Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester City
Fresh from lifting their third successive Premier League title, champions Manchester City travel to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton & Hove Albion in the penultimate game of the top-flight campaign.
The Citizens secured a 3-1 home victory against the Seagulls in the reverse fixture seven months ago, with Erling Braut Haaland (2) and Kevin De Bruyne on the scoresheet.
While Man City were celebrating their Premier League coronation, there was also a party atmosphere at the Amex on Sunday after Brighton secured European football for the first time in their history courtesy of a 3-1 win over basement club Southampton.
A first-half brace from rising star Evan Ferguson put the Seagulls in control before Mohammed Elyounoussi pulled one back for the already-relegated Saints just before the hour mark, but Pascal Gross restored the hosts’ two-goal cushion with a strike in the 69th minute.
Roberto De Zerbi’s men are now guaranteed a top-seven finish, but the Italian has urged his side to claim a solitary point from their final two fixtures to ensure that they consolidate sixth spot and qualify for next season’s Europa League – a trip to seventh-placed Aston Villa who sit three points further back is to come on the final day.
Few would have envisaged Brighton challenging for the European places this season, but they are there on merit having adopted an attractive brand of football under De Zerbi, who has been described by Pep Guardiola as ‘one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years’ and seems to have already caught the eye of a number of top clubs if reports are to be believed.
On Wednesday, the Seagulls will test their mettle against another side known for their aesthetic philosophy in Man City, who have won 10 of the last 11 Premier League meetings between the two sides since the South-coast club secured promotion in 2017.
Brighton have won three of their last four home games, albeit losing 5-1 to Everton during this run, while their only top-flight victory over Man City also came on home soil, securing a 3-2 comeback win in their final home game of the 2020-21 season thanks to goals from Leandro Trossard, Adam Webster and Dan Burn.
Preview: Brighton vs. Man City – prediction, team news, lineups
After being handed the Premier League title without kicking a ball courtesy of Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest, the pressure was off Man City heading into Sunday’s clash with Chelsea, but Pep Guardiola’s side were keen to go out with a bang and celebrate one more victory in front of the Etihad Stadium faithful.
Indeed, an early strike from World Cup winner Julian Alvarez was enough for a much-rotated Citizens side to secure a narrow 1-0 win over a toothless Blues outfit in their final home game of the season, before captain Ilkay Gundogan had the honours of lifting the club’s seventh Premier League trophy.
Man City have put together a remarkable 24-game unbeaten run across all competitions, winning each of their last 12 Premier League games in the process, and having previously trailed Arsenal at the summit for the majority of the season, they now sit seven points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand.
With one trophy in the bag, the Citizens continue to chase down a historic treble, with finals in the FA Cup and Champions League on the horizon, and Guardiola has suggested that glory in the latter competition will ensure that they are “considered as one of the best” to have graced the beautiful game.
In the meantime, City will conclude their Premier League campaign with two away trips to Brighton and Brentford respectively, seeking to continue their positive momentum before stepping out on the Wembley turf against rivals Manchester United for an FA Cup showdown on June 3, one week before their Champions League final with Inter Milan in Istanbul.
Man City head to the Amex having scored 33 goals in 11 top-flight meetings against Brighton and have never failed to make the net ripple during this run, while they have also won each of their last 25 Premier League matches played on a Wednesday by an aggregate score of 68-11; the longest winning run by any team on a specific day in the division’s history.
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form:
Manchester City Premier League form:
Manchester City form (all competitions):
We say: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-2 Manchester City
Man City were rarely put through their paces against Chelsea on Sunday, but they could be given a sterner test against a Brighton side on the verge of securing Europa League football.
Although the Citizens may recall some of their star men to the starting lineup, we believe that the Seagulls could take away a point from an entertaining contest in their final home match of the season.