Manchester City return to Premier League action as they welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to the Etihad Stadium. Victory will see the blues move into third place in the league and, dependent on United’s result at Burnley on Tuesday, potentially just one point behind their Stretford neighbours.
While City tussle for the Premier League title, their opponents are fighting for their Premier League future. The Seagulls are 17th in the league, one place above the relegation zone but four points ahead of Fulham in 18th. However, the Cottagers have two games in hand over their fellow strugglers, and if Fulham win at Spurs, they could go above Brighton on goal difference.
Brighton are on a terrible run of form, having won one match from their last ten matches, with the last three points they took coming courtesy of a 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park in November. That was only their second win of the season, with the being a 3-0 win at Newcastle in September. They have also lost three and drawn three of their other away games, but they have scored 11 away goals, the highest of any of the bottom six teams and one more than City have scored on the road.
But the defence is an issue for the Seagulls, as all the hard work they have put into scoring 11 has been undone by conceding 13, giving them a goal difference of -2 going into the match. They face a City side with the joint best home defence in the Premier League, having only conceding 7 goals all season, with 5 of those coming in the same match. Out of interest, the other team to only concede 7 at home is…err…16th placed Burnley!
Brighton have scraped past Newport in the FA Cup at the weekend, and needed a penalty shoot out to make it to the fourth round. The Seagulls scored the opener in the 90th minute, but conceded in the 6th minute of injury time to force extra time.
Last time out, Brighton were 3-1 down at home to Wolves by half-time, but rallied in the second half to earn a 3-3 draw. They won three and drew three in December, losing at home to Southampton and Arsenal, with the other being a 3-0 loss at Leicester.
Last Time Out
The last time these two met in Manchester, the blues ran out 4-0 winners in August 2019, a match that was remembered for the injury to Aymeric Laporte which meant a long spell on the sidelines and a difficult time for the City defence.
Neil Maupay is the biggest threat to the City goal. The French forward has scored 6 goals from 23 shots from 17 games this season, which gives him a goal conversion rate of 26%, but a shot accuracy of 70%, the highest in the Brighton team. Solly March and Alex MacAllister both have 3 goals apiece.
Pascal Grob is the Brighton assist king, claiming four so far this season. The German midfielder has attempted 657 passes, completing 555, giving him a pass accuracy of 84%. March has attempted the most passes with 670, but also holds the title of most incomplete passes with 150.
Who’s The Boss?
Graham Potter is the man at the helm at Brighton, and has been in charge since May 2019, taking over from Chris Hughton. Potter was previously manager of Swedish club Ostersunds FK for 7 years before joining Swansea in 2018.
The combative midfield general Neil McNab played for Brighton between 1980 and 1983 before arriving at Maine Road for £35,000. Tony Grealish was at Brighton during the same time as McNab and moved to City in 1986 via West Brom.
The legend Paul Dickov represented Albion on loan from Arsenal in 1994, making 8 appearances for the Seagulls, scoring 5 goals before moving to City in 1996.
Brian Horton captained Brighton between 1976 and 1981, and later took the Maine Road hot seat in 1993 when Peter Reid was sacked. Horton spent two years at City and won the hearts of the faithful, until he was dismissed in 1995 by new chairman Francis Lee. Horton was the man who brought Uwe Rosler, Paul Walsh, Peter Beagrie and Nicky Summerbee to Maine Road. Horton returned to Brighton for 11 months in February 1998.