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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

Chelsea needs to wait “48 hours” to assess Mount

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Mason Mount‘s move from the Championship to the Premier League has been nearly seamless.

His adjustment to the Champions League was cut down too quickly to get an understanding of whether it would be too big of a jump.

[ MORE: Match recap | Barkley drama ]

Mount, 20, was chopped down by Valencia’s Francis Coquelin, the former Arsenal man, and had to leave the game after just 16 minutes.

Here’s Frank Lampard, from ChelseaFC.com:

“He’s got an ankle injury but we don’t know how bad it is. We’ll have to assess it in the next 48 hours to see the scale of the injury. It was a shame because he started the game well and it meant we had to make the change early on.”

Mount scored nine times with four assists on loan under Lampard at Derby County last season, and has already chipped in three goals for Chelsea this season.

Lampard turned to Pedro off the bench on Tuesday, but any lengthy absence for Mount will spell more time for American youngster Christian Pulisic.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview: Man City, Spurs debut

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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns on very different results and with very different vibes.

City is coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to injury-hit Norwich City, and is set up in Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk for the third-straight season, a side which beat Pep Guardiola once in four tries between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the UCL.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. wrap ]

But on Wednesday, Guardiola’s men are going to carry a similar feel to one of his old Barcelona teams, as Pep seemingly will have Fernandinho pull a Javier Mascherano and drop into the back line.

Yes, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are Manchester City’s hopes at center back, now that John Stones has joined Aymeric Laporte on the shelf.

“For me as a manager it’s an incredible challenge,” said Pep Guardiola. “But I believe a lot, people don’t know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players going to come back with Dinho, Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis. … It’s happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. We have to have 11 players on the pitch and I like it, to find a solution. For the players as well to find an incredible step forward.”

Spurs, meanwhile, will simply be trying to build on any momentum gained by a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the weekend, a win which came after manager Mauricio Pochettino begged his side to “re-focus” after a relatively poor start to the season.

Now a bit more relaxed, Spurs head to Greece as the clear favorites against stingy Olympiacos. These are, after all, the finalists of last season’s tournament.

Pochettino won’t be sleeping on the challenge, from The London Evening Standard:

“They have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take our best game we are going to suffer. But last season we played in the final of Champions League, so it’s normal people think before the game, Tottenham is one step above Olympiacos but in the end you need to show it on the pitch.”

Spurs are one of two early kickoffs on Tuesday.

Full UCL Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Tottenham Hotspur

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Dinamo Zagreb v. Atalanta
Bayern Munich v. Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City

American coach Marsch speaks after landmark Champions League day

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Jesse Marsch made his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, a historic first for not just the Wisconsin native but also his country.

Marsch, 45, oversaw Red Bull Salzburg’s 6-2 demolition of Genk, becoming the first American to win a UCL match as manager.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

“We knew we were going into the match full of confidence,” he said, via the Salzburg site. “We knew too that we could put in a performance of this quality. I wasn’t pleased with a few situations, such as conceding for 3-1. That shows our incredible mentality though as it prompted us to give a few more percent and immediately score two goals.”

The ex-New York Red Bulls manager and RB Leipzig assistant manager got another three goals from incredible 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who nows has 17 goals in nine matches this season.

“It is an absolute joy to work with this team. We have a lot of players who just know how to battle, and that rubs off on the others. You can see that on the pitch on nights like tonight.”

There will be tougher nights ahead for Marsch, who is in a group with Liverpool and Napoli, but Tuesday was a fine start for the tactician. And it was a banner moment for American coaches abroad, who’ve been led by past and present USMNT coaches Bob Bradley and Gregg Berhalter.

Maybe one day that’ll be Marsch’s title… but it seems like he may have some loftier ground to cover on his path through world soccer.

Klopp: Liverpool made wrong decisions; Penalty also incorrect

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is going to bat for his left back after Andrew Robertson gave away what became the decisive penalty in a 2-0 loss to Napoli in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s a penalty,” Klopp said. “What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact, we can’t change that.”

[ RECAP: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool ]

For what it’s worth: It sure seemed like both a foul on Robertson and a comical embellishment from Callejon, but we digress.

Liverpool just didn’t have it on the day, like when Sadio Mane played a terrible pass to Mohamed Salah on what could’ve been an easy 1-0 lead.

In the moments they did have it, there was Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret making a splendid save.

“We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”

Also, forgive Klopp if he has stopped enjoying the beautiful country of Italy.