Manchester City responded to Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Manchester United with a 3-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion to return to the top of the Premier League. Goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil ‘Lucozade’ Foden and Bernardo Silva saw off a stubborn Seagulls side who had frustrated City throughout the first half.
It was City’s first match since they lost 3-2 in the FA Cup semi-final to Liverpool, and sections of the media were asking if the blues had lost the mental advantage to their closest rivals. And, after Liverpool clinically dispatched United at Anfield on Tuesday night, it was up to the blues to respond against the mid-table side who have had a habit of picking up points at higher league opposition this season.
The trip to Etihad Stadium was Brighton’s third consecutive away game in the Premier League, and the blues had to be on their toes considering the Seagulls had won at Arsenal and Tottenham in their last two matches.
And it looked like City would be frustrated by the visitors as the blues took the majority of possession, but found Brighton unwilling to let them through, with the defence being marshalled well by Lewis Dunk.
Frustration was beginning to tell in the stands, but Kevin de Bruyne helped relieve the anxiety eight minutes after the restart. His surging run forward took a couple of fortunate deflections, but the ball found itself at the feet of Mahrez, and this season’s top scorer broke the deadlock to give all those empty seats something to cheer.
With the stress levels dropping, City began to turn the screw and it was the Lucozade kid Foden who grabbed the second on 65 minutes. After shamelessly purchasing Lucozade, Lynx and coffee just forty-eight hours after the blues semi-final defeat, Foden had escaped Pep Guardiola’s wrath for his heinous crime and instead collected a short corner from Mahrez. The England man lined up a shot that took a deflection on its way past the keeper, and the blues were two clear.
With eight minutes remaining, City made certain of the points, thanks to a little bit of carelessness in the Brighton defence, and a little flick by MOTM de Bruyne. The Seagulls tried to play it out from the back, but Oleksandr Zinchenko intercepted the pass. The ball fell to de Bruyne, who showed great awareness to casually flick the ball into the path of Silva, who curled the ball home from the edge of the penalty area.
It was a deserved thee points for City, who remain one point ahead in the race for the Premier League title, and should the blues win their remaining six fixtures, they will be crowned champions, regardless of what Liverpool do.
Final score: Manchester City 3-0 Brighton and Hove Albion