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Premier League Transfers: Club-by-club list of January 2021 moves
Keep up to date with all the latest ins and outs as Sportsmail details the list of all the key Premier League transfers from your club during the January transfer window.


Five of the worst football ads ever: Owen, Rooney and Venkys chicken


The post Five of the worst football ads ever: Owen, Rooney and Venkys chicken first appeared on The Football Faithful.

Star Turns: Seven Premier League players who shone in gameweek 18


The post Star Turns: Seven Premier League players who shone in gameweek 18 first appeared on The Football Faithful.

Premier League Team of the Week


The post Premier League Team of the Week first appeared on The Football Faithful.

Monday Quiz – Test your knowledge from the weekend’s Premier League action


The post Monday Quiz – Test your knowledge from the weekend’s Premier League action first appeared on The Football Faithful.

Premier League Weekly Awards: Super Stones, ridiculous Ndombele, Blades finally win


The post Premier League Weekly Awards: Super Stones, ridiculous Ndombele, Blades finally win first appeared on The Football Faithful.

Tweets of the Week: Kurt Angle x Arsenal, Spoken Word Scott Parker, Crouch goes full Rod Stewart


The post Tweets of the Week: Kurt Angle x Arsenal, Spoken Word Scott Parker, Crouch goes full Rod Stewart first appeared on The Football Faithful.

‘You can never be certain’: Sky pundit gives verdict on two Arsenal incoming rumours

Alan Smith has asked a pertinent question of reported Arsenal targets Emiliano Buendia and Yves Bissouma on Arsenal have been linked with Norwich City...

The post ‘You can never be certain’: Sky pundit gives verdict on two Arsenal incoming rumours appeared first on HITC.

Arsenal's exciting transfer hopes dented by official announcement today

Arsenal could be in the market for a new right back in the near future – but don’t expect to see Tariq Lamptey heading there...

The post Arsenal's exciting transfer hopes dented by official announcement today appeared first on HITC.

Confirmed: Leeds United v Brighton lineups at Elland Road

Leeds United will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to Crawley Town with a win against Brighton and Hove Albion today. Marcelo Bielsa’s...

The post Confirmed: Leeds United v Brighton lineups at Elland Road appeared first on HITC.

Report: Arteta a huge fan of player London rivals sold for £4m, wants him at Arsenal

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is a huge fan of Tariq Lamptey but the jet-heeled right-back is expected to sign a new contract at Brighton and...

The post Report: Arteta a huge fan of player London rivals sold for £4m, wants him at Arsenal appeared first on HITC.

£30m Liverpool target reportedly wants Arsenal move but rules out January exit

Arsenal and Liverpool target Yves Bissouma has no plans to leave Brighton and Hove Albion this month and will only consider offers in the summer,...

The post £30m Liverpool target reportedly wants Arsenal move but rules out January exit appeared first on HITC.

‘We respect him’: Bielsa says one ex-Leeds man ‘has shown he is a Premier League player’

Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Leeds’ clash with Brighton, Marcelo Bielsa has spoken about Ben White. White is obviously a player Bielsa...

The post ‘We respect him’: Bielsa says one ex-Leeds man ‘has shown he is a Premier League player’ appeared first on HITC.

Leeds 0-1 Brighton, West Ham 1-0 Burnley and Football League – as it happened

Brighton grabbed three important points at Leeds to go above Burnley, who lost at West Ham, while Wayne Rooney’s full-time debut turned bad

Right then, that’s all from me. Scott Murray will take you through Fulham v Chelsea here:

Related: Fulham v Chelsea: Premier League – live!

For the second game in a row Sean Dyche watches his team lose but seems optimistic:

We’ve just got to find the margins of our favour, especially in the attacking third. I still believe in what we do, because we’ve proved it over a long period. We kept the ball, we asked questions, but we couldn’t quite open the door. You’ve got to remember after eight games we had two points. We’re in pretty healthy shape considering. Keep playing like that and we’ll be alright.

You can find any table you like (within reason) here, but here’s the Premier League:

This just in from Ed Aarons at the London Stadium:

For a player who was once rejected by Wimbledon over a £7 registration fee, Michail Antonio has definitely proved his worth to West Ham. Absent since the end of November with a groin injury, it took him less than 10 minutes to find the net against Burnley as David Moyes’ side secured a battling victory.

