So, this is it.
37 Premier League matches have been played by all, and Manchester City and Liverpool are still separated by just the one solitary point – as we head into the final chapter of this epic drama.
We all know the deal by now: Manchester City beat Brighton, and they win the Premier League, leaving Liverpool stranded in second place, equipped with a gargantuan points total of their own.
Manchester City make the trip down to The Amex 1/6 favorites; will this be as routine as so many people are imagining?
A couple of weeks ago, Pep Guardiola claimed that he hoped Brighton were safe from relegation by the time of City’s visit, but Albion’s excellent performance against Arsenal last weekend—their first fixture after safety was assured—won’t have been particularly well-received by the Spaniard.
There was no sign of the meek, tepid, toothless rabble who bored Albion fans for weeks; Chris Hughton’s men will play with no fear against City, and will relish the prospect of avenging their 1-0 FA Cup semi-final defeat.
Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk have been absolutely outstanding at the back for Brighton in recent weeks, and they will put everything on the line on Sunday; we’ve seen time and time again how effective they are at frustrating sides with countless blocks, goal-line clearances and general last-ditch heroics.
Unfortunately Liverpool fans, I do think Manchester City will win. They’ve had three fairly nervy 1-0 victories in their last four matches, but the champions have shown they can deal with pressure – and lots of it.
There is too much quality and steel in this City side for them to falter now, which is why I’m backing them to win and under 3.5 goals to be scored, at a very generous 13/10. Brighton haven’t lost to City by more than a couple of goals since their promotion, which is why I expect the visitors to put in an ugly, but ultimately Premier League-winning display on Sunday.
2u - Man City/Under 3.5 Goals @+110
If Manchester City do score, it may well come via the penalty spot.
Brighton have conceded a Premier League-high 10 penalties this season, and with City expecting to enjoy the lion’s share of possession on Sunday—most of it on the periphery of Albion’s penalty area—the chances of a visiting player being felled, or the ball hitting a stray, flailing arm (as Brighton’s defending gets increasingly desperate) is surely quite high.
Therefore, my next pick is for a penalty to be awarded.
1u - Penalty To Be Awarded = Yes @+220
By Ryan Elliott