Last season’s treble winners Manchester City popularly called Man City, ended their two-match losing streak in the Premier League after defeating Brighton & Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
A clash between two of the division’s finest tacticians had mouths watering in the build-up to this fixture, but it was Man City who quickly stamped their authority on the contest. Moments after Jérémy Doku had flashed an effort wide of the target, the Belgian-turned-provider breezed past Pascal Groß and picked out Julián Álvarez to send City into the lead in the 7th minute of play.
Man city advantage was doubled inside 20 minutes thanks to the irrepressible Erling Haaland, rifling home from the edge of the area after the Seagulls had been caught in possession in their half.
Pep Guardiola’s side are experts at exerting control, and once they’d established a two-goal lead, they never looked like surrendering it. Stefan Ortega, unexpectedly selected in goal ahead of Ederson, had very little goalkeeping to do as Roberto De Zerbi’s men desperately struggled to create chances.
The hosts were perhaps guilty of being complacent as moments after an audacious Álvarez effort to score from near the halfway line, Brighton halved the deficit. After a trademark Kaoru Mitoma dribbled into the area, Manuel Akanji’s dreadful clearance landed at the feet of Ansu Fati to steer home his second Seagulls goal and ramp up the tension at the Etihad.
A double change worked wonders to resharpen City’s Premier League chase, with the commanding presence of Rúben Dias at the break helping shore up the champions’ backline.
Brighton were left frustrated as they found themselves unable to snatch an equaliser, a task made no easier by a serious-looking injury to Solly March. And even after Manuel Akanji had been dismissed for a second yellow card deep into stoppage time, De Zerbi’s men couldn’t find a way through.
The Seagulls remain without an away victory in the 99-year history of this fixture and also failed to win any of their last five matches in all competitions.