Brighton will begin their first season in the Premier League with a tough test as they host Man City on Saturday evening.
The Seagulls achieved automatic promotion from the Sky Bet Championship last term to secure their spot in England’s top flight for the first time in 34 years.
They have made a number of acquisitions over the summer to help their Premier League campaign and have broken their club record for a signing three times, doing so on goalkeeper Matthew Ryan, midfielder Davy Propper and then winger Jose Izquierdo.
Man City also have a few new faces in their ranks although they have cost considerably more than Brighton’s arrivals and the pressure is on manager Pep Guardiola after a difficult first season on English shores.
He guided City to a third place finish in the Premier League table but did not manage to win any silverware – the first time Guardiola has not won a trophy in his first season at a new club – and were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 by Monaco.
With many tipping the club to win the league title this term – – City will be looking to extend their run of six consecutive opening day victories, the current longest spell of wins in the Premier League.
Izquierdo is unlikely to receive his international clearance in time to make his Brighton bow but Chris Hughton can call on fellow new recruit Propper in the middle of the park.
Midfielder Beram Kayal will miss the next two months with a broken leg however, and his absence restricts boss Hughton’s options.
Man City could hand debuts to four summer signings, with Ederson, Bernardo Silva and Kyle Walker and Danilo all in line to start.
Another new recruit, Benjamin Mendy, is missing with a thigh problem while Ilkay Gundogan is not yet fully fit after suffering a knee injury last season.
This will be the first competitive meeting between these two clubs since a League Cup tie back in September 2008. That game ended 2-2, with Brighton prevailing 5-3 on penalties at their former home, the Withdean Stadium.
The last league meeting between Brighton and Man City was a 2-1 home win for the south-coast side in April 1989, in the second tier of English football.
Brighton’s last opening day fixture in the top-flight was against Ipswich in 1982-83, drawing 1-1 at home. Their only opening day success in the top-flight was against Wolves in 1980-81.
The Seagulls have won just one of their last five opening fixtures to a league season (D1 L3).
Chris Hughton has only won one of his seven opening day league matches as a manager, a 1-0 win for Brighton over Nottingham Forest in 2015 (D3 L3).
Sergio Aguero has five goals in six previous opening day matches for Manchester City.
Brighton could be the 31st different team that Sergio Aguero has faced in the Premier League. The Argentine has scored against 29 of the other 30 clubs he’s played against, only failing to score versus Bolton Wanderers.
Pep Guardiola has won each of his last seven opening day league games, last losing in 2008.
The Amex Stadium will be the 56th different ground to host a Premier League match. Only one of the last eight teams debuting in the Premier League has lost their opening home match (Bournemouth in 2015).
Raheem Sterling was the only Manchester City player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in all competitions in 2016-17 (10 goals, 15 assists).
New Brighton midfielder Pascal Grob created the most goalscoring chances in the German Bundesliga last season (98) while plying his trade for FC Ingolstadt 04.
This is a nightmare start for Brighton, a nightmare start. I fancy Manchester City to win the league, they look irresistible on the attack and playing against a Brighton side in front of an expectant home crowd, the Seagulls will have to have a go, playing into City’s hands.
Chris Hughton’s men have to fight fire with fire and really test City’s new-look defence to have any chance of getting a result. If they don’t then I can only see one winner.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-4
as Brighton go up against odds of 17/2 to triumph on their debut, while the draw is priced at 4/1. Pep Guardiola’s men head the outright betting at 13/8 after another summer of spending, while the Seagulls are 5/4 third favourites to face relegation. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus share first goalscorer favouritism at 3/1 apiece while Glenn Murray is rated the hosts’ main threat at 10/1 to net first.