Brighton and Hove Albion

Martial’s Manchester United eases past Brighton

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Anthony Martial had two assists and Manchester United eased past Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford and Andreas Pereira were joined on the score sheet by a Davy Propper own goal, with Lewis Dunk‘s second half header the only Brighton moment.

Influential midfielder Scott McTominay needed help to get off the pitch after a stoppage time injury.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

United moves seventh with 16 points, one back of fifth but nine behind fourth place Man City.

Brighton drops into 11th with its 15 points.


Three things we learned

1. Martial the maestro: We suspected that Martial’s absence from the United lineup was just as detrimental as Paul Pogba‘s, and the Frenchman has shown his worth. Another two assists today, including one of monster work on United’s  goal to reestablish the two-goal advantage. Still just 23, Martial has five goals and three assists in 10 matches across all competitions. United went 1-2-2 in the league while he was out.

2. Red Devils go to the greasy places: Manchester United, for as long as its been a club of influence, was capable of the sublime individual or team goals, but this unit has to make sure it puts its nose into the grimy, seedy parts of the pitch. It did that to get its second goal, and was sure to play that way early. Yet they also rose to the occasion once Brighton was forced to open up, more than tripling the Seagulls shot output. Well done on the whole for a needed simple win.

3. Socceroo shining: Mathew Ryan is a fine Premier League goalkeeper, and we were reminded of that Sunday when the Australian was credited with nine saves in a match which could’ve looked much worse than 3-1.

Man of the Match: Martial.


Marcus Rashford put Mat Ryan into an early bit of work, though there wasn’t much danger in their fourth minute encounter.

United took the lead in the 17th minute, as Pereira lost the ball but saw it roll to Martial. The Frenchman cut it back, and Pereira’s shot took a wicked deflection to beat Ryan.

It was 2-0 within minutes, McTominay crashing the goal and forcing Davy Propper to bundle an own goal over the line after Harry Maguire nodded a Fred free kick toward the line.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Pereira stung a shot at Ryan in the 57th minute, the match really lacking luster.

United’s Brendan Williams was shown a yellow card for a kick to the chest of Steven Alzate.

Fred forced Ryan into a save after the hour mark, and Brighton just missed a bid to make it interesting when Neal Maupay couldn’t get a foot on a loose ball in the six.

Then Graham Potter‘s men got their pull back, with Dunk getting free from Pereira to nod a corner kick home.

But United restored the two-goal advantage through Rashford, who was set up by the wonderful work of Martial. A proper goal for the Red Devils’ third.

Rashford then missed an absolute sitter following a delightful set-up from Daniel James.

AT HALF: Neves wonder strike leads Wolves; Man Utd up two

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We’ve got three goals across two 9 a.m. ET kickoffs in the Premier League, where Manchester United and Wolves have taken home leads.

[ STREAM: Man Utd-Brighton | Wolves-Villa ]


Manchester United 2-0 Brighton and Hove Albion

The hosts struck twice in the first 19 minutes, and neither goal was anything to write home about.

Andreas Pereira saw a shot take a wicked deflection to fool Mat Ryan for United’s opener, and the second goal was even less sexy as Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay went to the dirty places to force a Davy Propper own goal.

Wolves 1-0 Aston Villa

It was a tricky start at the Molineux, full of stops and starts and a Wolves side which was getting into promising places but unable to pull the trigger.

A set piece routine changed that, as Ruben Neves ended up in his office and delivered with typical aplomb.

Watch Live: Man Utd-Brighton, Wolves-Villa

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When Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United meet at Old Trafford on Sunday, only one team can rise into the Top Five within a win, and it isn’t the Red Devils.

Fourteenth-place United hopes to leapfrog the eighth place Seagulls by collecting all three points (Watch live at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Mason Greenwood and Juan Mata are available off the bench for the Red Devils.

[ STREAM: Man Utd-Brighton | Wolves-Villa ]

That’s one of two 9 a.m. ET kickoffs, as Wolves hope to move into the Top Ten and dodge a leapfrog bid from Aston Villa at the Molineux (Watch live on NBC Sports Gold, online via NBCSports.com).

Jed Steer starts in goal for Aston Villa, deputizing for injured Tom Heaton.

LINEUPS

Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams, McTominay, Fred, Pereira, Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Jones, Mata, Lingard, Rojo, Greenwood, Garner.

