Has it sunk in yet, Brighton & Hove Albion fans? Probably not. Chris Hughton’s side will host Manchester City, current favourites for the Premier League title, on Saturday evening and it is sure to be a special event at the Amex Stadium.
Brighton (9/1) will find it tough at times this season, especially on Saturday evening, but there will be a party atmosphere on the south coast this weekend.
Write Brighton Off At Your Peril
They might not win on Saturday but far too many football fans have been quick to write the Seagulls off ahead of what will be a memorable campaign.
The Premier League newbies will be quietly confident of avoiding dropping down to the Championship at the first time of asking and Albion fans will be looking to create long-lasting memories in England’s top flight.
Remember Blackpool? Ian Holloway’s Tangerines were relegated after just one season in the top flight but they gave an excellent account of themselves. Brighton, although arguably much more pragmatic, can follow the Blackpool blueprint in terms of exciting football but Hughton’s experience should give the Seagulls an edge in the relegation battle. As of August 9th, Brighton are 6/5 to go straight back down this campaign.
An opening weekend clash with Manchester City – it doesn’t get much tougher than that. At least Brighton are at home. Pep Guardiola’s side were far from perfect during pre-season and Hughton will have a plan.
Brighton are capable of scoring against Europe’s top clubs, as shown in their clash with Atletico Madrid this month, and City’s defensive frailties may still exist despite heavy spending in the transfer window.
Manchester City: Capable Of Coping With Favouritism?
Unsurprisingly, the visitors head into this contest as clear favourites and anything less than a comprehensive victory will anger Guardiola. City are fairly short in the market at 6/19 but that was expected. Brighton will be enthusiastic in approach but they cannot compete with Pep’s men on a player-by-player basis.
In terms of the title race, City also head the market. Both Manchester clubs are well fancied to shine this season but Guardiola’s side have the edge and rightly so. At 7/4, they are still well priced considering their talent. The Premier League is arguably more competitive now than it has ever been but City have the quality to blow their rivals out of the water.
Attacking is City’s strength but their new-look defence could mature into a serious unit in the coming months. Guardiola has acted quickly and effectively in the market to build what looks like a relatively solid defensive group.
For now, City will remain shaky but in time, the Blues may get to grips at the back and Pep’s side will be very difficult to beat when that happens.
Manchester City made a fast start last season and I’m expecting Guardiola’s men to do the same this time around.
Beating any newly promoted side on home soil on opening weekend is never easy but City should be too classy for Brighton’s grit and determination. Hughton’s men will have their day in the sun but this may be a step too far.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-3 MANCHESTER CITY