Manchester City-Brighton & Hove Albion Preview
Pep Guardiola insists he does not let praise or criticism of his work have an impact, after the Manchester City manager defended Steve Bruce.
Newcastle United and Bruce parted ways by mutual consent this week, after a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham in his 1,000th game as a manager.
Bruce subsequently revealed some of the abuse he had received in his ill-fated tenure at St James' Park, and Guardiola told the 60-year-old to "ignore the (nonsense)."
City face in-form Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, in a clash between third and fourth place, and Guardiola believes managers come in for unfair criticism due to their prominence.
"We are incredibly criticised more than the worst in society because we don't win games, it's as simple as that," he said. "I'm treated well because we win sometimes, I'm treated badly because we lose. I love it, I love it. I pay no single attention.
"Because we are in front of the media every three days, that's why people believe we're responsible for (wining or losing). In society you want to point (blame) at one person, this person, it's difficult to understand that football is collective and everyone is involved in that. I am good because my mates help me."
Brighton overturned a two-goal deficit to win the corresponding fixture last season 3-2, with Guardiola left unhappy at Graham Potter's celebrations on the touchline, but the Brighton boss believes it is water under the bridge.
"It was the first goal. It was a poor reaction from me – an unintentional one, but still a poor one," Potter said. "Unfortunately I'm a human being that's not perfect. I'll shake his hand and hopefully, he'll give me a cuddle, but sometimes these things happen in life."
Brighton and Hove Albion – Pascal Gross
No player has created more chances from set plays this season than Brighton's Gross (11), while of all players with at least 10 chances created this term, the German has the highest share from set piece situations (69 per cent – 11/16).
Manchester City – Raheem Sterling
Sterling has scored four goals in four Premier League starts against Brighton, netting a hat-trick on his last visit to the AMEX Stadium in July 2020. However, Sterling has scored just once from 13 attempts in the Premier League so far this season.
Kevin De Bruyne has scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since September 2020. Only once before has the Belgian scored in three consecutive appearances in the competition, doing so in September/October 2015.
Each of Brighton's last three Premier League games have finished level, with their last two finishing 0-0. Since their promotion to the competition in 2017, the Seagulls have had more draws (53) and more goalless draws (19) than any other side in the competition.
Since their 3-2 defeat against Brighton in May, City have conceded just three further goals in their nine Premier League games (W6 D2 L1), keeping seven clean sheets in that run. Including that loss at Brighton, each of the Citizens' last seven goals conceded in the competition have come in the second half of games.
Between them, City (12) and Brighton (21) have faced the fewest shots on target in the Premier League this season, while they are also two of the three sides to have the lowest xG against totals in the competition this term (Man City 4.8, Brighton 8.1).
City have never lost back-to-back league meetings with Brighton, overall losing just four of their 22 previous such games against the Seagulls (W14 D4 L4).
Updated October 22, 2021