A goal in each half was enough for City to see off the challenge of a resilient Brighton at the Etihad. It wasn’t a classic, but the Blues were worthy winners and as a result, climb to the top of the Premier League ahead of the Chelsea v Liverpool clash later today.
What happened? With Brighton defending in numbers and packing their own box whenever City attacked, this wasn’t the most absorbing contest for the first 25 minutes or so. In fact, the Blues failed to register a shot on target until Leroy Sane’s effort on 27 minutes – not a stat that’s happened too often during Pep Guardiola’s reign – but of course, it was a temporary blip. Two minutes later and the Seagulls’ wings were finally clipped as the visitors lost possession on a rare foray forward and a razor-sharp move involving first Sergio Aguero and then Sane resulted in a low ball that Raheem Sterling slid home from close range. Totally dominant, City came close to doubling the lead on 39 minutes when a mistake on the edge of the box allowed Sterling to shoot powerfully towards goal. but keeper Matthew Ryan pushed the ball over. The champions continued to boss proceedings after the break and just before the hour, the Brighton goal-mouth resembled the Alamo as shots rained in from Aguero and Silva with the latter producing a superb save by Ryan. A second had to come, and five minutes later, it did – and it was well worth the wait. David Silva played a simple pass to Aguero on the halfway line - the City striker then raced past at least three challenges before playing a pass to Sterling and racing past one more defender for Sterling’s clever return ball to plant home a superb goal. And that was enough against a hard-working and well-organised Brighton.
Star man: Raheem Sterling One goal and a delightful assist make Raheem the stand-out performer against the Seagulls.
What it means… City go top of the Premier League – for the time being – with Chelsea and Liverpool facing off in the early evening kick-off at Stamford Bridge. A Chelsea win or draw, and the Blues will stay top going into next weekend.
What’s next? City travel to Germany for the Champions League Group F match against Hoffenheim. Then it’s off to Anfield for the top-of-the-table clash with Liverpool, kick-off 4.30pm a week on Sunday.
MATCH DETAILS: Man City (2): Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva (Foden 88'), Bernardo, Sané (Mahrez 71'), Sterling, Agüero (Gabriel Jesus 66')