Premier League: Leeds United v Brighton and Hove Albion

The Whites became something of a laughing stock last weekend when they were eliminated from the FA Cup by a Crawley team which even found time to field a left-back more famous for appearing in TOWIE, but will be hoping to pick up a win to restore some confidence.

Bielsa named a much-changed side for that game in fairness, and will welcome back some more familiar faces for the visit of the Seagulls, with Patrick Bamford the main name Leeds fans will be hoping to see on the score sheet again.

The Argentine boss admitted he got some of his substitutions wrong in that game, most notably the one which saw Liam Cooper withdrawn at half-time. The Leeds captain is expected to return to the starting XI when Brighton come to Elland Road though, with Luke Ayling alongside him as Robin Koch and Diego Llorente remain injured. As well as their centre back pair, Leeds are without influential midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who serves a one-game ban for picking up five yellow cards.

Illan Meslier will also return between the sticks, replacing Kiko Casilla, who had a shocker when given the chance to impress against Crawley. It’s hard to believe the Spaniard was one of Real Madrid’s signings to replace Iker Casillas a few years back, given his nightmare stint in England so far.

Brighton have had goalkeeping issues of their own recently, with Robert Sanchez taking the gloves from Mat Ryan after the Aussie’s poor run of form. Sanchez has established himself as the club’s new number one, with Ryan rumoured to be leaving the club in the January transfer window.

Graham Potter will be hoping his side can pick up a much needed win, with the Seagulls verging on the brink of the bottom three, and without a victory in their five league games. Narrow defeats to Arsenal and Manchester City have been complimented by score draws with Sheffield United, West Ham and Wolves, but it’s not been enough to lift Brighton any higher than 17th.

A win on Saturday could take them above Burnley, and they’ll have Yves Bissouma back available after suspension to try and do it. Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck, Tariq Lamptey, Alireza Jahanbaksh and Aaron Connolly are all out. Percy Tau and Neal Maupay will battle to be named up front.

Leeds take on Brighton on Saturday, January 16th. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Premier League: Manchester City v Brighton

Pep Guardiola enjoyed the luxury of rotating some of his top players in a comfortable win over Birmingham City in the FA Cup at the weekend, but should welcome the likes of Ederson, Raheem Sterling and John Stones back to the starting XI.

Sterling was nursing a slight knock when Birmingham were swept aside, but should make it for the visit of Graham Potter’s Brighton, who Guardiola said were a “joy to watch” in his press conference on Tuesday.

Whether or not Brighton fans would agree or not is debatable, with the club sitting 17th in the table after almost a third of the season, with their possession-based approach clearly not leading to enough results so far.

One of their main issues has been scoring goals, and they struggled again in the FA Cup, needing a 90th minute strike from Solly March against Newport County, before edging a nervy penalty shootout to progress to the fourth round.

Neal Maupay has scored two in his last three Premier League games though, and has declared this week that his confidence is back after a 649-minute goal drought. He’s likely to play in the absence of Danny Welbeck against the league’s most in-form defensive partnership of John Stones and Ruben Dias, fresh from a clean sheet against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup semi-final last week.

Adam Lallana, Tariq Lamptey and Aaron Connolly will all miss the game through injury, while Alireza Jahanbaksh will be assessed closer to kick-off. Polish midfielder Jakub Moder has joined the squad after spending the first half of the season on loan at Lech Poznan, and could make the bench.

Guardiola is without Sergio Aguero once again for the visit of the Seagulls, as he continues to isolate after being in contact with a COVID-positive person recently. Eric Garcia is in the same situation as the Argentine striker, while Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are both injured.

As this is City’s game in hand left over from the start of the season, a win will see them close the gap on Liverpool to a single point and go above Leicester City in the top four. Brighton need the points to move further away from the relegation zone, having played two games fewer than Fulham, who are three points below them.

Manchester City take on Brighton on Wednesday, January 13th. Kick-off is at 6pm.

Premier League Preview: Brighton v Wolves

Midfielder Lallana missed Tuesday’s defeat to Arsenal due to a groin issue, while forward Welbeck was an unused substitute because of a knee problem.

Striker Aaron Connolly (groin) will also be assessed but full-back Tariq Lamptey (hamstring) and midfielder Steven Alzate (illness) remain sidelined.

Leander Dendoncker and Willy Boly remain doubts for the trip to the south coast.

The pair have missed the last three games, including the 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, after picking up injuries in Wolves’ win over Chelsea two weeks ago.

Raul Jimenez remains a long-term absentee after fracturing his skull in November while Jonny (knee) is still sidelined.

Kick off at the Amex is at 5.30 on Saturday.

Premier League Preview: Everton v Manchester City

The Toffees have enjoyed a brilliant run of form so far in December with four successive wins going into this clash.

Carlo Ancelotti has opted to for an alternative defensive unit in recent weeks, and despite the return to fitness of captain Seamus Coleman, he’s set to stick with his current back four.

Allan, Lucas Digne and Richarlison will all miss visit of Pep Guardiola’s side with Bernard, Tom Davies and Andre Gomes in line to rotate in.

