Two teams desperate to return to winning ways will see Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion lock horns at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Cityzens suffered their first defeat of the campaign in a closely contested tie with Liverpool after Mohamed Salah turned Joao Cancelo before racing to slot past Ederson.
It was the first time Pep Guardiola’s side have suffered defeat away from home in the Premier League since the opening day of last season.
The result left City four points behind league leaders Arsenal. However, they remained in second place as Tottenham Hotspur missed the chance to overtake them following their 2-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
City have failed to score in their last two matches, including the goalless Champions League draw with Copenhagen, but not for the lack of trying.
Phil Foden looked to have scored in his fourth successive league game, but his goal was chalked off after a VAR review deemed Erling Braut Haaland to have fouled Fabinho in the build-up.
City, who were crowned Club of the Year at the 2022 Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday, will be keen to bounce back quickly to keep pace with runaway leaders Arsenal.
The Cityzens have seven fixtures in all competitions before the World Cup, including five at the Etihad. This run bodes well for them as they have won each of their last 12 games and scored a remarkable 51 goals on home soil.
The winning streak began with a 3-0 win over Brighton in April last season, with Riyad Mahrez, Foden and Bernardo Silva getting on the scoresheet.
City will fancy their chances of success again on Saturday. A victory would see them become just the second team in English top-flight history to secure ten successive home wins after Aston Villa in the 1930/31 season.
However, it will not come easy as their visitors are still chasing their first win under new boss Roberto De Zerbi.
Since Leandro Trossard put three past Liverpool in De Zerbi’s debut as manager, the Seagulls have failed to score in three successive games.
They are also yet to taste success under the former Shakhtar Donetsk boss and have picked up just two points from their last four games (D2, L2).
The Italian watched his side play out a frustrating goalless draw with Nottingham Forest on Tuesday in a game where they dominated with 71% possession and 19 shots on goal while the visitors failed to register a single shot on target.
Whether it is bad luck or just their lack of cutting edge, Brighton will need something to go their way, but it may not happen in the short term as the Seagulls head into Saturday’s clash having lost 10 of their 12 visits to City, scoring just twice and conceding 21 goals.
Brighton supporters will reminisce about their 3-2 home triumph over the reigning champions in May 2021. However, de Zerbi’s men will require a similar performance if they want to claim anything from the Etihad this weekend.
City’s defeat to Liverpool was their first in 22 Premier League games, and they will be desperate to avoid a repeat of December 2018, when they last lost consecutive league matches.
Foden has been imperious this season and has scored at least a goal in each of his previous three league games, bar Liverpool.
The young Englishman has also been involved in six goals in his last four Premier League appearances against Brighton, with five goals and one assist.
A goal on Saturday will see him become the first player to score in five consecutive Premier League games against the Seagulls.
Kevin De Bruyne, who has created more chances (33) and provided more assists (9) than any other player in the Premier League this season, also loves a goal contribution against this weekend’s visitors.
He has been involved in four goals in his three league home games against Brighton with a goal and three assists.
Haaland has scored in his last six home games in all competitions, netting 13 goals. He continues to break boundaries and records, walking the same path as City legend Sergio Aguero.
The Norwegian could become the first player to score in seven consecutive home games for the Cityzens since Aguero, who achieved the feat between December and February in the 2017/18 campaign.
Brighton & Hove Albion
While searching for his first win in charge, De Zerbi could kill two birds with one stone by being the first Brighton boss in history to secure maximum points at the Etihad.
Coupled with their prolific losing record against City, where they have lost each of the last eight visits by an aggregate score of 21-2, the Seagulls are also winless in their previous three away league games.
They have lost twice and conceded seven goals – an appalling record considering they had won five of their previous seven on the road before this (D1, L1), conceding just six goals.
Having failed to win any of his first four games, De Zerbi could be the first manager without a win in his first five Premier League games since Scott Parker in April 2019.
Manchester City vs Brighton & Hove Albion Predicted Line-ups
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson, Joao Cancelo, Manuel Akanji, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake; Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo Silva; Phil Foden, Erling Braut Haaland, Jack Grealish.
Brighton & Hove Albion (3-4-2-1): Robert Sanchez; Joel Veltman, Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster; Solly March, Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister, Leandro Trossard; Adam Lallana, Pascal Gross; Danny Welbeck.
How to Watch?
Manchester City vs Brighton & Hove Albion Prediction
Guardiola will be looking for a response from his Man City players following last weekend’s defeat.
Although Brighton’s threat cannot be underestimated, the Cityzens are firm favourites to claim maximum points on Saturday.
Manchester City 3-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
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