the night was a converted one.

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Kane strikes as Spurs down Fulham

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  • Moura scores beauty
  • Mitrovic briefly has it level
  • Trippier curls in free kick
  • Kane scores first August PL goal

Tottenham Hotspur continued its impressive run against Premier League new boys, wearing down Fulham in a 3-1 win on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.

Lucas Moura, Kieran Trippier, and Harry Kane scored for Spurs, who only conceded an Aleksandar Mitrovic header.

Tottenham is off to Manchester United next, while Fulham hosts Burnley at Craven Cottage.

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Spurs were all over the Cottagers to start the match, and Lucas Moura couldn’t turn Ben Davies‘ rocket cross on goal in the sixth minute.

Moura then stole a poor Calum Chambers pass but fouled Fulham keeper Fabri in a race for the ball and saw the whistle blown before Harry Kane could pop the ball in the goal.

Kane was denied a penalty kick in the 15th minute, despite contact with his leg on a dribble in the box. And Christian Eriksen hit a 20-yard shot wide of the far post in a 23rd minute bid for an opener.

Moura made amends for his earlier foibles by bending an arrow off the far post to give Spurs the lead.

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But Fulham found some flow in the second half, as Mitrovic missed his first bid at a cross but stooped to nod Ryan Sessegnon‘s cutback over the line.

Dele Alli got a little too cute with a roller on the doorstep in the 66th minute. Kane hit the bar four minutes later, only adding to his head-scratching August record.

Trippier did put Spurs ahead, spinning a free kick inside the near post for his first goal in two-and-a-half years.

Kane finally got a Premier League in the eighth month of the calendar year, making one cut after a feed from substitute Erik Lamela and scoring a far post goal we’ve seen him bag a dozen times or more.

Season Preview: Fulham’s offseason promises much

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Premier League titles: 0 (Promoted last season)

FA Cups: 0

League Cups: 0

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Once the team of Clint Dempsey, Brede Hangeland, Mark Schwarzer, and a 2010 Europa League Final, the Cottagers were relegated in 2014 after a comical season saw Martin Jol, Rene Meulensteen, and Felix “Cheese Heals All” Magath run the team into the ground. After two seasons of flirting with a second relegation, Fulham found new life under Slavisa Jokanovic.

Jokanovic led Fulham to a playoff loss and a playoff win in his two full seasons in charge, and now gets a loaded Craven Cottage in both excitement and potential. Jean Michael Seri was an absolute coup — even at a record price tag — and Alfie Mawson, Andre Schurrle, and Aleksandar Mitrovic are household names for anyone whose paid minor attention to English soccer.

How high can it rise? How low can it fall?

Even if Fulham fails to build momentum, don’t be surprised if it puts together a final half-dozen matches to climb higher than expected: The Cottagers finish with Watford, Everton, Bournemouth, Cardiff City, Wolves, and Newcastle United.


Fulham will finish top-half because… They’ve got great talent, motivation, and spirit under Jokanovic. How quickly can they come together? Preseason hasn’t been kind to the Cottagers, but home tilts with Palace and Burnley inside their first three matches provide a chance to escape August with a foothold in the top half (A visit to Spurs the second Saturday might be kind to them given Tottenham’s heavy World Cup schedule).

Fulham will be relegated because… If the club cannot adapt quickly, it might find itself in mid-November with a five-match run of Liverpool away, Saints home, Chelsea away, Leicester home, Manchester United away. That’s not to say Fulham doesn’t have the group to navigate that run, but bad things can happen to newly-promoted teams.

Best possible XI:

Bettinelli

Christie — Ream — Mawson — Odoi

Seri — Cairney (c) — Johansen

Schurrle — Mitrovic — Sessegnon

Transfers In: Schurrle (loan), Mitrovic ($23 million), Mawson (#19.5 million), Seri ($35 million), Maxime Le Marchand ($4.5 million), Fabri ($7 million).

Transfers Out: David Button ($5 million), Ryan Fredericks (free)

Ranking their offseason: A+

Look above at who came in, and who came out; Nothing more needs to be said. Fulham killed it (and re-upped USMNT center back and club mainstay Tim Ream for two years as well).

Star player: Jean Michael Seri — A clinical passer with an eye for the final ball, the 27-year-old Ivorian was wanted by any number of strong European clubs. Fulham won his signature, though he’s never been tested at a week-in, week-out level like the Premier League. Should he fail, we’ll be writing “Star player: Aleksandar Mitrovic” or “Star player: Andre Schurrle” sooner rather than later.

Coach’s Corner: Slavisa Jokanovic — The former Watford boss was finally trusted with the keys to the kingdom, and has responded in style. A player’s coach, it’s fair to predict a long leash for the 49-year-old former Chelsea and Tenerife midfielder.