Guardiola’s visitors go to Goodison one the back of ten games unbeaten in all competitions, but the Spaniard is still likely to shuffle his pack.

Ruben Dias will continue to cover for Kyle Walker at right back, with Fernandinho replacing the injured Rodri in midfield, and Sergio Aguero returning for his first start since October.

And it’s a late start on Merseyside for this one with 8pm Kick Off at Goodison Park.

Premier League Preview: Sheffield United v Everton

Chris Wilder’s team simply cannot catch a break right now and without a dramatic swing in form they look destined for a Championship return in the New Year.

And the likeable boss will have a few changes enforced on him as he looks to break the hex against the Blues.

John Lundstrum starts a three game ban this weekend with striker Oli McBurnie laid low with a hamstring problem.

However, Jadon Bogle and Oli Burke both impressed off the bench against Brighton last time out and Wilder could bring the pair in from the start.

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has injury problems of his own to deal ahead of this one with the Italian confirming that Allan and Lucas Digne remain out.

However, star man James Rodriguez could be fit enough to return with skipper Seamus Coleman also back in action.

And this showdown in West Yorkshire completes the Boxing Day action with an 8pm kick off at Bramall Lane.

Premier League: Brighton v Sheffield United

The Blades 2-3 home defeat to Manchester United on Thursday means that with just a single point from their opening 13 matches, Chris Wilder’s side have officially made the worst start to an English top flight season since the league was established 132 years ago in 1888.

There was no lack of effort from Sheffield United midweek though – but some questionable goalkeeping from £20m summer signing Aaron Ramsdale arguably may have cost his side.

Brighton meanwhile head in to this encounter off the back of a far less thrilling affair with Fulham on Wednesday.

The 0-0 scoreline leaves the Seagulls on 11 points and just two clear of the dotted line before the clash with Sheffield United.

Albion did have the ball in the net against Fulham through Adam Lallana, but the new signing was denied his first goal in Brighton colours following a VAR review.

Blades boss Chris Wilder said he was pleased with his players’ application against Manchester United, something he didn’t see in the previous loss to Southampton – but the endeavour shown by Sander Berge may be absent for Sheffield United against Brighton as he picked up a knock in Thursday’s game.

Jack O’Connell remains a long term absentee, whilst Oli McBurnie is likely to be put through a late fitness test.

Brighton are likely to see Tariq Lamptey feature again on Sunday despite picking up a knock against Fulham, with boss Graham Potter due to make a late decision on his availability.

Aside from that, long term injuries to Florin Andone and Jose Izquierdo continue to rule them out.

Brighton v Sheffield United is a 12pm kick off on Sunday 20th December.

Premier League: Everton v Arsenal

Last weekend saw the return of fans to Goodison for the first time this season thanks to Liverpool being named in a Tier 2 area, and the 2,000 spectators watched on as Carlo Ancelotti downed his former side Chelsea 1-0 thanks to Gylfi Sigurdsson’s penalty.

Arsenal’s week didn’t go so well though, as they picked up just a point from their games against Southampton and Burnley, going down to ten men both times. As a result, both Granit Xhaka and Gabriel will miss out.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did manage to score against Saints, and will be hoping he can kickstart a goal scoring run which is desperately needed if Arsenal are to start moving up the table.

The Gunners will go into the game 15th in the table, with bottom half rivals Fulham and Newcastle playing just after the final whistle goes on Saturday night.

Ancelotti may welcome back Seamus Coleman for the visit of the Gunners, after the Irishman missed the last three games with a thigh injury. The Everton captain was left out of the win over Leicester on Wednesday night as a precaution, so should start, but James Rodriguez is unlikely to return after a calf injury.

Lucas Digne is still missing with an ankle injury and won’t return until the end of January, and will be joined on the sidelines by Allan, who was stretchered off after 41 minutes at the King Power in the week. Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Fabian Delph will also miss out.

Arsenal, on top of their suspension worries, will welcome back Hector Bellerin from a ban and have mostly the same group that played against Southampton available, after no new injuries. David Luiz may return after his head injury suffered against Wolves.

Thomas Partey is still out after taking a knock in the defeat to Spurs, while Gabriel Martinelli played 45 minutes of an under-21 game last week and is targeting January as a potential comeback date.

If Everton manage to make it three wins on the spin, they could go as high as second in the table ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures. Arsenal arguably need the win more though, and what better place to get it than somewhere Arteta spent six years as a player.

Everton take on Arsenal at Goodison Park on Saturday, December 19th. Kick-off is at 5.30pm.

Premier League Preview: Brighton v Southampton

The Saints have struggled following the return of football after the international break, but they will still be confident of a positive result in this one.

Despite their dip in form, Ralph Hasenhuttl is not expected to make too many alterations, with Shane Long the only potential change after Moussa Djenepo failed to shake off an injury.

Star man Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond have both returned to light training this week but Hasenhuttl has already confirmed neither will be included in the squad.

Brighton boss Graham Potter will recall Tariq Lamptey to the starting line-up, following a one game ban, with Joel Veltman set to drop to the bench.

Potter also confirmed Alexis MacAllister and Neil Maupay are both fit to face the Saints but Adam Lallana, Davy Propper and Florian Andone are all still sidelined.

