Manchester City face Brighton & Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium in a mouth-watering Premier League clash.
Victory will see Man City go top for a few hours with Arsenal not in action until Saturday teatime, whilst Brighton can go third with a win if Liverpool fail to beat Everton in the lunchtime kick-off.
Man City have no fresh injury concerns after their loss at Arsenal as Rodri returns from suspension.
Kevin De Bruyne (hamstring) remains absent.
Brighton could have Tariq Lamptey available after the fullback missed their 2-2 draw against Liverpool with a knock.
James Milner (muscle) and Kaoru Mitoma (illness) are also expected to be in contention but Pervis Estupinan (muscle), Julio Enciso and Jakub Moder (both knee) remain absent.
When is Kick-Off?
Man City host Brighton at Etihad Stadium on Saturday 21 October in a 3pm BST kick-off, untelevised live in the UK.
- Man City have lost just one of their last five meetings against Brighton (W3, D1, L1).
- Brighton have lost all six previous Premier League visits to Man City’s Etihad Stadium (L6).
- Man City have scored three goals in each of their last two home matches against Brighton, although they did concede one goal in their recent clash at the Etihad in a 3-1 win in October 2022.
- Both teams have scored in four of their last five meetings – except for a 3-0 home win for City in April 2022.
- Man City are looking to avoid suffering three consecutive league defeats for the first time since February – March 2016.
- No Brighton player this season has hit the woodwork on more occasions in the Premier League than Evan Ferguson (2).
With three defeats in their last four matches in all competitions, Man City seem to have hit a slightly surprising rut given their quality and depth so Rodri’s return might just come at the right time to provide extra firepower in midfield.
In fact they even lacked their high-intensity sharpness and press against Arsenal in a jaded display by their lofty standards, yet this is City so the international break has come at a pretty good point to allow them to reset and come out fighting at their best.
Brighton meanwhile won’t be pushovers despite their poor record against Man City because if they can bring the same aggressive press which troubled Liverpool, they could spring a surprise but their high-line defence continues to be my pet hate about Roberto De Zerbi’s side.
I however do wonder if De Zerbi might just tweak his tactics here slightly and go for a lower defensive live to tightly mark and isolate Erling Haaland, but it will be a huge ask to stop Man City who will be desperate to halt their rut here.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Brighton
Result: Manchester City 2-1 Brighton