Brighton: Ryan, Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Burn, Trossard, Propper, Stephens, Alzate, Maupay, Connolly. Subs: Button, Gross, Balogun, Murray, Mooy, March, Schelotto.


Wolves: Patricio, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss, Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Jota, Jonny, Traore, Jimenez. Subs: Ruddy, Bennett, Neto, Cutrone, Perry, Vinagre, Kilman.

Aston Villa: Steer, Guilbert, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, El Ghazi, Nakamba, Trezeguet, Wesley. Subs: Nyland, Taylor, Chester, Lansbury, Hourihane, Kodjia, Elmohamady.

PL Sunday Preview: Wolves, Man United in action; Liverpool host Man City

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures features the likes of Wolves, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Brighton all in action. It is also headlined by the biggest match of the season yet: Liverpool vs Manchester City.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Wolves vs. Aston Villa — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Just weeks removed from a EFL Cup bout between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa that saw the latter come out victorious 2-1, both West Midland sides will meet again.

This time, however, the scenario will be distinct. Both sides won’t meet at Villa Park; instead,  Stadium will be the stadium of choice. Second-choice sides will not be front and center. It’s a league match, both teams will lineup with the best they have to offer and, as a result the intensity, will be vastly fiercer.

That’s if Wolves have the legs for that scenario to be a reality in the first place.

With Europa League added to an already daunting schedule, Nuno Espirito Santo and company have played eight matches since the start of October, averaging more than one per week. Villa, who’ve lost back to back league matches, are mindful of that and hope it will benefit them when all is said and done.

“They’re very tough to beat, they’ve got great organization and structure,” Villa manager Dean Smith ahead of Sunday’s derby. “They’ve got players who can score goals having gone to Manchester City and won, gone to Arsenal and equalized to come away with a point…so they’ll feel they’re in a run of form.”

“People look from the outside and think ‘is the amount of games they’re playing going to catch up with them?,'” he added. “We’re hopeful that is does on Sunday.”

INJURIES: Wolves — OUT: Gibbs-White (back), Boly (leg)| Aston Villa — OUT: Keenan Davis (hamstring)

Manchester United vs. Brighton and Hove Albion — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBCS and NBCSports.com

Brighton and Hove Albion have never won at Old Trafford.

Graham Potter and his group of players want to make history and change that against a historically-poor Manchester United.

“It would be great to get a result this weekend at one of the best places in world football,” Potter said. “Their quality is undoubted and we respect that – but we want to go there and be ourselves and take on the challenge in a positive way.”

Brighton are in positive form, sitting eighth on the table and two points clear of United, who haven’t had a start to the season as dreadful as 2019’s – 13 points in 11 matches – since 1986 under Ron Atkinson. In their last four bouts, Brighton have earned victories in three, defeating Tottenham, Everton and Norwich City.

It’s all very different for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the Red Devils.

Despite a convincing 3-0 win over a paltry Partizan midweek, the pressure at Old Trafford keeps looming over the injury-riddled team, who lost their previous league match against Bournemouth 1-0. Time and time again, the questions have been asked, but the answers have yet to surface.

Even then, Solskjaer feels their latest Europa League victory has left them with a blueprint.

“This is a little bit of a template on how we want to play, definitely,” the Norwegian manager stated following his team’s win on Thursday. “No disrespect to Partizan, but they gave us spaces. Of course after we scored the first goal, they went forward.”

“These boys are learning,” he added. “Tonight will give them loads of pointers of how to play. Even though the opposition is not the same as in the Premier League, it was still good principles.”

Nowhere was the word “consistency” mentioned, however. If they want to right the ship, they’ll need to learn it.

INJURIES: Manchester United — OUT: Dalot (hip), Matic (knock), Luke Shaw (thigh), Tuanzebe (hip), Eric Bailly (knee), Fosu-Mensah (knee), Pogba (ankle); SUSPENDED: Ashley Young (one match) | Brighton — OUT: Bernardo (knee), Izquierdo (knee), Webster (ankle)

Liverpool vs. Manchester City — 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBCS and NBCSports.com

It’s the match everyone had circled on their calendars: Jurgen Klopp‘s unbeaten Liverpool against Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City in front of a sold-out Anfield.

