Manchester City host Brighton & Hove Albion at the Etihad, with Guardiola set to demand all three points, that could take his team to the summit of the Premier League.
Manchester City boss is likely to rally his side and urge them to get all three points when his team hosts Brighton & Hove Albion at the Etihad. City won both their games against the then Premier League promoted side, and the Spaniard will be looking to make it three in three against Chris Hughton’s team.
City have had mixed bag performances in recent weeks. The side have dropped only two points in their six games in the Premier League, yet remain two points behind leaders Liverpool at the top of the table. Since their draw against Wolves at the Molineux, City have won their last three Premier League games, although suffered a shock defeat to Lyon in the opening game of their Champions League group stage.
Brighton on the other hand, have had a different run of games to City’s form. The Seagulls are winless in their last five games, since defeating Manchester United at home. In those five games after the United win, Brighton have lost three and drawn two, which places them 13th on the table, three points above the relegation zone.
Manchester City will have the chance to get to the top spot on the Premier League table, albeit only temporarily as current leaders Liverpool play only later in the day as they take on second-placed Chelsea. However, dropped points against Brighton and a win for Liverpool or Chelsea will not be suitable for City as they will likely lose more grounds to the table toppers.
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Pep Guardiola is expected to make multiple changes to his side that won against Oxford during their midweek Carabao Cup clash. The changes in personnel will not only field a strong side but also keeping an eye on next Tuesday’s trip to Hoffenheim in the Champions League as Guardiola looks to get off the mark in the European competition after suffering defeat against Lyon in their opening game.
Guardiola made ten changes to the side that faced Oxford. Most of those players that did not play from the start in the Carabao Cup are likely to return to the side, including the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho and Kyle Walker. David Silva is also expected to return after missing City’s 5-0 mauling of Cardiff City last weekend.
On the injury front, Benjamin Mendy remains out, which means Fabian Delph will take his place at left-back again. Sergio Aguero, who too missed the Oxford clash will return, while top performers from last weekend, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva are likely to retain their places, although Guardiola could drop one to accommodate David Silva.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3) – Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Delph; Fernandinho, Gundogan, D.Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
Brighton’s chances against Manchester City will have suffered a blow with the absence of their two key midfielders in Dale Stephens and Pascal Gross. Additionally, Chris Hughton will be thinking of giving Florin Andone his much-awaited debut, but Glenn Murray’s form up front will likely stop him in his tracks, and the wait is set to continue. Murray is the Premier League’s top scoring Englishman.
However, Brighton have the League’s most prolific duo so far in Anthony Knockaert and Shane Duffy who have set each other up for a combined three goals already this season. That said, the pair will play from the start and try to make an impact against City. Despite all those absentees, Hughton will field his strongest possible lineup to get a result against City.
Martin Montoya and Sebastian Bong will continue their roles as full-backs, with Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy expected to occupy central defensive berths. Hughton will play two-man central midfield with Propper and Kayal the likely players to make the grade. In attack, March, Bissouma and Knockaert will support lone striker, Glenn Murray.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1) – Ryan; Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bong; Kayal, Propper; Knockaert, Bissouma, March; Murray
- Manchester City won their two games last season against Brighton, but have never won three in a row against the Seagulls in any of English football’s top-four tiers.
- Brighton have never won an away game at Manchester City in their history.
- City have taken 58 points from a possible 63 in their last 21-Premier League games.
- Brighton have only won two of their last 15 Premier League away games, both of which have incidentally been against Manchester United
- Brighton’s Glenn Murray has been Premier League’s highest-scoring Englishman this season with four strikes.
1. Manchester City vs Brighton – Brighton Asian Handicap +3.0 @ 1.625
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The Spaniard had missed last weekend’s thrashing of Cardiff when City triumphed 5-0 in the end. To many, this could signal that a team is a capable unit even without their midfield general in the side. But Silva will look to return strongly to the side and make his mark.
The likes of Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan look like they are forming a decent partnership alongside Fernandinho, which could be a threat to Silva.
However, Guardiola will keep faith in the Spaniard for the time being, and in games like Brighton, Silva has to show his worth or risk getting benched for either of the other two midfielders.
Manchester City 3-0 Brighton
Manchester City are overwhelming favourites. At the point of City’s defeat against Lyon, some might have suggested that this could see the team stutter going forward, but they have shown no signs of slowing down. The Lyon defeat has come as a wake-up call and City have decided to act against it sooner than later.
Against Brighton, City has the quality to score plenty of goals with the likes of Aguero, Sterling and Sane set to create havoc in the final third. Expect City to win this game rather comfortably and pile more misery on Brighton, who could then near a place in the Premier League relegation zone.