Pep Guardiola can get early boost for next Man City season at Brighton

Brighton energy

Pep Guardiola can have a habit of talking managers up either before or after his team absolutely wallops them. It was in fact Graham Potter’s Brighton who had just lost 4-0 when the Manchester City boss talked them up as the best side they had faced at the Etihad.

Calling Roberto De Zerbi one of the most influential managers of the last 20 years felt pretty significant though, as did comparing Brighton to the revolutionary Michelin-starred restaurant from Barcelona whose chef has previously inspired Guardiola.

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City are fresh off winning another title, but the motivation and energy of their manager rarely dips. As he gets to work thinking about next season, an evening spent with a manager he clearly rates so highly certainly won’t do City any harm.

Party vs party

City celebrated winning the title on Sunday by going out that night and celebrating into the early hours. Brighton celebrated European qualification on Sunday by going out and partying until the early hours.

We are probably too many days past for this to be the Hangover Derby but it is fair to say both teams may have had more riding on this match when it was initially scheduled. That is probably to the advantage of both managers, who know just how difficult the fixture is.

Instead of two full-strength sides going at it, we could well see plenty of changes from both.

Play into form

If you were to pick the team for the FA Cup and Champions League finals now it would probably be the team that beat Real Madrid. Guardiola, though, works in mysterious ways and there are several players that will be looking to nudge themselves into his thoughts for either or both matches.

In attack, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, and Julian Alvarez will all be hoping they get the opportunity to play themselves into form that makes them too good to leave out. There is also a question at the back, with Nathan Ake first choice before picking up that calf injury against Leeds but now facing a battle to oust Manu Akanji and Kyle Walker.

Points target

City may have wrapped the league up but they can still beat a marker from last season. Should they win their final two games of the season, they will reach the total of 94 points – a mightily impressive number in its own right but also one more than they reached last year.

That would show the incredible consistency of the team, and would also add to the overwhelming body of evidence that the Blues are in fact a better team with that striker who scored so many goals for them.