Manchester City will face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League at home next week. Pep Guardiola’s side has lost back-to-back Premier League matches, with their 1-0 defeat to Arsenal being their latest game before the international break.
As a result, City now has 18 points from eight matches, which is two less than Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. However, the panic button should not be pressed yet, as there is a long way to go in the season. Furthermore, in recent season, City has demonstrated the ability to come back from behind to win the league.
Erling Haaland’s form a minor concern
Haaland has scored just once in the last four matches for the Cityzens, which is quite a drop from his unparalleled goal-scoring standards. He was not able to combine well enough with Julián Álvarez, who played as an inverted right-winger in City’s 4-3-2-1 formation, against Arsenal.
However, Guardiola might start with a 4-2-3-1 against Brighton, with Rodri and one of Bernardo Silva, Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovačić as the double pivots. Phil Foden and Jérémy Doku should start as the two wingers and Álvarez should play as the No. 10 behind Haaland.
However, it is the 23-year-old Norwegian striker, who will need to fire to make City look as dangerous as they usually are. Should the delivery of the passes keep flowing to him with usual frequency, there is no reason why Haaland will not regain his scoring touch in the match against Brighton itself.
Manchester City will welcome Rodri back to the team
Rodri should start against Brighton after having served a three-game ban for being sent off against Nottingham Forest. With the talismanic Kevin de Bruyne also absent, City desperately needs the services of Rodri, without whom their midfield is just not the same. He was sorely missed in their match against Arsenal last weekend.
Rodri’s playmaking from the deep with his range of long passes and crosses have become an essential component in City’s team in recent times. He will also need to shield their defense against the likes of Danny Welbeck and Adam Lallana, both of whom have the tendency to fall back and create moved from deep.
It remains to be seen how much Brighton’s attack is able to expert pressure on City’s defense. Guardiola’s side should be able to dominate ball-possession, which means that Brighton might play counter-attacking football for a considerable period of time.
Manchester Derby also coming up
Manchester City will travel to Old Trafford to play against Manchester United the following weekend, and Guardiola will be looking to gain all three points from that match as well. United is going through their latest crisis, but City can still ill afford to take them for granted and be sure of obtaining three points from the match.
Should Manchester City slip out of the top four following their next two matches, it will be quite an unfamiliar territory for them. They have dominated and made Premier League look like a monopoly during the last half-decade or s. Thus, Guardiola will not want the scenario to change anytime soon.