Good morning from a wet and miserable Dublin as Storm Brian hits us today. We have a full day of fixtures ahead of us, but let’s start with last night.
Brighton got a great 3-0 win at the London Stadium last night, as a Glenn Murray double and a Jose Izquierdo strike put West Ham boss Slaven Bilic under even more pressure. West Ham now have just eight points from nine games – their worst start to a season since 2010. They sit in 17th and will find themselves in the bottom three if Leicester win away to Swansea today.
Murray put the Seagulls ahead inside ten minutes, getting a flick on Pascal Gross’ dangerous delivery into the box from a free kick. That goal meant Gross kept up his run of scoring or assisting every Brighton goal so far this season. In first-half stoppage time, the ball broke to Izquierdo out wide. He cut in from the left-hand side, and put a curling effort past Joe Hart in the West Ham goal from 25 yards. Hart got a hand to it, but it wasn’t enough to keep it out. Murray put the game to bed in the 75th minute, sending Joe Hart the wrong way from a penalty. Murray showed nerves of steel, rolling the ball straight down the middle, which Hart nearly got a foot to. It was Brighton’s first win in the top flight of English football in 34 years.
After the game, Chris Hughton was obviously delighted. He told Brighton’s official website:
I thought we were outstanding, from start to finish. We knew it would be a difficult game, because they’re a side that have won three out of four games at home.
Although they’d had a little bit of a difficult time, they’ve got really good quality.
You have to stay in games and we defended really well, took our opportunities and it feels like a good win.
What we want is options in the centre-forward position and at one stage we had Tomer Hemed as our only number nine.
Glenn [Murray] and Sam Baldock have both been injured, so it’s certainly good to have them back and have that competition.
It’s good to have Glenn back. Tomer will be back next week and Sam has just played two under-23 games, so it certainly does give us more options than what we’ve had.
He then spoke about the impressive defensive partnership between Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk, and said:
They’ve been outstanding for me. Lewis Dunk has developed hugely as a player over these years, not just under me but before as well.
He’s found a partner in Duffy, they know each other’s games and are good friends as well.
They have a lot of quality at centre-half and they’re both very brave as well – they put their bodies on the line.
It doesn’t always happen, but I’m really glad that they got their rewards today.
Brighton host Southampton next week, while West Ham go to Wembley on Wednesday night to play Spurs in the Carabao Cup. The Irons’ next Premier League game is away to Crystal Palace next Saturday.
The early kick off today sees Watford travelling to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea. Watford are only two points ahead of Chelsea, but the mood in their camp will be completely different to Chelsea’s. The Hornets will be absolutely full of confidence after their amazing start to the season, while Chelsea’s heads are down a bit after being beaten by Crystal Palace last week and letting a 2-1 lead slip against Roma in the Champions League during the week. Chelsea are also missing a good few players, but Conte said yesterday that he wasn’t sure who would be fit to play. Maybe he doesn’t want to name names and talk about injuries because he thinks Jose Mourinho will give out about him? N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater and Victor Moses are all injured, while David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Tiemoue Bakayoko picked up knocks against Roma. Conte said he hopes to have some of those available for today, so we’ll see which ones made it through.
Speaking about Watford, Conte told Chelsea’s official website:
Watford are doing very well, they had a really good transfer market and strengthened the squad very well.
For sure, tomorrow the game will be very tough because Watford are a good team, they are in a good position in the table and have enthusiasm. But we are playing at home and after two defeats in the league we want to come back and win.
Our priority is to be focused and to go game by game, the opponent is not important. Every opponent can be dangerous for different reasons.
At the moment, after two defeats in a row, I’m happy with the commitment of all of my players, but if you ask me about the last results, I’m not happy. After two defeats and one draw no coach can be happy.
Do I feel the pressure? Every manager feels pressure, but I try to give all of myself into my job, so I’m happy when I go home because I know in every moment I give all of myself for the fans, the players and the club. In football you know anything can happen, but the most important thing is to work.
Watford will be buzzing going into this game, after they beat Arsenal 2-1 at Vicarage Road last Saturday. The win lifted them into the top 4, and another win today would see them move into third. They’re the early season surprise package, and they’ll be trying to keep this form up for as long as they can. Marco Silva thinks Chelsea are clear favourites, and he told Watford’s official website:
We go to Stamford Bridge to compete. Chelsea, of course, is the favourite. They have players to decide one match in one minute and are clear favourites for the match. They will want to change the situation after the last two results [against Manchester City and Crystal Palace].
I’m sure they will start the game strong and score as soon as possible in the match. We are playing against the champions but it’s just one more game and we prepare like we did against Arsenal, against West Bromwich, with respect for the other team.
Our away form is fantastic and I’m sure the fans really enjoyed the last three away games, but we work really hard to achieve this form away. Now this a new game and our ambition is the same and the way we want to play is the same. We prepare games in the same way. We change nothing. Three points at home are as important as three points away.
Silva said that the injury situation is the same as last week. They have no new injuries, but have a few missing:
Cathcart, Chalobah and Isaac [Success] are long-term. Kaboul and Sebastian [Prödl] are still out of the match. We expect them to work with the team the next week. Maybe not full training, but certainly with the team. It’s too early to say with Chalobah.
I expect this to be an interesting game, with Chelsea trying to get themselves back in form, while Watford want to keep their unbeaten away record intact. Kick-off is at 12:30pm, and you’ll be able to follow the game with me on Twitter. Team news will be out from 11:30am, so I’ll have that up here as well. There’ll also be build-up to all of today’s games, so stick with me for all of that. Have a good Saturday.