It’s the type of spectacle that requires no added hype, even though Klopp did just that heading into the season’s biggest match yet.

“From a sport’s point of view this rivalry is getting bigger and bigger,” the German manager said in front of an eager press conference room this weekend. “Thank god there is a rivalry because it means we are a pretty good team as well.”

“If you are not brave against Man City you don’t have the chance of even a point,” he added. “Everyone has to be in top shape in the stadium on Sunday, even the guy selling the hotdogs. Everyone has to be there from the warm-up and invest all our emotions.”

With City in position to jump to second and be only three points from Liverpool with a win, the match promises to have it all. And Guardiola main message is urging his players to leave it all on the field when they take on the league’s favorites.

“I just want my team to fight to the end,” the 48-year-old said. “Liverpool are a team that lost one game last season, none this season, so you cannot believe that they will lose many, but the season is long.”

“They do everything well,” he added. “You see the team, what is the weak point? They are a real complete team and we need this kind of rival.”

That said, City is stuffed with injuries – namely, Ederson and David Silva, who were both unable to recover and get fit for Sunday’s clash. Claudio Bravo, who saw a red card midweek in Champions League play, will be between the sticks for the defending champions.

What many think will prove to be problematic for the visitors, is the opposite of loss of quality for Guardiola. The Spaniard is convinced that the Chilean goalkeeper has the ability and is of the pedigree to play in matches of such stature.

“He is an exceptional goalkeeper,” Guardiola said. “He is an international goalkeeper. I have no doubts.

“Why shouldn’t I be confident about my players? I see him every day in training. We won’t lose because of Claudio.

“The red card the other day was because we lost the ball,” he added. Respect the guy. He is a top keeper.”

Surely, Liverpool, led by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, will look to exploit any deficiencies City puts forward. For now, those deficiencies are unknown.

What is public knowledge, however, is that very few matches – if any – this season will be as big as Sunday’s.

INJURIES: Liverpool  OUT: Joel Matip (knee), Xherdan Shaqiri (calf), Nathaniel Clyne (knee) | Manchester City  OUT: Ederson (knock), Rodri (hamstring), David Silva (thigh), Zinchenko (knee), Leroy Sané (knee), Laporte (knee)

Top Premier League storylines: Week 12

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We all know that the highlight of the Premier League weekend is its final act before the international break, but there’s more going on besides Liverpool-Man City.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ] 

Below we take a look at the key storylines to keep an eye on across the PL this weekend.


1 v 2

  • Liverpool v. Manchester City, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN

This is it: The date circled by both of these fan bases and most neutrals when the Premier League fixture list was released this summer. Man City’s injury list is long and Anfield has been a fortress, but the onus is on the league leaders to handle their business against the two-time reigning champions.

The story lines within this match alone are myriad: Is Ederson‘s injury a mirage? Can City’s marauding full backs deal with the Reds’ wing wizardry? Plus, will the love between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp take a hit following a tense week of diving talk and a more tense battle on the pitch?

And let’s face it: VAR is gonna have something to say before the day is done on Merseyside.


Foxes can make Arsenal even smaller in rear view mirror

  • Leicester City v. Arsenal, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN

The Gunners and Foxes know that at least one of the league’s top two will drop points this week, and Unai Emery knows the table can look a lot cozier if he can take three points from a Leicester City side which is overachieving by many metrics.


Chelsea finishes promising stretch of schedule at home

  • Chelsea v. Crystal Palace, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN

Since losing to Liverpool, Chelsea has won five-straight in league play. The Blues have outscored Brighton, Saints, Newcastle, Burnley, and Watford by a combined score of 13-4. Palace is the last match of a winnable run before Man City comes calling after the international break.


Improving Seagulls hope Red Devils are weary

  • Manchester United v. Brighton, 9 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN

Graham Potter‘s Brighton and Hove Albion have won three of four to move within two points of fifth. United’s improved form took a step back at Bournemouth but picked right back up with a blowout of Partizan Belgrade on Thursday. Both sides will be looking for three points.


Blades aim to carve another point from a top end foe

  • Tottenham Hotspur v. Sheffield United, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN

The Blades have beaten Arsenal, drawn Chelsea, and probably deserved a point against Liverpool. Now they had to a Tottenham side whose been anything but consistent, and Chris Wilder‘s men will be thinking another result is in the offing.