Antonio was signed as a winger in 2015 and even played as a full-back under Manuel Pellegrini but it is as a lone striker that he is excelling under Moyes. Inspired by their returning talisman in attack, West Ham should really have put this game beyond doubt in the first half and were forced to dig deep to hold off a spirited late onslaught from Sean Dyche’s side. But a victory that lifts them into real contention for the top six thanks to Antonio’s 40th Premier League goal – just seven behind Paolo Di Canio’s West Ham record – was just about a fair reward.

Related: Michail Antonio gives resurgent West Ham battling victory over Burnley

David Moyes has a chat:

His teams have always been incredibly hard to play against. They defend really well and they’re a real threat going forward, so it’s a really good win for us. I thought we defended really well. Against Burnley there’s things you have to do, you have to defend crosses well and we did that. I was a bit disappointed we didn’t play better, but Burnley kept at it and we showed that resilience.

We’d like to strengthen if we can but the most important thing is we win our games. I’d like some pace and someone who can run in behind. Mickey gives us that but if we don’t have him through injury or he needs a rest we need that.

Louise Taylor has filed her match report from Elland Road:

A slow, messy thaw had begun melting the thick snow banked up by the sides of the roads outside the stadium and, inside it, Leeds United’s once solid midfield seemed to be dissolving in sympathy.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side have had much better days and a big part of that was down to Brighton’s excellence. Graham Potter’s team were so good that it was extremely hard to credit that this was their first Premier League win since November.

Related: Brighton's Neal Maupay secures invaluable win as Leeds labour

Michail Antonio explains his curious goal celebration:

Me and Declan played a game of Call of Duty mobile, I lost and that was my forfeit. That’s what it was.

You won't see a more questionable celebration than this from Michail Antonio today...

( @primevideosport )

Here follows a classified check on today’s full-time scores.

The final whistle sounds at both Premier League games at almost the same moment, and the results mean Brighton vault Burnley, who sit 17th (albeit with two games in hand on the Seagulls), while West Ham move at least temporarily into eighth!

Disaster for Wayne Rooney, as Rotherham break the deadlock against Derby in the 86th minute, through Jamie Lindsay! It would be Rotherham’s second away win of the season, and take them above the Rams in the table (though both would be in the bottom three).

West Ham should have clinched victory on the break, but Yarmolenko took a shot and hit Mee with it, when he could have passed to his left and presented Antonio with a tap-in.

More professional foul news, as Stoke’s James Chester is sent off for one at Blackburn, a couple of minutes after the home side equalised through John Buckley. It’s 1-1 there too!

Hull are were a goal up against Blackpool but are a man down after the most professional of professional fouls from Reece Burke. Still, it preserved their lead. But then, as I type...

1-1. Blackpool equalise after the ball pinballs inside the box.

1-1 [82'] #HULBLP

Good and bad news for Norwich: Cardiff scored in the 65th minute through Ralls (bad), but the home side are now down to 10 men after Pack was sent off (good). and now Luton have gone a goal up at Bournemouth (also good), Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall with a left-foot curler. Talking of left-foot curlers, Sammy Ameobi’s second for Nottingham Forest against Millwall was a peach.

There have been 17 shots at West Ham and 10 at Leeds, plenty of goalmouth action at both venues, but just the one goal in each game. Surely more to come?

A second goal for Watford at home to Huddersfield, excellent work from Kiko Femenia on the right and his low centre presents Joao Pedro with a far-post tap-in. At West Ham, Bowen sees a shot go just the wrong side of the near post.

Fiacre Kelleher, older brother of highly-rated Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin, has scored to give Wrexham a 2-1 lead at home to bottom-of-the-table Dover in the National League.

Fornals now has an effort for West Ham, after Pope pushes a dangerous cross away, and it looked to be heading in until it hit Lowton.

Didn't quite catch that one, @Michailantonio? #PLonPrime #WHUBUR

Over to West Ham, where a right-wing cross from Bowen Antonio chests the ball down and hammers a volley ... off entirely the wrong part of his foot, and he falls over while doing so to boot, and it goes for a throw-in.

Watford take the lead against Huddersfield, in hilarious style! Toffolo wins a header against Sarr out on the Watford right and the ball rolls to O’Brien, who passes back to Vellejo, who passes back to Schofield. All the while Cleverley is scurrying about, closing down, and when Vellejo’s pass proves underhit he reaches it before Schofield and slides it in from six yards!

Excellent work from Veltman at Elland Road, who runs across his own goal to nick the ball off the toe of Bamford in the penalty area. It runs to Harrison, who curls a first-time effort across goal but just wide!

