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PL Tuesday Preview: Tottenham hosts Brighton, Watford faces Southampton

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Thanks to results from Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea over the past two days, Tottenham didn’t lose any ground to its rivals despite its own loss early on Saturday.

Now, Spurs has a chance to earn points to secure another top four finish and keep one of its rivals out when it hosts relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion. Watford, meanwhile, hosts a Southampton side with three wins in its last five games.

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Brighton and Hove Albion v. Tottenham — 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

This match should have just about everything as both sides will be desperate for all three points. Tottenham can take advantage of Arsenal, Man United and Chelsea’s failure to jump ahead or catch ground with a big win on the road, especially after the big win at Man City in the UEFA Champions League. Heung-Min Son showed that Tottenham fans won’t have to miss Harry Kane too badly as he recovers from another serious ankle injury, and Son will be expected again to score and have a big impact in the attack. The team received a boost as well, with Eric Dier returning to fitness and Hugo Lloris set to return to the lineup this week, if not this weekend.

Meanwhile, down in Brighton it’s been a different story all season. The Seagulls have just 34 points after 34 games, sitting just three points above the relegation zone. Before Saturday’s draw with Wolves, Brighton had lost four straight games in the Premier League and five in all competitions, including in the FA Cup semifinals against Manchester City. Now, with only the Premier League on its mind, Brighton can focus on finding an answer to its defensive and goalscoring woes. After a strong start, Glenn Murray hasn’t scored in seven games, and club-record signing Ali Jahanbakhsh has zero Premier League goals this season. Brighton will take one step closer to Premier League survival with a massive win over Tottenham. With Cardiff City facing Fulham this weekend, it’s crucial for Brighton to receive at least a point to maintain space between it and Cardiff.

INJURIES: Brighton and Hove Albion —  OUT: Davy Propper (hamstring), Anthony Knockaert (suspension). | Tottenham — OUT: Moussa Sissoko (groin), Harry Kane (ankle); DOUBTFUL: Harry Winks (groin); PROBABLE: Hugo Lloris (muscle), Eric Dier (illness)


Watford v. Southampton — 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSports.com/Gold

While much of the Premier League drama focuses on the top four and the bottom three of the table, there’s quietly a very dramatic race for seventh place, which could still end up with a Europa League berth should Manchester City beat Watford to win the FA Cup (if Watford wins, only the fifth and sixth-placed teams would earn Europa League berths).

Watford is among a small group of four teams all within one point of another that could finish anywhere from seventh to tenth by the end of the season. Watford currently sits tied with Everton in seventh place and is looking for a third win in four Premier League games, though its last two wins were over Fulham and Huddersfield. One aspect Watford will have to work on in this match against Southampton is recording a clean sheet. Watford have conceded a goal in eight straight Premier League matches, their longest run this season without a shutout.

Southampton on the other hand are looking to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat against Newcastle. Like Brighton, Southampton is currently safe but still in a precarious situation, just five points clear of Cardiff and the relegation zone. Ralph Hassenhuttl has done a decent job in securing some breathing room for the Saints in his half-season at the club so far. If Southampton can replicate its form from its April 13 3-1 win over Wolves, in which Nathan Redmond scored a pair and even Shane Long found the back of the net, it will surely help towards Premier League survival. Also working in Southampton’s favor is that it has five wins, five draws and one loss in its last 11 matches against Watford.

INJURIES: Watford —  OUT: Troy Deeney (suspension), Jose Holebas, Tom Cleverley, Domingos Quina and Sebastian Prodl (all knee). | Southampton — QUESTIONABLE: Jannik Vestergaard (injury), Yan Valery (illness), Mario Lemina

PL Preview: Brighton v. Manchester United

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  • Brighton has only beaten Manchester United once – in 1982
  • Manchester United has not conceded a goal against Burnley since 1992
  • No team has conceded more goals from corners than Brighton this season (14)

A rare Friday matchup sees Manchester United head to Brighton & Hove Albion looking to do its part to secure second place in the Premier League table with victory over the Seagulls at Falmer Stadium.

Up five points on third-placed Liverpool, a win on Friday plus a Liverpool draw or loss to Chelsea on Sunday at Stamford Bridge would guarantee nobody could pass the Red Devils and would lock them in to second place with two matches remaining. A win or draw would also guarantee a place in next year’s Champions League group stage no matter the outside results.

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The Red Devils can also avoid the first triple away defeat to newly promoted sides in club history. With defeats at both Newcastle United and Huddersfield, Manchester United will aim to prevent a third at Brighton to complete the dubious sweep.