PST Predicts: Fulham stays up, earning safety early before making a late season charge to set itself up for a promising 2019-20 season.

Analyzing Benitez’s risk in reported Mitrovic out, Rondon in moves

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As Newcastle cut ties with Aleksandar Mitrovic ahead of the Serbian striker Fulham move and Salomon Rondon seemingly moves into his old squad spot, it’s worth asking, at least in theory, whether the Magpies can defy the age math of the move.

There’s a load of well-earned respect amongst the Geordies for manager Rafa Benitez, who has rarely had time or patience for the productive but combustible Mitrovic.

[ MORE: Pochettino hopeful for signings as injuries pile up, deadline looms ]

Still just 23, the powerful forward had an amazing half-season on loan at Fulham and was a handful for defenses at the World Cup.

But Benitez has kept a short leash on Mitrovic since he took the reigns at St. James Park. Mitrovic scored 12 goals in 17 Championship matches for Fulham after scoring just five times in 31 appearances between the Championship and Premier League for Newcastle from 2015-17 (His first year at Newcastle was a nine-goal, four-assist, two red card campaign under Steve McClaren and then Benitez).

Given Mitrovic’s young age and success rate at Craven Cottage, there’s no reason for Fulham not to spend the reported $28 million.

The Magpies are expected to use a lot of that money to sign big West Bromwich Albion forward Rondon, who has scored 24 goals in three seasons as the focal point of one of the Premier League’s most conservative attacks.

Newcastle’s bet has to be that Benitez believes that feeding pieces around Rondon — Ayoze Perez, Yoshimori Muti, Matt Ritchie, Jonjo Shelvey, DeAndre Yedlin and Kenedy — are going to produce more feast-able material for the big man than the Baggies’ recent pieces (Chris Brunt, Matty Phillips, Kieran Gibbs, Jay Rodriguez, Jake Livermore, and James McClean).

Mitrovic played with such fury that cards were never too far away. Rondon is no shrinking violet, but has only taken one red in his career (going head-first into Bournemouth opposition, who was doing the same).

This is a pretty big risk for Benitez, who is one even marginally-big Mitrovic season away from having a $40-plus million striker on his hands. But Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s stingy nature has forced Benitez to find creative solutions to his squad needs.

Rondon is a short-term fix and the striker market is never going to be low cost, but the Magpies do have plenty of crossers and playmakers should they stay healthy. Might Rondon be the tonic for an attack dreadfully shy of finishers last season? He’s no doubt an upgrade on Joselu and Dwight Gayle, but that’s not saying a ton.

It’s not a big gamble, but admittedly it’s a gamble. Rondon can be a 10-goal man with terrific hold-up play for teammates, but a behaved Mitrovic has 15-20 in his locker. That’s asking a lot though.

Report: Fulham finally completes Mitrovic capture

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A long-assumed transfer appears to be finally coming to a conclusion.

Fulham and Newcastle have reportedly been haggling over the asking price of striker Aleksandar Mitrovic for some time now, but the saga looks to be nearly complete as Sky Sports is reporting that the teams have come to an agreement.

According to Keith Downie of Sky Sports, Newcastle has accepted a bid from Fulham. It does appear, however, that Downie is struggling to nail down the price of the agreed fee. His initial tweet claims the bid is a whopping $29 million with another $6.5 million possible in add-ons, significantly higher than previous reports. Meanwhile, the article he wrote on Sky Sports’ website claims a $26 million fee in the headline, but then in the body claims the clubs were haggling on a price somewhere between $21 million and $23.5 million.

Reports have swirled all summer after Mitrovic spent the second half of last season on loan at Craven Cottage and exploded, scoring 12 goals in 17 Championship appearances. The fans fell in love with the Serbian almost instantly, as he brought an unparalleled passion to the pitch along with his prolific striker haul.

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With Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez publicly declaring Mitrovic no longer needed at Newcastle, it seemed a matter of time the transfer would get done. However, as the summer days and weeks dragged on and no deal was iced, there were questions about whether Fulham might look elsewhere.

Now, with Newcastle completing a deal for Japanese striker Yoshinori Muto, the Mitrovic deal reportedly received the go-ahead with his replacement on the way. The timing of that deal just a day earlier suggests these two teams have been on the same page the entire time. Reports have stated that personal terms have been agreed to between player and new club for some time, so it was just the teams who needed to sign off.

Fulham has proven agressive in the transfer window this summer, breaking the club’s transfer record with the acquisition of midfielder Jean-Michael Seri from French club Nice, plus the purchase of his teammate Maxime Le Marchand and the completion of a two-year loan for former Chelsea winger Andre Schurrle. They are also rumored to be spending big on Swansea defender Alfie Mawson and have been linked with a few midfielders as well.