As the title race heats up, Manchester City head into their final seven games of the season needing to maintain their winning streak to keep Liverpool at bay.

Following their last league match, a 2-2 draw between the two clubs last week, the clubs know that there is no room for error in the relentless schedule as final stretch of the race approaches. City’s next hurdle in their quest for a fourth Premier League title in five years is Brighton at the Etihad Stadium tonight (Wednesday).

Brighton, who currently sit in 10th place, represent a unique challenge for Pep Guardiola’s side. The Seagulls are a side who play a style of football not too dissimilar to that of City’s, with a possession based approach often employed by manager Graham Potter.

READ MORE: Pep Guardiola may have another Man City summer transfer priority

The south coast club’s expected goal rate is also cause for worry as it highlights just how forward-thinking they are. Although scoring a healthy 29 goals in the league, the statistics show this could have potentially been far higher with an expected goals of 42.3 (xG) for the season.

Brighton’s dangerous attack has been on show especially recently with massive wins against Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in their previous two Premier League fixtures, blowing the top four race wide open.

Liverpool, having beaten Manchester United 4-0 on Tuesday, will hope to see a slip up from City on Wednesday and with some good reason, given that Brighton have proved themselves capable of upsetting the Citizens in recent years. Last season the Premier league champions fell victim to a staggering 3-2 loss at the Amex Stadium in May.

Although that defeat could be attributed to an early red card for Joao Cancelo in the 10th minute, City still struggled with Brighton’s play and succumbed to goals from Leandro Trossard, Adam Webster and Dan Burn.

Trossard especially remains a dangerman for City with the Belgian’s steady goal return of six in 30 Premier League appearances from the left wing. Alongside the winger, French striker Neal Maupay also represents a lethal threat with as many as eight goals in the league this season, a total which is only bested by three City players.

Rodri of Manchester City holds off Neal Maupay during the win over Brighton.

Matches between the two clubs have been quite significant in previous years too since the seaside club were promoted to the Premier league in 2017. As well as last season’s eye-opening defeat, another key match was on the final day of the 2018/19 season.

This match in particular has relevance for the two club’s clash this week as in that game, City were needing a win to be crowned Premier League champions as they were — just like this season — in a tight race in the title with Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s side relied on Brighton to cause the unthinkable and for around a minute, it looked like the Seagulls had done just that. An early goal for striker Glenn Murray had Liverpool topping the table. However, this was swiftly brought to a halt following a Sergio Aguero equaliser a minute later.

Although the lead was short-lived and City went on to win 4-1 and claim Premier League title number four, the match should still bein City memories ahead of tonight’s contest. City cannot afford to be complacent when Potter’s side visit the Etihad. Brighton may seem just like another mid-table team coming to City without a prayer, but the Seagulls evidently pose a very different challenge to most.

City and Guardiola will hope that this week’s game will once again be a memorable part of another title-winning campaign, to add to the previous three Premier League trophies in the last four seasons.

Source link