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Preview: Albion visit the Premier League champions

With the September international break on the horizon, Saturday’s visit to the Etihad Stadium (KO 3pm) provides Albion with one last chance to put points on the board, but opponents don’t come much tougher than last season’s Premier League champions, Manchester City.

By Kieran Cleeves • 29 August 2019

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion prepare for Saturday's visit to the Etihad Stadium

Having taken four points from our opening three matches, it’s been a relatively positive start to the campaign for Graham Potter’s side, who are still getting used to a change in shape, after the head coach introduced a 3-4-3 formation over the summer.

We made a blistering start to the season at Watford on the opening day, before having to settle for a point against West Ham United at the Amex, but last weekend’s defeat to Southampton, which included a 30th-minute red card for Florin Andone, ended our unbeaten start.

City’s impressive early-season form comes as no surprise, having won back-to-back Premier League titles under Pep Guardiola, and the likes of Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero have picked up from where they left off.

The Citizens have recorded convincing victories over West Ham United and AFC Bournemouth either side of a 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium — their only home match of the season so far.

By Paul Hazlewood
Florin Andone

Team news…

Florin Andone will serve the second match of his three-game suspension following his red card against Southampton.

Potter confirmed there are no fresh injury concerns following matches against Southampton and Bristol Rovers, but Yves Bissouma, Jose Izquierdo and Ezequiel Schelotto remain sidelined.

Bissouma could make his return against Burnley after the international break, Schelotto isn't far behind, but Izquierdo will need more time.

Midweek action…

We put the Premier League on the back-burner for Tuesday night’s visit to Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup.

Potter named 11 changes for the game at the Memorial Stadium. One of those changes was the introduction of Aaron Connolly, and the 19-year-old broke the deadlock on his full debut.

Tom Nichols replied for the Pirates soon after, but Glenn Murray was in the right place at the right time to book our place in the third round of the competition, turning home Steven Alzate’s stoppage-time cross.

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Extended highlights: Rovers 1 Albion 2

Bristol Rovers 1
Nichols 64

Albion 2
Connolly 55
Murray 90+2

Albion line-up: Button; Balogun, Webster, Bong; Alzate, Mooy, Gross, Bernardo; Jahanbakhsh, Connolly, Murray.

Subs not used: Steele (GK), A. Davies, Cochrane, Baluta, Sanders, Roberts, Ahannach.

By REX/Shutterstock
City players celebrate together at the Vitality Stadium

Their last fixture…

AFC Bournemouth 1
Wilson 45+3

Man City 3
Aguero 15, 64
Sterling 43

Man City line-up: Ederson; Walker (Cancelo 90), Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Gundogan (Rodrigo 58), D.Silva; B.Silva (Mahrez 79), Aguero, Sterling.

Subs not used: Bravo (GK), Angelino, Fernandinho, Foden.

By REX/Shutterstock
Raheem Sterling

Their one to watch…

Having only played four matches this season, Raheem Sterling has already fired six goals, including a hat-trick against West Ham United on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Sterling has found the back of the net in every game he’s played this month, starting with a goal at Wembley Stadium in City’s Community Shield triumph over Liverpool — the winger’s former employers.

Following his treble at the London Stadium, Sterling has since fired home against Tottenham Hotspur and AFC Bournemouth, which makes him the league's joint-top goalscorer alongside Norwich City’s Teemu Pukki.

There’s no doubt that the 24-year-old is one of the most dangerous footballers on the planet right now, and his form in previous seasons has been equally as good, having scored 48 goals across back-to-back campaigns.

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