Goals from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero see Manchester City sit top of the Premier League after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Brighton.
Sterling opened the scoring after 29 minutes, converting a rapid counter-attack which saw Leroy Sané slide the ball into the Englishman’s path, the pass begging to be sent into the net.
With the Seagulls’ defence opened up for the first time, City went in search of a second, but they were unable to find that crucial second goal in what remained of the first half.
The fluidity and quality of football on show will have pleased Pep Guardiola, who has seen his side win their last four games, as they attempt to get their Champions League campaign back on track against German club Hoffenheim next week.
In fact, City haven’t conceded since they were surprisingly beaten at home by French side Lyon in their last European home game. But the Cityzens never looked like suffering a similar upset against the Seagulls.
Into the second half, and City continued to dominate and it was that man Agüero who made absolutely sure of the three points with 25 minutes remaining. The Argentine started another fine move when he cleverly flicked the ball into the path of Sterling before making his way into the box to fire the ball home.
One aspect of the game that may worry Guardiola, however, is that 26 out of the champions’ 28 attempts at goal failed to find the net and, while the visitors only registered four shots towards Ederson, a better opponent may well have punished his side’s lax striking attitude.
The only action Ederson saw in the City goal was to comfortably collect an early looping header by Shane Duffy.
This routine win acts as the perfect preparation for the testing fixture against Hofenheim in midweek before next Sunday’s showdown with Liverpool. With both games being of such importance, this is going to be a huge week for Manchester City.
City Maintain Stunning Home Form
Manchester City’s Premier League record at the Etihad, since the start of last season’s title-winning campaign, has seen them win 20 times from 23 games and, despite the average-looking scoreline, this was among one of the most convincing performances.
City dictated the match, having 80% of possession and playing 851 passes, compared to Brighton’s 210. If they are to retain their Premier League crown, City will need to keep up this tremendous record.
Brighton don’t perform away from home
Brighton haven’t won away from home in the league in almost a year and must be getting used to returning home with nothing.
And this, their 17th successive away league game without a win (the 12th in that period in which they have failed to score), was one of the direst showings yet.
There were few moments in the game when they looked like scoring. Although they had a late penalty shout (correctly) turned down, the away side were short of attacking intent and deserved the wooden spoon on the road yet again.
They need to up their act when away from the Amex soon, otherwise second-season syndrome is a real possibility.