Still fighting for success on two fronts this season, Manchester City play host to Brighton & Hove Albion in Wednesday’s Premier League battle at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s side missed out on a place in the FA Cup final with a 3-2 loss to Liverpool at Wembley last time out, while the Seagulls ran out 1-0 winners over Tottenham Hotspur.
A raft of changes on the Man City side for their FA Cup semi-final was somewhat inevitable given their fiery Champions League encounter with Atletico Madrid and fresh injuries to key players, but one controversial call from Pep Guardiola backfired more than the rest at Wembley Stadium.
Zack Steffen was given the nod in goal over Ederson, whose nifty footwork came to the fore in the league meeting with the Reds, but the American shot-stopper was not so skilled in a similar scenario, allowing Sadio Mane to nip in and score the second of Liverpool’s three goals in the first half.
Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva’s responses were ultimately in vain for Man City, who could still complete a remarkable Premier League and Champions League double in the weeks that remain, and the former title is firmly in their own hands heading into the final stretch.
At the time of writing, the reigning champions still hold a one-point lead over Liverpool at the summit, but Jurgen Klopp’s side could temporarily usurp Man City with victory over Manchester United on Tuesday night before the Citizens seek to restore order 24 hours later.
Defeat to the Reds at Wembley means that City have now gone three games without a win in all competitions, but they are the division’s top goalscorers at home with 42 strikes this term and will prove to be a true test of Brighton’s new-found mettle.
Clearly not satisfied with just the one win in North London, Brighton – who travelled to the capital on the back of a deserved win over Arsenal – weathered the Tottenham storm on Saturday lunchtime before their efforts to push for a winner in the dying embers of the clash were rewarded.
With 90 minutes on the clock, Leandro Trossard made lightning strike twice in North London with a sublime fake shot and outside-of-the-boot finish past Hugo Lloris to hand Brighton the unlikeliest of back-to-back victories, and Graham Potter’s side are certainly intent on ending the season on a high note.
Suffering six defeats from seven before meeting Arsenal and Spurs did not deplete the morale in Potter’s ranks, and his side are firmly in contention for a top-half finish as they sit smack-bang in the middle of the table in 10th place – level on points with ninth-placed Leicester City having played two games more.
Brighton had only managed one goal in 630 minutes of Premier League football before their trip to the Emirates, but they travel to the Etihad Stadium having suffered a mere three league defeats on the road all-season long – only Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool have fared better in that regard.
However, not since the days of Chris Hughton in 2018 have Brighton managed to win three on the bounce in the Premier League, and Man City have come up trumps in eight of their nine meetings with the Seagulls in the competition, including a 4-1 success at the Amex back in October.
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
Brighton command plenty of respect after consecutive wins against Arsenal and Tottenham, but attempting to get one over a Man City side desperate to respond to their FA Cup exits is surely a bridge too far for the Seagulls.
City will have all the motivation they need to return to winning ways should Liverpool go top on Tuesday night, and the fresh legs at Guardiola’s disposal makes it difficult to look past a convincing win for the reigning champions.