Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City hope to head into the international break with a win, as the champions host Brighton at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon. After a frustrating 2-2 draw against Spurs in the last game at the Etihad the Blues will be eager to register a first home win of the season, and what better opponent to do this than a Brighton side who City have endured a lot of recent success against.
Brighton have had a promising start to the season under new manager Graham Potter. Guardiola spoke about how Brighton will set up, “They will play five at the back so they are more aggressive with (the) high press.” City have faced some criticism in recent weeks over their finishing in games but ahead of the match Pep was asked about trying different things with his team and described it as “my players and weapons vs your weapons. It’s simple.” The Catalonian is not worried about the recent missed chances.
Despite both returning to training John Stones and Benjamin Mendy aren’t expected to take any part in Saturday’s game. Gabriel Jesus remains sidelined until after the international break with a hamstring injury. Brighton will be without Florin Andone who is suspended, Jose Izquierdo and Ezequiel Schelotto who are both out injured.
Head to Head
There have only been 22 meetings between City and Brighton with the Blues having won 13 of those and scoring 43 goals, the first ever league meeting between the two sides being back in 1979. However, Since Brighton’s promotion in 2017 the Seagulls have lost on all 5 occasions against the Champions, the most recent being back in May when City came from behind to win 4-1 and retain the Premier League title. The two sides also met at Wembley in April where an early Gabriel Jesus goal was just enough to edge past Brighton and progress City into the FA CUP Final.
The Champions come into the game off a 3-1 win against Bournmouth last weekend while Graham Potter suffered his first defeat as Brighton manager at Southampton on Saturday. They also scraped through to the second round of the League Cup with a 92nd minute winner against Bristol Rovers.
Pre-Match Talking Points
Despite City being unbeaten since January in the league the Blues have only managed to keep one clean sheet so far this season. Pep Guardiola has used 19 players already in this campaign, with new signing Joao Cancelo getting his first minutes in the latter stages against Bournemouth. Could he be in line to make his full debut? Manchester City also discovered their Champions League group stage opponents in the lead up to this game , with Shakhtar Donetsk, Atalanta and Dinamo Zagreb all to be played between now and December. Ayemeric Laporte has also received his first call up to the French national team.
Jon Moss will take charge of his 203rd Premier League game at the Etihad with Marc Perry and Simon Bennet his assistants. David Coot after last weekend saw yet another VAR debate sparked when a challenge on David Silva in the box wasn’t overturned by the VAR.
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