• Charley Longden

Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Manchester City vs Brighton Preview

Manchester City will host Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday the 20th of April at the Etihad Stadium. The match will kick off at 20:00 (BST) – and has not been selected to be broadcast live in the UK. Pep Guardiola’s men must take all three points from Graham Potter’s side, as Liverpool could potentially be 2 points clear at the top of the table by the time City kick off on Wednesday.

 

Team News


In his press conference – Guardiola confirmed that Kyle Walker will not be available to play against Brighton due to an ankle injury he sustained against Atletico Madrid last week. Guardiola stated that he does not know when the England international will be back fit. The Catalan also stated that “the other ones are better”, which suggests that Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias are both in contention for a place in the starting line-up against Brighton.


Predicted XI:


Ederson, Stones, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Foden, Grealish

 

Overview


Form: LDDWW

League position: 1st

Top scorer: De Bruyne (11)

Previous result: L 3-2 vs Liverpool (N)


City’s most recent outing did not go to plan, a 3-2 loss in the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool. Guardiola took the opportunity to rest some of his top players after an incredibly demanding couple of weeks. City were taken apart in the first half, with goals from Ibrahima Konate, and Sadio Mane (2) putting the Reds 3-0 up going into halftime. A costly mistake from goalkeeper Zack Steffen was the main talking point from the first half.

It couldn’t get any worse for Guardiola’s men in the second half, and thankfully, it didn’t. A goal from Jack Grealish in the 47th minute gave the reigning champions a glimmer of hope. With 20 minutes to go, Grealish played a sumptuous through ball into Gabriel Jesus that left him one-on-one with Alisson, and unfortunately for the Blues, Jesus couldn’t convert the chance. In stoppage time, Liverpool were left sweating as Bernardo Silva clawed the game back to 3-2. Time ran out for the Blues, however, and Liverpool were victorious – setting up an FA Cup final fixture against Chelsea on the 14th of May.


Guardiola made seven changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Atletico Madrid in the week, which proved to stretch the City side too thin against such a dominant Liverpool side. Guardiola cannot be blamed for the decision to make changes, as City are still fighting for the league title and the Champions League. Unfortunately, the FA Cup simply cannot be top priority when the title race is so tight, and a Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid is on the horizon. It is likely that Guardiola will look to make a handful of changes again going into the Brighton match, as some of his top players have had a much-needed rest.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

John Stones has been in excellent form of late, the Barnsley born centre-half was Man of the Match against Atletico Madrid and looked to be City’s leader at the back against Liverpool. In Madrid, Stones had 97 touches, 96% pass accuracy, won 4 duels and won possession 4 times. A solid performance. Since Dias suffered a hamstring injury over a month ago, Stones has stepped up and looked assured alongside Aymeric Laporte.


Another man that has been excellent in the absence of Dias is Nathan Ake. The adaptable Dutchman can either play at centre half or left-back for Guardiola and looked completely comfortable against Mohamed Salah on the weekend. Ake was also brought on in Madrid in the 73rd minute as Kyle Walker was unable to continue. Through an incredibly tricky period for the Blues, Ake stood strong and made more clearances (5) than any other player on the pitch, even though he only played 17 minutes.

 

Opposition


Form: WWDLL

League position: 10th

Top scorer: Maupay (8)

Previous result: W 0-1 vs Tottenham (A)


In their last match, Brighton upset top-four chasing Spurs 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with a dramatic 90th-minute winner from Leandro Trossard. Brighton were the better side across 90 minutes, with 52% possession and 12 shots to Tottenham’s 5. Brighton were also resilient at the back and restricted Spurs to 0 shots on target. This is only the second time that Spurs have failed to register a single shot on target in a home match in the Premier League since the start of the 2016/17 season.


Brighton are in excellent form. Unbeaten in their last three matches, Potter’s men were victorious away at Arsenal and then away at Spurs. 7 points out of a possible 9 mean that Brighton have climbed up to 10th place in the league. If Brighton are to finish in the top half, it would be the first time in the club’s history that they have managed a top-half finish in the English top-flight.


Potter is doing an excellent job at Brighton and has his side playing football in a positive way. His side regularly have more possession than their opponents – however, have been lacking in front of goal on too many occasions this season. The Seagulls have only scored 29 goals in 32 league matches this season, which is the third-worst across the Premier League with only Norwich and Burnley scoring less.

Yves Bissouma was terrific against Spurs, having 100% take-on success, 7/9 duels won, 7 passes into the final third and 4 interceptions which were the most out of anyone on the pitch. Despite his excellent performance against Spurs, Potter will be without his midfield enforcer due to him picking up his 10th yellow card of the season. This means that not only will Bissouma miss Brighton’s trip to the Etihad, but he will also be suspended for their home match against Southampton.

In their 2-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium over Arsenal, Enock Mwepu was extremely impressive. The 24-year-old managed 6 interceptions, 7 recoveries and won 8/10 ground duels. Mwepu also managed to score Brighton’s second goal of the match, an excellent finish from the edge of the area to stun the Gunners.


Brighton’s excellent run of form means this match is a tricky one for City. With away wins against Arsenal and Spurs in their last two matches, Potter and his men will believe they can complete a hat-trick of shock results and stun the reigning champions.

Photo courtesy of Clive Rose/Getty Images

 

Head-to-Head


Played: 27

Won: 17

Drawn: 4

Lost: 6


The first time that Manchester City and Brighton met was in February 1924, an FA Cup match at the Goldstone Ground. City were destructive on the day and managed a 5-1 victory with goals from Tommy Browell (2), Billy Meredith, Horace Barnes, and Sam Sharp.


Throughout history, Manchester City have never lost a home match against Brighton and Hove Albion in any competition. City have played at home 12 times against Brighton, won 10 and drawn 2.

At the end of last season, Brighton were victorious over the Blues at the Amex in a 3-2 victory. Goals from Leandro Trossard, Adam Webster and Dan Burn were enough to give Brighton their first league win against City since April 1989. Joao Cancelo saw red after just 10 minutes for denying Danny Welbeck a goal-scoring opportunity.


Earlier this season, when these two sides met, City were 4-1 victors over the Seagulls. Goals from Phil Foden (2), Ilkay Gundogan, and Riyad Mahrez sealed the points in style for the Blues.

Photo courtesy of Clive Rose/Getty Images
 

Officials


Referee: Mike Dean

Assistants: Darren Cann & Eddie Smart

Fourth official: Robert Jones

VAR: Chris Kavanagh

Assistant VAR: Neil Davies

Photo courtesy of Jan Kruger/Getty Images
 

Written by: @CharleyLongden


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