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Premier League Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Manchester City

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  • Brighton and Hove Albion set to make Premier League debut.
  • Benjamin Mendy is out but Manchester City can debut Ederson, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Bernardo Silva.
  • Manchester City has won each of their last six opening matches in the Premier League, the best current run in the competition.
  • Brighton’s Beram Kayal set to miss 12 weeks with broken leg.

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City look to rebound from a disappointing season as the Sky Blues start off on the road against newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The 2016-2017 season was the first since 2008 that Guardiola didn’t win a single trophy in a season. It was also the first empty campaign for Manchester City since the 2012-2013 season. That means the heat is on full blast under Guardiola’s seat and while he’s spent upwards of $270 million on new signings, he’ll have to quickly get his team to the top of the table to satisfy the critics.

In advance of its first Premier League season, Brighton and Hove has been busy in the transfer marking, signing ten new players including Dutch international Davy Propper and Chelsea and England youth international Izzy Brown. After scoring 74 goals in the Championship last year, plenty will be expected from Brighton’s strikeforce of Glenn Murray, Tomer Hemed and  Sam Baldock.

Ahead of its opener, Brighton suffered a bit of a blow, as starting holding midfielder Beram Kayal suffered a broken fibula, ruling him out for 12 weeks. Baldock too, who underwent calf surgery over the summer, is still working on his recovery.

What they’re saying

Guardiola on if Manchester City are title favorites: “Last season at my first press conference we were favorites, so nothing has changed. I was confident then too.”

Guardiola on spending so much on transfers this summer: “We make good things last season with the players we had. But we were not able to achieve what we were looking for. Like a lot of top teams here in England and around the world, always they are looking for the best possible. But we had one of the oldest teams in the Premier League and we decide to put energy and new players for the next four, five, six years.

“Our average is 24, so it means a lot for the future of the Club.”

Chris Houghton on starting life in the Premier League: “We’re all glad that it has come around, because when you have that initial excitement, you know that has to drop down at some stage, and the reality is we’re playing in arguably the toughest league there is.

“The work starts from the day you get promotion. It’s normal that the players and supporters are going to be celebrating for a period of time, but we have had to come down to reality. We’ve got a very level-headed group of professionals that have trained well every week and have applied themselves very well for games.

“But this division is far tougher and we’ll certainly need all of the experienced heads around us.”

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Prediction

Manchester City may have retooled much of its team this offseason but it is still one of the title favorites. Brighton and Hove meanwhile will just be happy to stay up. While Brighton should put up a fight, especially at home, this one should go easily to Manchester City. Manchester 3-0 Brighton and Hove

Liga MX wrap: Xolos beats Chivas as Apertura begins

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Liga MX’s Apertura season is off and running with all 18 clubs partaking in a match this weekend.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

Club Tijuana 2-1 Chivas Guadalajara

Scoreless at the half, the weekend’s marquee match sprang to life in the final 45. Juan Martin Lucero gave TJ a 54th minute lead before Jose Van Rankin knotted it up five minutes later.

Lucero assisted Jose Rivero’s 75th minute winner, which was helped in its status when Michael Perez took a red card in the 80th.

Cruz Azul 3-0 Puebla

Elias Hernandez scored a goal and added an assist, and Milton Caraglio put one of his five shots on goal into the net. Andres Renteria also scored in the win.

Tigres 2-0 Leon

Andre-Pierre Gignac scored, and Lucas Zelarayan marked a goal and an assist in the win.

Elsewhere
Necaxa 2-1 Club America
Toluca 2-0 Morelia
Santos Laguna 2-1 Lobos BUAP
Pachuca 0-1 Monterrey
Veracruz 0-2 Pumas UNAM
Atlas 0-0 Queretaro

Report: Colorado acquires USMNT mid Acosta for Badji

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The West’s first place team is switching it up in a big way.

FC Dallas is sending Homegrown Player and USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta to Western foes Colorado Rapids in exchange for striker Dominique Badji, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News.

[ MORE: Pulisic rips up Liverpool ]

Acosta, 22, has 17 caps and a goal for the U.S., and is primarily a defensive midfielder. He’s also played right and left back.

He’s appeared 139 times for Dallas, scoring 13 times with nine assists, but had fallen out with head coach Oscar Pareja. He’s also struggled mightily on the field, according to WhoScored.

Badji, 25, has seven goals and three assists in 16 matches for the Rapids this season, building on an eight-goal, five-assist campaign last season.

FCD has gotten six goals out of forward Maxi Urruti, and there’s been little production from anyone else. Cristian Colman is out with an ankle injury and managed just a pair of goals in 399 minutes.

The risk of trading Acosta is mitigated by the continued speculation that he may test the waters of European soccer. Badji’s a quality player, but Colorado may’ve gotten a bargain in its push to escape the dregs of the West.

Quintero, Loons pick LAFC apart in five-star win (video)

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Minnesota United throttled LAFC on Sunday, using a Christian Ramirez brace to batter the hot expansion team 5-1 in Minnesota.

Darwin Quintero had a goal and two assists for the Loons, who took advantage of LAFC’s decision not to start dominant forward Adama Diomande and center back Walker Zimmerman.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

Quintero ripped off seven shots, putting five on goal. He now has 10 goals and five assists since joining the Loons after scoring two and eight in 29 matches for Club America last year.

Miguel Ibarra recorded a goal and an assist, while Rasmus Schuller also scored. LAFC’s goal came courtesy Benny Feilhaber.

Minnesota’s Bobby Shuttleworth and LA’s Tyler Miller each made six saves in their goals.

LAFC fails in a bid to make up points on Western Conference first seed FC Dallas, while the Loons now can eye a playoff spot in the West.

Already-thin Liverpool center back corps loses Matip to quad injury

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Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund featured an injury to a position with very little depth.

The Reds lost Joel Matip to what Jurgen Klopp said could possibly be a “small tear” in one of his quads.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

If Matip, 26, needs any significant time to heal up, he’ll put a major question mark into Liverpool’s opening day center back pairing.

Virgil Van Dijk, who scored against BVB on Sunday, already won’t have Dejan Lovren as a partner thanks to a post-World Cup vacation.

That leaves Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan as options next to Van Dijk.

Matches at Crystal Palace and home to Brighton and Hove Albion follow the Aug. 12 visit from West Ham.