Graham Potter

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Brighton boss Graham Potter signs contract extension

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Graham Potter‘s fine start to life in the Premier League has been rewarded.

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Despite only arriving at Brighton in the summer from Swansea City after signing a four-year deal, Potter has signed a new contract with the Seagulls which extends his stay at the Amex until 2025.

Potter’s assistant Billy Reid, first team coach Bjorn Hamberg and assistant head of recruitment Kyle Macaulay have all also extended to 2025 as they all arrived this summer and have totally revamped the way Brighton play in the PL.

“I’ve had a tremendous welcome from everyone connected to the club — staff, players and fans — and have found it very easy to settle,” Potter said. “The infrastructure, support and everything associated with the club is first class, and I’m pleased with what we have been able to do already, but there is still a way for us to go. I’m thrilled that the club have liked what they’ve seen so far, in a relatively short period of time, and have already shown an added confidence in what we are trying to do. I hope that this is just the start of what will be another successful period in our history, and I’m extremely grateful that the club have made this long-term commitment.”

Brighton chairman Tony Bloom hailed Potter’s influence in such a short space of time, and believes the Seagulls can now become a top 10 Premier League team.

“Together with his backroom team, he has continued the club’s progress of recent years and brought a different approach with a new style of play, which has been embraced by players and supporters alike,” Bloom said. “In the summer we unveiled a new long-term vision for us to become an established top-ten Premier League club, and we feel even more strongly that Graham as a bright, energetic and innovative head coach, is the right man to lead us there.”

The Seagulls remain strong defensively but Potter has brought a new cutting edge to the them on the ball and in attack, as they’ve beaten Tottenham, Norwich and Everton at home, and have impressed with their fluid possession-based style.

Potter has worked wonders at Ostersund, Swansea and already at Brighton and the journeyman defender, who played a handful of games in the PL with Southampton back in the 1990s, is one of the brightest coaching prospects in the UK.

The fact Brighton have agreed to extend his stay after just five months in the job proves that.

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)

Swedish club Ostersunds FK in financial crisis

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Less than two years after recording a 2-1 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates in Europa League play, Swedish club Ostersunds is facing a severe financial crisis.

The side, which sits in 13th position in the Allsvenskan table – just a spot above the relegation zone – is facing massive debt and a significant past due sum. According to a club statement, around $1.5 million is required by the end of the year to keep the club afloat. That includes $1 million that must be raised by the end of the month, plus another $143,000 tax payment due by the start of November.

The club is asking for donations to help keep the team running, with around $613,000 already reportedly raised. Former manager Graham Potter, who was in charge for the win at Arsenal and now heads English club Brighton & Hove Albion, has apparently contributed to the cause.

“We ask you to think back on all the wonderful memories and what joy and pride we experienced together with OFK,” the club’s statement read. “If we are to experience it again, we must together help to get out of this crisis.”

Former chairman Daniel Kindberg, who hired Potter for his first managerial position back in 2010 and saw the club promoted to the top flight in 2015, is on trial for financial crimes involving the club such as tax fraud. The club won the 2017 Swedish Cup, but could be dumped out of the league should Kindberg be found guilty.

Brighton teen Connolly glowing after brace in blowout of Spurs

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After a lifetime spent waiting for his first Premier League goal, 19-year-old Aaron Connolly grabbed his second about a half-hour later.

The milestone was always going to be remarkable for Brighton and Hove Albion’s young Irishman, but are all the more memorable coming in a 3-0 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday in front of his home fans at the Amex Stadium.

“I am not sure it has all sunk in,” Connolly said, via the BBC. “It’s a dream come through I love getting goals, I love being able to make my debut. It’s not really sunk in.”

[ RECAP: Brighton 3-0 Spurs ]

The Seagulls led 1-0 when Connolly collected the rebound from a clever shot and deposited it. His second goal buried woeful Spurs.

The Galway-born was on loan to Luton Town last season, but had otherwise spent every minute of his career at Brighton since signing from Mervue United as an adolescent in 2011.

Graham Potter is handing a lot of opportunity to Connolly, who is seizing it with both hands.

“He is playing me and trusting me,” Connolly said. “Straight away, when I came back I knew he was a manager I wanted to play under. His belief in me is great and I am so glad I can repay it.”

Chicharito scores as Hammers, Seagulls split spoils

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West Ham United and Brighton traded blows in a 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, with VAR again peeking its head into the fray.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Leandro Trossard scored two pretty goals, but only one remained on the board for Brighton thanks to an offside runner. The Seagulls out-attempted West Ham by 16-8.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored for West Ham United.

Brighton moves onto four points on the year, while West Ham grabs its first point of the season.


Three things we learned

  1. Trossard pushes promise through VAR: The big buy from Belgium had an early goal chalked off by VAR, but scored an equally pretty equalizer during his home debut.

“The goal which was ruled out, it was a nice strike. It’s an odd situation – you cheer, the adrenaline comes up and it’s bad luck that I couldn’t have the first but it was good that I could come back and score on my debut in the second half instead. It is my first goal, it has helped us to get equal.”

2. Chicharito looks weird in No. 9: We get it, he’s a striker and he crafts a bunch of goals, but even his match-opening beauty didn’t change the oddness of seeing West Ham’s longtime Mexican striker in a No. 9.

3. Manuel Lanzini is back: It’s easy to forget that the Argentine is capable of the sublime, but his health is a welcome reunion for our weekends.

4. Graham Potter is making a name for himself in the top flight: “There is a long way to go but the signs are good. The points return looks good. The performances are the things we want to focus on and we will look to do that next week and going forwards.”


He’s here to score goals inside the box. It’s what he does.

Mexican veteran Javier Hernandez, you know him better as Chicharito, used a perfect run to get himself past the Brighton back line.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Manuel Lanzini set-up the goal, and Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan got a piece of Hernandez’s effort en route to 1-0.

The Seagulls quickly answered through Trossard, who had a goal ripped off the board by VAR in the first half.

The Belgian lashed his effort home within minutes of Chicharito.