Further uncomfortable head contact news from the London Stadium, where Craig Dawson has been sent from the field to deal with a bleeding nose.

Play is back under way! As in the first half Burnley have a player on the floor within 35 seconds of kick-off. This time it’s Barnes, who goes up for a header, butts a defender’s buttock and takes a while to recover.

Here are the half-time scores. Not a lot of goals about:

It’s half time at the London Stadium, where West Ham take a 1-0 lead over Burnley into the break. Brighton are 60 seconds from doing similar in Leeds.

Stoke have only won one of their last nine in all competitions, and that was against Blackburn last month. Today they play Blackburn again, and they’re winning again: Nick Powell has just headed in from six yards.

West Ham hit the post! It’s a corner from the right, which is played in by Bowen, flicked on, and then hammered against the far post by Ogbonna!

Burnley have a goal disallowed! It’s a low cross from Wood on the left, which flicks off the back of Cresswell’s trailing leg at the near post and loops in at the far, but Wood was offside in the build-up.

More good news for Norwich: Bournemouth are a man down at home to Luton, after Jefferson Lerma was sent off (apparently very harshly). It could have been better still, but Watford’s Troy Deeney has not been sent off when he might have been.

I can see three Sivasspor players here, but there may be more:

Başakşehir - Sivas maçının saha görüntüsü.

Sivasspor beyaz formayla mücadele ediyor.

This just in from Turkey, where the game between Istanbul Basaksehir and Sivasspor turned into a game of spot the footballer. Not ideal conditions for an all-white kit:

Şu an bu ortamda maç yapmak için deliriyorum...

Brighton hit the bar! It’s a deflected cross, but Casilla is helpless as it crashes against the meat of the woodwork and away!

Norwich are two up! The not-quite-runaway-but-getting-there (walkquicklyaway?) Championship leaders double their lead against Cardiff as Todd Cantwell snaffles the rebound after Jordan Hugill’s shot is saved.

Here, watch it yourself. Quite a tasty goal, really:

Beautiful Brighton goal

Leeds are cut apart as Maupay finishes a wonderful Brighton move

Watch on Sky Sports PL
Follow #LEEBHA here:
Download the @SkySports app!

Maupay stays on his feet this time, and is left with the easiest of finishes when Mac Allister draws the keeper before setting him up with low square pass!

Bristol City are a goal up at home to Preston, Famara Diedhiou nodding in a corner with what we generally call aplomb. At Elland Road Maupay goes down in the area, but it’s a horrible dive and the referee does not reward it (or punish it, for some reason).

A fine Fornals cross from the left is misjudged by Tarkowski and finds Antonio in all sorts of space at the far post, and he makes no mistake from a couple of yards!

Chance for Leeds! It’s a low cross from the left and Rodrigo only needs to touch it in as he runs onto the ball five yards out, but with a defender diving in to distract him he misses it completely!

Norwich are the first team in the English Football League to score this afternoon, Grant Hanley heading in from a couple of feet after a corner is flicked on at the near post.

Less than a minute played and the Burnley physios are already on the pitch, helping Josh Brownhill to his feet after a collision with Declan Rice.

Players are out and ready for kick-off. Brace! Brace!

Here’s Paul Doyle’s report on Wolves 2-3 West Brom:

Six matches after being parachuted in to save West Brom, Sam Allardyce can at last say he has presided over a victory – and a particularly sweet one, at that. Matheus Pereira scored two penalties either side of a headed goal by Semi Ajayi as West Brom upset their local rivals with a display of opportunism, spirit and relative defensive rigour. Wolves, though, should mostly blame themselves. They have lost six of their last nine league matches and look no closer to solving problems at both ends of the pitch.

For nine years Wolves had waited for a chance to avenge their defeat in the last Black Country derby, a 5-1 clobbering that convinced the club to oust their then manager, Mick McCarthy. West Brom have already jettisoned one manager this season and the replacement arrived at Molineux looking for a victory to kickstart his rescue mission.

Related: Matheus Pereira's two penalties give West Brom vital win over Wolves

“Afternoon Simon,” writes our occasional voluntary Scottish football correspondent Simon McMahon. “ Scottish Leagues One and Two were suspended earlier in the week, but still some games taking place in the top two divisions, for now anyway. Crisis club Celtic are at home to high-flying Livingston, while Micky Mellon’s Dundee United travel to Hamilton (and if anyone hasn’t seen Lawrence Shankland’s goal for United against St Johnstone during midweek, they really should). In the Scottish Championship, leaders Hearts are at Alloa, and struggling Dundee host Ayr (though there’s a doubt about that one as, after recent snow and rain, part of the pitch at Dens resembles a ploughed field*). *Insert your own joke about 1970’s industrial style football.”

