Manchester City kept the heat on Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table today, as they secured a 4-1 victory away at Brighton to keep them within two points of the top of the league.
A spell binding first half performance from City was enough to secure the three points, coming courtesy of a goal from Ilkay Gundogan and a Phil Foden brace, before Riyad Mahrez provided the icing on the cake in injury time at the Amex Stadium.
In the 11th minute, City launched a swift counterattack. A perfectly weighted pass from Phil Foden found Gabriel Jesus in the box, who rounded the keeper and got a shot off. However, Lewis Dunk produced an astonishing goal line clearance. The breakthrough came a minute later, as Brighton keeper Sanchez dropped the ball, leaving an open net for German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan to place the ball into to make it 1-0 to Manchester City.
Despite City looking extremely comfortable in the minutes following the goal, Brighton showed they were still dangerous with chances from both Trossard and Moder. Neither man could hit the target though. In the flash of an eye City were back up the other end, with Foden being sent through on goal. However, Sanchez read it well and intercepted. City could smell blood, and Sanchez was forced to make a number of quickfire saves from Cities attackers.
Kyle Walker received the first booking of the game in the 22nd minute for a late challenge on Brighton youngster Marc Cucurella. This did not deter City though, who showed no signs of tiredness from their midweek Champions League victory over Club Brugge. Brighton continued to plug away but were soon punished in the 28th minute. City launched another counterattack which resulted in Phil Foden striking into an open goal make it 2-0 to City.
Things went from bad to worse for Brighton, as an error from Lewis Dunk gave City’s attackers the initiative. A saved shot from Grealish came back out to Gabriel Jesus, who took a shot at goal which deflected off of Phil Foden to give him his second goal of the game. At 3-0, it seemed a long way back for Graham Potters’ men. As half time edged closer, it was hard not to get the impression that this wasn’t simply just a walk in the park for City.
As the second half kicked off City were straight out of the blocks again, with Cancelo getting a shot away and forcing a corner. Minutes later, hat-trick hunting Phil Foden dragged a shot wide of goal. Brighton started to play some better football in the following minutes, culminating in Moder forcing a sharp save from Ederson. Maupay was not quite quick enough to pick up the rebound.
Despite the improvement in their football second half, they just couldn’t seem to make any of their chances count in the final third. In the 57th minute, the returning Tariq Lamptey came on along with Enock Mwepu in a double substitution for the seagulls. Lamptey was soon into the thick of the action, as he got clattered by the onrushing Cancelo, who received a booking for his troubles.
Some lovely football from Brighton on the hour mark, as they played the ball around cities defence, with Trossard getting a shot away and forcing a corner. However, this chance resulted in nothing as the linesman flagged for offside shortly after the corner was played. Despite this however, the momentum in the game felt as though it was shifting slightly, with Brighton having much more of the ball and creating more chances than they did in the first half.
Some lovely footwork from Lamptey helped to force yet another corner. Once again though Brighton were wasteful.
In the 72nd minute, Brighton used up their final substitution, bringing on Argentine Alexis Mac Allister. Manchester City on the other hand made their opening change of the game a minute later, bringing on veteran midfielder Fernandinho to help see out the game. A couple of minutes later City looked to their bench again, having the luxury of bringing on Belgian superstar Kevin De Bruyne. In the 79th minute a challenge from Ederson on Mwepu is judged to be a penalty. Mac Allister is the man to step up, and he duly converts despite Ederson getting two hands to the ball.
Ederson then received a booking for time wasting in the 84th minute, perhaps telling of the improvement in Brighton’s game in the second half. City make their final substitution two minutes later, bringing on Riyad Mahrez for Gabriel Jesus. In the 89th minute, Phil Foden came close to completing his hattrick, but Roger Sanchez managed to get in the way of Fodens goal bound shot. In injury time, the icing on the cake was provided as an unmarked Riyad Mahrez smashed home to secure a 4-1 victory with practically the last kick of the game.