It’s a fixture that certainly brings back some fond memories following last May’s title success down on the South Coast against the Seagulls, and this time round Manchester City will be a seeking a repeat of that game and temporarily leapfrog Liverpool to the top of the Premier League.
Many Manchester City fans would agree in saying the outcome of this game is surely a formality, but with the struggles City faced when they last played a side managed by Graham Potter, maybe we shouldn’t be taking this one for granted! Ahead of this game, we got the views of Brighton fan Scott, from popular fan page We Are Brighton.
Thanks for joining us ahead of this one Scott. How would you assess Brighton’s transfer business this summer, and will it be enough to solidify your place in the Premier League for another season?
We’ve spent close to £60m for the second summer running, which still seems like a mad amount of money even though we’re into our third season in the Premier League. Whereas before we’d looked for cheaper imports from the continent, there seems to have been a change in approach to targeting young players from the Championship which fits in with the model of appointing Graham Potter from Swansea City.
Neal Maupay has come in from Brentford for £20m and scored on his debut away at Watford, which is an encouraging start. Adam Webster joined for £18m from Bristol City, but is yet to start a league game in our back three because of the form of Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk and Dan Burn.
The one exception to the rule is Leandro Trossard who we’ve picked up for £17m from Genk. He captained them to the Belgian title last year, despite only being 22-years-old, scoring 22 times from the wing and already looks like he might be a real bargain. The only way we’re going to move up the league is by scoring more goals and Trossard looks like he can both convert and create chances at this level.
What have you made of your opening three fixtures in the 2019/20 campaign?
The win at Watford on the opening day was extraordinary. Last season, we’d gone to Vicarage Road on the opening day and lost 2-0 without having a shot. This year, we scored three times playing bold, attacking football. What we’ve seen so far under Potter is chalk and cheese compared to some of the stuff on the road that Chris Hughton served up.
Of course, playing this positive football won’t mean much if we go down, but the early signs are good. Without Lukasz Fabianski having a ridiculously good game even by his high standards, we’d have beaten West Ham at home and we were all over Southampton before Florin Andone completely lost his mind to produce one of the worst tackles you’ll ever see.
That sending off after 30 minutes killed us last week, although we were still the better team for the majority of the game. Take away Fabianski and Andone’s stupidity and we could feasibly have nine points from nine going into this weekend.
After last season’s disappointing FA Cup semi-final defeat, do Brighton fans expect more of the same – a greater focus on the cup competitions?
It’s certainly something most Brighton fans would like. While most commentators lament the decline of the FA Cup, last season we were sold out the Amex for games against West Brom and Derby, took a full allocation at Bournemouth just two weeks after we’d been there in the league and we probably could have sold out the away end three or four times over at Millwall.
Nobody seems to know why, but we’ve developed a real love of the FA Cup since coming up. That’s only been strengthened by last seasons run to the semi-finals. Potter took the competition seriously at Swansea too – as you guys almost found to your cost – so fingers crossed for another good run.
What have you made of Manchester City’s start to the campaign?
It’s looking pretty ominous. Bar the VAR controversy against Spurs, you should be on nine points out of nine. City’s squad last season was frightening, so for it to be even stronger this time around is an ominous sign for the rest of us, plus you’ve got the added incentive of going for a third league title. In many ways, I think the second is the one you’ll find least motivation for as you’ve already won it once and plenty of sides have done it back-to-back in the past. Not many do three in a row though, so that incentive on top of the best team in the league. Well, bugger.
With VAR being heavily involved in the first few games of both Brighton and Manchester City, how would you assess it’s debut season so far?
We’ve had two goals chalked off for VAR and no complaints there as they were both illegal by the letter of the law. The issue we’ve had is the lack of information and the time it takes for the decision. Against Southampton last weekend, it was pretty obvious that Angus Gunn had been fouled in the build up to Dunk heading home, as he was lying prone on the ground. Last season, the referee or linesman gives that and there are a few grumbles but you accept it. This year, we instead have to sit around for two minutes while a bloke watching on television confirms it isn’t a goal – something we’ve all seen with our own eyes. The Premier League even tweeted out it had been disallowed before it flashed up on the Amex big screens.
The week before we had a brilliant volley by Trossard ruled out for Burn being a millimetre offside. No linesman in the world would have spotted it, West Ham didn’t appeal but the accuracy of VAR means you can’t get away with that anymore. Every little infringement is going to be picked up, so you begin to wonder is there any point in celebrating a goal anymore until the television truck in Uxbridge tells you it’s alright? And if you can’t go mad about your £17m winger crashing home a 25 yarder on his home debut, what’s the point in football anymore?
What are you expecting from this weekend’s game and what should Manchester City fans be most wary about in this Brighton side?
This is our first game against one of the big six under Graham Potter so nobody knows what to expect. He’s bold, confident and believes in his system but I still think it would be absolute madness to go to the Etihad and play 3-4-3 in the style we have in the three games so far. We’ll certainly be more attacking than we have been on our two previous visits and most of that will come through Trossard.
Starting XI and score prediction?
I can’t see too many changes personnel wise.
Ryan; Dunk, Duffy, Burn Martin Montoya; Solly March, Davy Propper, Dale Stephens, Pascal Gross; Trossard, Maupay.
Gross did however play 90 minutes at Bristol Rovers in the League Cup in midweek. Lord knows what formation he tries but we did use 4-2-3-1 in the early part of pre-season and that would offer a little more solidity. As for a prediction, I reckon we might manage to score a goal but it won’t be too much of a contest. 4-1 to City, just like at the Amex back in May.
You can follow our guests on twitter here: @WeAreBrighton
You can follow the author here: @FreddiePye_