Big absentee for Manchester City and Roberto De Zerbi picks experienced players for crunch battle with Pep Guardiola
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The Italian has gone for experience, with Jason Steele replacing Bart Verbruggen in goal, James Milner coming in at right-back for Joel Veltman and Danny Welbeck replacing Evan Ferguson up front.
Albion travel to the Etihad without a win since the 3-1 victory over Bournemouth at the Amex on Sunday, September 24. Since then, they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Chelsea and thrashed 6-1 at Aston Villa before coming from behind twice in a week to earn 2-2 draws against Marseille and Liverpool.
Manchester City are also desperate for a win to get their season back on track. Pep Guardiola’s side went into the international break after losing 1-0 at title-rivals Arsenal – their third defeat in four games in all competitions. It was also their second consecutive Premier League defeat, following the 2-1 loss at Wolves.
Guardiola has made five changes to the side that lost at the Emirates. The return of Rodri is a huge boost for the hosts after the Spaniard served a three-match suspension for a red card against Nottingham Forest.
John Stones returns from injury while Stefan Ortega starts in goal, with Ederson given a rare rest. Jeremy Doku and Manuel Akanji have also been given the nod.
A win for Albion would take them into fourth place, above City – but they need to improve defensively, having conceded 16 goals already this season.
"My focus is on the clean sheet,” De Zerbi said in his pre-match press conference.
"I feel pain when I watch the goals we are conceding. It is too many. Luton, Wolverhampton and Newcastle at home, we concede three goals [from] nothing.
"In Villa Park, it was a very tough day, now we have conceded 16 I think. It is too many. We are very good when we attack but the great teams score a lot of goals and concede not so many goals. We have to improve for sure. We are working in tactical disposition and situations."
Brighton XI: Jason Steele, Igor Julio, Lewis Dunk, James Milner, Solly March, Pascal Gross, Danny Welbeck, Carlos Baleba, Kaoru Mitoma, Simon Adingra, Joao Pedro
Substitutes: Bart Verbruggen, Adam Webster; Mahmoud Dahoud; Billy Gilmour; Adam Lallana; Evan Ferguson, Jan Paul van Hecke, Ansu Fati, Joel Veltman
Man City XI: Stefan Ortega, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Josko Gvardiol, Manuel Akanji, Rodri, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Jeremy Doku, Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland
Substitutes: Ederson, Ruben Dias, Kalvin Phillips, Nathan Ake, Mateo Kovacic, Jack Grealish, Sergio Gomez, Matheus Nunes, Rico Lewis