Manchester rivals City and United will be looking to maintain their winning start to the new English Premier League season, when on Sunday they take on Huddersfield and Brighton, who both started with a defeat.

Manchester City vs Huddersfield

After their record breaking Premier League season last year, Manchester City faced a potentially tricky opener to the defence of their title.

Pep Guardiola’s men made the trip down south to the Emirates Stadium to face an Arsenal side under the fresh management of Unai Emery, but it didn’t turn out to be a tricky fixture for the dominant Manchester City though.

They controlled the ball for long periods, opening the scoring on 14 minutes via a magical Raheem Sterling strike and deservedly doubled their lead in the second half thanks to Bernardo Silva. It was a composed, efficient, and quite frankly a routine win for the visitors, despite their illustrious opponents.

That sort of performance doesn’t bode well for the potential challengers to Manchester City’s throne, and not many will be expecting them to slip up at home to Huddersfield on Sunday.

The hosts scored in all but one of their home Premier League games last season and have found the net in 17 of their last 18 home and away.

The one blip on those records did actually come at home to Huddersfield, but a repeat of that goalless draw looks extremely unlikely at Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City won 16 of their 19 home league games last season and scored a huge 61 goals in total, and they’re facing a Huddersfield side coming into this on the back of a thrashing.

But City were dealt a huge blow when Kevin De Bruyne suffered a serious knee injury in training on Wednesday, expected to keep the Belgian side-lined for at least two months.

If any squad is equipped to deal without a world class talent like De Bruyne, it is probably the one at Guardiola’s disposal.

Bernardo Silva starred against Arsenal and Chelsea in the Community Shield from a more central role with new signing Riyad Mahrez starting on the right.

David Silva is yet to play a minute this season and 18-year-old Phil Foden has been tipped by Kyle Walker to take his chance in De Bruyne’s absence.

Meanwhile David Wagner decided to experiment with a back three last weekend, and swiftly found out that a home game against Chelsea on the opening weekend of the Premier League is definitely not the time for experimentation.

In fact they were well beaten 3-0 in that home game, and they will be dreading this trip even more.

The Terriers won just three of their 19 away games last season and failed to score in a huge 13 of them. Manchester City, meanwhile scored at least three goals in 13 of their 19 home games.

Brighton vs Manchester United

Brighton opened their second season in the Premier League with a disappointing showing at Vicarage Road as they lost 2-0 to Watford, but to be honest it was a defeat many expected after their dismal showing on the road last season.

They ended the campaign with the worst away record in the top flight, picking up just 11 points from their 19 games and winning twice.

That being said, their survival of the relegation battle last season is a testament to just how well The Seagulls performed at the Amex Stadium.

Brighton actually had the eigth best home record in the Premier League last season, behind only the top six and Everton.

Obviously relying on such an impressive home record isn’t a guarantee, so Chris Hughton has spent the summer scouting out the talent around Europe as he looked to add to his squad.

He has done just that too, breaking the club record transfer fee by bringing in last season’s top Eredivisie scorer Alireza Jahanbakhsh and adding to that with Yves Bissouma, Bernardo, Martin Montoya, Florin Andone, David Button, and Dan Burn.

There are still question marks over their ability to get on the scoresheet, but the season ticket holders will be quietly confident about their chances on Sunday.

They managed to beat Manchester United and Arsenal at home last season and picked up a point against Spurs, and after opening the season with a 2-0 loss against Manchester City, they only lost a further three league games on home soil.

Manchester United did manage to get off to a winning start against Leicester in last Friday’s Premier League curtain raiser, but things do not seem well at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho’s side performance was average and from open play they had less expected goals than Leicester. The three points were obviously important, but it’s definitely not indicative of an upcoming title challenge for the Red Devils.

Manchester United are in injury hell at the moment and are still nursing their World Cup stars back to full fitness.

Add their sub-par performance against the Foxes to the fact that they only won ten of their 19 trips away last season and a Brighton result doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

The visitors won just six of their ten trips away to bottom half sides in the Premier League last season, and combined with Brighton’s excellent home record, Mourinho’s men face a stern test to return home with the three points.

Also on Sunday Watford hope to continue their winning start to the new Premier League season when they visit Turf Moor to face Burnley.
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Saturday, January 19, 2019
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