Man City v Brighton
Saturday 31 August, 15:00
Long winning run
City come into this match off the back of a 3-1 victory at Bournemouth that stretched their winning run to 12 against teams from outside the Premier League big six. Their last dropped points in that category came in a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle on January 29.
Last week's win leaves the champions in second place with seven points after three matches, two points behind Liverpool. The dropped points came in the 2-2 against Tottenham in their first home game of the season.
A hamstring strain keeps Gabriel Jesus on the sidelines, along with long-term absentees Leroy Sane and Benjamin Mendy, but John Stones has returned to training after missing the last two games with a thigh injury.
Bump in the road
Brighton started the season brightly under new manager Graham Potter, winning 3-0 at Watford and drawing 1-1 at home to West Ham, but they hit a bump in the road with last week's 2-0 home defeat by Southampton, where a key factor was Florin Andone's sending-off after 30 minutes.
This is a different kind of Brighton side to the one that lost 4-1 at home to City on the final day of last season, with Potter having brought in a 3-4-3 system that has replaced the cautious approach of his predecessor Chris Hughton.
Potter made 11 changes for the Carabao Cup in midweek and saw his side win 2-1 at Bristol Rovers to earn a home tie with Aston Villa in the third round. He is likely to make wholesale changes again and may opt for an extra midfielder in place of the suspended Andone.
Potter will look to score
City won 18 of their 19 home league games last season, with the exception being the sensational 3-2 defeat by Crystal Palace just before Christmas.
That kind of result is hard to predict and the expectation will be for City to win comfortably. Last season, in their 14 home games against teams outside the big six, City scored three goals or more on eight occasions, winning 10 times by two goals or more.
They are prone to conceding, however, with a lower number (seven out of 14) won to nil.
It is not Potter's style to sit back, even if he may opt for a more compact 4-2-3-1 formation on this occasion, and it is worth remembering his Swansea side gave City a real scare in the FA Cup quarter-finals last season, albeit at home. The Swans led 2-0 after 30 minutes but went down 3-2, an outcome that might have been different if VAR had been in operation.
With City having conceded against Bournemouth last week, and in seven out of 14 home games against teams outside the big six last season, it is worth trying a bet that involves an away goal.
City to win with both teams to score at 9/5 with Betfair Sportsbook looks a decent shout.
Early scoring streaks
Last season City had 10 out of 14 over 2.5 goals at home to teams outside the big six, with seven of the 14 going over 2.5 goals.
Three of the lower-scoring games came towards the end of the season, possibly a sign of a slowdown as fixture congestion and player rotation increased. Up to Christmas last year, City had nine out of 10 over 2.5 goals at home in the Premier League and seven out of 10 over 3.5 goals. The figures were almost identical the previous season, suggesting that the first half of the season is the best time to back City goals.
Over 3.5 goals is worth a go at 1.834/5.
Only one of Man City boss Pep Guardiola's 32 top-flight defeats as a manager has come against an English manager - losing to Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace in December 2018 at the Etihad. Brighton are 4039/1 to win here.