Can Brighton start life in the Premier League with a shock win?
Why our newly purchased 'Ingolstadt Connection' have value to get in the goals
Why the opening 45 minutes could be fun and frantic
Brighton and Hove Albion play their first game in the top flight of English football in 34 years and the fixtures computer couldn't have tried any more to make it a baptism of fire.
Pre season title favourites Manchester City are the visitors to the Amex on Saturday evening. To describe it as a slight financial mismatch is rather like saying Donald Trump is slightly mad.
There are plenty of little facts you can throw out there to highlight just how dominant City should be in this case. They spent more money in seven summer days on two right backs than we have in our entire 125 year history. Their centre back options total more in transfer fees than our entire stadium cost. For each of their two senior goalkeepers - Claudio Bravo (£17m) and Edison (£35m) - we could buy 10 of ours - Mat Ryan (£5.2m) and Niki Maenpaa (free).
A hopeless task then? Well, perhaps not. We Brighton supporters have a phrase known as "Typical Brighton". This basically involves the Albion doing something unbelievably good and then following it up with something ludicrously bad, or being so desperately poor that you question what the point in bothering supporting them is before producing a result that defies believe.
Being seven points clear at the top of the Championship with three games remaining last season and not winning the title is a fine example of this. One of the better ones funnily enough involves our last meeting with Manchester City, when as lowly League One strugglers we knocked the world's richest club out of the League Cup four days after losing 1-0 at home to a Walsall side who played for over an hour with nine men. Typical Brighton.
It would be Typical Brighton then to beat City and get everyone dreaming of what the Albion could achieve in the top flight, especially with an 'easier' run of games to follow against Leicester, Watford, West Brom, Bournemouth and Newcastle. Which we would naturally lose having shocked the title favourites on the opening day.
We've also seen the divisions bigger clubs underestimate newly promoted sides early in the season at their cost, especially on the road. There is no value in betting on City at a best priced 7/20, but there is plenty of other tasty bets to feast yourself on.
|Man City||2-1||Man City|
Anthony Knockaert picked up an ankle injury in the Albion's first pre season game back in July which the club said would leave him touch and go for the opener. Now, if the club say that a player if out for three weeks, you can normally assume it will be a minimum of six weeks. Knockaert surprised everyone by returning from the bench in Sunday's friendly defeat to Athletico Madrid and so he will no doubt make the bench.
One player definitely out is Beram Kayal. He was seen looking about as happy as a vegetarian at a hog roast as he left the Amex on Sunday with his foot in a protective boot and it has since been revealed he broke a bone during that Atletico game. As a result, we won't be seeing him again until Christmas time.
Despite sticking religiously to a 4-4-2 over the last two seasons, Chris Hughton has signed a number 10 in the form of Pascal Gross from Ingolstadt and spent most of the friendly schedule playing a 4-5-1 in which Gross has been outstanding. It would be a bold move to play in as positive a manner as we did in winning promotion against a side packed with attacking talent and so the latter formation looks likely. There probably won't be too many surprises with the only question over who takes Knockaert spot, the most likely option being Solly March down one flank and Jamie Murphy down the other.
With Knockaert probably looking at a stint on the bench to start, set pieces are going to become vital. Our other new signing from Igolstadt is left back Markus Suttner who scored more direct free kicks than any other player in Europe's top divisions last season.
Gross has also made it pretty clear he fancies himself from dead ball scenarios and both of their abilities in those sort of scenarios will be key
Man City 7/20
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