West Brom moved to within eight points of escaping the bottom three as they edged out fellow strugglers Brighton 1-0 at the Hawthorns in a controversial clash on Saturday in the Premier League.
Kyle Bartley’s early header was the difference between the two sides but Brighton missed two penalties – Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck both striking the woodwork from 12 yards – and they also had a Lewis Dunk free-kick ruled out in farcical circumstances.
Referee Lee Mason initially awarded the goal and then overturned the decision after consulting VAR during what was a couple of chaotic minutes. The official seemed to blow his whistle so Dunk took the free-kick quickly but after the ball nestled into the net, it was claimed Mason was whistling to try and speak to the defenders in the wall and therefore had to rule the goal out, despite signalling for a goal to begin with!
Understandably, Seagulls boss Graham Potter was frustrated. He said: “As far as I know Lewis Dunk asked to take the free-kick quickly and the referee said yes. In between that, there was another whistle. I don’t know what that whistle was for. It would be nice for a bit more clarification. I don’t know what the second whistle is for. I don’t understand that.
He added: “It is what it is. We’ve not helped ourselves with the two penalties so I cannot put it all down to the disallowed goal.
“We need to improve and get better at that [taking penalties]. We’re never going to get two better chances. We have to stay calm.”
West Brom are now only eight points off safety after the win while Brighton are in danger of getting dragged into the mire as they sit 16th, just four points clear of the bottom three.
Aston Villa beat Leeds 1-0 in the evening game thanks to Anwar El Ghazi’s early goal. The win moved Villa, who are eighth, to just a point behind sixth-placed Liverpool, while Leeds are 10th, eight points off the top five before Sunday’s games.
In the 12:30pm kick-off, Manchester City took another step towards the title with a 2-1 win over West Ham at the Etihad. Ruben Dias put Pep Guardiola’s side in front in the first half but Michail Antonio equalised for the in-form Hammers only for John Stones to fire City back in front after the break.
The win was the Citizens’ 20th on the trot in all competitions and moves them 13 points clear at the top before the chasing pack of Manchester United, Leicester, Chelsea and Liverpool are all in action on Sunday.
Leicester host Arsenal (Leicester 6/4, Arsenal 19/10, draw 12/5 – match result), Chelsea entertain United (Chelsea 5/4, United 12/5, draw 23/10 – match result), while out-of-form Liverpool go to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United (Liverpool 2/5, Sheff U 7/1, draw 4/1 – match result).