Pep Guardiola continued to use the new formation he tested in pesason: a 3-1-4-2 with [Ederson in goal, a backline of John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany, with well as Fernandinho in the holding midfield. Danilo and Kyle Walker played as wing-backs alongside David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in midfield, while Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus started together up top.
After dominating possession but failing to score for more than an hour, City finally found a breakthrough in the 70th minute when De Bruyne took advantage of a Brighton misplaced pass and started a counter-attack for the Blues. David Silva eventually played a great pass to Agüero, who calmly slotted his finish past Matthew Ryan.
Five minutes later, City doubled their lead with an own goal from Brighton defender Lewis Dunk, who tried to defend Fernandinho’s cross into the box but headed the ball through Ryan’s hands into the net.
Here’s a look at the game from a City fan’s perspective:
Most viewers focused their eyes on the defense this game since City heavily addressed last season’s problems during the summer transfer window. Éderson, Kyle Walker and Danilo all made their debut for City in the Premier League, and the main question surrounding the Citizens was if their defense could improve from last year’s poor performances.
To be honest, these questions really weren’t really answered based on the season opener. City were barely tested outside of a couple of dangerous chances during Brighton’s period of pressure early in the second half.
Danilo had the ball at his feet often but had a quiet performance in the attacking side of the game, though the Brazilian was very solid defensively when called into action. Kyle Walker often pressed up into the attack and showed quite a few flashes of his talent, and there’s a sense that Walker can do much more as he adapts to Pep’s system. In goal, Éderson never had to deal with any threatening shots on target from the Seagulls.
Kompany, Stones and Otamendi looked very comfortable playing out from the back, and the trio seems to have developed better chemistry during the preseason.
With all the depth in the City midfield, many were unsure of who would appear in the starting lineup. Expectations have been high for their performance, and they met those expectations throughout the game.
Fernandinho “assisted” Lewis Dunk’s own goal with a cross into the box and he played well in attacking areas, even though his primary job was as a holding midfielder. Kevin De Bruyne was constantly producing in threatening areas for City, and he started the counter that led to City’s first goal.
However, the Man of the Match has to be David Silva. The Spaniard assisted Agüero’s first goal, and his 5 key passes were the most of anyone on the day.
Although Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sané and Raheem Sterling were not in the starting lineup, all three made appearances as substitutes and looked fresh coming off the bench. Overall, the future looks bright for the City midfield.
After Pep Guardiola sold Kelechi Iheanacho to Leicester City during the summer, it was clear that he was confident in Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus were good enough to lead the attack. After a nervous start from both strikers in the first half, Agüero and Gabriel impressed in the rest of the match.
Jesus missed a couple big chances in the first half, but it was definitely encouraging to see him press forward and make threatening moves up front. Agüero scored City’s first goal of the season with a classic Agüero Goal after a gorgeous assist from David Silva, and the Argentine looks ready to have another great year in front of goal.
It was an impressive performance for City, but let’s give credit to Brighton as well. In their first ever game in the Premier League against this season’s title favorites, the Seagulls held strong for a solid 70 minutes before finally conceding a goal. City found a way, though, and earned three crucial points to start the season on a high.