Sadly as Simon was pressing send on his email, Dundee were making the following announcement:

Today’s match against Ayr United has been postponed.

The referee David Munro deemed the pitch to be unplayable despite an earlier pitch inspection and both clubs wanting the match to be played #thedee

Sunderland have won one and lost one league game in a drawful last two months, but Charlie Wyke has just completed his hat-trick to give them a 3-0 lead in the last minute at Wimbledon, so there’ll be three more points in the bank this evening.

Sean Dyche has named an unchanged team to face West Ham today. He has a chat on the telly:

We’ve got a good belief. The performance level against Man Utd was really good, that’s why we’re sticking with the same side. Other players [he mentions Dwight McNeil] are close to fitness, and our squad strength is improving all the time.

When you win it’s always good memories. We were decent both games, and the last couple of seasons we’ve done well here. There seems a more solid feel about West Ham at the moment. Maybe not as free flowing but still a good side, we know that. We’re never far away defensively but our production in the front third has got to improve.

Dortmund’s match against Mainz kicked off 10 minutes or so ago, their players having warmed up in special jerseys encouraging Axel Witsel, nicknamed Chaloupe (“Chaloupe is my nickname. They gave it to me when I was playing for Standard Lièege because I am always… A Chaloupe is a small wooden boat, which always moves very slowly on the water. That is how I am every day: cool, relaxed, not stressed. That’s why they called me that years ago and I’m still like that today.”), to recover quickly from his torn achilles tendon.

Erling Haaland had the ball in the net within 90 seconds of kick-off, but the goal was disallowed for handball.

A few photographers are trying their very best to produce interesting pre-match images on a day when drab slate-grey skies make such a task rather difficult. Here’s a puddle of the day:

West Brom lead Wolves 3-2 with 10 minutes to play, and Scott Murray is all over this one:

Related: Wolves v West Brom: Premier League – live!

Meanwhile at Elland Road, the names on the team sheets are these:

Leeds: Casilla, Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Alioski, Struijk, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Klich, Harrison, Bamford. Subs: Poveda-Ocampo, Roberts, Llorente, Helder Costa, Hernandez,
Davis, Caprile, Shackleton, Jenkins.
Brighton: Sanchez, Webster, Dunk, Burn, Veltman, White, Gross, March, Mac Allister, Maupay, Trossard. Subs: Bissouma, Alzate, Tau, Propper, Zeqiri, Walton, Sanders, Khadra, Jenks.
Referee: Kevin Friend.

Your #LUFC Starting XI...


Your Albion side for #LEEBHA! ⚪️

Lining up at the London Stadium will be this lot:

West Ham: Fabianski, Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals, Antonio. Subs: Alves, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Noble, Diop, Fredericks, Johnson, Randolph, Odubeko.
Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters, Gudmundsson, Westwood, Brownhill, Brady, Wood, Barnes. Subs: Cork, McNeil, Stephens, Rodriguez, Norris, Bardsley, Vydra, Long, Benson.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.

Here's how we line up today at London Stadium...#WHUBUR

LINE-UP | Here is how the Clarets line-up against West ham this afternoon. ⬇️#WHUBUR | #UTC | @eToro

Saturday afternoon is once again upon us, and with it the weekly game glut. Here, then, is your big fixture check. A few stand out: outside the Premier League there are big games at the top and bottom of the Championship, with this evening’s Barnsley v Swansea match seeing two of the division’s form teams play each other, while Wayne Rooney’s first match as a full-time manager sees his Derby side, 22nd in the league, host the team immediately below them, Rotherham (who have two games in hand). The leaders of Leagues One and Two are both out of action because of postponements, and in their absence the big games in both divisions are towards the bottom: in League One 23rd-place Wigan visit Rochdale, three places but only two points ahead of them, while in League Two four of the bottom five play each other, with Scunthorpe hoping to pull themselves clear of the relegation scrap with victory at Barrow and the bottom two, Grimsby and Southend, meeting at Blundell Park.

Today’s fixtures (3pm kick-offs unless stated):

Continue reading...

