Brighton and Hove Albion vs Manchester City Prediction: Premier League Match on 23.10.2021
When Graham Potter’s Seagulls welcome Pep Guardiola’s Cityzens to the Amex Stadium on Saturday at 16:30 GMT, it will be the first meeting since the two managers clashed last season. With comparisons drawn between the two tacticians’ style of play, Guardiola was quick to heap praises on Potter early in the year. However, Potter’s overzealous celebration in May’s 3-2 comeback rubbed the Spanish tactician the wrong way. It will be interesting how the two react to the tension between them.
The drama between the managers, while interesting, will not be the day’s highlight. Brighton is flying high this season playing an expansive style of football that has been described as Manchester City-lite. The Seagulls are currently in 4th, just 2 points behind the defending champions Manchester City. Last time, Brighton’s win became possible after City lost João Cancelo to a red card in the 10th minute. The defending champions will be keen to avoid mistakes this time around.
The Seagulls hold the record for most draws (53) and goalless draws (19) and since their promotion in 2017. The Cityzens have only lost one game since their loss to Brighton at the tail end of last season. In their last 8 PL meetings, Brighton have won once and City have carried the day on the remaining 7 fixtures with an aggregate score of 23-5.
Seagull’s Thin Margins
Averaging a goal per match this season, Potter’s men have gained points on such thin margins that one wonders whether they can manage to keep away a highly talented and well-drilled Manchester City. Brighton only have a goal difference of +3, having scored 8 and conceded 5. The Seagulls have lacked a cutting edge in attack, and having lost Danny Welbeck to injury; the options upfront are limited.
Brighton will be facing Manchester City, who have only conceded 3 goals this season and average 2 goals per match. Questions will be asked of Potter’s men on whether their league position offers a true reflection of the squad’s capabilities.
The general expectation is that Guardiola’s men will lack energy after their midweek adventures in Europe. However, the squad depth and the manager’s expert squad rotation means Brighton will be facing a well-rested lineup ready to rack up points in pursuit of a higher league position.
In the marauding win against Club Brugge this week in the Champions League, Pep Guardiola continued the trend of praising his attackers for their versatility to play in five positions. While the team was set up to play in a 4-3-3 formation, no player had a defined role, making it challenging for the opposition to mark key players.
Expect to see a slightly different lineup from the one Guardiola fielded in midweek. However, the Manchester City squad is quickly becoming interchangeable, with many players having bought into the manager’s philosophy. This spells danger for the Seagulls, who will have challenges determining which players to mark to stifle City’s creativity.
The Danger of a Shared Philosophy
In January this year, Pep Guardiola opined that he ranks Graham Potter as the best English manager noting that he set up his team to play the right way. Brighton have demonstrated that through their crisp passing and player positioning to offer options.
Manchester City play the same way with one key difference: superior personnel quality. Brighton struggle to convert their chances while Manchester City have scoring potential from multiple sources. Expect to see a Brighton side playing expansive football and leaving enough space for City to penetrate and cause problems.
Potter’s danger of the shared philosophy is that he will be creating the ideal conditions for a Guardiola team to thrive and control the match. A fast-paced style of play focused on the team fails to consider the need to stop the opposition and sit back to limit the damage.
On the plus side, City’s setup offers chances for counterattacks if Brighton can outpace their opponents and try their luck. With an above-average cross accuracy of 29% this season, there is hope for the Seagulls to scrap a positive result from this fixture.
Players to Watch
Having been rested against Club Brugge in the midweek Champions League fixture, the Brazilian forward will be rejuvenated and ready for Premier League action at the Amex Stadium. With 2 goals and 4 assists so far this season, he will be the key player to cause damage to Potter’s men.
Given the strength of the opposition, set pieces may be the most reliable source of goals for the Seagulls. Duffy’s reliability when it comes to set pieces makes him a key player in this match. This season, his solitary goal was a header, and he has been instrumental in the 4 clean sheets so far.
The Seagull’s leading marksman is already at 50% of his total goal haul from last season. His 4 goals so far have been instrumental for Brighton’s league position, and the goal-scoring burden is left to him with Danny Welbeck facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Expect an entertaining match with end-to-end action. Brighton will create chances but have difficulties capitalizing on them and scoring goals. On the other hand, Manchester City will spend enough time on the ball to create enough chances to carry the day.
This will be Brighton’s second match against a team in the traditional top six, having secured a point in a goalless draw against a visiting Arsenal just before the international break. Expect to see Brighton players motivated to justify their league position against top opposition. We predict that Guardiola’s men will carry the day against an opposition that will fight valiantly until the final whistle.
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