With the Loons mercifully off this weekend and the English Premier League set to kick off, this week’s installment of the Sims features Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester City.
Through the magic of the promotion and relegation system utilized by the English, Brighton has been elevated to the Premier League for at least one season, and their welcome to the league is an opening match against Manchester City. There’s little better way to get used to the top flight real fast than to kick around with one of the top teams in England, if not Europe as well. The regular simulation technology seemed to be on the fritz so this week we’re going with FIFA 17 to see what will happen.
As if to give ownership the middle finger or possibly seeing the Seagulls as unworthy of a full defensive showing, Pep Guardiola only started three in the back and none of the expensive summer signings. That being said, it was still star power against the scrappy underdogs from Brighton.
Much of the first half belonged to Manchester City, as one would expect. Holding the ball for 60% of the first 45, they racked up eight shots, with three hitting the target. City looked dangerous until it came time to actually shoot, often lazily directing the ball wide of the net. The first real chance of the game actually came from Brighton on the verge of halftime. Right midfielder Anthony Knockaert collected the ball out wide and ran into the free space in front of him and then registered a close range shot on goal. Willy (a ridiculous name for a grown man) Caballero got his hand up just in time to stop the ball from hitting the ceiling of the net. The halftime whistle sounded a few moments later.
The Seagulls came out of the locker room with that famous Brighton fury and dominated the first fifteen minutes of the second half. In fact, with three minutes gone, halftime substitute Sam Baldock was slotted through a huge gap in the Manchester back line. He took two steps and launched a rocket into the upper left corner of the net and put the newly-promoted team in front.
Manchester City immediately realized the mistake of underestimating an opponent and poured on the pressure for the remainder of the game. The Brighton defense was up to the task however, and the Citizens were only able to register one more shot on goal despite taking six attempts in the half.
Baldock came close to doubling the lead around the 65th minute, but his shot smacked the crossbar and went out for a corner. Manchester City had an equally dangerous chance when Gabriel Jesus’ header was nailed to the cross bar in the 90th minute.
The Seagulls held on for the unlikely victory and great start to the Premier League campaign while Manchester City surely bemoaned the four hour drive down to the coast. It can be a crazy league and I’m not fully sure what to expect from Brighton, so there’s a chance that it could actually steal a debut win. Hopefully the regular simulation software will be ready again by next week and we can get back to Minnesota United games, although my interactions with their help desk regarding last week’s simulation have been about as friendly as MNUFC twitter lately.