Brighton's Neal Maupay secures invaluable win as Leeds labour

A slow, messy, thaw had begun melting the thick snow banked up by the sides of the roads outside the stadium and, inside it, Leeds’s once solid midfield seemed to be dissolving in sympathy.

Leeds have had much better days but a big part of that was down to Brighton’s excellence. They were so good it seemed almost unbelievable this was their first Premier League win since November.

Related: Leeds 0-1 Brighton, West Ham 1-0 Burnley and Football League – clockwatch live!

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Leeds United v Brighton: match preview

Leeds will come face to face with the one that got away when Ben White returns to Elland Road for Brighton. White excelled for Marcelo Bielsa’s side as they won promotion last season but Leeds failed to secure his services on a permanent basis and the centre-back is now an integral element of Brighton’s struggle to avoid relegation. Bielsa harbours immense respect for Potter and predicts a game of “considerable tactical diversity.” The Argentinian, still suffering from a central defensive injury crisis, can only reflect on what might have been had he retained White. Louise Taylor

Saturday 3pm Sky Sports Premier League

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'A special instinct': Guardiola praises Phil Foden after Man City victory – video

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola had only words of praise for midfielder Phil Foden, whose first-half goal secured his side's win against Brighton. During the post-match press conference, Guardiola also addressed Covid-19 restrictions on goal celebrations: 'the moment you score a goal and one guy runs and the other one, doesn''t go to celebrate with him, it is weird, it is uncomfortable'

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Phil Foden's moment of class sets up Manchester City victory over Brighton

Manchester City are 14 matches unbeaten, the scoreline of this victory not reflecting the conveyor-belt of chances they created. In the end all that separated the sides was Phil Foden’s impressive goal near half-time – the substitute Raheem Sterling blasted an added-time penalty over – and as Brighton had seriously pressed as the final whistle approached City ended relieved to collect a vital three points.

This was the first of two games Pep Guardiola’s side had in hand and in winning they rise to 32 points, four behind the leaders, Manchester United.

Related: Covid-19 impact leaves major European football clubs with €1bn loss

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Manchester City 1-0 Brighton: Premier League – as it happened

Phil Foden’s classy goal gave Manchester City victory over Brighton but Raheem Sterling blazed a late penalty over the bar

I’ll leave you with Jamie Jackson’s match report. Thanks for your company tonight!

Related: Phil Foden's moment of class sets up Manchester City victory over Brighton

Potter speaks:

So proud of the players, they gave everything against a top team. Second half I thought we improved our game, a bit more aggressive and it was a really really good performance. I thought the boys gave everything.

Results are hard to come by in this league, we have to make sure we perform well and with spirit. Our season won’t be defined by Manchester City away.

Foden chats:

I feel we’re back to our best. Today I still thought we could have done better but we dug deep to get the win. I’m very proud of the team, how we kept going to the final whistle. They defended well and made it difficult for us, so to get the goal before half-time was really important and I’m delighted. I don’t score too many with my right foot so when they come along I enjoy it.

All of which means Spurs v Fulham is of big interest to both of these teams. Barry Glendenning has it especially for you:

Related: Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham: Premier League – live!

File that one under “not a classic”. Brighton played well there, I thought, and all the more so given they were weakened somewhat. City rarely looked like putting them away, really, save for that little flurry before the hour mark and of course the penalty. But at the moment it’s more about getting the job done, I think. The win puts City third for the moment – provisionally second above Liverpool if they were to win a game in hand – and four points off leaders United.

Brighton need points, not plaudits, pretty soon: they are three points and one place off the drop zone and Fulham, directly beneath them, have *three* games in hand.

Foden’s lovely goal wins it, and means Sterling won’t need to worry overly about that pretty horrible penalty miss at the end.

90+3 min: And the Seagulls have a late free-kick. Sanchez goes up for it! But City survive, if a touch scruffily.

Wow – he’s totally skied it! That was embarrassing. Brighton live to fight another minute or so.

A loose header back by Dunk, from Brighton’s own throw-in, is pounced upon by De Bruyne and Sanchez brings him down near the byline.

90+1 min: We’ll see three added minutes, which feels right.

89 min: Nice run by Khadra down the right, but he can’t find a yellow shirt with his cutback. City are still worried though as we near stoppage time.

88 min: And it’s wasted again, Ederson collecting but it’d curled out of play anyway. Potter must be tearing his hair out. You have to make these count!

