Manchester City hope to keep their winning momentum against Brighton & Hove Albion when the two sides meet at the Etihad for their Premier League encounter.

Pep Guardiola would have been a happy man as his side returned to winning ways after beating Bournemouth last weekend. Manchester City will now host Brighton & Hove Albion at the Etihad, looking to register their first home win of the season. Their previous fixture in Manchester against Tottenham on Matchday 2 ended in an entertaining 2-2 draw courtesy of VAR.

Guardiola would want his side to respond in the right way as they already trail league leaders Liverpool by two points. A win here will put them above the Reds, who take part in a late kick-off against Burnley. The Spaniard knows the importance of a victory against Brighton, although, in his reign, the unlikeliest of teams have come to surprise Manchester City at times.

Brighton, on the other hand, will look to carry their mixed bag momentum while facing Manchester City. Graham Potter will want his team to show their character, although the opponent is not a kind one and he will be aware of the dangers of playing City. The Seagulls got off to a flying start to this campaign with a thunderous 3-0 victory over Watford, but have tailed off since.

The fact that would worry Potter is that his team let go of two games where they were in total control. Although the 2-0 defeat to Southampton last weekend could be forgiven, they have no excuses whatsoever to explain how they drew against West Ham United the week before that. In the end, Potter can only dream of a result against Manchester City, who are aiming to oust Liverpool at the top.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester City

Despite Manchester City dropping points against Spurs, Guardiola’s team are at their scoring best. Raheem Sterling has been the man on fire so far for City, but Sergio Aguero is setting up the tempo right behind him. Those two will undoubtedly start once more for City and hope to bring the goals that would take all three points.

Guardiola could make some necessary changes to the side for the Brighton tie. There are a few first-team stars who are out of action for this game, including Benjamin Mendy, John Stones, and Leroy Sane. The German is not expected to play this year after his massive knee injury. However, due to Mendy’s injury problems, Oleksandr Zinchenko should continue at left-back.

There could be a change of personnel on the other flank, as new signing Joao Cancelo could make his City bow at the expense of Kyle Walker. The right-back, if dropped, will have a week to forget after he was dropped from the England squad by manager Gareth Southgate.

David Silva might be rested, as Guardiola will take a cautious approach with the Spanish midfielder amid injury and fitness concerns, despite his stellar performances against Bournemouth. Gabriel Jesus is also reportedly injured, although City have enough firepower to cover for the Brazilian’s absence.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Cancelo, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling

Brighton & Hove Albion

Potter will want a result for sure against City, but has a squad riddled with injuries heading into the game. The likes of Jose Izquierdo, Yves Bissouma and Ezequiel Schelotto are all out with injuries. Additionally, Brighton will be without Florin Andone who is suspended for this clash.

Potter, during the Carabao Cup clash with Bristol City, made sure some of his new signings got game time and proper exposure of English football. Adam Webster and Aaron Mooy all featured in the win during midweek, and are contenders to start for their new club. While those two might start, Potter will have to resort to placing Glenn Murray on the bench after he played the entire 90 minutes in midweek.

Potter will continue with a three-man defensive unit of Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk and Dan Burn. Martin Montoya and Solly March will be the two wing-backs, with Davy Propper and Dale Stephens expected to line up in the midfield. Pascal Gross is set to play further forward alongside Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard in the three-man attacking lineup for the Seagulls.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Ryan; Duffy, Dunk, Burn; Montoya, Propper, Stephens, March; Gross, Maupay, Trossard

Betting Odds

Favourable Bets

1. Over 3.5 Match Goals @ 1.80

2. Manchester City Clean Sheet – NO @ 2.37

Underdog Bets

1. Brighton Asian Handicap +1.5 @ 3.550

Key Stats

  • Manchester City have won their last five games against Brighton in all competitions.
  • Brighton have never won a league match away at Manchester City in nine attempts (W0 D2 L7).
  • Manchester City have gone 17 Premier League games unbeaten since a 1-2 defeat to Newcastle in January, taking 49 points from a possible 51 in that run.
  • Brighton have won just one point from their 36 available in Premier League away games against ‘big six’ sides.
  • Manchester City have won 16 of their last 17 Premier League games kicking off at 3 pm on a Saturday.

Player to Watch

Raheem Sterling

Kicking off the new season in style (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Kicking off the new season in style (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

The official Premier League stats show Sterling to be second on the scorer charts despite notching five goals in three games. Teemu Puki tops the list with five. While the Norwich man could be doubted on finishing the season in the same position; there is little doubt over Sterling’s ability to finish as top scorer come to the end of the season.

Sterling has maintained his stunning from the last two seasons and scored important goals this term. He is City’s man on fire as many tip him to get better at the game. While Aguero has been able to take the limelight for all these years, Sterling could be the man to dislodge him this time. Games like the ones against Brighton come as the perfect opportunity for a player like him to showcase his talents.

Prediction

Manchester City 3-0 Brighton

Manchester City are clear favourites to win at home and kickstart their campaign at the Etihad. Despite their free-scoring nature, Guardiola’s team could find it somewhat challenging to break down a resolute Brighton defence, especially with Lewis Dunk at the heart of it. However, City have the players on all parts of the pitch to make it happen, and three points are virtually guaranteed.

Brighton might find it as an opportunity to test themselves against a top side like Man City. They might even try and secure a result, but City’s quality will overpower them and ensure the away team returns without anything from this clash. A clear victory is predicted for City here, and Brighton may well look to the next game for inspiration.

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