hings are packed at the top of the Premier League – where Manchester United went to the summit after a hard-fought victory against Burnley last night – and neighbours Manchester City can keep up their charge with a win against Brighton at the Etihad.
Their easy 3-0 success against Birmingham in the FA Cup made it six straight wins in all competitions for the first time since 2018-19 and Guardiola’s men – who have been admirably tight at the back since a shock 5-2 defeat to Leicester, conceding just nine goals in 23 games since then – have found a rich vein of attacking form recently, scoring two or more goals in their last five games.
Included amongst those wins is a 3-1 success at Chelsea in the league (their best performance of the season) and a 2-0 success at Manchester United in the EFL Cup semi-final, with their five goals across the two coming from five different players (Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones and Fernandinho).
Man City v Brighton & Hove Albion
18:00 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport Ultimate
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, since 2010)
JUL 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE Brighton 0-5 Manchester City
AUG 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 4-0 Brighton
MAY 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Brighton 1-4 Manchester City
APR 2019 FA CUP Manchester City 1-0 Brighton
SEP 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 3-1 Brighton
AUG 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 0-2 Brighton
De Bryune continues to be his brilliant self but recently Gundogan, Foden, Fernandinho and Bernado Silva have all put in some of their best showings and City look to have found the perfect balance between a tighter defence and their exceptional attacking quality.
That’s bad news for Brighton, who don’t deserve to be anywhere near 17th in the table – the quality of their play has them as the sixth best team in the league based on Infogol ratings – but a hatful of missed chances and some extremely unfortunate circumstances see them fighting a relegation battle.
It should be one they are able to win long term, but a long absentee list isn’t helping them – Danny Welbeck, Aaron Connolly and Adam Lallana all missed the trip to Rodney Parade and won’t be present tonight, while it is still too soon for Tariq Lamptey, arguably the best player at the club, to return.
Brighton are more capable than most of causing Manchester City problems – indeed, the 20/21 on them with a +4.5 corner handicap is interesting – but backing the hosts and win 2 and 3-0 appeals most.
Later on, Tottenham play Fulham (8pm, Amazon Prime) in a rescheduled game due to Aston Villa’s COVID-19 outbreak, and one which the hosts are an understandably short price to win. Fulham have tightened up at the back and lost only one of their last six matches – a 2-0 defeat at Manchester City – whilst beating Leicester and drawing with Liverpool and Southampton, so the hosts don’t appeal at very short prices. A home win and under 3.5 goals would appeal but there doesn’t look to be much juice in any of the prices and that game can be best watched.
PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 86.79 points
(Excluding Cheltenham 2021 antepost, Premier League 2020/21 Ante Post, Champions League Ante-post, 2021 Grand National recommended bets 14 Nov 2020 & 6 Dec 2020, Cheltenham Festival ante-post bets recommended 26 Dec and 2nd Jan)