87 min: Can Brighton muster a late charge? They have a left-sided corner and the big guys are up there. March outswings it but it’s poor and doesn’t get beyond the near post. They do win another now though ...

86 min: Trossard, who has played well tonight, comes off and the 19-year-old Reda Khadra – a new name to me – is on.

Brighton played pretty well this half - they have tried to walk it in a bit. Need to stick it in the mixer occasionally IMHO xoxoxox

Max knows.

83 min: Sterling cuts inside immediately but March blocks his attempted curler. Perhaps City have been sparked into attempting to put this to bed.

82 min: Foden, who may well have won this match with that clever finish, comes off and Sterling replaces him.

81 min: A bit more control from City in these last couple of moments but I’m not sure Guardiola will be massively content with what’s happening out there.

78 min: Trossard seems to have played Maupay in, and Ederson is out of his goal ... and could the striker lob him? He’s denied by a marvellous recovery challenge by Stones just as he looks to take aim! Brighton are having a real go now.

77 min: Webster is booked for a late, rather than malicious, slash at Bernardo Silva.

75 min: Brighton look bolder now, certainly in the past 15 minutes, but more susceptible on the break. That’s the trade-off. But we might see another goal in this yet. The game isn’t done by a long stretch.

73 min: A dangerous free-kick position for Brighton midway inside City’s half, but they try a clever one down the side and it doesn’t come off. They retain possession but the threat has passed for now.

72 min: I don’t sense we are going to remember too much about this game but, look, we’re pretty lucky to be able to mull over it like this given the wider climate.

70 min: Oddly the early signs are of a left-sided role for Jesus. Hey ho.

68 min: Tau, who has been bright in patches, is replaced by Maupay and March comes on for Propper. An attacking double change from Potter, overall.

67 min: Here is Jesus, on for Mahrez. Now City have that focal point.

66 min: They could have been buried there though as Cancelo runs, runs, runs and then sees Sanchez beat his shot away. Seconds later a long-range skimmer from De Bruyne is also parried by the impressive keeper.

65 min: Since those three close shaves from City, Brighton have had a bit of a go at this.

64 min: You wanted strikers? I think you might get them for both sides soon – Jesus and Maupay are among those being readied on the side.

62 min: Oooh, and now they’re inches away, Bernardo centring tantalisingly from the left and Propper, on the stretch, just unable to get the studs that would divert it in! Like City, perhaps they’re craving a centre-forward option out there ...

60 min: And then they come close-ish to an equaliser, Mac Allister shooting a foot over from 20 yards. This ain’t dead yet ...

59 min: Saying that, Mahrez should make it safe – he’s onside running onto a floated pass but slots across Sanchez and wide. Then a City flurry ... Gundogan is thwarted by Sanchez and then, from the rebound, Silva thuds the bar! Somehow Brighton survive!

58 min: Raheem Sterling is warming up. Will City freshen things up from the bench? It’s pretty pedestrian out there, I must say.

55 min: Brighton work an overload on the right of the box and Propper’s volleyed cross is turned behind. Corner for the visitors. It needs to be better than Trossard’s first-half effort, and is ... resulting in a Propper volley from 25 yards that thuds straight into Ederson’s midriff.

54 min: Foden goes down in the box after a tangle with Veltman, who put an arm out ... quick VAR check and the decision is “no penalty”.

53 min: Such is the fixture pileup that I can’t really see City going hell for leather with this. They’ll want to stop Brighton, who are knocking it about as we speak, getting a head of steam up but will surely conserve energy where they can.

50 min: From a City corner, Webster heads away and a subsequent Foden volley is blocked. I think it was going well wide anyway.

49 min: City try to build but are forced all the way back to Ederson. Their lack of a focal point in attack has shown at times – but hey, they’re still winning.

48 min: Brighton have changed to a back four, it seems, so perhaps they wish to fan out a bit more now.

47 min: Early pressure from Brighton, Trossard turning in the box but seeing his ball defended, before Ederson claims Mac Allister’s drilled cross.

I promised you a second half, and a second half is what we have!

Don’t go anywhere, the second half is but minutes away. I sense we are on for that regulation two-zero, but I’ve been wrong before.

8 & 14 - Phil Foden is now Manchester City's highest goalscorer in all competitions this season (8), while no Premier League player has more assists in all comps than Kevin De Bruyne (14). Citizens. #MCIBHA

It’s really happening for Foden now, isn’t it? And as for that from De Bruyne ...