Brighton take on Southampton at the Amex at 8pm on Monday, December 7th.

Burnley battle out 1-1 Premier League draw with Everton

Sean Dyche’s side couldn’t live with City at the Etihad, but Robbie Brady’s early goal secured a battling point for the Clarets.

Burnley have been slow starters this season, however, Brady’s fine strike edged them in front after just two minutes.

Allan’s poor pass in midfield was seized on by the Irishman and he fired a superb effort beyond Jordan Pickford.

However, despite the early setback, the Blues reacted positively, as Carlo Ancelotti’s team dominated the first 45.

Clarets keeper Nick Pope enhanced his growing reputation as he produced brilliant stops to deny Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

But, with the visitors firmly in the ascendancy, man of the moment Calvert-Lewin tucked home his 11th league goal of the campaign.

Allan made up for his earlier error with a surging run into the box, he found Richarlison in space, and Calvert-Lewin bravely slid home the Brazilian’s cross.

Everton did pick up where they left off after the break, as Pope pulled off another vital save to keep out James Rodriguez’s swirling effort.

Burnley looked to bed in for the draw in the closing stages, as Everton struggled to engineer a clear breakthrough.

But it was Dyche’s side that almost snatched a winner in the final minutes but Pickford reacted brilliantly to deny Chris
Wood.

Full Time at Turf Moor it’s Burnley 1 Everton 1

Brighton fight back to secure 2-1 Premier League win at Aston Villa

Goals in either half from Danny Welbeck and Solly March secured a vital three points for the Seagulls as Dean Smith’s Villa slip to a third defeat of the season.

Neither side created much in a busy opening quarter of an hour before Welbeck showed an ice cool calmness to put the visitors ahead.

Villa’s attempt to play a high offside trap were exposed by Adam Lallana’s through ball and Welbeck strode on an confidently chipped past Emiliano Martinez.

That early breakthrough opened the game up at both ends, with Bertrand Traore firing a brilliant chance against the post and Neil Maupay bringing the best from Martinez.

Villa worked hard to turn the tide after the restart, and Ezri Konsa deserved edged them level on 47 minutes.

Traore’s deep free kick evaded a line of Brighton defenders and Konsa bravely slid home at the back post.

But just as Villa looked on course to wrestle control of the game away from Brighton, March produced a brilliant strike on the hour.

Pascal Gross switched play to him on the edge of the box and with Villa unable to recover in time, he whipped a fantastic effort past Martinez.

But just as the game seemed to be drifting to a quiet end, referee Michael Oliver put himself right at the centre of the action in added time.

Firstly, he sent off Tariq Lamptey for two tired tackles on Jack Grealish before controversially awarding Villa a 93rd minute spot kick.

He originally awarded a penalty for March’s late challenge on Trezeuget inside the box, but in yet another VAR talking point this season, he opted to overturn the decision and hand Brighton all three points.
Full Time at Villa Park it’s Aston Villa 1 Brighton 2

Gareth Bale seals Tottenham 2-1 win over Brighton

The Welsh international came off the bench to clinch all three points as Spurs move up to second in the table.

Mourinho’s team were on top from the start in this one as Harry Kane and Sergio Reguilon forced early stops from Robert Sanchez.

And with Spurs coming in waves against the under pressure Seagulls defence, Kane edged them in front on 10 minutes.

The England skipper was fouled right on the edge of the box by Adam Lallana and after a long VAR check he confidently fired home from the spot.

Brighton looked to wrestle themselves back into it after the break as highly rated full back Tariq Lamptey netted his first ever Premier League goal.

Solly March stretched the Spurs defence in behind to pull back for Pascal Gross and he unselfishly fed in Lamptey to sidefoot past Hugo Lloris.

Mourinho threw on Bale in the closing stages to try and turn the tide and the Real Madrid loanee provided the vital impetus.

Toby Alderweireld’s pass sent Reguilon free in behind Lamptey and the Spaniard arrowed cross found Bale inside the box and the returning made no mistake to power past Sanchez.

Full Time at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium it’s Tottenham 2 Brighton 1

Premier League Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion v Chelsea

Roman Abramovich has allowed Frank Lampard to flex his transfer muscles this summer, with over £200m worth of talent rocking up at Stamford Bridge.

However despite the excitement of his new players, Lampard can only call on half of his new signings, with Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva both sidelined.

Cesar Azpilicueta and Christian Pulisic should both be fit after picking up injuries in the FA Cup final, but Croatian international Mateo Kovacic is banned after being sent off against the Gunners.

With the visitors throwing money around in recent weeks, Brighton’s summer spending pales in comparison, with Graham Potter spending less than £2m in fees.

England international Adam Lallana will add some experience to Potter’s side following the exit of Aaron Mooy.

But after a low-key summer on the south coast, the biggest news for Potter has been tying Ben White to a new long-term contract at the club.

The 22-year old returned to the AMEX after a brilliant loan spell at Leeds last season he’s expected to replace Shane Duffy at centre back this season.

It’s a late one for both sets of fans tomorrow night, with an 8.15pm kick off at the AMEX Stadium.