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Manchester City 1-0 Brighton: 5 talking points as Cityzens secure victory on home soil | Premier League 2020-21

Manchester City defeated Brighton by a solitary goal
Manchester City defeated Brighton by a solitary goal
Ume Elvis
ANALYST
Modified 14 Jan 2021, 06:18 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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Manchester City secured a hard-fought victory over Brighton at the Etihad, with a 44th-minute strike by Phil Foden giving them all three points.

Having named a slightly-rotated side for the FA Cup clash against Birmingham last weekend, Pep Guardiola was back to his strongest XI and made four changes from the team which picked up the 3-0 victory on Saturday.

The hosts expectedly started the game on the front foot and were totally dominant in the opening exchanges but failed to convert their possession to chances.

A penalty appeal for a handball was waved away by referee Darren England in the 34th minute and VAR agreed with the decision.

Just when it looked like both sides would go into the break level, an excellent Kevin De Bruyne pass was finished with a cool strike by Phil Foden to put Manchester City 1-0 up.

The England international still had a lot to do when he received the pass just outside the box, but his touch and finish on his weaker foot underlined his sheer brilliance.

The assist was De Bruyne's ninth of the current Premier League season, and 75th overall, taking him one clear of Thierry Henry into 11th on the all-time standings.

The second half began in the same fashion as the first ended but some inspired goalkeeping from Robert Sanchez kept the scoreline as it was.

Brighton grew in confidence the longer the game wore on and had a good 10-minute spell where they put Manchester City on the backfoot. But they failed to truly test Ederson's goal.

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A moment of madness led to a defensive mix-up between Lewis Dunk and Sanchez, leading the Brighton goalkeeper to foul Kevin De Bruyne for a penalty in the first minute of injury time.

Substitute Raheem Sterling stepped up and blazed the ensuing spot kick over the bar, to continue Manchester City's poor record from 12 yards.

Ultimately, his miss was not costly, as Manchester City secured all three points to move up to third on the Premier League standings.

Here, we shall be having a rundown of five talking points from the fixture at the Etihad.

#5 Manchester City machine slowly kicking into full gear

Manchester City have now won seven consecutive games in all competitions
Manchester City have now won seven consecutive games in all competitions

Pep Guardiola endured the worst start to a campaign in his managerial career this term, with Manchester City looking out of sorts in the early parts of the season.

Considering the unique nature of the season, coupled with several injury problems, this could be understood. However, such excuses would not have held for too long due to the quality of players available to the Spaniard.

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It was always only a matter of time before things started to fall in line for the Mancunians and they have turned a positive corner in recent weeks.

The victory over Brighton means Manchester City have now won their last seven matches consecutively in all competitions, and this has propelled them up to third on the league table.

They currently sit just four points behind table-toppers and city rivals Manchester United with a game in hand.

At this rate, Manchester City have undeniably installed themselves back in the title race and once Guardiola's machine starts marching on, there could be no stopping them.

#4 Despite victory, lack of goals would be a cause of concern for Pep Guardiola

Sterling missed an injury-time penalty
Sterling missed an injury-time penalty
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Over the course of his managerial career, Pep Guardiola has made a name for himself as the biggest proponent of attacking football in his generaton.

This has been reflected in his managerial spells across Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City, with each of them setting goalscoring records under the legendary Catalan.

However, this season has seen a departure from the norm for City, and the Etihad outfit currently struggle to get goals as frequently as before.

Against Brighton, the hosts had almost 70% of the possession and created several chances in the second half, but a combination of poor finishing, as well as some excellent saves from Sanchez ensured Manchester City did not score more than one goal.

The fact that City did not get another goal left Brighton in the game and gave the visitors belief that they could get something out of it, which is hardly ideal for a club of City's standards.

Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne, and Bernardo Silva were all guilty of missing clear-cut chances and although Manchester City got all three points, their lack of precision in attack might have cost them on another day.

The horrendous penalty by Raheem Sterling encapsulated the day for the hosts' attack and Guardiola would have to find a solution to this problem fast.

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Published 14 Jan 2021, 06:18 IST
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