News from our mutual friend Paul Doyle that Aston Villa have asked for their game with Everton to be postponed:

Related: Aston Villa ask Premier League to postpone match against Everton

Brighton were a minute or so from being very content with that half, in which Robert Sanchez had only been bothered a couple of times and they’d had one or two looks themselves. But City can wreck your dreams at any moment, as Foden has just shown!

Now that’s the time to break the deadlock! And it’s a lovely goal from Foden, who takes a De Bruyne pass in his stride and sashays into the left side of the box, cutting a *delightful* finish inside Sanchez’s near post. It almost seemed casual, and pretty much rolled in, but that was a marvellously cute strike.

43 min: Burn does superbly to stop Cancelo wriggling in after fine play from Mahrez. It’s another City corner, but Foden’s cross is met by Webster.

41 min: Trossard nearly pays a very heavy price for that, as Ederson immediately starts a break that results in De Bruyne stinging Sanchez’s palms from an angle! Gundogan shoots wide from the resulting corner.

40 min: Now Brighton win a corner though, and here’s a chance to load the box with height. Trossard swings it in from the left ... but it’s poor and Ederson collects.

I'd like to see any free-kick moved back at the discretion of the taker - as in rugby @NickAmes82 - the wall stays where the line is sprayed. It would make up and down a little easier, strengthen the sanction and give us more spectacular goals. What's not to like?

Why not? Those indirect ones for backpasses rarely come to much as it is.

37 min: Dunk chests a dangerous Foden cross away. We’re now firmly in attack v defence territory after that fairly positive Brighton start.

36 min: “Sometimes handling a backpass is the best option, when the other is making a terrible hack at it and potentially missing it completely, leaving it to roll into the net for an OG,” suggests Graeme Thorn. True, though you’d want to back yourself to smack it away.

In the meantime, Bernardo (the Brighton one) is very alert at the back post to sweep a De Bruyne cross behind. A sniffing centre-forward might have converted that! The pressure is mounting from City though and a couple more corners come to little.

34 min: City win a couple of corners but, as they look to change the angle with the second one, Rodri is flagged offside.

32 min: Webster repels another De Bruyne shot with his head after extensive probing from City. Brighton then try to break but it comes to nothing. The visitors’ defensive shape remains very sound.

30 min: It takes fully two minutes to set the free-kick up and make sure the wall are behaving. Then De Bruyne has a blast and, lo, it’s blocked bravely by Mac Allister.

28 min: Danger here – and a rarity – City have an indirect free-kick in the box after Webster stretches to knock a through pass back Sanchez and the keeper picks it up. Ooops. Can City take advantage? It’s about 12 yards out and to the left of centre ...

27 min: Now Mahrez drifts onto a slick, lofted De Bruyne pass but can’t get decent purchase on his attempted volley. City aren’t finding much of a way through just yet. At the other end Dias has to divert a Tau cutback away after the forward burns past Zinchenko.

24 min: Mahrez teases in a delightful ball from the right, almost undefendable really, and Gundogan nudges it back across goal but Veltman is able to hack away.

22 min: “Wait, that guy’s surname is Mac Allister? Is his first name G. Ary?” queries Drew of the lively young Argentinian.

20 min: City win the game’s first corner, but nothing results.

19 min: Good moment from Brighton, with Mac Allister – impressive so far – feeding the scampering Trossard, who enters the box and looks to fade one into the far corner. It’s a yard or so wide, but Ederson was troubled enough to dive.

17 min: That was evidence that City can, and doubtless will again, carve Brighton open but they’re yet to play with any sustained tempo.

14 min: Big chance for City there, though, as a lovely swerve from Gundogan gives him space to play De Bruyne in. De Bruyne is about eight yards out and tries to place the ball past Sanchez, but the big keeper stands up really well and blocks with a leg.

13 min: Brighton break well again, and Trossard bamboozles Stones before dinking a cross over from the left. It’s above everyone and then Veltman, running in late at an angle, lashes wildly off target. But the visitors have started well.

12 min: Trossard is back on after taking treatment for a mild knock. Then Mac Allister does well and gets Brighton up the pitch from his own half, which they’ve managed to do a few times so far.

11 min: “Brighton’s Graham Potter has got the look of a bass player in an indie rock band,” writes Peter Oh. Every time I see him I picture him with a four-string slung around his shoulder, laying down a fat groove to a catchy mid-tempo tune. Pep Guardiola strikes me as the moody front man, grasping the mic with white-knuckled intensity as he howls revolutionary lyrics about possession.

