Preview: Brighton v Manchester City

Premier League newcomers Brighton host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.

Premier League
12 August 2017
Round 1
Venue: Amex Stadium
Kick-off 17H00 local time

Referee: M. Oliver
Assistants: S. Bennett and J. Collin
Fourth official: S. Attwell

Head-to-head summary:

Brighton 9 3 2 4
Man City 9 4 2 3

Previous encounter:

Brighton 2-2 Manchester City 24/09/08 (League Cup) (Brighton won on penalties)

Brighton goalscorers: Murray (89′), Anyinsah (95′)
Man City goalscorers: Fernandes (64′), Ireland (108′)

One last push! ? #mancity #mcfc #manchestercity

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Players to watch:

Glen Murray is one of only a few players with top flight experience for the Seagulls and played a big part in their promotion with 23 goals in 45 league matches. The 33-year-old former Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Reading striker is in his second spell with the club and will be out to prove he can still do the business in the top flight.

As one of City’s two expensive full-back signings (the other being Benjamin Mendy), Kyle Walker could be a key player for a City side which at times battled in defence last season. The former Tottenham man will also provide additional thrust in attack up the right flank.

Team form and manager quotes:

Chris Hughton’s Brighton side lost 3-2 to Atletico Madrid in a recent friendly, having drawn 0-0 with another La Liga team, Girona, before that. There was also a 1-1 stalemate with Norwich City, which followed 3-0 and 6-0 wins over lower league sides Southend United and Crawley Town respectively.

Manchester City’s pre-season program has been more impressive – they beat both West Ham United and Tottenham by 3-0 margins, following a 4-1 win over Real Madrid and a 5-0 victory over Watford, the only blip a 2-0 reverse to Manchester United.

Hughton knows his men are in for a real test of their Premier League credentials first up as they face a City side they last met in the league in 1989.

“They’ve been outstanding in pre-season, and if we’re looking at a team gelling and showing the quality that they have, they have definitely shown that already,” he said.

“For us, we’re up against top-class opposition that will have more possession than we do. It’s going to be a very tough opening game, but we have to play them at some stage.

“It’s a wonderful game for the club and supporters, as a first game in the Premier League, but we have to make sure it’s a good day for the team as well.”

City boss Pep Guardiola meanwhile says he is happy with the way his team has been shaping up.

“We have worked the last few games with this system and if we need to do it during the season then we can. We also know perfectly from last season how to play 4-3-3.

“The last three games were good. We were so intense and we have a lot of people in the middle to play and people in the middle to defend and we are well protected at the back.

“We also have two strikers, more in the box, instead of just one,” he said in reference to Sergio Aguero and Jesus Gabriel’s partnership.

Team news:

Beram Kayal and Sam Baldock are both out for the Seagulls, while French winger Anthony Knockaert faces a race against time to recover from an ankle issue.

Along with Walker, Bernardo Silva, Danilo and goalkeeper Ederson could all make their league debuts for the visiting side. Mendy will miss making his debut for City due to a thigh problem, while Ilkay Gundogan is still on his way back from injury.