After a relatively disappointing debut season at Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has gone big in this summer’s transfer market. No less than £200 million has been spent by the title hopefuls over the last few months, with Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva, Ederson and Danilo all among those all set for their competitive debuts as City kick off their campaign away to newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
By contrast, Brighton have spent just over £26m in total, with their greatest outlay being the £12m spent to bring PSV Eindhoven midfielder Davy Pröpper to the Amex Stadium. On paper, the Seagulls are one of the weakest teams in the division, and manager Chris Hughton is going to have a mammoth task in trying to avoid immediate relegation.
For the game against City, Brighton will be without Beram Kayal and Sam Baldock, who are both injured; Glenn Murray, Anthony Knockaert and Solly March all face late fitness tests. City have no confirmed absentees, though Ilkay Gündoğan and summer signing Benjamin Mendy are both early doubts.
Match info, plus how to watch on TV, and stream
Match date/time: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, 5:30 p.m. local
Venue: Amex Stadium, Brighton, England
TV: NBC USA (U.S. — English); Universo (U.S. — Spanish); TSN5 (Canada); BT Sport 1 (U.K.)
Online: NBC Sports Live (U.S. — English); Universo Now (U.S. — Spanish); TSN Go (Canada); BT Sport live streaming (U.K.)
Make friends: Bitter and Blue (Manchester City)
Live Stream : LIVE US TV
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the UK, the match will be available to watch live on television on BT Sport 1 and by stream via the BT Sport app.
In the US, the match will be available to watch live on television on NBC and by stream via NBC Sports Live.
SQUAD & TEAM NEWS
Position Brighton players
Goalkeepers Ryan, Maenpaa
Defenders Bruno, Bong, Hunemeier, Dunk, Goldson, Duffy, Rosenior, Suttner
Midfielders Stephens, Skalak, Knockaert, Gross, Sidwell, Murphy, March, Propper, LuaLua, Towell, Ince, Ahannach
Forwards Hemed, Murray, Brown
Brighton have agreed terms on a club-record deal for Club Brugge winger Jose Izquierdo but he may not be registered in time to feature on Saturday.
Sam Baldock and Beram Kayal are out but while Anthony Knockaert is unlikely to start as he works his way back from injury, he could feature in some capacity.
Potential starting XI: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner; March, Propper, Stephens, Brown; Gross; Murray.
Position Man City players
Goalkeepers Bravo, Ederson, Muric
Defenders Walker, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Mangala, Denayer, Otamendi, Adarabioyo
Midfielders Sterling, Nasri, De Bruyne, Delph, Sane, B. Silva, D. Silva, Fernandinho, Roberts, Zinchenko, Toure, Foden
Forwards Aguero, Bony, Jesus
A number of players currently in City’s first-team squad – such as Fabian Delph, Wilfried Bony and Samir Nasri – are up for sale and unlikely to play any part on the south coast.
Benjamin Mendy will have to wait for his debut due to a thigh problem while Ilkay Gundogan has returned to training but will need a few weeks to build up his fitness.
Potential starting XI: Ederson; Kompany, Stones, Otamendi; Walker, D. Silva, Toure, De Bruyne, Danilo; Jesus, Aguero.
BETTING & MATCH ODDS
City are 1/3 favourites to win, according to dabblebet, with Brighton priced at 8/1 and the draw available at 4/1.
Gabriel Jesus is the 5/2 favourite to score first, with Sergio Aguero rated at 11/4. Click here to view dabblebet’s full selection of match markets.
Manchester City entered the 2016-17 season as many pundits’ favourites for the Premier League title and do so again this year, but now the pressure will really be on to live up to expectations.
Pep Guardiola has had a full campaign to work with most of his players and two summer transfer windows to strengthen, with hundreds of millions of pounds now spent on a team littered with attacking talent.
They are still not nearly perfect, with question marks remaining in defence and in goal, but it is reasonable for City fans to now consider the rebuilding period over.
It is hard to imagine Ederson having a worse debut season in England than Claudio Bravo, and if John Stones can continue to progress and Vincent Kompany stays fit City will be better in the goals-against column.
The Premier League title favourites will get the 2017-18 campaign underway on the south coast when they visit the newly promoted Seagulls
That will be vital, of course, but it is hard not to see Guardiola’s second year in charge being defined by the group of creative midfielders and forwards he has assembled.
David Silva and Yaya Toure are in line to continue to play prominent roles but the time has come for the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane to take over and live up to their sky-high potential.