9 min: Frustration for Brighton, as a simple flick on halfway sends Propper into acres of space in the City half and with home defenders outnumbered. It’s a good position but he wastes the final ball, which is aimed tamely towards the box and cleared.

7 min: Zinchenko has a first-time shot blocked after Foden nods a ball back from the byline – that’s the first real moment of danger from either side.

6 min: Not much happening yet, in truth. Brighton look composed enough on the ball and are trying to play through the thirds, albeit to little avail. And it’s a similar story for City really.

4 min: City pass, pass, pass for a minute or so but then Gundogan can’t tame a Silva ball and runs it out beyond the byline.

2 min: Brighton try to make some early inroads via Tau on the right, but he’s snuffed out. Good number of players committed forward there though.

Brighton kick us off, shooting right to left. Contrary to my effort below, I think they’ll play with something we might call a 3-4-2-1. Mac Allister, Trossard and Tau will be the three more attacking players.

“Why is it that only 9s can be false?” asks a philosophical Phil Grey. “Couldn’t the defender on the right of a back 3 be considered a false 2, or an attack-minded right back a false 7, or a very defensive DM who slips into the back four a false 5?”

That’s one for Jonathan Wilson, I’m not touching that. Although it reminds me of the time I suggested to Arsène Wenger in all seriousness that Santi Cazorla was an “eight and a half” and he laughed in the mistaken impression I was making some sort of football positions-based joke.

The teams are coming out onto the pitch. Let’s see what they offer us today. Brighton are well coached and even with this makeshift team I can’t see them getting a thrashing, but it does feel like a pretty regulation 2-0 to City on the face of things.

Potter, who gives little away to the media, describes a “challenging” recent period. Brighton’s last league win was on 21 November at Villa.

Guardiola has always been very nice about Graham Potter and Brighton. I remember him falling over himself to praise them after last season’s fixture, which I covered at the Etihad. It did feel a bit much at the time given City had won 4-0, a bit like when Pep pronounces himself delighted with hefty defeats and so forth. But Brighton do play good, structured stuff. They just lack devilment in the final third and I don’t really know where it’ll come from today.

City fans: confident you’re over the hump and in this title race for the long haul? It was interesting to see Guardiola say their improvement owes in part to running *less* – not always what we hear in these days of hell-for-leather pressing.

Look away now, blue half of Manchester – this is how Marcus Christenson rates Man United’s title hopefuls against their decorated predecessors:

Related: How do Solskjær's side compare with Manchester United's last title winners? | Marcus Christenson

The self-isolating Sergio Aguero is among those absent for City, although Raheem Sterling is back on the bench. Looks like Pep Guardiola is going essentially strikerless to begin with ...

So are Brighton, by the looks of it, although it’s hard to tell exactly how they will line up. It’s a pretty defensive-looking side from Graham Potter and they miss Yves Bissouma, their influential midfielder, through suspension. Percy Tau, back from his loan at Anderlecht, may be the most advanced member of Brighton’s team – this will be the South African’s first start for Brighton, two and a half years after he signed.

Manchester City: Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko; Rodrigo, Gundogan; De Bruyne, Mahrez, Foden; Bernardo. Subs: Steffen, Walker, Sterling, Jesus, Torres, Mendy, Fernandinho, Harwood-Bellis, Mbete.

Brighton: Sanchez; Veltman, Webster, Dunk, Burn; Trossard, White, Propper, Bernardo; Mac Allister; Tau. Subs: Walton, Maupay, Gross, March, Zeqiri, Sanders, Jenks, Weir, Khadra.

What’s that coming over the hill? It’s Manchester City. Not Manchester United, they’ve already scaled the summit and are peering down on everyone else. But City are on quietly excellent form, winning their last six games in all competitions and starting to look like the side that once surgically dissected all who crossed their pat. Win tonight and they will be four points off the top, with a further game in hand. Could we be in for a three-horse title race when things all shake down?

Brighton will have something to say about that tonight, although we’ll see how much. While City are on a roll, Graham Potter’s men can’t buy a win – although they have drawn four of their last five top-flight outings and recovered well from 3-1 down against Wolves last time out. They were taken the distance by Newport in the FA Cup on Sunday night, though, despite fielding a strong side. So will they take the hit here and eye other battles in their quest to move away from the relegation question, or will they have a real go?

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