Manchester City are set to host Brighton & Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium in a highly anticipated English Premier League showdown. As the two teams prepare to take the field, the match holds significant importance for both sides. Man City, following a string of unimpressive performances, is determined to regain its position at the summit of the league, while Brighton seeks to continue their steady climb in the rankings.
In their recent performance, a goal from Gabriel Martinelli in the 86th minute was enough for Arsenal to down Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium. This loss comes on the heels of a string of underwhelming performances, which have resulted in City slipping to the third position in the Premier League standings. This season doesn’t seem to be as good for the treble-winner. For sure the pressure is palpable on manager Pep Guardiola as he navigates these challenging times.
While it may be hard to digest, City have suffered three losses in five games across all competitions. Their most recent victory was against RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League. However, in the Premier League, Guardiola’s team started on a strong note, with just two losses in their first eight games.
Brighton’s performance, on the other hand, has been equally underwhelming, with only one win in their last five matches across all competitions, accompanied by two draws and two losses. However, Roberto De Zerbi’s team doing reasonably fine in the Premier League as compared to last year. Hove Albion has won 3 out of the last 5 games in the Premier League. Currently, the club is ranked sixth in the table.
In their recent Premier League outing, Brighton managed a hard-fought draw against Liverpool at their home ground. Adingra, the striker, opened the scoring for Brighton in the 20th minute, but Liverpool retaliated with two late first-half goals courtesy of Salah, leading 2-1 at halftime. However, Brighton staged a spirited second-half comeback, with Dunk’s spectacular free-kick goal in the 78th minute leveling the score at 2-2, ultimately concluding the game in a thrilling draw.
WHEN & WHERE?
Venue: Etihad Stadium.
Date: Saturday, 21 October 2023
Time: Kick off at 03:00 PM BST
Referee: Robert Jones.
Assistant Referees: Ian Hussin & Steve Meredith.
Video Assistant Referee: Micheal Salisbury.
Fourth Official: Jeremy Simpson.
Rodri will resume the Premier League campaign following his 3 match ban for violent conduct against Nottingham Forest. Kevin De Bryune will continue to serve the sidelines.
Pervis Estupinan and Julio Enciso will continue to be out of the team due to fitness. After missing the draw against Liverpool, Tariq Lamptey may return to the team but nothing is confirmed by the club officials yet.
When Roberto De Zerbi lined up against Pep last time around, he was questioning whether to go with an attacking or a defensive approach to the game – and admittedly he went with the former. This season there have been multiple criticism surrounding Brighton and their tad-bit-too offensive approach which in turn plays a domino effect in defensive transition and OOP defensive actions.
That game against Wolves, where Gary O’Neil placed a resilient hybrid of mid-low block could serve as an inspiration for Brighton and De Zerbi knowing how effective they are in transition-esque situations.
Manchester City duly missed having an ever-present option in the midfield in Rodri against Arsenal as well as Wolves. Pep will definitely have a smirk on his face knowing the Spaniard will be back come Saturday. Supported by the likes of Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden in midfield, City’s attacking prowess will be formidable. While City is poised to dominate against Brighton, it’s important not to underestimate Brighton’s resilience and determination.
Brighton are maybe ‘the best’ first phase buildup side in the world and that makes it interesting over how City chooses to shape OOP – whether they play a waiting game and try to turn in a turnover in the midfield (i.e. second phase) or they deploy a high press in order to either force a mistake or force them long (maybe to Evan Ferguson, if he plays).
Haaland, a young talent renowned for his extraordinary pace, power, and technical finesse, all of which contribute to his impressive goal-scoring ability. Last season, he played a pivotal role in Manchester City’s triumphant Treble-winning campaign, solidifying his status as a key player for the club.
His potential as a long-term asset for the team is undeniable, a fact that Guardiola fully recognizes. The manager is committed to nurturing Haaland’s abilities in every way possible, and the young Norwegian consistently lives up to his manager’s expectations.
Knowing Haaland and how City shapes to providing him, you can never rule him out.
Even before achieving World Cup glory, Pep Guardiola recognized Julian Alvarez’s exceptional talent and swiftly secured his signature. Prior to the World Cup, Guardiola conveyed his belief in Alvarez’s potential, saying, “You have the highest chance of winning the World Cup trophy,” a prophecy that has since come to fruition.
So far in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, Julian Alvarez has stepped up and taken up a more SS role albeit his creativity with the ball is not as much as the Belgium he is used rather more directly. That shows up into how impactful and integral he has been for City this season. The Argentinian and his carries can cause major problems to break Brighton’s blocks, something which we have already seen multiple times this season. So, it would be great to see his move against Brighton.
Manchester City predicted lineup vs Brighton: Ederson (GK) Walker, Stones, Dias, Gvardiol; Rodri, Lewis; Foden, Alvarez, Doku, Haaland.
Brighton predicted lineup vs Brighton: Verbruggen (GK) Veltman, Dunk, Van Hecke, March; Gross, Baleba, Adingra, Pedro, Mitoma, Ferguson.