Pep Guardiola’s side, who had been scoring freely of late, were strangely lacking their usual cutting edge in front of goal. Manchester City had been finding it hard to break down a stubborn Brighton defense before Foden's well-taken effort sent his side into the lead just before half-time.
The hosts emerged more motivated in the second half but failed to extend their advantage. Manchester City missed a number of presentable opportunities, with Raheem Sterling’s late penalty miss summing up his side’s struggles in front of goal.
However, Sterling was not left to regret the miss. A solid shift from Manchester City’s defenders helped them shut out a Brighton side that were asking some probing questions, and the Cityzens sealed their fourth straight top-flight win.
Thus, Manchester City moved into third place in the Premier League table, four points behind table-topping Manchester United, but with a game in hand over their cross-town rivals. On the other hand, Brighton hover dangerously close to the relegation zone in 17th place.
On that note, here are the Manchester City player ratings from their battling 1-0 success over Brighton at the Etihad Stadium.
Ederson slotted seamlessly into the Manchester City lineup after a spell out on the sidelines and never looked in any trouble. The Brazilian displayed his trademark assured handling and intelligent distribution as he registered yet another clean sheet.
Joao Cancelo: 5/10
Although the Portuguese international was a willing runner who got involved in a lot of Manchester City’s attacking play, it was his unconventional positioning that put his side at risk on more than one occasion.
Cancelo - who seemed to tuck in as an auxiliary central midfielder when Manchester City had the ball - routinely left a lot of space down the right flank for Brighton to exploit, which the away side duly did, albeit to little avail.
John Stones: 6/10
Stones continued his remarkable resurgence with yet another solid performance in defense. He made several important tackles to thwart Brighton’s regular, if less than threatening, forays forward.
The England international was also encouraged to bomb forward, often overlapping his own right-winger as he raced downfield to offer an option in attack for his side.
Ruben Dias: 6/10
One of the signings of the season, Dias shone in the heart of Manchester City’s defense once again, making several telling blocks to keep Brighton at bay.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 5/10
Manchester City’s left-back was initially given a tough time by the lively Percy Tau, and in the later stages by Solly March. However, he was able to rise to the occasion and help maintain his side’s clean sheet with some diligent defending.
The Spaniard went about his business in the center of the park without much of a fuss, making tackles and interceptions as usual and keeping the ball moving as quickly as possible.
Ilkay Gundogan: 5/10
The more advanced of Manchester City’s midfield duo, Gundogan, was involved in most of his side’s attacking play, linking up well with his attackers in and around the Brighton penalty area. However, he failed to make a telling contribution.
Riyad Mahrez: 5/10
An uncharacteristically wasteful performance from the Algerian, whose normally impeccable touch seemed to have deserted him. Mahrez failed to make the most of several opportunities during his time on the pitch.
Switching from the right-wing to a more central position in the second half did not help matters, as Mahrez was the first Manchester City player to be substituted. A recognized center-forward in Gabriel Jesus replaced him.
Kevin De Bruyne: 7/10
The Belgian was extremely influential in the final third and was heavily involved in everything positive for Manchester City. He created several chances and even came close to scoring himself.
De Bruyne claimed the assist for the Manchester City goal with an astute pass infield to Foden. He should have had another one, but for Sterling’s botched penalty late on.
Phil Foden: 6/10
Foden did not get on the ball much, as most of Manchester City’s attacking play came down the right flank. However, he showed his quality when he slotted home the winner with his weak foot on the stroke of half-time.
Strangely enough, the youngster did not have much of an impact on the game besides the goal. Foden was taken off in the last 10 minutes in favor of Raheem Sterling.
Bernardo Silva: 5/10
Silva was unable to replicate his goal-scoring form from the FA Cup in this game. The Portuguese international was mostly on the fringes of the Manchester City attack and struggled to get on the ball in the false 9 role. A shot that cannoned back off the bar in the second half was his only notable contribution.
Gabriel Jesus: 5/10
Jesus started from the left-wing and gradually moved infield in trademark fashion. However, he was unable to make much of an impact on the game after coming on for the final 20-odd minutes.
Raheem Sterling: 2/10
A late substitute, Sterling passed up a glorious chance to extend Manchester City’s lead by blasting a late penalty high into the stands in his only notable involvement in the game.Published 14 Jan 2021, 02:15 IST