Premier League title favourites Manchester City will kick-off the 2017/18 season as they travel to face the newly-promoted Brighton

Manchester City have made quite a splash in the transfer window this summer, and will be keen to make a solid title challenge in this campaign. Despite the club not winning any trophies last season – and crashing out of the Champions League – they will still face the pressure of being one of the favourites to win the title again this year.

Brighton, on the other hand, managed to secure a return to the top flight and will compete after an absence of 25 years. They will start off against, perhaps, one of the toughest opponents in the league, and it will be interesting to see how they hold their own as Guardiola’s men pay a visit.

The club will need to bear in mind that City spent almost £200 million on new signings this summer, with close to £150 million of that being spent on full-backs. Brighton may not have the spending capabilities of their cash-rich opponents but they did sign promising players, and will hope they live up to their billing  in the opening game.

Team News and Tactics

Brighton

Newly-appointed goalkeeper Matthew Ryan and Pascal Gross – who scored in their final pre-season friendly against Atletico Madrid – are among the biggest of Brighton’s six summer acquisitions. Brighton will receive an additional boost from Chelsea’s Izzy Brown, who recently joined on loan.

The club also went on to sign PSV’s Dutch midfielder Davy Propper to boost their quality, and considering Propper’s performances and potential, City could face a tough task in the midfield area on Saturday.

Brighton were close to sealing a draw against Atletico Madrid which could have seen them complete their pre-season commitments bereft of a loss. A late winner from the Spanish club, however, propelled Brighton to a defeat in their showpiece friendly. That was actually their only loss of the summer, which does show they are in good form.

Glenn Murray was in fiery form last season and he will be hoping to continue the same against Manchester City. Getting a goal or two in early could amp up the pressure on the visitors. Although City struggled with defending last season, things are likely to be different this time, and that’s why Brighton’s attack will have to be top-notch.

Predicted Lineup (4-4-2): Ryan, Suttner, Dunk, Duffy, Bruni, Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, Brown, Gross, Murray

Manchester City

Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva, Danilo and Ederson are all likely to make their big debuts for Manchester City. Mendy will miss making his debut due to a thigh problem, while Ilkay Gundogan is yet to recover from an injury he sustained earlier.

Pep Guardiola has had a full campaign to try and test what works and what does not, along with two transfer windows to re-build his squad. He has spent millions of pounds so far and the team is filled with brilliant talents, at this point. Their pre-season exploits have been quite impressive as well, thus leading to increased expectations.

The attacking duo of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero have formed a lethal partnership, as was evident in the pre-season. They eased to victories over teams like Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham, losing only to Manchester United. The Citizens will be looking to carry the momentum forward in the Premier League as well.

A high scoring game is likely to ensue as these two teams play each other. The attack-minded Manchester City did struggle defensively when they played away from home last season. However, with the reinforcements brought in by Guardiola this summer, City are likely to turn the tables.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Ederson, Stones, Kompany, Otamendi, Danilo, Walker, David Silva, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero, Jesus

Key Stats

  • Since the late 1980s, Brighton and Manchester City met only once in September 2008 in the League Cup.
  • Interestingly, Brighton beat City in a penalty shoot-out in that match, with Glenn Murray having scored a last-minute equalizer in time for the Seagulls.
  • Manchester City have won each of their last six opening day contests in the Premier League, the best current run in the competition.

Prediction

Brighton 1 – 3 Manchester City

Brighton will want to make a strong impression in their first Premier League game this season, but with Manchester City as opponents, it will be an uphill task. The club will be aware of the fact that City are extremely strong in the back line with the new additions. As far as the attack is concerned, that was never a problem area for Guardiola.

City did concede a lot of goals last season, struggling to keep clean sheets, but with Ederson signed in goal and Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones manning the defence, the Citizens picked up back-to-back clean sheets in their final two friendlies.

Newly-promoted teams are known to throw in surprise results on opening days but Guardiola’s side look fearsome and lethal, thus drowning out Brighton’s hopes of a fiery start. City’s only concern has been the quality of their finishing in the pre-season games, but besides that, they have nothing to worry about.

THT predicts an exciting encounter between the new challengers and the title favourites, which is likely to end in a 3-1 victory for Manchester City.