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Sky Blue News: Cleaning up Brighton, Pep Wants More from KDB, Dortmund Previews, and More...

Monday morning headlines after a near-perfect weekend for City from Bitter and Blue.

Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Manchester City are coming off a weekend when both the Men’s and Women’s sides were victorious, and the Men’s side saw their biggest rivals all drop points. Sky Blue News is here to help clean up the weekend and look forward to tomorrow’s match against Borussia Dortmund.

Manchester City vs. Brighton: boys in blue back to winning ways - Laura Graves - Man City Square

Laura details what seemed like an easy win, but was really anything but.

Brighton made it difficult for City tactically, who didn’t ever have that much space or time on the ball, which led to sloppy possession from a team typically so dominant.

In fact, statistically, Brighton were the more dominant force in possession out on the pitch today with 52%.

Nevertheless, Manchester City didn’t make it easy for themselves; at times they were sloppy, and the right flank was all off with no balance. Having Mahrez support Akanji, who is not a natural right back, didn’t work.

City are used to being pressed to some extent, until the opposition are left exposed as the blues easily resist the press. However, today saw a new approach, going long, which led to a few stray balls from Ederson, which is unlike him. Though his stunning pass to Haaland broke the deadlock.

The blues will need to step it up if they are to get a result from Dortmund away midweek, which won’t be an easy task.

3 Up & 2 Down: Manchester City 3-1 Brighton & Hove Albion - CITYZENDuck - Bitter and Blue

After each match, I feature what’s trending up and down. Here’s a look at two items on the up-side of the ledger.

3 Up

The Destroyer of Worlds - Erling Haaland scored two more goals in front of the Etihad crowd. His second was a well-struck penalty that was one by Bernardo Silva, but the first came from the run of play. A long assist from Ederson found the Norwegian goal factory who chested the ball past Robert Sanchez, bowled over Adam Webster, and slotted the ball into the empty net.

KDB’s Right Foot - The Ginger Pelé was every inch a top-three Ballon d’Or player on Saturday. His movements and passing were dangerous throughout the match. His tenacity in chasing the ball when Brighton were in possession kept the pressure on the visitors. When the Seagulls made the inexcusable error of giving him yards of space just outside the penalty error, he punished them with a sublime shot from his magical right boot.

Manchester City 3-1 Brighton: Kevin de Bruyne ‘not at his top level’, says Pep Guardiola - Simon Stone - BBC Sport

Pep may see something the rest of us don’t. He looks pretty good to me.

Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi said De Bruyne’s superb curling 25-yard effort 15 minutes from time “closed the game” as City won 3-1 on Saturday.

He would also have had another assist if Riyad Mahrez had taken a clear chance to put City three up, just before Leandro Trossard pulled one back for the visitors.

However, Guardiola wants more from his captain.

“Kevin can be better,” said Guardiola. “He is not playing at his top level. Not yet.

“He made a fantastic goal - a masterclass action. But he is not playing at his best. He knows. I spoke with him but I don’t have to tell him. It’s not perfect.”

Pep Guardiola can help Kevin De Bruyne succeed in Man City challenge - Daniel Murphy - Manchester Evening News

If anyone can get KDB to an even higher level its the CIty boss.

If even Kevin De Bruyne is not safe from Pep Guardiola’s relentless quest for perfection then God help every other player under his management.

It’s a brilliant trait, of course. That drive and refusal to be satisfied are what has seen Manchester City enjoy so much success since Guardiola arrived at the club. He’s still hungry for improvement, for more trophies, and that desire trickles down to his players.

Even De Bruyne, who scored a stunning 25-yard strike to ensure City got back to winning ways against Brighton and has by far the most assists in the Premier League this season was told he can still do more by the Blues boss.

Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City: Team News - Tushar Bahl - BVB Buzz

BVB Buzz has a pre-match look at the state of Dortmund.

Borussia Dortmund will be sweating on the fitness of Nico Schlotterbeck ahead of the game after the centre-back suffered a muscle issue during Saturday’s win over VfB Stuttgart. There are also question marks over the availability of Marco Reus and Donyell Malen.

Salih Özcan will miss the game due to suspension after picking up his third yellow card of the group stage on matchday three. Thomas Meunier, Sebastien Haller, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Mahmoud Dahoud and Mateu Morey are also sidelined.

Manchester City will have to make do without Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips, who are injured. While left-back Sergio Gomez is suspended after being sent off against FC Copenhagen on matchday three.

Former Borussia Dortmund trio Ilkay Gündogan, Erling Haaland and Manuel Akanji are set to feature for Manchester City on Tuesday.

Confirmed Match Officials: Borussia Dortmund vs Manchester City (Champions League) - City Xtra

For the second time this year, David Massa will be on the whistle for a City UCL match.

City succumbed to a goalless draw in their last Champions League outing, drawing 0-0 with FC Copenhagen in the Danish capital.

Despite the draw, Guardiola’s side secured knockout stage qualification for a tenth straight season.

Manchester City can ensure top spot on Tuesday night, should they beat the Bundesliga giants in North West Germany.

Ahead of Tuesday’s clash, UEFA have announced the Match Officials for the Blues’ penultimate Group Stage game of the year.

Match Referee

Davide Massa will lead a predominantly Italian team of officials in Germany in midweek.

The 41 year-old, who took charge of Manchester City’s win in Seville in September, will referee his 8th game of the season on Tuesday.

Journalist warns Man City dressing room could suffer if they sign 39-goal ace - Saikat Chaterjee - caughtoffside.com

And finally... Journalist Dean Jones warns that it could be a big mistake to bring in one of the biggest stars in the world.

Pep Guardiola has put together an impressive squad with outstanding harmony and chemistry. Bringing someone like Mbappe into the group could cause dressing room unrest if he fails to sort out his reported attitude problems.

Speaking to GiveMeSport, Jones said: “It’s hard to see and you risk rocking the boat at the club if you’re bringing in an ego, I guess, that has the potential to rock the boat.”

Mbappe was heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid at the start of the season and it will be interesting to see if Los Blancos decide to return with another offer for the player in the summer.

The player has been linked with Premier League club Liverpool as well but it seems highly unlikely that the Reds will be able to afford his asking price and wages.

That’s it for now. Stay with us at Bitter and Blue as City look to claim the top spot in UEFA Champions League Group G with a win over the Black & Yellow.