Manchester City return to Premier League action as Pep Guardiola’s side host Brighton & Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium.
City are currently enjoying a decent run of form and, with Liverpool’s recent slip-ups allowing City to claw their way back into the title race, the clash with Brighton is a must-win situation.
On paper, Brighton should pose little threat to Pep’s in-form City side. The Blues are unbeaten since November whilst Brighton are missing several key players and have failed to win a match since November. However, football is often unpredictable, and the fixture may not be the cake-walk for City that many are expecting.
City will be going into the Wednesday’s fixture with several key players missing. Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Aké and Raheem Sterling all missed Sunday’s clash with Birmingham due to injuries. Although, the latter may be available for Brighton’s visit after Guardiola confirmed in his press conference that he passed his fitness test. Moreover, on a positive note, Ederson will again be available following a bout with COVID-19, whilst Ferran Torres and Tommy Doyle are also available after submitting negative test results.
Scott Carson, Eric Garcia and Cole Palmer remain unavailable having recently tested positive for COVID-19, whilst Sergio Agüero will also be unavailable owing to self-isolation protocols.
Brighton meanwhile will be without Danny Welbeck, Aaron Connolly, Tariq Lamptey, Adam Lallana, Jose Izquierdo and Yves Bissouma (suspended), whilst Steven Alzate, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jakub Moder are unlikely to feature.
Head To Head
Wednesday evening shall see Manchester City and Brighton meet for just the 25th time in all competitions. City have emerged victorious in 15 of those encounters, Brighton have won five meetings and the two sides have drawn on four occasions.
City have won each of the previous seven meetings with Brighton, with the Blues’ most recent loss coming in a 2008 League Cup clash when the Seagull’s bested a City side containing Kasper Schmeichel and Michael Johnson via a penalty shoot-out.
Heading into the fixture, Pep’s side are in great form and are undefeated in their last 13 games, 10 of which have been City victories. Since the loss to Spurs in November, City’s form has seen a drastic upturn and Pep’s side have since averaged 2.08 goals per game and have scored in each of their last 7 fixtures. Additionally, City’s defensive form has also markedly improved and is in better shape than we’ve seen in a long time, as Ruben Dias and Co. have conceded just 3 goals in their previous 13 matches.
Whilst City’s recent form has been strong, Brighton’s form as of late has been remarkably poor, and their disappointing start to the season has resulted in Brighton sitting just three points above the relegation zone and they appear set for yet another relegation battle. Conversely however, despite the Seagulls having failed to win a Premier League match since November, the stats suggest that Brighton are a much better side than the table suggests. Offensively, Brighton are averaging a respectable 1.24 goals per game – more than both Arsenal and Wolves, whilst defensively, only City and Liverpool have conceded more shots this season. With the likes of Neal Maupay, Ben White and Lewis Dunk, Brighton possess a decent squad, and the underlying stats suggest that Graham Potter’s side are far less hopeless than the likes of Sheffield United and have more than enough about them to survive the drop.
Darren England will officiate the clash at the Etihad and the fixture will be the first time that England has taken charge of a Manchester City match.
England will be joined by Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett as linesmen whilst Michael Oliver will serve as the fourth official. As per usual, VAR will be in operation and VAR will be overseen by Mike Dean and Dan Robathan.
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