Albion Analytics preview: Manchester City

The full statistical rundown ahead of our final Premier League home match of the campaign.

By Liam Tharme • 18 May 2021

By Bennett Dean
Danny Welbeck's goal against West Ham was his 50th in the Premier League.

Albion welcome champions Manchester City for a final Amex showdown of the season.

The Seagulls have historically not finished the season strongly at home, winning the final Amex clash just one in the last six seasons, although that was against Manchester United in the 2017/18 season. Bad omens are omnipresent for Albion in this fixture, having lost all seven meetings against the Citizens by an aggregate score of 21-2. In the reverse fixture, though, Albion limited Pep Guardiola’s side to just one goal. Of the 22 Premier League games Manchester City have played this calendar year, they have netted two or more goals in 16 fixtures.

The draw against West Ham extended Albion’s unbeaten home run to four games, just the second time this season that they have managed a sequence of this length. Graham Potter’s side have been in solid form at the Amex since the turn of the year; they have the fewest home losses (2) and fewest Expected Goals conceded (6.91) of any side in the division, while only Leeds (7) have let in fewer goals.

The Seagulls have already kept six clean sheets in 10 home games this calendar year, doubling their total from 2020 home games (3). Across those matches, Brighton have won the aggregate score 12-8, and taken an average of 1.4 points per game; over the course of a 38-game season – including 19 home games – that would return almost 27 points. Comparatively, in Albion’s first eight home games of the season (up until the start of 2021), they took just four points – averaging 0.5 points per game – and failed to win any games, keeping just two clean sheets and losing the aggregate score in those fixtures 7-12.

Albion are still yet to better the 29 home points they won in the 2017/18 season, though they have set away points records in every season since and this campaign will see the Seagulls finish with their fewest home points tally – they can achieve a maximum of 21 with a win against City, which will not be enough to eclipse their previous lowest total of 22 home points last season, adding to the argument that absent fans make a difference at the Amex.

WhoScored data has Yves Bissouma as the chart topper for interceptions (60), dribbles attempted (71) and completed (51) and tackles attempted (125) and won (95) at the Amex this season, evidence of just how exceptional his campaign has been. StatsBomb data ranks Bissouma inside the top 25% of Premier League midfielders in all those metrics per 90 minutes this season.

Danny Welbeck’s goal against West Ham means he now has the most goals (4) of any player at the Amex this season, with it also being his 50th in the Premier League. The Englishman has now scored four times from his last 14 shots in the competition, and since matchweek 29 he has taken five shots that are classified as big chance situations, the most of any Albion player. Welbeck has recorded at least two shot-creating actions in each of his last nine games, with four goal-creating actions in that time. Exactly 50% of all Welbeck’s shots at the Amex this season have been on target.

Percy Tau slotted in Welbeck for the opener last time out at the Amex, giving the South African his first ever Premier League assist; he became the seventh different Brighton player to assist a goal at the Amex this season. Tau shone in the reverse fixture back in January, topping the Brighton charts for shot-creating actions (3) and dribbles completed/attempted (3/3).

Alireza Jahanbakhsh started the Amex draw against West Ham, meaning he was named in the XI for consecutive Premier League fixtures for the first time this season. Three of his four direct goal involvements (all competitions) have come at the Amex this season. Against West Ham, during the 73 minutes he spent on the pitch, Jahanbakhsh ranked second for final third passes completed/attempted (14/22) and he topped the charts in this metric for the 58 minutes he played in the loss at Wolves last week (11/15).

Chances will likely come at a premium for Tau and Jahanbakhsh against this City side. Pep Guardiola’s men had 82.3% possession during their win at Newcastle, the second highest possession share from a side since the start of the 2003/04 season. City are Premier League chart toppers this season for wins (26), Expected Goals (69.7), goals scored (76), fewest Expected Goals conceded (28.7) and fewest goals against (29).

A point for Albion would see them avoid defeat against Manchester City for the first time in Premier League history, as well as set them up with the chance to achieve a record Premier League points total (42) with a final day win at Arsenal.