Yesterday against Chelsea, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola made nine changes from the team which thrashed Real Madrid on Wednesday night. And why not? Man City were crowned Premier League champions (their third in a row and fifth in the last six seasons) before a ball was even kicked.
The match was dead rubber, but City, playing with a lineup of mostly youngsters and second-teamers, won anyway against a Blues side that can’t wait to end their season. Looking ahead, Nathan Ake is the only injury concern here ahead of these last two league fixtures, both of which will also be dead rubber.
Brighton and Hove Albion vs Manchester City FYIs
Kick-off time: 8 PM GMT, Wednesday May 24, Falmer Stadium
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
Manchester City Starting XI Prediction: go here
Form Guide Premier League: Brighton WLWLW Manchester City WWWWW
Premier League Position: Brighton 61 pts, 6th Manchester City Champions
Result Probability: Brighton win 23% Draw 22% Manchester City win 55%
Nathan Ake Update
Guardiola said the versatile defender is getting better, and it looks like he may be available for the two cup finals next month. The Dutchman has missed the last four games, including yesterday, with a hamstring injury. It is nearly certain that he won’t feature in either of these last two league contests.
On this day of celebration, of pomp and circumstance, Pep hailed all the positive attributes that Nathan Ake brings to City’s table.
He has been fundamental,” Pep after the win over Chelsea/during the title clinching party.
“I learned this season when you play against (Bukayo) Saka, Vinicius (Jnr), (Gabriel) Martinelli, (Mohamed) Salah or (Sadio) Mane in the past, you need a proper defender to win duels one v one. Or, in the Champions League, at that level, they need one action to beat you and Nathan gave us that boost that I didn’t have in the past.”
“The biggest boost was having a proper defender and in the past we didn’t have it and Nathan, (Manuel) Akanji and [Kyle] Walker did it.”
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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