The expectation-the hope, the dread-had been for an almighty clash in Manchester, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola bringing the ferocity of their Spanish rivalry to the Premier League, matching competing ideologies against each other while trading barbs on an off-field propaganda war that would make the press-conferences nearly as compelling as the football.
Pep Guardiola promised Manchester City would rein in its unprecedented levels of spending after overseeing an outlay of approaching $500 million in his first year in charge.
"Hopefully next season I will be here and we are not going to spend how we have this season".
A year ago City won their first 10 games in all competitions, beginning with a victory at home to Sunderland, yet finished the campaign empty-handed. We scored two goals, but we created more. "If the club decides [I am] not able, we are going to take a solution".
"But the season is going to be long and today was an improvement on a lot of things we did last season".
Who will come out on top in the battle of the managers Chris Hughton or Josep Guardiola? Kevin De Bruyne nipped in to take the ball from Dale Stephens, found David Silva, who in turn fed Aguero to finish. I saw him on the TV last season, but it will depend on how he and the other players adjust to the Premier League.
"So yes we'll look at as many good experiences as we can do, and that's for the whole of the season, not just the start".
"So although it will be hard to get a point or three against Manchester City, it's not impossible".
The Seagulls kept 21 clean sheets in last season's Championship, more than any other side.
"The first game of a season is always complicated", he said. But then there was in 2008 when we were a League One side, City were newly-crowned the "world's richest club' already with many star players - and we beat them in the League Cup at our humble Withdean Stadium home".