Brighton, meanwhile, can secure Premier League safety with a win over Jose Mourinho and company, as they currently rest in 14th position, five points above Southampton in the first danger spot. A draw also put them in prime position to stay up, although it would not mathematically assure their Premier League status, leaving the only possibility of relegation to goal differential.

On the injury front, Manchester United will be without Romelu Lukaku who picked up an ankle injury against Arsenal last time out, but Phil Jones is back, while Eric Bailly is not carrying an injury, Mourinho confirmed. For Brighton, Davy Propper returns from his three-match suspension, while Steve Sidwell remains the only injury absentee for the Seagulls as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.

What they’re saying

Brighton manager Chris Hughton on Manchester United as a club: “When you are playing against Manchester United they still have the quality that Manchester United teams have always had. They were very consistent at winning the league. Perhaps they are not that at the moment, but they are still winning things and there is still this massive aura about playing a Manchester United team.”

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on the job Hughton has done at Brighton: “Very, very good, to go from very, very good to amazing he just needs to mathematically confirm the Premier League for next season. I think Brighton will be there next year and that’s a fantastic job for Chris and not surprising for me because since the start they have showed the quality and mentality to get the points they need to stay in the division.”

Prediction

Manchester United have little to play for, but they’ve still managed to crank out results as the season comes to a close. However, matches against teams fighting against relegation are a completely different animal. While it would be a shock if Brighton were to collapse into a relegation spot, it’s still possible with three matches remaining, and their players will know that. A 1-1 draw would seem reasonable here, as Manchester United will miss Lukaku and could be held in a scrappy away battle.

FA Cup, Live: Man United v. Brighton in quarterfinal

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Manchester United host Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday (3:45 p.m. ET) for a place in the FA Cup semifinals.

[ LIVE: Follow United-Brighton ]

Jose Mourinho has launched a defense of his time in charge of United after they crashed out of the UEFA Champions League against Sevilla in midweek and despite the Red Devils sitting in second, this is their last chance of securing any silverware this season.

In team news Man United have Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez on the bench, with Ashley Young and Marcus Rashford also subs and Sergio Romero starting in goal as David De Gea is rested for the domestic cup game as has been the policy this season.

Brighton have Glenn Murray on the bench, while January signings Jurgen Locadia and Leonardo Ulloa start together up top.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: Romero; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw; Matic, McTominay; Mata, Lingard, Martial; Lukaku. Subs: De Gea, Lindelof, Young, Fellaini, Pogba, Sanchez, Rashford.

Brighton: Krul; Suttner, Dunk, Duffy, Schelotto; Kayal, Propper, March, Gross; Locadia, Ulloa. Subs: Maenpaa, Bruno, Goldson, Sanders, Izquierdo, Baldock, Murray.

FA Cup Live: Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Crystal Palace

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The initial legs of the FA Cup third round finishes up this afternoon as Crystal Palace head south to face rival Brighton and Hove Albion.

Both teams have made numerous changes to their starting lineups – 12 in total between the two – but there should be plenty of passion and energy on display in England’s oldest competition.

The winner of this tie will head to Middlesborough in the fourth round.

An interesting sub-plot of this match is it’s the first in which video assistant replay will be used. There are reportedly an overflow of journalists at the game to cover how it is used – more than the overall result of the match.

Enjoy the match, and lineups are below.

Brighton 0-0 Burnley: Seagulls continue barren spell

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  • Seagulls without a win in seven
  • Murray misses first half PK
  • Wood denied twice in second half

Brighton and Hove Albion drew 0-0 with Burnley at the Amex Stadium on Saturday with Chris Hughton‘s side now without a win in seven games and they’ve scored just once in their last six Premier League encounters.

Glenn Murray blazed over a first half penalty kick to add to Brighton’s woes, while Burnley were denied by Mat Ryan in the second half as the spoils were shared.

With the point Burnley move on to 32 points, while Brighton have 18 and are just three points above the drop zone.

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Brighton did most of the pressing early on with Murray causing plenty of problems and Burnley could hardly get out of their own half.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson had a shot which flew just wide but that was as close as the Clarets came.

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Before the break Anthony Knockaert‘s shot hit the post and then Lewis Dunk‘s header was cleared off the line by Phil Bardsley, before a massive moment arrived.

James Tarkowski bundled over Murray in the box but the Brighton forward blasted the penalty kick over the bar as the Seagulls wasted a glorious opportunity.

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Chris Wood forced Mat Ryan into a save early in the second half but the chances kept coming for Brighton.

Knockaert squirmed an effort just wide of the far post for Brighton and then Wood had the ball in the net after Scott Arfield was twice denied but he was in an offside position.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ryan denied Wood again late on as he closed down the onrushing Burnley forward brilliantly, and both teams had to settle for a point on the South Coast.