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Premier League: In-form City Keen to Break into Top 3


Premier League: In-form City Keen to Break into Top 3

Manchester City vs Brighton & Hove Albion

Manchester City are looking like top Premier League title contenders once again. Thanks to a much-improved defensive system, Pep Guardiola’s side have gone seven matches unbeaten in the league to march back up the table.

And now, the Sky Blues can finally break into the top three for the first time all season if they can beat struggling Brighton at home in midweek.

Graham Potter’s men are winless in their last eight and are just three points clear of the relegation zone. And with key injury concerns to deal with, the Seagulls’ Premier League 2021 betting odds of stopping City’s winning run look quite bleak.

Talking Points

City’s impressive winning streak continues

Man City are firing on all cylinders at the moment. They extended their current winning streak to six matches in all competitions as they comfortably beat Birmingham City 3-0 at the Etihad in the FA Cup third round.

That winning streak includes impressive away victories at Southampton, Arsenal, Chelsea in the league, and Manchester United in the EFL Cup semi-final. City have conceded just two goals over those six games.

Guardiola has done a tremendous job reinventing his side’s defensive system this season. They have the best defensive record in the Premier League, conceding just 13 goals in 15 matches. Joao Cancelo and John Stones have become regulars once again in the City backline, and they have put up some consistent performances over the last few months.

Meanwhile, City are finding goals from everywhere in the squad. They have had 11 different goalscorers during their six-game win streak. Surprisingly, that list doesn’t include top striker Sergio Aguero, who has struggled to break back into the line-up since the injury, while Raheem Sterling has scored just once during that time.

City’s other out-and-out centre-forward, Gabriel Jesus, made his return to the Man City starting line-up against Birmingham. The Brazilian hadn’t featured since scoring in their 4-1 thrashing of Arsenal in the Carabao Cup just before Christmas. With Aguero currently out of favour, Jesus looks likely to keep his place against Brighton.

Seagulls’ attack still shorthanded

It has been the story of Brighton’s season thus far that despite playing quite well at times, they just can’t seem to get the wins they need. They have just two wins on 17 Premier League matches thus far and are winless in their last eight (5 draws, 3 losses).

The lack of consistent finishing in front of goal has once again been a major factor in the Seagulls’ struggles. Although, they did well to come back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 against Wolves in their first game of 2021.

However, Graham Potter’s men were given a massive scare by League Two side Newport County in their third-round FA Cup tie and ultimately needed penalties to go through, which is quite concerning. Many of the Seagulls’ regulars played all 120 minutes plus penalties, so fatigue could play a factor in their trip to the Etihad.

Meanwhile, the most recent Premier League 2021 updates on their injury-riddled squad aren’t good. Young right-back Tariq Lamptey suffered a setback to his hamstring injury and is set to miss a few more weeks. Similarly, winger Adam Connolly – who also missed the trip to Newport – is also still dealing with a hamstring issue and looks likely to sit out another match.

And with the status of both Danny Welbeck and Adam Lallana still questionable, Brighton’s already limited attack could be lacking even more options as they go up against City’s league-leading defence.

History

Manchester City’s record against Brighton is as one-sided as it gets. City have won all six of their meetings in the Premier League and beat them in their recent matchup in the FA Cup last year.

City have completely smashed Brighton by a score of 13-1 in their last three meetings, including a 9-0 aggregate scoreline over two meetings last year.

Sergio Aguero bagged a brace in City’s 4-0 win at the Etihad, while Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 victory at the AmEx.

Betting Tip

Manchester City Asian Handicap -1.75 @ 1.75

Unsurprisingly, SBOTOP odds have Manchester City installed as massive 1.18 favourites over Brighton, who are astronomical 11.00 underdogs at the Etihad.

All signs point to a City home win over the Brighton. City’s defence has been sensational of late, and the Seagulls’ combination of injuries and struggles in front of goal suggest they are unlikely to score.

All of City’s last five matches have been by two clear goals, and I anticipate them coming up with a similarly comfortable victory at the Etihad.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.



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