Manchester City will be looking to return to winning ways when they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to the Etihad Stadium for their Premier League contest on Saturday.
The Citizens suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of Liverpool last weekend, while the Seagulls were held to a goalless draw at home against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
For the first time since the opening day of last season, Manchester City suffered defeat away from home in the Premier League when they lost to rivals Liverpool in a fiery battle at Anfield last weekend, courtesy of a second-half strike from Mohamed Salah.
Not even the exceptional goalscoring exploits of Erling Braut Haaland could break down Liverpool’s resilient backline, and the Citizens have now failed to score in their last two matches, including the goalless Champions League draw with Copenhagen.
Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola’s side – who were named Club of the Year at the 2022 Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday – will be keen to bounce back quickly as they have slipped four points behind league leaders Arsenal.
The Citizens have seven fixtures in all competitions before the World Cup, including five at the Etihad Stadium where they have won each of their last 12 games and scored a remarkable 51 goals. Indeed, this winning streak on home soil began with a 3-0 victory against Brighton in April last season, with Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva all on the scoresheet in the second half.
City will fancy their chances of success again on Saturday and a victory would see them become just the second team in English top-flight history to secure 10 successive home wins after Aston Villa, who put together a 12-game winning run between March and December 1897, and a 13-match winning run between December 1930 and September 1931.
Since Leandro Trossard netted an impressive hat-trick in a 3-3 draw against Liverpool at the beginning of this month, the goals have dried up for Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton, who have failed to score in their last three games.
The Italian is still searching for his first win in charge of the Seagulls since replacing Graham Potter last month, after he watched his side play out a frustrating goalless draw with Nottingham Forest on Tuesday – a game which the South-Coast club dominated with 71% possession and 19 shots on goal, while the visitors failed to register a single shot on target.
Brighton had been occupying a place in the top four during the early stages of this season, but they have since dropped down to eighth spot, five points behind Potter’s fourth-placed Chelsea, who they will face at the Amex Stadium next weekend.
Returning to winning ways and climbing back towards the Champions League places may prove challenging in the short term for the Seagulls, as they head into Saturday’s clash having lost 10 of their 12 visits to Man City, scoring just twice and conceding 21 goals.
Brighton supporters will reminisce about the 3-2 home triumph over the reigning champions in May 2021, and a similar performance will be required from De Zerbi’s men if they are to claim anything from the Etihad this weekend.
Manchester City Premier League form:
Manchester City form (all competitions):
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form:
We say: Manchester City 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Guardiola will be looking for a response from his Man City players following last weekend’s defeat, and the Citizens will be regarded as strong favourites to claim maximum points on Saturday, although Brighton’s threat cannot be underestimated.
Only Crystal Palace have tested City on home soil in the Premier League so far this season, albeit still losing 4-2, and unless Brighton can rediscover their clinical touch in front of goal, the reigning champions should have few problems in securing another routine victory at the Etihad.