Newly-crowned English champions Manchester City are hoping to retain their 13-point lead at the top of the table as they take on Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday.
Manchester City are gearing up for their final away game in this edition of the Premier League, as they travel to Amex Stadium to face Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday.
The newly-crowned English champions have nothing to play for other than getting some vital match practice ahead of their important UEFA Champions League final against Chelsea at the end of this month.
The Sky Blues most recently played against Newcastle United, coming back from a 3-2 scoreline to win the game to 4-3. Things could be even more difficult as they take on a strong Brighton unit this midweek.
Although the Seagulls are dawdling just above the relegation zone, they have secured their top-flight status due to a healthy 11-point lead over 18th placed Fulham.
One of the key takeaways from Brighton’s season so far has been the fact that they simply haven’t scored enough despite having one of the highest chance-creations in the league. At the same time, they do have the best defensive record in the bottom half of the league table, and it needs to remain resilient once again, up against the champions this midweek.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at Brighton’s chances of causing an upset against Manchester City, as the two sides face one another at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.
Team News & Tactics
Brighton & Hove Albion
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) May 17, 2021
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter does not have a clean bill of health heading into this encounter, missing out on the services of several star players, including the defensive duo of Joel Veltman and Tariq Lamptey as well as attacker Solly March.
Speaking of attackers, Neal Maupay, too, is unavailable due to suspension, thus leaving Potter devoid of options in the final third. The Seagulls, therefore, will rely on the services of ex-Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck to spearhead their attack, with additional support from Alireza Jahanbaksh and Leandro Trossard.
In midfield, the experienced Davy Propper is out injured as well, meaning Potter will rely on the services of Adam Lallana and Yves Bissouma to offer that control in the middle of the park.
The three-man backline does offer Brighton more assurance in possession, due to the presence of wide midfielders like Pascal Gross and Jakub Moder. But the onus will be on Bissouma and Lallana, to keep hold of that possession and make it useful, particularly with forward balls for runners like Trossard or Jahanbaksh.
And finally, in the defensive unit, the continued absence of Lewis Dunk through suspension, should force Potter to persist with the back three of Ben White, Adam Webster and Dan Burn.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Sanchez; White, Webster, Burn; Gross, Lallana, Bissouma, Moder; Trossard, Jahanbakhsh; Welbeck
Manchester City were in action on the weekend, and with nothing to play for, Pep Guardiola will be tempted to make changes to his squad. It appears this could be an ideal opportunity for the Catalan to recall his first-team players before they get involved in action once again at the end of the month.
PEP 💬 That’s good tomorrow with Brighton fans and the last game we lift the trophy with fans in the Etihad and the final as well. It’s nice, hopefully it will happen next season.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 17, 2021
As such, Ruben Dias and John Stones could return at the heart of the four-man backline, with Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko servicing as full-backs. Scott Carson was a surprise pick in the win over Newcastle United, and this time around, Pep might want to try his luck with another fringe goalkeeper in Zack Steffen.
In midfield, Ilkay Gundogan could be set for a breather, paving the way for Bernardo Silva to retain his place in the side, as the Portuguese international looks to offer the creative essence in the final third, alongside Phil Foden.
The attack-minded midfield, though, will need some solid defensive cover and that is where Fernandinho comes into the fray. The experienced Brazilian is tipped to replace Rodri, operating in the sole number six slot in Manchester City’s preferred 4-3-3 formation.
Moving forward, Ferran Torres remains a guaranteed starter after scoring a hat-trick against Newcastle United. He is likely to fare alongside Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus in the three-man Man City attack that will look to crush the Brighton defence this midweek.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Steffen; Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; Silva, Fernandinho, Foden; Mahrez, Jesus, Torres
- Brighton have lost all seven of their Premier League meetings with Manchester City by an aggregate score of 21-2. The Seagulls have led for a grand total of 83 seconds in these games.
- Manchester City’s last league defeat against Brighton was in April 1989 in the second tier, while their last top-flight defeat against the Seagulls was in October 1981.
- Since beating Crystal Palace 3-1 in December 2018, Brighton have taken just two points from their 27 available in Premier League games on a Tuesday, with Seagulls failing to score in each of the last four.
- Brighton have won their final home league game in just one of the last six seasons, doing so against Manchester United in their maiden Premier League campaign of 2017/18.
- Since losing against Chelsea in June 2020 to hand the Premier League title to Liverpool, Manchester City have taken 37 points from 39 available in midweek Premier League games, winning 12 and drawing one of their 13 such matches.
Player to Watch
That Ferran Torres flick ✨
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 17, 2021
Ferran Torres is, without a doubt, the one to keep an eye on in this enticing encounter between Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion this week. The young forward is coming on the back of a sensational hat-trick against Newcastle United.
The performance has surely lifted his confidence after a difficult first season at Etihad Stadium that has seen him muster only 1,276 minutes of Premier League. He has been a part of the starting eleven only 14 times in the league, falling behind the likes of Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus in the pecking order.
However, with Sergio Aguero leaving the club in the summer, Torres will have the opportunity to earn a more prominent role in the Manchester City squad next season. A strong performance against Brighton could go a long way in helping his quest to do so.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Manchester City
Manchester City are the undisputed favourites heading into this game, having enjoyed a marvellous record against Brighton in recent years. The Seagulls are also in a poor run of form, winning just one of their last seven matches. And with key Man City players likely to return to the starting eleven this week, we are expecting the Citizens to secure a rather comfortable 2-0 win in this one.