Brighton & Hove Albion-Manchester City Preview
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is excited to face off against Roberto De Zerbi, who he expects to make a "massive impact" in the Premier League with Brighton and Hove Albion.
De Zerbi was appointed as Graham Potter's successor at the Amex Stadium last month but is still awaiting his first victory heading into Saturday's daunting trip to City, though that run does include a 3-3 draw away at Liverpool.
The Italian built a strong reputation by guiding Sassuolo to a couple of eighth-place finishes in Serie A, an achievement Guardiola can see his opposite number replicating in England.
"We've met two or three times and talked football," Guardiola said. "I an happy he is here. I saw Brighton's last two games and they are already playing the way they want to.
"His impact in England will be massive. I congratulated him by the phone when he was appointed."
City's unbeaten start to the season was ended by Liverpool last weekend, leaving them four points adrift of surprise pacesetters Arsenal with 10 games played.
The reigning champions have had a week to prepare for the visit of Brighton, who face a four-day turnaround on the back of drawing 0-0 with Nottingham Forest.
That was the third successive game Brighton have failed to score in, but De Zerbi has vowed to stay true to his vision.
"We have showed good quality of play. In the last two games we had chances to score," De Zerbi said. "We have to continue to play with this quality.
"We cannot forget our way and our style. We cannot change our idea depending only on the result. We have to follow our idea, our way. Maybe when we find one goal, we can change the season.
"I don't want to change too much because I like the players and this style of play without the ball. It is difficult to speak about these four games in charge, because I have my vision."
Manchester City - Kevin De Bruyne
Erling Haaland may be the centre of attention - justifiably so after scoring 15 goals in his first 10 Premier League games - but De Bruyne continues to pull the strings for City. The Belgian playmaker has created more chances (33) and provided more assists (nine) than any other player in the division this term, picking up from where he left off last season.
Brighton and Hove Albion - Danny Welbeck
De Zerbi may want to stand true to his beliefs, but 54 shots across Brighton's past three matches without scoring is far from ideal. Welbeck has led the line in each of those matches and will likely do so at the Etihad Stadium, where he will be eager to bag his first goal of the season at the 11th attempt.
- City have won nine of their 10 Premier League meetings with Brighton, with the exception being a 3-2 away loss in May 2021.
- Brighton have never won an away league game against Manchester City - they have lost 10 of their 12 such visits, including each of the past eight by an aggregate score of 21-2.
- City have won each of their past nine Premier League home games, scoring at least three goals each time. There have only been two longer such runs in English top-flight history, both recorded by Aston Villa (12 between March/December 1897 and 13 between December 1930 and September 1931).
- Man City lost for the first time in 22 Premier League games last time out against Liverpool, with the Citizens last losing consecutive league matches in December 2018.
- Having failed to score in his first appearance for City at the Etihad Stadium, Haaland has scored in each of his past six home games in all competitions, netting 13 goals in total. The last player to score in seven consecutive home games for City was Sergio Aguero, between December and February in the 2017-18 campaign.
Updated October 21, 2022