Manchester City get job done against Brighton to go back to the top of the Premier League


After a nervy first 45 minutes, Manchester City turned on the style with three second half goals at the Etihad Stadium to down Brighton and Hove Albion, and crucially go back to the top of the Premier League table.

With title rivals Liverpool winning 4-0 at home to Manchester United on Tuesday night, City simply had to win 24 hours later to regain pole position and the upper hand in the race for top spot come May 22.

Goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva eventually earned the three precious points for Pep Guardiola’s side, but not before a tension-filled first half which ended goalless.

Mahrez was the main man early on, skewing a shot wide on the half volley and glancing a header the wrong side of the post before passing up a glorious opportunity 17 minutes in.

Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez put the ball on a plate for the Algerian to fire into an empty net with a loose pass, but Mahrez hesitated and allowed Seagulls’ midfielder Moises  Caicedo to recover with a timely challenge.

Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was next to come close for the hosts before Sanchez clawed Silva’s curling effort away while captain for the night Ilkay Gundogan also saw Lewis Dunk block a shot which was heading for the back of the net before the half was out.

City enjoyed a succession of corners at the restart without making their pressure count, but Mahrez did just that on 53 minutes with a delightful dink over Sanchez, De Bruyne the architect after a surge forward and an inch-perfect ball for the winger to convert.

The opener eased tension around the ground, and from there on, the feeling was that it was only ever going to end one way. Foden added a second on 65 minutes, Brighton switching off from a corner and allowing the young midfielder to fizz an effort low which ended up in the back of the net via a deflection.

For the most part, Graham Potter’s outfit maintained their shape well and – as best as they could – limited the hosts chances. Some cynical fouls from Alexis Mac Allister and Adam Webster were needed to stop Silva on two separate surges forward as the Citizens looked to hit on the break.

Plaudits in today’s game are received for playing out from the back, the top teams do it so well, but when it goes wrong, it goes wrong, and it did for Brighton eight minutes from time. City’s relentless pressing paid off with the ball won high up the pitch, and De Bruyne threaded to Silva on the edge of the area to curl into the corner with an inch-perfect strike.

Sanchez scrambled, but couldn’t keep it out, making it three goals and three points for Guardiola’s side. Importantly, they hold top spot and this weekend play first out of the top two, welcoming Watford to the Etihad on Saturday – April 23 – in a 3:00pm kick-off.

Brighton meanwhile remain 10th, and next return home to the AMEX Stadium with Southampton the visitors on Sunday, April 24 in a 2:00pm kick-off.

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Brighton and Hove Albion

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