Manchester City made it seven wins on the bounce with a 1-0 victory at home to Brighton tonight. A late first half goal from Phil Foden was enough to seal the victory for City, when he darted across the edge of the box and neatly found the bottom corner of Sanchez’ goal.
The Blues failed to make their chances count in the second half and had to endure a nervy final 15 minutes where Brighton seemingly managed to take a foothold in the game. Kevin De Bruyne hunting down a late back pass won a penalty in stoppage time, however Raheem Sterling sent the ball over the bar.
Here are five things we’ve learned following today’s performance…
Perhaps it is a coincidence that Foden manages to make the headlines every week, or perhaps he is just growing into one of the best midfielders in the world – I think it’s the latter. Just as City fans were getting frustrated with the lack of game time Foden was getting, Guardiola seems to have heard our callings and is giving him the time he deserves on the field.
Foden put it yet another energetic shift in a sky-blue shirt – constantly hunting down the ball, putting defenders under pressure, dropping back to win the ball in defence, using his sublime finishing to open the score line. What can this man not do?
Guardiola’s development plan seems to be really paying off, his goal tonight was his eighth of the season so far, making him the top scorer for City this season. No one really had a doubt that Foden will become a superstar one day, but perhaps that day may be coming sooner than we think.
Another player that was beyond impressive tonight was Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese maestro has previously found himself out of favour, struggling to find the form he once did a couple of seasons ago. But that being said, Silva is definitely finding his feet again. His performance tonight showed a glimpse of brilliance, cutting in with the ball at his feet and taking on defenders with confidence, and constantly making the Brighton backline question what he was going to do with the ball.
Guardiola is clearly putting more trust in Bernardo, and Bernardo is showing why he should. Two well taken goals against Birmingham at the weekend and another solid performance against Brighton proves that maybe his purple patch is coming to an end. Let us hope for more of this as the season goes on.
You cannot stop Cancelo
Now I know a lot of credit (and rightly so) goes to Dias and Stones in our defence, but wow – Cancelo’s surge in form is giving a massive boost to the entire City squad. There was rarely an attack that Joao failed to overlap on, and he put countless sublime deliveries into the box for his City compatriots to feed on.
It has taken some time for Joao to find some consistency both in form and in the line-up selection, but the early frustrations faced by City fans are quickly diminishing, and Joao is really starting to settle in. He is showing flair on the ball, and confidence when pushing forward, both of which are a must in Guardiola’s defence.
Our crazy Brazilian is back.
Although he spent the majority of the game twiddling his gloves and watching on – it was very warming to see Ederson back in a City shirt and in the starting line-up following his recovery from COVID-19.
There were several heart-in-the-mouth moments as usually anticipated, like teasingly inviting Maupay to chip him and nearly misplacing a header into an attacking foot, but would you expect anything less? Ederson’s first game back saw City take home their eighth clean sheet of the season – the most out of any Premier League side so far.
Do not take the foot off the gas…
Three points, clean sheet, Foden scores – is there much more we could want? If we are going to be critical, yes, there is. Towards the back end of the second half City allowed Brighton to get a foothold in the game, giving away cheap set-pieces, and inviting unwanted pressure on the City defence.
The game should have been put to bed earlier on, with several chances going to waste and failing to beat the goalkeeper Sanchez. The Brighton midfield seemed to gain more control of the ball, and players like Propper and Mac-Allister asked questions of the City defence. Perhaps if the earlier chances would’ve found the net there would be less of a late-on push to maintain the clean sheet.
City are back in Premier League action on Sunday, with Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace travelling northbound for a 7:15pm KO at The Etihad.
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