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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)

Brighton win again, beat Norwich

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Brighton beat Norwich City 2-0 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, as the Seagulls continue their amazing form at home.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Graham Potter‘s side saw Leandro Trossard score one and set up another as the Seagulls made it 2-0 thanks to Shane Duffy‘s late striker. They dominated Norwich and should have won by a heftier margin.

With the win Brighton move up to eighth in the table, while Norwich remain second from bottom.


3 things we learned

1. Trossard’s quality tells: The playmaker arrived from Genk this summer and when he’s been fit, he’s made a huge difference. Potter has Brighton playing lovely football and they need a cutting edge. Trossard delivers that, and he was the difference on Saturday with a goal and an assist.

2. Norwich fail to support Pukki: Early in the season the Canaries were getting up to support Pukki, but they just aren’t doing that anymore. Farke’s side are sitting too deep, maybe due to their defensive injuries and issues, and aren’t gambling to support their star Finnish striker in attack.

3. Seagulls soaring away from relegation scrap: Many believed Brighton would be in the bottom three at the end of the season, and that clearly won’t be the case. They are solid defensively but now have a clear plan in midfield and attack and they are exciting to watch. They’ve made the most of the momentum they gained from beating Tottenham. What a start for Potter.

Man of the Match: Leonardo Trossard – He jumped off the bench and scored and grabbed an assist, with the Belgian playmaker key in this Brighton side. If he can stay fit, the Seagulls will be clear of the bottom three.


Brighton dominated the first half but couldn’t finish off the chances they created as Norwich held on.

Neal Maupay then missed a sitter, as he swung his foot at but failed to get a proper connection as Brighton let Norwich off the hook.

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In the second half it was Aaron Connolly‘s turn to go close, then at the other end Teemu Pukki had a half chance but couldn’t make the most of it.

Norwich barely threatened in attack and Pukki was an isolated figure up top.

Montoya whipped in a cross at the near post as Trossard poked home to put Brighton 1-0 with 20 minutes to go and seal all three points for the Seagulls.

Maupay was denied by Tim Krul late on and missed another glorious chance late on, but Duffy then scored as he stretched his leg out to make it 2-0 after Trossard’s ball.

Brighton’s great home form continues as they’ve now won three-straight at the Amex.

Watch live: Villa v. Liverpool, Man City v. Saints headline 11am ET games

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Six games kick off at 11 a.m. ET on a busy Saturday in the Premier League.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

Aston Villa host Liverpool, Wolves travel to Arsenal, Man City host Southampton, Brighton and Norwich do battle on the South Coast, Burnley travel to Sheffield United and Newcastle head to West Ham.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 11 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for the six games at 11 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


11 a.m. ET: Man City v. Southampton – NBCSN [STREAM]
11 a.m. ET: Arsenal v. Wolves – CNBC [STREAM]
11 a.m. ET: Aston Villa v. Liverpool  – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
11 a.m. ET: Brighton v. Norwich – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
11 a.m. ET: Sheffield United v. Burnley – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
11 a.m. ET: West Ham v. Newcastle – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

VAR awards late penalty as Brighton tops Everton

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VAR awarded a penalty for the first time in Premier League play as Brighton and Hove Albion twice struck late to defeat Everton 3-2 in a back-and-forth affair at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

The referee hadn’t spotted Michael Keane‘s foul against Aaron Connolly but the eye in the sky did, and Neal Maupay finished from the spot. Then Lucas Digne couldn’t prod a stoppage time cross over his goal, recording an own goal with Glenn Murray lurking behind him.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pascal Gross also scored Brighton’s first PL free kick goal in a game of firsts, as the Seagulls leapfrog Everton and move 12th with 12 points.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a Richarlison-inspired own goal accounted for the Toffees’ offense, as Everton again failed to build league momentum and sits 16th with 10 points.


Three things we learned

1. Gross, point blank: We pointed out in the club power rankings that Pascal Gross is top five in big chances created and key passes despite Brighton’s status as a relegation scrapper. The German playmaker was given a chance by an Andre Gomes foul, and buried his free kick. Jordan Pickford should’ve done better but that doesn’t make the strike any less easy on the eyes. Brilliant, deserved stuff.

2. VAR does its job: The commentary team on the broadcast laid out the reasons to award a penalty to Brighton in a way the referee clearly couldn’t explain to Everton’s players. Michael Keane fouled Aaron Connolly in the box, and replays showed how difficult it would be to spot the foul from field level. Moments after Brighton went down, it was level through Maupay.

3. Everton’s inconsistent season continues with more bad Fortune: Don’t get us wrong — The Toffees bear the brunt of the blame for the loss, but had the better of the play. That means absolutely nothing when there are four big mistakes contributing to three conceded goals. Andre Gomes committed a needless foul and Jordan Pickford flubbed his chance to stop a free kick goal, then VAR awarded a penalty for a Keane foul, and Digne had no choice but to try and improbable clearance than turned into an own goal since poached Murray was running free behind him. A solid team goal from Brighton, but this feels more like an Everton loss than a Seagulls win (and Graham Potter won’t care one bit. A fine win).

Man of the Match: Either Dan Burn or Dale Stephens, and we’ll use the former’s hockey assist on the winner to nod to Burn.


 [ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Brighton needed less than a quarter of an hour to take the lead, a needless Andre Gomes foul setting up Gross for a free kick.

The German midfielder drove his shot over the wall, and Jordan Pickford as slow to react. The goal looked great, but the keep will want it back.

Zonal marking did little for Brighton on a poorly-defended corner kick, and VAR upheld Richarlison’s near post header in the 20th minute as it went off Webster for an own goal.

Richarlison made a terrific move down the right to set up two players for a cutback, but flubbed his pass.

Gross had the ball in the goal off a Davy Propper cross, but was offside.

Calvert-Lewin put Everton back in front off an inch-perfect through ball from Mason Holgate, but VAR quickly gave Brighton a chance to level from the spot.

Michael Keane fouled Aaron Connolly, who left the match for Murray before the spot kick. Maupay slotted past Pickford for 2-2 in the 80th minute.

That wasn’t the end of it, as Burn played Leandro Trossard into the box and the Belgian’s cross was pushed behind an equal parts stranded and indecisive Pickford for an o.g.

Watch Live: Brighton v. Everton headlines 10am ET games

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Three Premier League games take place at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

Brighton host Everton, Bournemouth head to Watford and West Ham host Sheffield United.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for the three games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


10 a.m. ET: Brighton v. Everton – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Watford v. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Ham v. Sheffield United  – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]