Manchester City Move Onto The Shoulder Of The Premier League Leaders

The Blues stormed into a three-goal by half-time as Phil Foden, again excellent in the false nine role, claimed two after Ilkay Gundogan had marked his return to action with an opportunistic opener.

Chelsea had set the standard earlier in the day by scoring seven against hapless Norwich, and in a brilliant, breathless first 45 minutes it looked like the Blues were intent on matching those goalscoring exploits.

But the Seagulls showed the grit, and the style, that had them in fourth before the game, and eyeing a leap above the Blues if they could beat them, to hit back hard in the second half.

City were hardly clinging on, even after Alexis Mac Allister thrashed in a penalty with nine minutes to go, but for once it was their defenders who were able to take a slice of the glory, and earn the three points with some tough rearguard work.

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City went ahead courtesy of a goalkeeping error, as Robert Sanchez rose to collect a cross but allowed the challenge of the diminutive Gabriel Jesus to put him off.

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He dropped the ball to Bernardo Silva, who hooked it goalwards for Gundogan to apply the finishing touch.

The Seagulls fans were furious, claiming that Jesus had fouled Sanchez, but that was not the case, as confirmed by the video ref, whose check ruled there was no reason to rub out the goal.

The Blues had jumped on Sanchez’s mistake, but City were pressing the life out of the Seagulls, capitalising on every misplaced pass, and – when the home side did venture forward – they were hitting them with merciless pace on the counter.

Gabriel Jesus, as well as forcing the opening goal, had a shot cleared off the line by Lewis Dunk and underlined the fact that he is now a fixture in Guardiola’s strongest team.

Riyad Mahrez, who dropped out to accommodate the Brazil international, is capable of winning matches, but Jesus is a whirlwind of activity, giving defenders hell, challenging keepers, and forcing errors as well as adding quality at the top end of the field.

City made it two when Brighton pushed forward and were exposed as Bernardo led the counter and played the perfect pass out to Jack Grealish on the left.

Given his lack of goals for City so far, few would have blamed him for taking the shot as he bore down on goal, but to his credit, he played it across for Foden, streaking down the inside right channel’

It was difficult to tell whether Foden or defender Dunk turned it into the net, but the Premier League gave it to the City man, and no one was arguing.

There was an element of fortune about his second, and City’s third, too.

Jesus was again heavily involved after Bernardo, who was constantly harassing Brighton players into errors, pounced on a sloppy Dunk pass and sparked another attack.

The Brazilian ranged inform the right-hand side and again found Grealish lurking in tons of space. This time the £100million man did take the shot and when it rebounded to Jesus, his left-footed effort was goalbound but struck Foden before finding its way into the net.

The Blues were bouncing, and so were their fans, doing a Poznan behind Ederson’s goal by way of celebration.

They could even grow to love the controversial third kit, which made its debut in this game, if it can continue to inspire this kind of performance.

The first half was yet another devastating City attacking display, bristling with threat from Grealish, who has the knack of finding acres of space on the left, across to Jesus, a tornado of deadly intent on the right.

After his false nine masterclass in Bruges, Foden took the role again, and as well as claiming two goals in the first half, he was technically brilliant, not wasting a single ball – even more experienced pros like Rodri, Gundogan and Ruben Dias could not match that.

At half-time. the Brighton fans were afraid that City might match Chelsea’s seven gals against Norwich earlier in the day, but they need not have worried.

In the second half, their team showed the form that has seen them into the top four in the nascent league table.

Then it was all about Dias, Laporte, and Ederson.

Brighton began to show what they were about, especially after Tariq Lamptey went on as sub to exploit their defensive weakness on the left, and pushed hard to get something from the game.

With nine minutes to go, they got a sniff as another sub, Enock Mwepu, chased a lost cause to the byline but found Ederson hurtling out, and unable to stop his momentum, eve though the ball was harmlessly going out of play.

Ref Kevin Friend pointed to the spot and Alexis Mac Allister hammered it, with Ederson getting both hands to the shot but unable to keep it out.

Any thought that City might crumble was unfounded, as they exerted more pressure, Foden three times coming close to grabbing his hat-trick goal.

In the end, he had to make do with an assist, being fed by Fernandinho, and then finding sub Riyad Mahrez in tons of space. The Algeria international made no mistake.

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