Manchester City will be guaranteed a second consecutive Premier League title if they take all three points away to Brighton at the American Express Community Stadium on Sunday (10am ET).
Man City and Liverpool are the only two remaining challengers coming into the final weekend. City hold a one-point advantage at the top, and while they travel to out-of-form Brighton, Liverpool face a potentially awkward match at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Both teams have accumulated enough points to have been champions in almost any other Premier League season. Pep Guardiola was quick to acknowledge just how much his side have been pushed and tested by Liverpool in a press conference last week. But it is City who have their fate firmly in their own hands, knowing that a win will see them lift the trophy.
It is not a measure that they will wish to fall back on, but City also have a superior goal difference and have scored four more goals than Liverpool. That means that if Liverpool draw, City would just have to avoid a four-goal defeat to still be crowned champions.
That Manchester City now find themselves in a position of superiority demonstrates just how strong their form has been since the turn of the calendar year. Three league defeats in December (to Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Leicester City) saw Liverpool open up a seven-point lead by the end of 2018. Man City defeated their rivals 2-1 in their first match of 2019 to begin a run of 16 wins in 17 matches that saw them home in on the Reds and eventually overtake them.
City have been relentless through the final three months of the season, winning 13 on the bounce since the start of February. They have scored 28 and conceded just three times, taking six more points than Liverpool and 15 more than the next best team (Chelsea) in that time. While their Champions League campaign ended earlier than hoped or expected, they are still on course to become the first team in the history of English football to win a domestic treble.
With the Carabao Cup already won, only Brighton now stand between them and the second of those trophies. Given Brighton’s form this calendar year, they are unlikely to prove a particularly durable hurdle. Only Huddersfield have taken less points from their 17 matches in 2019 than Brighton’s haul of 11 points from two wins, five draws and 10 defeats.
As results have dipped, so frustration at the defensive approach of coach Chris Hughton has begun to rise. Brighton have registered just 12 goals since the turn of year and failed to score in six consecutive matches from late March through most of April. The Seagulls have only twice scored more than a single goal. That was in defeat away at Fulham and a victory away to local (in terms of motorway connections, at least) rivals Crystal Palace.
Brighton were sitting in a comfortable position as 2018 came to a close, up in 13th, a full 10 points clear of the relegation zone, but subsequent results briefly saw them emerge as a genuine relegation candidate. By the end of January, they were just five points clear of the drop zone. Two match days ago, they were just three ahead. Two draws in a row in combination with a pair of defeats for 17th-place Cardiff have now made them safe.
With nothing concrete to play for on the final day – they could, in theory, overhaul Southampton in 16th with a victory – most of Brighton’s attention will already be turning towards the summer and how to improve the squad so as to enjoy a more comfortable campaign next time around. That should make them relatively pliant opponents for Man City.
Our Preview’s Brighton vs Manchester City Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
Guardiola’s side were 2-0 winners when the teams met at the Etihad in September, with Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero, the club’s two top scorers this season, getting the goals. A similar scoreline on Sunday would allow Man City to celebrate another Premier League title. Our Brighton vs Man City predictions, if you want a wager with one of the USA online bookies, are:
- Take a look at the ‘correct score’ betting odds market and split some money between a 2-0 and 3-0 Manchester City win, both options are at +650 (13/2) with Bovada.