Brighton & Hove Albion 0-4 Manchester City: Phil Foden scores twice in clinical win

Phil Foden celebrates his goal
Phil Foden became the 10th player to score 50 Premier League goals for Manchester City with his first strike at the Amex

Manchester City moved smoothly to within one point of Premier League leaders Arsenal with a game in hand after a routine victory over Brighton at the Amex Stadium.

What threatened to be a dangerous fixture was effectively over by the interval as City romped into a three-goal lead, moving ahead of Liverpool into second place and closing ominously on Arsenal.

Kevin de Bruyne’s first header in his 68 Premier League goals, a magnificent flying effort into the top corner, set City on their way before Phil Foden controversially doubled the advantage nine minutes layer.

Referee Jarred Gillett awarded City a free-kick despite Foden only appearing to slip, Brighton seeing insult added to injury as his resulting set-piece strike took a deflection off Pascal Gross to wrong-foot keeper Jason Steele.

Any hope of a Brighton comeback was extinguished after 34 minutes by a smooth Foden finish into the bottom corner, after the Seagulls had been caught in possession trying to play out from the back.

It was then simply a case of damage limitation for Roberto de Zerbi’s side but City extended their lead just after the hour when the ball ran away from Steele as he went into a challenge with Kyle Walker and Julian Alvarez was on hand to pounce.

Man City looking ominous

Manchester City are at it again, reaching peak form just when it matters to turn up the pressure on pace-setters Arsenal as the title race reaches the final few fences.

Liverpool’s recent decline continued as they were beaten by Everton in the Merseyside derby but Arsenal are not going away, with a win at Wolverhampton Wanderers followed by the 5-0 thrashing of Chelsea at Emirates Stadium.

This did not have any impact on City, who have been through this tension before, as what was pitched as a tricky trip to the south coast turned into a formality.

It had all the hallmarks of a City performance close to the Premier League finishing line – calm and ruthless with flashes of brilliance from those who can change any game for manager Pep Guardiola.

De Bruyne is renowned for just about anything apart from his heading ability but he scored an athletic effort to open the scoring. It was then Foden’s turn to add further flourishes.

Such was their comfort that Guardiola was even able to give De Bruyne and Foden a breather by substituting them before the end with the game won, conserving energy for the weekend visit to struggling Nottingham Forest.

Brighton running out of steam

Brighton were chasing European football in thrilling style at this stage last season under De Zerbi – a mission they accomplished successfully.

Here, depleted by injuries, they were jaded and lacking inspiration as their campaign continues to look like it will end in anti-climax.

Brighton’s supporters felt they did not get the rub of the green with decisions, especially with the free-kick award that led to City’s second goal, the mood inside the Amex worsening when second-half penalty appeals were turned down.

In reality, however, they looked a shadow of the side that made life so difficult for the top teams last season, being outclassed and overwhelmed by their visitors.

Brighton lost key midfield duo Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister last summer and De Zerbi’s hopes of another European challenge have been further undermined by injuries, despite some sparkling performances this term.

There has also been speculation around De Zerbi’s own future, which will hopefully be cleared up so this progressive club can regroup and move forward once more.

This was a chastening experience for the Seagulls but they were unfortunate to meet Manchester City at just the wrong time, with their energy starting to run low.

Player of the match

De BruyneKevin De Bruyne

Brighton & Hove Albion

  1. Squad number55Player nameO’Mahony

  2. Squad number18Player nameWelbeck

  3. Squad number19Player nameBarco

  4. Squad number5Player nameDunk

  5. Squad number9Player nameJoão Pedro

  6. Squad number20Player nameBaleba

  7. Squad number23Player nameSteele

  8. Squad number29Player namevan Hecke

  9. Squad number15Player nameModer

  10. Squad number34Player nameVeltman

  11. Squad number13Player nameGroß

  12. Squad number14Player nameLallana

  13. Squad number42Player nameOffiah

  14. Squad number24Player nameAdingra

  15. Squad number3Player nameIgor Julio



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 23Steele
  • 34VeltmanBooked at 35minsSubstituted forOffiahat 45′minutes
  • 29van Hecke
  • 5Dunk
  • 19Barco
  • 20BalebaBooked at 76mins
  • 15ModerSubstituted fordos Santos de Pauloat 56′minutes
  • 14LallanaSubstituted forAdingraat 45′minutes
  • 13Groß
  • 9João Pedro
  • 18WelbeckSubstituted forO’Mahonyat 75′minutes


  • 1Verbruggen
  • 3dos Santos de Paulo
  • 4Webster
  • 10Enciso
  • 24Adingra
  • 31Ansu Fati
  • 40Buonanotte
  • 42Offiah
  • 55O’Mahony

Man City

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 31Ederson
  • 2WalkerSubstituted forLewisat 78′minutes
  • 25Akanji
  • 6Aké
  • 24Gvardiol
  • 16RodriSubstituted forGómezat 78′minutes
  • 20Bernardo SilvaSubstituted forDokuat 78′minutes
  • 17De BruyneSubstituted forNunesat 72′minutes
  • 8Kovacic
  • 47FodenSubstituted forGrealishat 71′minutes
  • 19Álvarez


  • 3Rúben Dias
  • 5Stones
  • 10Grealish
  • 11Doku
  • 18Ortega
  • 21Gómez
  • 27Nunes
  • 52Bobb
  • 82Lewis

Jarred Gillett


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