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Julian Alvarez starts, Manuel Akanji in at right-back – Predicted XI: Brighton vs Manchester City (Premier League)



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Manchester City look to close the gap to within one point as they take on Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton at the AMEX Stadium on Thursday night.

With two games in hand, the treble-winners sit four points behind current league leaders Arsenal, who comfortably handled a demoralised Chelsea side on Tuesday night, winning 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

City also experienced a recent triumph over Mauricio Pochettino’s side, when they defeated the Blues 1-0 at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, courtesy of a late strike by Bernardo Silva.

Focus returns to the Premier League now with the title race heating up, as Guardiola’s side still have it in their hands, but the Spaniard has stated that Brighton is “one of the toughest games in the season.”

“If you put it in my calendar, it’s one of the toughest ones, for the way they play,” Guardiola continued, extending his praise to the Brighton coach Roberto De Zerbi, saying his admiration has “gone up” the more he faces his counterpart.

The 53-year-old has clarified there will be no rotation going into this one but has confirmed the club will be without Erling Haaland once again, though has reassured that his injury is not serious. Phil Foden and John Stones are “ready”, said the Manchester City boss.

With that in mind, here is the side we expect will line up to face Brighton on Thursday night, as the Sky Blues look to inch closer to retaining a fourth consecutive Premier League title!

Predicted XI

Ederson will return in goal after back-up choice option Stefan Ortega Moreno made his customary Emirates FA Cup appearance with an impressive performance against Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.

Kyle Walker has started the last couple of games for Manchester City but we expect the club captain to be rotated for this one, with Manuel Akanji slotting in on the right hand side of the back four.

With Pep Guardiola confirming he is “ready” during his pre-match press conference on Wednesday afternoon, we expect John Stones to return to the fray, partnering Ruben Dias at the back for the blues.

Toss a coin between Josko Gvardiol and Nathan Ake, but we think Pep Guardiola might edge it to the latter with experience needed against a tricky Brighton side, despite the Seagulls’ long list of absentees

No rest for Rodri in this one as he keeps his place in the side, and is likely to do so for the remainder of the season, unless of course Manchester City find themselves far and away ahead in any of the contests.

Kevin De Bruyne provided the match-winning assist (unofficially) at the weekend in the Emirates FA Cup-semi-final, and we think he’ll start once again, with Phil Foden starting alongside the Belgian in midfield.

Bernardo Silva converted the cross from De Bruyne against Chelsea in a very sentimental moment for the Portuguese star given his disappointing week beforehand. We expect the Portuguese international to keep his place and keep his form for this one.

With no Erling Haaland for this one due to injury, albeit not being too serious according to Pep Guardiola, Julian Alvarez will lead the line and look to grab his first Premier League goal since late January.

Jack Grealish looked the most threatening player on the pitch before being replaced at the weekend. As such, we expect the Englishman to keep his place, completing the line-up for Thursday night’s fixture.

Predicted XI: Ederson; Akanji, Stones, Dias, Ake; Rodri, De Bruyne, Foden; Bernardo, Alvarez, Grealish.

Substitutes: Ortega Moreno, Lewis, Walker, Gvardiol, Gomez, Kovacic, Nunes, Bobb, Doku.